Indian and Christian religions have different goals. The goal of Christian religions is to go to Heaven. The goal of Indian religions like Buddhism and Hinduism is to attain Nirvana. Heaven is a place. Nirvana is a state of mind. The word Nirvana comes from the root meaning to blow out and refers to the extinguishing of the fires of greed, hatred and delusion. When these bad emotional and psychological things are destroyed by wisdom, the mind becomes free, radiant and joyful and at death a person is no longer subject to rebirth. Buddha said “One thing and only one thing do I teach, suffering and the cessation of suffering.” Cessation means a temporary or final ceasing. Buddha also said that “Nirvana is ultimate happiness.” (nibbanam paramam sukham). Some people have asked “If desire, wanting, and craving, causes rebirth, then how could one ever attain Nirvana because in wanting to attain it one would be strengthening the very thing that prevents it from being attained?” Johnansson , The Psychology of Nirvana, Garden City, 1970. This question does not recognize the fact that Nirvana is not something that a person gets by wanting and then pursuing, rather it is the state of being utterly without wanting. Another criticism is that Nirvana takes so long to accomplish, that very few people can do it. The Buddha did not agree with this view. He said that anyone can attain Nirvana. If the person follows his instructions sincerely and carefully, a person could attain Nirvana in this lifetime. Nirvana is beyond the world of mind and body. Nirvana is composed of ni and vana. In Sanskrit ni implies to be free from and vana means weaving or craving. When a person manages to extinguish all his desires, he escapes from the cycle of birth and death and attains Nirvana. Now the person is free from lust, hatred and ignorance and has reached supreme peace. Nirvana is different from …
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