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Śila, aka: Śilā, Silā, Sīla, Shila, Śīla; 12 Definition(s)


Śila means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

The Sanskrit term Śila can be transliterated into English as Shila or Sila, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism


1) Śila (शिल).—One of Danu's sons.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 68. 5.

2a) Śilā (शिला).—A R. from the Vindhyas.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 114. 28.

2b) The stone placed on the head of Gayāsura under the orders of Brahmā.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 106. 45.

2c) Dharmavratā, the daughter of Dharma and Viśvarūpa married Marīci; when she was once serving her husband in sleep Brahmā came there and she honoured him leaving her husband; the latter awoke and cursed her to become a stone as she did not do the duty of a wife properly; she became furious and cursed her husband and herself performed severe austerities in the midst of a blazing fire; pleased with her, Viṣṇu asked her to take a few boons adding that her husband's curse could not be changed; she then requested that she might live in the shape of a stone at Gayā tīrtha on which all Devas should reside; the request was granted.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 107. (whole); 108. 2; 109. 33, 46, 51; 112. 30 and 41.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

about this context:

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Shila (or Shaligram) refers to a Vaishnava (Hindu) aniconic representation of Vishnu, in the form of a spherical, usually black-coloured Ammonoid fossil found in the sacred river Gandaki. They are more often referred to as Shilas, with Shila being the shortened version. The word Shila translates simply to 'stone' and Shaligram is a less well-known name of Vishnu.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism


Silā, (f.) (cp. Sk. śilā) a stone, rock Vin. I, 28; S. IV, 312 sq.; Vin 445; DA. I, 154; J. V, 68; Vism. 230 (in comparison); VbhA. 64 (var. kinds); a precious stone, quartz Vin. II, 238; Miln. 267, 380; Vv 8415 (=phalika° VvA. 339); pada-silā a flag-stone Vin. II, 121, 154. Cp. sela.

—uccaya a mountain A. III, 346; Th. 1, 692; J. I, 29; VI, 272, 278; Dāvs. V, 63. —guḷa a ball of stone, a round stone M. III, 94. —tthambha (sila°) stone pillar Mhvs 15, 173. —paṭimā stone image J. IV, 95. —paṭṭa a slab of stone, a stone bench J. I, 59; VI, 37 (maṅgala°); SnA 80, 117. —pākāra stone wall Vin. II, 153. —maya made of stone J. VI, 269, 270; Mhvs 33, 22; 36, 104. —yūpa a stone column S. V, 445; A. IV, 404; Mhvs 28, 2. —santhāra stone floor Vin. II, 120. (Page 711)

— or —

Sīla, (nt.) (cp. Sk. śīla. It is interesting to note that the Dhtp puts down a root sīl in meaning of samādhi (No. 268) and upadhāraṇa (615)) 1. nature, character, habit, behaviour; usually as —° in adj. function “being of such a nature, ” like, having the character of ... , e.g. adāna° of stingy character, illiberal Sn. 244; PvA. 68 (+maccharin); kiṃ° of what behaviour? Pv. II, 913; keḷi° tricky PvA. 241; damana° one who conquers PvA. 251; parisuddha° of excellent character A. III, 124; pāpa° wicked Sn. 246; bhaṇana° wont to speak DhA. IV, 93; vāda° quarrelsome Sn. 381 sq.—dussīla (of) bad character D. III, 235; Dhs. 1327; Pug. 20, 53; Pv. II, 82 (noun); II, 969 (adj.); DhA. II, 252; IV, 3; Sdhp. 338; Miln. 257; opp. susīla S. I, 141.—2. moral practice, good character, Buddhist ethics, code of morality. (a) The dasa-sīla or 10 items of good character (not “commandments”) are (1) pāṇâtipātā veramaṇī, i.e. abstinence from taking life; (2) adinn’ādānā (from) taking what is not given to one; (3) abrahmacariyā adultery (oṭherwise called kāmesu micchā-cārā); (4) musāvādā telling lies; (5) pisuna-vācāya slander; (6) pharusa-vācāya harsh or impolite speech; (7) samphappalāpā frivolous and senseless talk; (8) abhijjhāya covetousness; (9) byāpādā malevolence; (10) micchādiṭṭhiyā heretic views.—Of these 10 we sometimes find only the first 7 designated as “sīla” per se, or good character generally. See e.g. A. I, 269 (where called sīla-sampadā); II, 83 sq. (not called “sīla”), & sampadā.—(b) The pañca-sīla or 5 items of good behaviour are Nos. 1—4 of dasa-sīla, and (5) abstaining from any state of indolence arising from (the use of) intoxicants, viz. surā-meraya-majjapamāda-ṭṭhānā veramaṇī. These five also from the first half of the 10 sikkha-padāni. They are a sort of preliminary condition to any higher development after conforming to the teaching of the Buddha (saraṇaṃgamana) and as such often mentioned when a new follower is “officially” installed, e.g. Bu II. 190: saraṇâgamane kañci nivesesi Tathāgato kañci pañcasu sīlesu sīle dasavidhe paraṃ. From Pv IV. 176 sq. (as also fr. Kh II. as following upon Kh I.) it is evident that the sikkhāpadāni are meant in this connection (either 5 or 10), and not the sīlaṃ, cp. also Pv IV. 350 sq. , although at the above passage of Bu and at J. I, 28 as well as at Mhvs 18, 10 the expression dasa-sīla is used: evidently a later development of the term as regards dasa-sīla (cp. Mhvs trsln 122, n. 3), which through the identity of the 5 sīlas & sikkhāpadas was transferred to the 10 sikkhāpadas. These 5 are often simply called pañca dhammā, e.g. at A. III, 203 sq. , 208 sq. Without a special title they are mentioned in connection with the “saraṇaṃ gata” formula e.g. at A. IV, 266. Similarly the 10 sīlas (as above a) are only called dhammā at A. II, 253 sq.; V, 260; nor are they designated as sīla at A. II, 221.—pañcasu sīlesu samādapeti to instruct in the 5 sīlas (alias sikkhāpadāni) Vin. II, 162.—(c) The only standard enumerations of the 5 or 10 sīlas are found at two places in the Saṃyutta and correspond with those given in the Niddesa. See on the 10 (as given under a) S. IV, 342 & Nd2 s. v. sīla; on the 5 (also as under b) S. II, 68 & Nd2 s. v. The so-called 10 sīlas (Childers) as found at Kh II. (under the name of dasa-sikkhāpada) are of late origin & served as memorial verses for the use of novices. Strictly speaking they should not be called dasa-sīla.—The eightfold sīla or the eight pledges which are recommended to the Buddhist layman (cp. Miln. 333 mentioned below) are the sikkhāpadas Nos. 1—8 (see sikkhāpada), which in the Canon however do not occur under the name of sīla nor sikkhāpada, but as aṭṭhaṅga-samannāgata uposatha (or aṭṭhaṅgika u.) “the fast-day with its 8 constituents. ” They are discussed in detail at A. IV, 248 sq. , with a poetical setting of the eight at A. IV, 254=Sn. 400, 401 — (d) Three special tracts on morality are found in the Canon. The Cullasīla (D. I, 3 sq.) consists first of the items (dasa) sīla 1-7; then follow specific injunctions as to practices of daily living & special conduct, of which the first 5 (omitting the introductory item of bījagāma-bhūtagāma-samārambha) form the second 5 sikkhāpadāni. Upon the Culla° follows the Majjhima° (D. I, 5 sq.) & then the Mahāsīla D. I, 9 sq. The whole of these 3 sīlas is called sīlakkhandha and is (in the Sāmaññaphala sutta e.g. ) grouped with samādhi- and paññākkhandha: D. I, 206 sq.; at A. V, 205, 206 sīla-kkhandha refers to the Culla-sīla only. The three (s. , samādhi & paññā) are often mentioned together, e.g. D. II, 81, 84; It. 51; DA. I, 57.—The characteristic of a kalyāṇa-mitta is endowment with saddhā, sīla, cāga, paññā A. IV, 282. These four are counted as constituents of future bliss A. IV, 282, and form the 4 sampadās ibid. 322. In another connection at M. III, 99; Vism. 19. They are, with suta (foll. after sīla) characteristic of the merit of the devatās A. I, 210 sq. (under devat’ânussati).—At Miln. 333 sīla is classed as: saraṇa°, pañca°, aṭṭhaṅga°, dasaṅga°, pātimokkhasaṃvara°, all of which expressions refer to the sikkhāpadas and not to the sīlas.—At Miln. 336 sq. sīla functions as one of the 7 ratanas (the 5 as given under sampadā up to vimuttiñāṇadassana; plus paṭisambhidā and bojjhaṅga).—cattāro sīlakkhandhā “4 sections of morality” Miln. 243; Vism. 15 & DhsA. 168 (here as pātimokkha-saṃvara, indriya-saṃvara, ājīvapārisuddhi, paccaya-sannissita. The same with ref. to catubbidha sīla at J. III, 195). See also under cpds. ‹-› At Ps. I, 46 sq. we find the fivefold grouping as (1) pāṇâtipatassa pahānaṃ, (2) veramaṇī, (3) cetanā, (4) saṃvara, (5) avītikkama, which is commented on at Vism. 49.—A fourfold sīla (referring to the sikkhāpada) is given at Vism. 15 as bhikkhu°, bhikkhunī°, anupasampanna° gahaṭṭha°.—On sīla and adhisīla see e.g. A. I, 229 sq.; VbhA. 413 sq.—The division of sīla at J. III, 195 is a distinction of a simple sīla as “saṃvara, ” of twofold sīla as “caritta-vāritta, ” threefold as “kāyika, vācasika, mānasika, ” and fourfold as above under cattāro sīlakkhandhā.—See further generally: Ps. I, 42 sq.; Vism. 3 sq.; Tikp 154, 165 sq. , 269, 277; Nd1 14, 188 (expld as “pātimokkha-saṃvara”); Nd2 p. 277; VbhA. 143.

—aṅga constituent of morality (applied to the pañcasikkhāpadaṃ) VbhA. 381. —ācāra practice of morality J. I, 187; II, 3. —kathā exposition of the duties of morality Vin. I, 15; A. I, 125; J. I, 188. —kkhandha all that belongs to moral practices, body of morality as forming the first constituent of the 5 khandhas or groups (+samādhi°, paññā°, vimutti°, ñāṇadassana-kkhandha), which make up the 5 sampadās or whole range of religious development; see e.g. Nd1 21, 39; Nd2 p. 277.—Vin. 162 sq.; III, 164; A. I, 124, 291; II, 20; S. I, 99 sq.; It. 51, 107; Nett 90 sq. , 128; Miln. 243; DhA. III, 417. —gandha the fragrance of good works Dh. 55; Vism. 58. —caraṇa moral life J. IV, 328, 332. —tittha having good behaviour as its banks S. I, 169, 183 (trsln Mrs. Rh. D. “with virtue’s strand for bathing”). —bbata (=vata2) good works and ceremonial observances Dh. 271; A. I, 225; S. IV, 118; Ud. 71; Sn. 231, etc.; sīlavata the same Sn. 212, 782, 790, 797, 803, 899; It. 79 sq.; °-parāmāsa the contagion of mere rule and ritual, the infatuation of good works, the delusion that they suffice Vin. I, 184; M. I, 433; Dhs. 1005; A. III, 377; IV, 144 sq.; Nd1 98; Dukp 245, 282 sq.; DhsA. 348; see also expln at Cpd. 171, n. 4. ‹-› sīlabbatupādāna grasping after works and rites D. II, 58; Dhs. 1005, 1216; Vism. 569; VbhA. 181 sq.—The old form sīlavata still preserves the original good sense, as much as “observing the rules of good conduct, ” “being of virtuous behaviour. ” Thus at Th. 1, 12; Sn. 212, 782 (expld in detail at Nd1 66), 790, 797, 803; It. 79; J. VI, 491 (ariya°). —bheda a breach of morality J. I, 296. —mattaka a matter of mere morality D. I, 3; DA. I, 55. —maya consisting in morality It. 51; VvA. 10 (see maya, defn 6). —vatta morality, virtue S. I, 143; cp. J. III, 360. —vipatti moral transgression Vin. I, 171 sq.; D. II, 85; A. I, 95; 268 sq.; III, 252; Pug. 21; Vism. 54, 57. —vipanna trespassing D. II, 85; Pug. 21; Vin. I, 227. —vīmaṃsaka testing one’s reputation J. I, 369; II, 429; III, 100, 193. —saṃvara self-restraint in conduct D. I, 69; Dhs. 1342; DA. I, 182. —saṃvuta living under moral self-restraint Dh. 281. —sampatti accomplishment or attainment by moral living Vism. 57. —sampadā practice of morality Vin. I, 227; D. II, 86; M. I, 194, 201 sq.; A. I, 95, 269 sq. , II. 66; Pug. 25, 54. —sampanna practising morality, virtuous Vin. I, 228; D. I, 63; II, 86; M. I, 354; Th. 2, 196; ThA. 168; DA. I, 182. (Page 712)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

silā : (f.) a stone. || sīla (nt.) nature; habit; moral practice; code of morality.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

about this context:

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Śīla (discipline or morality) is called innate goodness. Wholeheartedly following the good Path (kuśalamārga) without allowing any faults (pramada) is what is called Śīla. It is of three kinds:

  1. hīnaśīla – By means of “lower morality”, one is reborn among humans (manuṣya);
  2. madhyaśīla – By “middling morality”, one is reborn among the six classes of gods of the desire realm (kāmadhātudeva);
  3. praṇītaśīla – By “superior morality”, one is reborn among the pure gods (śuddhāvāsadeva) of the form realm (rūpadhātu) and the formless realm (ārūpyadhātu).

Even though the moral man has no weapons (āyudha), wicked people do not attack him. Morality is a treasure (vitta) that cannot be lost; it is a parent (jñāti) who does not abandon you even after death; it is an adornment (ālaṃkāra) that surpasses the seven jewels (saptaratna). This is why morality must be guarded as if one were defending the life of the body (kāyajīvita) or as if one were watching over a precious object. The immoral man endures ten thousand sufferings; he is like the poor man who broke his vase and lost his wealth, This is why pure discipline must be observed.

Source: Wisdom Library: The Treatise on the Great Virtue of Wisdom, Volume II

morality; Sila is not only abstaining from what should not be done, it is also observing what should be done, we can observe moral precepts which are the foundation of wholesome conduct.

Source: Dhamma Study: Cetasikas

Shīla (śīla) Skt. (Pali, sīla), “obligations, pre­cepts”; refers to the ethical guidelines that in Buddhism determine the behavior of monks, nuns, and laypersons and that constitute the precondition for any progress on the path of awakening.

The ten shīlas for monks, nuns and novices are:

  1. refraining from killing,
  2. not taking what is not given,
  3. refraining from prohibited sexual activity,
  4. refraining from unjust speech,
  5. abstaining from intoxi­cating drinks,
  6. abstaining from solid food af­ter noon,
  7. avoiding music, dance, plays, and other entertainments,
  8. abstaining from the use of perfumes and ornamental jewelry,
  9. re­fraining from sleeping in high, soft beds,
  10. re­fraining from contact with money and other valuables.

The first five shīlas apply also to Bud­dhist laypersons, who on certain days observe the first eight.

Source: Shambala Publications: General

s. sīla.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

'morality', 'virtue', is a mode of mind and volition (cetana) manifested in speech or bodily action (s. karma). It is the foundation of the whole Buddhist practice, and therewith the first of the 3 kinds of training (sikkhā) that form the 3-fold division of the 8-fold Path (s. magga), i.e. morality, concentration and wisdom.

Buddhist morality is not, as it may appear from the negative formulations in the Sutta-texts, something negative. And it does not consist in the mere not committing of evil actions, but is in each instance the clearly conscious and intentional restraint from the bad actions in question and corresponds to the simultaneously arising volition.

Morality of the 8-fold Path, namely, right speech, right action and right livelihood, is called 'genuine or natural morality' pakatisīla), as distinguished from the external rules for monks or laymen, the so-called 'prescribed morality' (paññatti-sīla, q.v.), which, as such, is karmically neutral.

"What now is karmically wholesome morality (kusala-sīla)? It is the wholesome bodily action (kāya-kamma, s. karma), wholesome verbal action (vacī-kamma, s. karma), and also the purity with regard to livelihood which I call morality"

(M. 78). Cf. magga, 3-5.

For the 5, 8 and 10 rules, s. sikkhāpada. Further cf. cāritta- and vāritta-sīla.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

N Morality, virtue, conduct, good behaviour, attitude.

Main foundation of all kinds of practices of dhamma. Without training into sila, it is not possible to progress on this path.

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

virtuous conduct of body and speech. Sila is also known as Precepts.

Source: Amaravati: GlossaryVirtue, morality. The quality of ethical and moral purity that prevents one from falling away from the eightfold path. Also, the training precepts that restrain one from performing unskillful actions. Sila is the second theme in the gradual training (see anupubbi katha), one of the ten paramis, the second of the seven treasures (see dhana), and the first of the three grounds for meritorious actionSource: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

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