woman meditating

What Is Nirvana?

Spirit Vine Blog

What does Nirvana mean? Nirvana is a state of consciousness where you feel complete peace and happiness – a transcendent state where there’s no suffering or desire – and in Buddhism and Hinduism, it represents the highest state of consciousness that can be attained. This ultimate enlightenment brings freedom from pain, and freedom from the cycles of rebirth.

Find out more about just what is Nirvana, how you can experience Nirvana, and how to practice living in this state…

Two Views on Nirvana

Nirvana is associated with both Buddhism and Hinduism but is viewed differently. See variances below:

Nirvana Buddhism

What is Nirvana in Buddhism? One of the main objectives of practitioners of Buddhism is to achieve Nirvana. And in order to do this, the Four Noble Truths have to be understood. These truths are:

  • Dukkha – suffering and pain are innate characteristics of existence with every birth. Suffering is used to describe sickness, ageing, accidents, and emotional pain. Desire and cravings are acknowledged as the two roots of suffering as we’re rarely content or satisfied.
  • Samudaya – this is the craving, desire, or attachment to the dukkha. Determining the causes of the constant cravings will finally allow you to achieve true happiness.
  • Nirodha – the ending or cessation of the dukkha can be achieved by getting rid of all craving and desire. Controlling them will let you live with freedom and contentment.
  • Magga – the Noble Eight Fold path that ends the dukkha. The end of suffering can be attained by having the right intentions and mindset, living out these intentions in your everyday life, and by understanding true reality.

How to Follow the Noble Eight Fold Path

Meditation practices guide the mind to comprehend the reality behind the connection between mind and body. You need to:

Meditate regularly

This is the key to changing how your mind works letting you find how to reach Nirvana – and needs to be a part of your everyday life. You can do this alone or with others with guidance from a teacher. Without meditation, you’ll be unable to travel this path.

Nirvana Yoga is a complete philosophical system and way of life that helps with the attainment of perfection at all levels of human existence. Achieving this state of wellbeing of the body, mind, and soul requires the development of physical and mental strength, flexibility, and relaxation – leading to deep inner awareness and spiritual development.

Accept the teachings

You must have the right view to accept the Four Noble Truths as this is the foundation of the path – you need to view the world as it is and not as you’d like it to be. Examining, studying, and learning the truths will ensure you understand that nothing is perfect or permanent.

Develop the right attitude

Have the right intentions by committing yourself to believe that all life is equal and has to be treated with love and compassion. Reject selfish and violent thoughts, and show regard for all living things regardless of status.

Practice the right speech

Never lie, slander, speak harshly, or gossip. Speak only kind and truthful words which uplift others. Knowing when to hold back your words and remain silent needs practising daily.

Make positive actions

Treat yourself and others well by believing in what is in your heart and your mind. Live peacefully among others and always be honest. Don’t deceive or lie to get ahead – simply let your presence help improve society.

Carry out your work with integrity

Choosing a profession that is in agreement with your beliefs will help to keep you aligned with your path. A job that involves cheating or harming others will inevitably lead to suffering. Whatever livelihood you choose make sure it’s acceptable for your chosen path.

Focus on positive thinking

There are four tenets of putting true effort into your ability to achieve success and these are:

  • Not acting on evil thoughts or desires
  • Getting rid of unwholesome states by redirecting your attention
  • Producing good and wholesome thoughts
  • Maintaining and perfecting these states

Practice mindfulness

The four foundations of mindfulness are a contemplation of the body, feelings, mind, and phenomena. Living in the present frees you from the desires of your past and future. And makes you attentive to the feelings and emotions of others. When you’re mindful you live in the moment and are open to the whole experience.

Focusing your mind lets you concentrate on a single subject and not be distracted by external influences. The right concentration lets you view something clearly and as it really is.

Important Meditation Practices

Four Sathipattana mediations guide the mind to increase the wisdom of dividing – the word Sathipattana actually means being in mindfulness. These practices laid down by the Buddha are:

  • Kayanupassana – contemplation on the body
  • Vedananupassana – contemplation on feelings
  • Cittanupassana – contemplation on thoughts
  • Dhammanupassana – contemplation on Dhamma – the essential teachings of the Buddha

Nirvana Hinduism

In Hindu tradition, Nirvana is the reuniting with Brahma – the universal God or soul. The soul reaches this state after living many lives in which it ascends through a series of challenges and lessons.

As a soul ascends to the higher states it transcends the cycle of reincarnation by eliminating bad karma. Karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence – seen as defining fate in the future.

By doing good deeds and removing all earthly distractions a soul can finally go beyond the karmic cycle and become as one with the higher plane of existence that transcends the suffering of life – re-joining the energy that created the universe.

Moksha is the ultimate goal of personal spiritual development in some schools of Hinduism. The term means freedom in the Sanskrit language and is a state of eternal bliss and emptiness.

Moksha vs Nirvana

Moksha is defined as a concept in Hinduism where freedom from the cycle of births and deaths is believed to be one of pain and suffering. Nirvana in Buddhism is believed to be a state of mind that is achieved when enlightenment is reached.

Meditation Retreats

The Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat in Brazil has workshops where you can learn to meditate and to create a mental space for new insights and visions. These guided workshops are aimed to unblock resources by connecting with the power within.

Another part of these retreats are yoga classes. Using the ancient practice of yoga, you can learn how to attain spiritual awareness leading to a state of peace. This practice helps to be mindful and enhance life force, vitality, and energy.

The core of this retreat is the ayahuasca experience. Ayahuasca is an ancient sacred plant brew that is known for its visionary properties. Drinking ayahuasca gives many people the opportunity to have a brief experience of the Nirvana state. While this doesn’t provide permanent liberation, a glimpse into this state provides a very strong motivation to direct your efforts in everyday life to go on the path towards living in Nirvana.

The ayahuasca ceremonies are guided by experienced facilitators who create a safe and comfortable space where you can explore your consciousness.