NIRVANA, mtr-vii'idi (Std. nirratto„ extinc tion, from nis, out rana, a blowing, from rd, to blow). In Buddhistie iloetrine, the term denot ing final deliverance from transmigration. IL implies, consequently. the last aim of Buddhism, since transmigration is tantamount to a relapse into the evils or miseries of sachsura, or the, world. But as Hinduism, or the Brahmanieal doctrine, professes to lead to the same end, the difference between nirrdaa and ma6a, aporar go, or the other terms of Brahmanism designat ing eternal bliss. and consequent liberation from na•tempsyehosis (q.v.). rests 011 the difference of the ideas which both doctrines connect with the condition of the individual after that liberation. Aceording to the Brahmanieril doctrine, 1111111 111161 a soul, and Brahma being the existing and everlasting valise cif the universe, eternal hap piness is to the Itraluminieal Hindu the ab sorption of the soul into that cause whence it emanated. never to depart from it again. On the other hand, as the ultimate cause of the 1111iVerce, to Buddhism. is non-entity, the deliverance from transmigration is. to the Buddhists_ the return to non-entity. or the aliso• lute extinction of individuality. 'Buddhism fie knowhabies 1111 60111. 111 Brahmanism the sepa rate soul is reabsorbed info the All-soul. In Buddhism, individuality ceases. hint to sonic Buddhists. as also to the nirvana became a term si?mifleant rather of emaneipation. eter mil blissful repose. Further changes naturally followed. We ace told, for instance, that nir vana is quietude and identity, whereas samsara is turmoil and variety; that nirvana is freedom front all conditions of existence, whereas sum earn is birth, disease, decrepitude, and death, sin and pain, merit and demerit, virtue and vice: that nirvana is the shore of salvation for those who are in danger of being drowned in the sea of samsara ; that it is the port neatly to receive those who have escaped the dungeon of exist cure, the medicine which eures all dis eases, and the water which quenches the thirst of all desires. To Buddha, who received the term from earlier Ilinduism and did not invent it, nirvana meant, first of all, the extinction of desire, of anger, of ignorance. Whether it was also synonymous with annihilation he refused to state, although this may be inferred.
The later Buddhistic interpretations show that it was impossible to retain the notion of a non psychic individuality persisting after death, and that the goal of extinction steadily failed before the older and more permanent notion of eternal felicity in one form or another. The first of these later views is that which confounds with nirvana the preparatory labor of the mind to arrive at that end, and therefore assumes that nirvana is the extinction of men tality, or even of self-consciousness. The er
roneousness of this view is based on the fact that the mind, even though in a state of uncon sciousness, as when ceasing to think, or when speculating, is still within the pale of existence. Thus. to obviate the mistaken notion that such a state is the real nirvana, Buddhistic works sometimes speak of the "nirvana without a remainder of substratum" in contradistinction to the "nirvana with a remainder;" meaning by the latter expression that condition of a saint which, in consequence of his bodily and mental austerities, immediately precedes his real nirvana, but in which, nevertheless, lie is still an occupant of the material world.
The second heterodox view of nirvana is that which, though acknowledging in principle the original notion of Buddhist salvation, clearly represents a compromise with popular prejudice. It belongs to a still later period of Buddhism. when this religion, in extending its conquests over Asia, had to encounter creeds which ab horred the idea of an absolute nihilism. This compromise coincides with the creation of a Buddhistic pantheon, and with the classification of Buddhist saints into three classes, each of which has its own nirvana; that of the two lower degrees consisting of a vast number of years, at the end of which, however, those saints are born again: while the absolute nirvana is reserved for the highest class of saints. Bence Buddhistic salvation is then spoken of, either simply as the lowest, or as parinirea (tt, the middle, or as final and absolute extinction of individuality; and as those who have not yet attained to the highest nir vana must live in the heavens of the two in ferior classes of saints until they reappear in this world. their condition of nirvana is as similated to that state of more o• less material happiness which is also held out to the Brah manical Hindu before he is completely absorbed into Brahma.
When, in its last stage, Buddhism assumes an Adi, or primitive Buddha, as the career of the universe, nirvana. then meaning the ab sorption into this Buddha, ceases to have any real affinity with the original Buddhistic term, and becomes identified with the i1t7,1,-tr, or salva tion by absorption, of the pantheistic philoso phers. See also lie ionfsm and LA NIAISNI.
CUR uldenberg, Buddha, His Life, His His Order ( London, 1552) ; Hopkins, If •liyions of India (Boston, 1595 ; Da hInta nu, Nit-rano, eine Studie Forgesehiehte tics BudAisatas (Berlin, 18913).
NrSAN. In the Jewish calendar, the first month of the ecclesiastical year. See Alum