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Shankha, 4 Definition(s)

AKA: Sankha, Conch Shell, Divine Conch, Śankha

'Shankha' belongs in these categories: Buddhism, Hinduism

4 DEFINITION(S):

One of the Eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism The Conch Shell (Skt. shankha; Tib. dung dkar): The conch shell has survived as the original horn trumpet since time immemorial. Ancient Indian epics describe how each hero of mythical warfare carried a mighty white conch shell, which often bore a personal name. It is one of the main emblems of Vishnu, and his conch bears the name of Panchajanya, meaning having control over the five classes of beings. Arjunas (hero of the Mahabharata) mighty conch was known as Devadatta, whose triumphant blast brought terror to the enemy. As a proclaiming battle horn, the conch is akin to the bugle. It is an emblem of power, authority and sovereignty whose blast is believed to banish evil spirits, avert natural disasters, and scare away poisonous creatures. Today, in its greatly tamed avatar, the conch is used in Tibetan Buddhism to call together religious assemblies. During the actual practise of rituals, it is used both as a musical instrument and as a container for holy water. Ancient Indian belief classifies the conch into male and female varieties. The thicker shelled bulbous one is thought to be the male (purusha), and the thin shelled slender conch to be the female (shankhini). The fourfold caste division is also applied as follows: a). The smooth white conch represents the Brahmin caste b). The red conch the kshatriyas (warriors) c). The yellow conch the vaishyas (merchants) d). The grey conch the shudras (labourers) Additionally, there is a fundamental classification of conch shells occurring in nature: those that turn to the left and those which turn to the right. Shells which spiral to the right in a clockwise direction are a rarity and are considered especially sacred. The right spiralling movement of such a conch is believed to echo the celestial motion of the sun, moon, planets and stars across the heavens. The hair whorls on Buddhas head spiral to the right, as do his fine body hairs, the long curl between his eyebrows (urna), and also the conch like swirl of his navel. Vajrayana Buddhism absorbed the conch as a symbol which fearlessly proclaimed the truth of the dharma. Among the eight symbols, it stands for the fame of the Buddhas teaching, which spreads in all directions like the sound of the conch trumpet. In addition to Buddhas throat, the conch also appears as an auspicious mark on the soles, palms, limbs, breast or forehead of a divinely endowed being.

Added: 16.Nov.2008 | Source: Kheper: General
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(also see Saknha Sutta)

1. Sankha. The Bodhisatta, born as a brahmin in Molininagara (Benares). See the Sankha Jataka.

2. Sankha. The Bodhisatta, born as a setthi of Rajagaha. See the Agampadana Jataka.

3. Sankha. A future king, who will be the Cakka vatti of Ketumati at the time of the appearance of Metteyya Buddha in the world. He will raise up again the palace of King Mahapanada and live there. But later he will give it to the Order and become an arahant. D.iii.75f.; Anagat. p. 42 (vs. 10).

According to the Commentary (DA.iii.856), he was one of two cane workers (nalakara), father and son, who made a hut for a Pacceka Buddha. After death, both were born in heaven. The son became Mahapanada, and, later, Bhaddaji. The father is in the deva world and will be reborn as Sankha. Mahapanadas palace still remains un destroyed, ready for his use.

4. Sankha. A Naga king; a previous birth of Rahula. SNA.i.341; but elsewhere (e.g., SA.iii.26) he is called Palita. See Palita.

5. Sankha. One of the treasure troves which arose from the earth for the use of the Bodhisatta in his last lay life. These appeared on the day of his birth. DA.i.284.

6. Sankha. The Bodhisatta born as a brahmin in Takkasila. He was the father of Susima. See the Sankha Jataka (2).

7. Sankha. A general of Kittisirimegha; he lived in Badalatthali. The king entrusted him with the celebrations in connection with the upanayana ceremony of Parakkamabahu (afterwards Parakkamabahu I.). When Parakkamabahu returned to Badalatthali in his tour of preparation, Sankha welcomed him and paid him all honour. But Parakkamabahu proved treacherous and had him slain. Cv.lxiv.8f., 22f.; lxv.13f, 27f.

8. Sankha. A Singhalese general who maintained a stronghold in Gahgadoni in the Manimekhala district, while Magha ruled in the capital. Cv.lxxxi.7f.

Added: 12.Apr.2009 | Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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One of the Eight Auspicious Symbols

The right turning white conch shell, representing the beautiful, deep, melodious, interpenetrating and pervasive sound of the Buddhadharma which being appropriate to different natures, predispositions and aspirations of disciples, awakens them from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own welfare and the welfare of others;

In Hinduism the Conch is an attribute of Vishnu as is the Wheel. Vaishnavism holds that Shakyamuni Buddha is an avatar of Vishnu.

The conch shell is thought to have been the original horn trumpet; ancient Indian mythical epics relate heroes carrying conch shells. The Indian god Vishnu is also described as having a conch shell as one of his main emblems; his shell bore the name Panchajanya meaning having control over the five classes of beings.

(Sanskrit: Sankha; Wylie: dung gyas kyil)

Added: 26.Apr.2009 | Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism
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Śankha (शंख): Shankha is the divine Counch or sea shell, which is one of the insignia in the Hindu God Vishnu's hands. The sound emitted from Shankha when blown, is too divine, that is used for regular rituals for Vishnu. Śankha was also the name of one of sons of King Virata who was killed in Mahabharata.

Added: 29.Jun.2012 | Source: WikiPedia: Glossary of Hinduism terms
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