Is Self Actualization Equal to Nirvana?

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Lecturer, Malaysia

Is Self Actualization Equal to Nirvana?

Sometimes ago I attended a talk on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and the speaker stressed that the level of self-actualization equates to to 'nirvana' in Buddhist teaching - and thus very few people will reach this level. Can you elaborate on this?

  Akila B
Coach, India

Is Self Actualization equal to Nirvana?

Nirvana as a concept has more depths to it and this is an oversimplified correlation. But you can take it this way...
A person who strives for nirvana as a goal - and I'm talking of an aspirant, not even someone who has achieved nirvana - has come past the stages in his life when material things or even abstract things such as fame or recognition cease to be a motivating factor for him. He is in search of something more meaningful, something that appeals to his "soul" - by which I mean, what is innermost to him, the core of him in terms of values that he cherishes (I do not mean a "spirit").
That is the stage of self-actualization, when your needs are not external or dependent on the external world anymore, but more attuned to meaning in your life.
All of us look for meaning, but most of us are willing to take the rewards of the other 4 levels as sops. The person in self-actualization mode will not settle for anything less than what brings out the best of his innermost self.


Also Called 'awareness'

@Akila B: What I understood from various 'schools (...)

  Shubhra Gabel
Manager, India

Self-actualization = nirvana

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