You've likely heard about the concept of nirvana before. It's referenced in various Eastern religions (mainly Buddhism and Hinduism). In the simplest of terms, nirvana can be defined as liberation and peace after enlightenment. It's said to be when your suffering ends and you transcend rebirth, free of desire and with no ego at all. You become unaffected by shallow cravings and binding attachments. It's a wonderful thought, isn't it? This spiritual achievement is not easy to attain, but you certainly can work at it — even if it is a fleeting moment that doesn't last forever. We're all a work in progress, and to achieve this momentary zen-like state referenced in Buddhist teachings, your consistent effort is needed. Many start by incorporating the idea of nirvana when they meditate or practice yoga.
Reading quotes about nirvana can also help you on your journey. There are many benefits to understanding the concept. For one, you can get inspired and find motivation in the words of the Buddha. Spiritual enlightenment can also give you deep perspective during a time when you might otherwise feel like you're losing your way. As you practice mindfulness, reflect on your life and connect with yourself with the help of these nirvana quotes — both ancient and recent — to take one step closer to enlightenment. As you read each quote, think about its meanings and try to apply them to your own experiences.
- "He who walks in the eightfold noble path with unswerving determination is sure to reach Nirvana." — Buddha
- "Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because day is come." — Rabindranath Tagore, Fireflies
- "Enlightenment is when a wave realizes it is the ocean." — Thich Nhat Hanh
- "Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life." — Buddha
- "Those who really seek the path to Enlightenment dictate terms to their mind. Then, they proceed with strong determination." — Buddha
- "Nirvana, or lasting enlightenment or true spiritual growth, can be achieved only through persistent exercise of real love." — M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled
- "For hate is never conquered by hate. Hate is conquered by love. This is an eternal law." — Buddha
- "Your mind is Nirvana." — Bodhidharma
- "The greatest achievement is selflessness. The greatest worth is self-mastery. The greatest quality is seeking to serve others. The greatest precept is continual awareness. The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything. The greatest action is not conforming with the world's ways. The greatest magic is transmuting the passions. The greatest generosity is non-attachment. The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind. The greatest patience is humility. The greatest effort is not concerned with results. The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go. The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances." — Atisa, A Lamp for the Path and Commentary
- "Let go of the past, let go of the future, let go of the present, and cross over to the farther shore of existence. With mind wholly liberated, you shall come no more to birth and death."— Buddharakkhita
- "All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become." — Buddha
- "He has woken up the divine within and sees the inner light. His vision is an eye turned inward. He is at peace. He is a king. He has risen above good and evil." — Buddha
- “Those who are enlightened never stop forging themselves.” — Morihei Ueshiba, The Art of Peace
- "Confused by thoughts, we experience duality in life. Unencumbered by ideas, the enlightened see the one reality." — Huineng
- “Faithful is he who is possessed of knowledge, seeing the way that leads to Nirvana; he who is not a partisan; he who is pure and virtuous and has removed the veil from his eyes. Such a one will wander rightly in the world.” — Buddha
- "Enlightenment means taking full responsibility for your life." — William Blake
- "Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering. When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go, then you'll come to realize how unnecessary it was for you to drag those burdens around with you. You'll see that no one else, other than you, was responsible. The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival." — Osho
- "Your work is to find out what your work should be and not to neglect it for another's. Clearly discover your work, and attend to it with all your heart." — Dhammapada
- "Nirvana is this moment seen directly. There is no where else than here. The only gate is now. The only doorway is your own body and mind. There’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing else to be. There’s no destination. It’s not something to aim for in the afterlife. It’s simply the quality of this moment." — Buddha
- "Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow, death comes." —Buddha
Ysolt Usigan is a lifestyle writer and editor with 15+ years of experience working in digital media. She has created share-worthy content for publishers Shape, What To Expect, Cafe Mom, TODAY, CBS News, HuffPo, The Bump, Health, Ask Men, and Best Gifts. A working mom of two, her editorial expertise in parenting, shopping, and home are rooted in her everyday life.