Moksha and Nirvana Both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs of reincarnation end with the ultimate goal of ending that cycle. Moksha is a final resting place that is attained by living a good life through the five caste levels. Moksha is basically the ending of the cycle of birth and rebirth while the soul lives on. Nirvana is the highest level of enlightenment a Buddhist can receive. Adhering to the various phases of the Noble eight Fold Path to eliminate suffering, one will reach the final phase, nirvana. Nirvana is also the end of the cycle of birth and rebirth but you become "extinct." The idea of nirvana is difficult for any American to fully understand or even try to explain. We are a society that has maybe too much emphasis on the present day and material possessions and this makes it so hard to understand that this goal is compared to a flame flickering out. Nirvana is the ultimate goal of the Buddhist and it is perfect liberation, freedom, peace, and tranquility (Rahula, p.43). It is also the end of the thoughts of lust, anger, and delusion. In contrast to Hinduism, one does not have to wait until death to reach this goal. Nirvana can be realized in the present life based on ones intuitive knowledge. It is realized by understanding the teaching of Siddhartha Guatama and practicing it carefully, consistently and completely through the Noble Eight Fold Path. The Noble Eight Fold Path is Right Understanding, Thought, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration (Rahula, p.45). Nirvana has to be realized by people within themselves. You are not blessed with nirvana but you bless yourself with nirvana. When Buddhists achieve nirvana it does not mean they are entering into a heaven but simply breaking the cycle of incarnation by becoming enlightened on what it really is. Thinking as an American you could say nirvana is nothing because you cannot see, hear, smell, taste, or touch it with your senses. You have to realize it with your mind.
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