MILLIONS around the world practise buddhism; a religion and a philosophy that includes a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices. This is largely based on the one and only – the Buddha – or what buddhists like to call “the awakened one”.
Buddhism is one of Asia’s most popular religions but has extended world wide and includes traditions such as Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, Tendai and Shinnyo-en.
Nibbana (Nirvana) is a central theme to Buddhism.
In order to answer what Nibbana is and why it is so complex to answer, one must first understand the basic principles of enlightenment, and the path leading to it.
Nibbana is said to be the state in which one is free from suffering. Nibbana is a Pali word which means “blowing out”; that is blowing out the fires of greed and hatred that we experience in this world (Beyer, 1974). Buddhism views the world as ultimately unsatisfactory and is essentially useless and suffering and thus in Buddhism, one searches for what is not useless and not suffering (Beyer, 1974). Nibbana is the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice that is said to be the cessation of the ego (study guide).
In the Dhammapada it is the Buddha who says that Nirvana is the highest happiness which is enduring and fundamental to the calmness that enlightenment or Bodhi brings about (Bercholz 1994).