The state of being that is the goal of all Buddhists. It means literally extinction or blowing out (as with a candle) but might better be translated from the Sanskrit as the great peace. ? For Buddhists nirvana is the condition of being beyond all attachment, individuality, and ignorance about the true nature of life and the universe. To reach nirvana is often likened to achieving enlightenment, although the various Buddhist schools acknowledge differing degrees and kinds of enlightenment, not all of which reach nirvana.
Photo Gallery Nirvana
Indeed, there are degrees of nirvana as well.
The state can be reached during one's physical lifetime, but one who has achieved that state in life only enters complete nirvana, or parinirvana, at death. The term is used by Hindus as well, who generally associate nirvana with not only the end of worldly desires and attachments but also the union of the individual soul with the absolute. In this sense it is synonymous with moksha.
To emphasize the difference Buddhists often use the term nibbana, which is the equivalent of nirvana in Pali, an ancient Indian language in which many early Buddhist texts were written.