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What is Nirvana?

Updated on March 31, 2008

Nirvana is a Buddhist belief. Buddhism came about from the teachings of an Indian prince. The prince was named Siddhartha Gautama. Later he would be known as Buddha, or the Enlightened One.

Buddha lived the life of luxury and was never around the common people growing up. When he discovered all of the suffering and poverty outside the confines of the palace, he was shocked and dismayed. He left the royal family and decided to live a life like a monk.

Eventually, Buddha would decide that a Middle Path is the best way to live life and achieve happiness. Neither a life of wealth and luxury, nor a life of self-denial produced solitude or joy. Buddha is said to have experienced the Enlightenment after sitting under a tree for days, unmoving. Enlightenment leads to Nirvana.

The path to Nirvana ends in no longer being confined to human form or human pain and suffering. This is accomplished by living a life of compassion, kindness, and self-control as taught by Buddhism.

To achieve Nirvana, one must also live by a strict moral code. This Buddhist code prohibits stealing, murder, using bad language or thinking bad thoughts, improper sexual behavior, and using drugs, alcohol or any mood altering substance.

Nirvana is possible for anyone. However, it is not easy. If one is willing to truly apply themselves, they can achieve Nirvana. Oddly enough, the Hindu gods aren't capable of experiencing Enlightenment. Only humans can experience an Awakening which leads to Nirvana.

Buddhism is still a popular religion and is becoming more popular in western culture. Many A-list celebrities such as Richard Gere have helped expose people to Buddhism. When Communist China invaded Tibet in 1959, the Dalai Lama was forced into exile. He remains in exile still.

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    • Moulik Mistry profile image

      Moulik Mistry 8 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

      Great write - I just love the Buddhist philosophy...