Nirvana And Buddhism

What Is Nirvana?

With our human life we can attain the supreme permanent peace of mind, known as ‘nirvana’, and enlightenment by putting Dharma into practice.

Since these attainments are non-deceptive and ultimate states of happiness they are the real meaning of human life. (1)

Why Attain Nirvana

Once we have completely eradicated our delusions it will be utterly impossible for us to experience unpeaceful states of mind.

As we will no longer have the internal causes of suffering, external causes of suffering, such as sickness or death, will have no power to disturb our mind.

This permanent cessation of delusion and suffering is known as ‘liberation’, or ‘nirvana’ in Sanskrit.” (2)

The Four Noble Truths

True Sufferings

In Sutra of the Four Noble Truths Buddha says: ‘You should know sufferings.’

In saying this Buddha is advising us that we should know about the unbearable sufferings that we shall experience in our countless future lives, and therefore develop renunciation, the determination to liberate ourself permanently from these sufferings. (1)

True Origins

In Sutra of the Four Noble Truths Buddha says: ‘You should abandon origins.’

In saying this Buddha is advising us that if we wish to liberate ourself permanently from the sufferings of our countless future lives we should abandon origins.

‘Origins’ means our delusions, principally our delusion of self-grasping.

Self-grasping is called an ‘origin’ because it is the source of all our suffering and problems, and is also known as the ‘inner demon’.

Delusions are wrong awarenesses whose function is to destroy mental peace, the source of happiness; they have no function other than to harm us.

Delusions such as self-grasping abide at our heart and continually harm us day and night without rest by destroying our peace of mind.

In samsara, the cycle of impure life, no one has the opportunity to experience real happiness because their mental peace,

the source of happiness, is continually being destroyed by the inner demon of self-grasping. (2)

True Paths

True Paths

In Sutra of the Four Noble Truths Buddha says: ‘You should practise the path.’

In this context, ‘path’ does not mean an external path that leads from one place to another, but an inner path,

a spiritual realization that leads us to the pure happiness of liberation and enlightenment. (1)

The practice of the stages of the path to liberation can be condensed into the three trainings of

  • higher moral discipline
  • higher concentration
  • higher wisdom

These trainings are called ‘higher’ because they are motivated by renunciation.

They are therefore the actual path to liberation that we need to practise. (1)

True Cessations

In Sutra of the Four Noble Truths Buddha says: ‘You should attain cessations.’

In this context, ‘cessation’ means the permanent cessation of suffering and its root, self-grasping ignorance.

In saying this, Buddha is advising us not to be satisfied with a temporary liberation from particular sufferings,

but that we should have the intention to accomplish the ultimate goal of human life, the supreme permanent peace of mind (nirvana),

and the pure and everlasting happiness of enlightenment. (1)


  1. Modern Buddhism: Volume 1 Sutra.Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Tharpa Publications
  2. The New Eight Steps to Happiness.Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Tharpa Publications

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