The 3 (traditional) Buddhist Nibbānas



Three nibbānas (i.e. nirvanas) are mentioned in the Buddhist Theravada canon. Two in Ittivutakasutta (44) and 1 in the Parinibbānasutta.



1.       Nibbāna 1 (i.e. relative nibbana) is attained in this life. It is either of short duration or life-long. The persona (i.e. an ‘emerged phenomenon’ 1 hence sans ‘inherent existence’, so the Heart Sutra) who attains Nibbāna 1 is one ‘who has exhausted the taints, who has lived out the life, done what was to be done, laid down the burden, reached the highest goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and who is completely liberated through final knowledge. His five sense-faculties remain, owing to the presence of which he still encounters the agreeable and disagreeable, still experiences the pleasant and painful.
It is
exhaustion of lust, hate, and delusion in him that is called the element of Nibbāna with result of past clinging still left.”


2.      Nibbāna 2 is attained in this life if and when a persona (i.e. an emerged phenomenan)1 who has lived out the life…. and is completely liberated through final knowledge. All in him that is felt will, since he does not relish it, become cool here in this very life: this is called the element of Nibbāna without result of past clinging left.”


3.      Nibbāna 2 (absolute nibbana) happens when a person who as achieved Nibbāna 2 dies, becomes wholly extinct (= unborn, since karmic residue and the life drivers have been eliminated), therefore cannot be reborn. Whether or not the ‘emerged phenomenon’ that finally ends in/at Nirvana 3, hence as unborn, can respond to its achievement with bliss is a matter of belief (not fact). Some Buddhists refuse to comment on the parameters, if any, of Nibbāna 3. Others claim that Nirvana 3 is ‘A Land of Bliss’.


Absolute Nibbana happens when a person (i.e. a state of conditions) disintegrates (i.e. dies @ maximum entropy)…. Or is never born! Then absolute coolness, zero temperature happens.



The ‘life’ of a samskara ≈ an ‘emerged phenomenon’ ≈ a persona



1.       “Yan kiñci samudayadhamman sabban tan nirodhadhammanti.” = “Whatever arises due to conditions ceases when the conditions (for its arising) cease.”

        Vin.Mv. 1:6



Etymology of the word nirvana
Turning a fiction into a fact

The Heart Sutra