Can I use the term "Moksha" and "Nirvana" interchangeably?

I'm in an AP World History class studying religions. I'm just curious if I can use the terms interchangeably even though Moksha is classified more with Hinduism and Nirvana is grouped more with Buddhism?

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm not certain on this one, but, I think Moksha means Liberation [from Rebirth] whereas Nirvana means Eternal Bliss [of joining the Universal Consciousness of the Parama Atman].


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  • 9 years ago

    Moksha and Nirvana are essentially different words with different meanings.

    The root word for both is different too:

    'Muk' is the root word for Moksha meaning liberation.

    whereas 'Vana' is the root word for Nirvana meaning path or way.

    Moksha means liberation of self through self realization, that is realizing the true nature of self which is in turn the nature of the 'Bramhan' or the 'Parama-tattva'

    Nirvana is Nir + Vana meaning going away from the path. Here going away or taking oneself out of the path of rebirth/karma is what is called Nirvana.

    To compare the two, Nirvana is the state of a being when one has removed oneself from the cycle of rebirth or from the Karmic cycle, while Moksha is a state where one has realized the self and ineffect not only moved away from the cycle of rebirth but also has attained the knowledge of the Supreme.

    As rightly said by you in your question the concept of Moksha is closer to the Sanatana Dharma (Hindu-Dharma) as it believes in and recognizes the Supreme entity. By striving for / attaining Moksha one puts oneself out of the cycle of rebirths and thereby the Karmic cycle and also merges onself with the Supreme. There is no difference between the self and the Supreme at this ultimate stage.

    While the concept of Nirvana is closer to Buddhism as it believes in alleviating oneself to the highest level of consciousness by knowledge of the self (becoming a Buddha) and thereby removing oneself from the painful cycle of rebirths. By attaining Nirvana one is out of the cycle or path of rebirth and attains the status of a Buddha as an individual entity and is seen as role model for others to follow.

    Hence the difference between the two words Moksha, and Nirvana is subtle, yet their meanings are different and cannot be used interchangeably.

    Hope this helps.


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  • ?
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    While Hinduism and Buddhism superficially appear very similar, they are in fact very very different.

    Moksha is liberation, but this liberation is achieved by merging one's self with their atman, which is the essence of Brahman. This is essentially a spiritual association.

    In Buddhism, nirvana is also a liberation, but there is not mention of divine essence ... only of waking up and seeing things clearly. Seeing as God is not involved in this, it cannot be a spiritual association.

    Source(s): Raised in yoga by a woman who was a primary student of Swami Paramahansa Yogananda in the 1930's. A Buddhist over 11 years ... teacher is a resident monk at a local sangha, assigned here by the Dalai Lama.
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  • Pink
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    i think both terms are use in buddhism. but the term "moksha" is mostly use for vinaya vows which means librating oneself through vinaya vows. the term "nirvana" which means beyond suffering. so in buddhism moksha is use as causal (only for vinaya vows) and nirvana as resultant. so i suggest dont use the term moksha in the place of nirvana. i havent seen these kind of term using in buddhism text so far.

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  • bo k
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    Nirvana is copyrighted to Buddhism.

    It is through eightfold noble pathway.

    So, it not interchangeable with any other stuff.

    Source(s): Buddhism
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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    i would say no hinduism is a little bit different than buddhism

    Source(s): mahayana buddhist
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  • Jade
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    I wouldn't suggest it. They are different.

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