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What is Moksha?

Moksha in Indian philosophies represents liberation from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (samsara). Achieved through spiritual practices, it culminates in eternal peace and unity with the divine. Karma influences the cycle, with actions affecting future lives. Moksha and Buddhism’s Nirvana both aim for the transcendence of worldly existence and the realization of spiritual truths. Dharma and Karma are critical for attaining Moksha, with Karma dictating the spiritual journey and Dharma guiding righteous living.

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Moksha is a concept in ancient Indian philosophies which refers to liberation or release from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, known as samsara. The term “moksha” comes from the Sanskrit word “mukti,” which means “release,” “liberation,” or “freedom.” It is the ultimate goal of spiritual practice, and is considered to be the highest state of being.

What is Moksha?

To understand the concept of Moksha, imagine a cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In this cycle, individuals are born into the world, live their lives, die, and are then reborn again. This cycle continues indefinitely, with each new birth determined by the actions and karma of the previous life.

The goal of spiritual practice is to break this cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, and to attain Moksha. In Moksha, the individual is liberated from the cycle of samsara and attains a state of eternal peace, bliss, and unity with the ultimate reality.

The attainment of Moksha involves a transformation of the individual’s consciousness, from a limited perspective of the individual self to a state of awareness of the ultimate reality. This transformation is achieved through various spiritual practices, including meditation, self-inquiry, devotion, and good deeds.

Moksha is the realization of one’s true nature, the Atman (loosely understood to be the Self), and the unification with the cosmic principle, Brahman (the divine).

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What’s the whole point?

The endless cycle of birth and rebirth, known as Samsara, holds deep meaning Indian philosophical schools of thought including Buddhism. It happens because of something called Karma, which is like a law of cause and effect.

In simple terms (Karma means), every action, thought, and intention we have leaves a mark on our consciousness. These marks are like seeds that can grow and affect our future lives. So, the things we do and the choices we make now can have consequences that carry over into future lives.

Why does this Samsara exist?

Well, it’s because of our attachments, desires, and lack of understanding. When we get attached to things in the world and don’t see the true nature of reality, we keep going through a cycle of wanting, suffering, and being born again.

However, this cycle isn’t meant to be a punishment or a curse. Instead, it’s like a spiritual journey where we can learn, grow, and become better versions of ourselves. Each life gives us chances to learn important lessons, let go of our attachments, and become more spiritually evolved.

By experiencing different lives and situations, we slowly start to see through the illusions of the material world (Maya). We learn to let go of our desires and cravings, and we seek to go beyond the cycle of birth and rebirth. The more we learn and grow, the closer we get to breaking free from this cycle and finding true freedom from suffering.

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What is Nirvana? Is it not Moksha?

Moksha, a sacred term cherished within Indian cultural texts, embodies the ultimate liberation of the soul from the cycle of birth and death, known as Samsara. Rooted in the teachings of ancient philosophies including Jainism, and Buddhism, Moksha beckons the seeker to transcend the limitations of earthly existence and merge with the divine essence.

Moksha is considered the highest goal, the culmination of spiritual evolution. It is the realization of one’s true nature, the Atman (loosely understood to be the Self), and the unification with the cosmic principle, Brahman (the divine). Through the pursuit of righteousness, self-discipline, knowledge, and devotion, an individual seeks to break free from the illusions and attachments of the material world, leading to the ultimate emancipation.

Moksha is envisioned as a state of eternal bliss, where the individual soul merges with the universal consciousness, transcending the boundaries of time, space, and individual identity.

Jainism, another ancient Indian tradition, explains Moksha as the emancipation of the soul from the karmic cycle of birth, suffering, and death.

By adhering to the principles of non-violence, truthfulness, non-possessiveness, and asceticism, one seeks to shed the accumulated karmas and attain liberation.

Moksha, in Jainism, represents the liberation of the soul, achieving a state of infinite knowledge, perception, bliss, and eternal existence.

Buddhism, born from the profound insights of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, also delves into the notion of liberation through Nirvana.

In Buddhist teachings, Nirvana denotes the extinguishing of the fires of suffering, attachment, and ignorance. It is the transcendence of the cycle of birth and death, the cessation of craving and aversion, and the realization of the true nature of reality.

Nirvana is an experiential state beyond words, an awakening that liberates one from the sufferings of existence and offers the possibility of true enlightenment.

Both Moksha and Nirvana, despite emerging from distinct philosophical traditions, share a common aspiration: the transcendence of mundane existence, the dissolution of illusions, and the realization of profound spiritual liberation. They are the summits of human quest and spiritual endeavor, beckoning seekers to embark on a transformative odyssey toward the highest truths and ultimate freedom.

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Where do Dharma and Karma fit in?

Dharma and Karma are seen as important because they are essential to spiritual evolution and the attainment of Moksha. Dharma is the cosmic law that governs the universe and defines the duties and responsibilities of individuals in society. By fulfilling one’s Dharma, an individual can accumulate positive Karma, which leads to spiritual evolution and eventual liberation from Samsara.

After achieving Moksha, the individual is liberated from the cycle of birth and death and becomes one with the divine. In this state of oneness, there is no sense of individuality or separation from the divine. It is the ultimate goal of spiritual seekers, and is considered the highest achievement one can attain.

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