Ajivika, aka: Ajivaka, Ājīvaka, Ājīvakā, Ājīvika, Ājīvikā; 8 Definition(s)


Ajivika means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Ajivika in Purana glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

Ājīvaka (आजीवक).—A heretic sect.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 14. 39.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Ājīvika was a system of ancient Indian philosophy and an ascetic movement of the Mahajanapada period in the Indian subcontinent. Ājīvika was primarily a heterodox Indian (Nāstika) system. The Ājīvikas may simply have been a more loosely-organized group of wandering ascetics (shramanas or sannyasins). One of their prominent leaders was Makkhali Gosala. Ājīvika is thought to be contemporaneous to other early Indian nāstika philosophical schools of thought, such as Cārvāka, Jainism and Buddhism.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

A class of naked ascetics (see, e.g., Vin.i.291), followers of Makkhali Gosala, regarded, from the Buddhist point of view, as the worst of sophists. Numerous references to the Ajivakas are to be found in the Pitakas, only a few of them being at all complimentary. Thus in the Maha Saccaka Sutta (*) they are spoken of as going about naked, flouting lifes decencies and licking their hands after meals.

(*) M.i.238; see also S.i.66, where a deva praises Gosala as a man who had attained to perfect self control by fasting and austere practices. He had abandoned speech and wordy strife with any person, was equable, a speaker of truth, a doer of no evil. That the life of the Ajivakas was austere may be gleaned from their condemnation of monks carrying parasols (Viii.ii.130).

But they never incurred the guilt
of obeying another mans command,
of accepting food specially prepared for them,
of accepting food from people while eating,
from a pregnant woman, or nursing mother,
or from gleanings in time of famine;
they would never eat where a dog was already at hand,
or where hungry flies were congregated.

They never touched flesh, fish or intoxicants,
and they had a rigid scale of food rationing.

It is mentioned that they did not always find it possible to adhere to this rigid code of conduct.

It is stated in the Tevijja Vacchagotta Sutta (M.i.483) that far from any Ajivaka having put an end to sorrow, the Buddha could recall only one Ajivaka during ninety nine kappas who had even gone to heaven, and that one too had preached a doctrine of kamma and the after consequences of actions. Elsewhere (M.i.524) they are spoken of as children of a childless mother.

They extol themselves and disparage others and yet they have produced only three shining lights:

  • Nanda Vaccha,
  • Kisa Sankicca
  • Makkhali Gosala

A fourth leader, Panduputta, of wagon building stock, is mentioned in the Anangana Sutta (M.i.31); there is also the well known Upaka.

There is no doubt that the Ajivaka were highly esteemed and had large followings of disciples (See, e.g., Pasenadis evidence in S.i.68, apart from Ajatasattus visit mentioned in the Samannaphala Sutta; also S.iv.398). They had eminent followers such as high court officials (Vin.ii.166; iv.71) and that, for centuries at least, they retained an important position, is shown by their being thrice mentioned in the Asoka Edicts as receiving royal gifts (Hultsch: Asoka Inscriptions, see Index).

The doctrines held by the Ajivaka are mentioned in several places,

-- or --

Given as a possible name. J.i.403.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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General definition (in Buddhism)

Ājīvikā (आजीविका, “livelihood”) or Ājīvikābhaya refers to the “fear for (one’s) livelihood” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 71). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., ājīvikā). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Ajivika in Pali glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

ājīvaka : (m.) a kind of non-Buddhist ascetics.

-- or --

ājīvika : (m.) a kind of non-Buddhist ascetics.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Ājīvaka, (& °ika) (ājīva + ka, orig. “one finding his living” (scil. in a peculiar way); cp. BSk. ājīvika Divy 393, 427) an ascetic, one of the numerous sects of non-buddhist ascetics. On their austerities, practice & way of living see esp. DhA.II, 55 sq. and on the whole question A. L. Basham, Hist. & Doctrines of the Ājīvikas, 1951. — (a) ājīvaka: Vin.I, 291; II, 284; IV, 74, 91; M.I, 31, 483: S.I, 217; A.III, 276, 384; J.I, 81, 257, 390. — (b) ājīvika: Vin.I, 8; Sn.381 (v. l. BB. °aka).

—sāvaka a hearer or lay disciple of the ājīvaka ascetics Vin II 130, 165; A.I, 217. (Page 97)

— or —

Ājīvika, (nt.) (or ājīvikā f.?) (fr. ājīva) sustenance of life, livelihood, living Vbh.379 (°bhaya) Miln.196 (id.); PvA.274, and in phrase ājīvikâpakata being deprived of a livelihood, without a living M.I, 463 = S.III, 93 (T. reads jīvikā pakatā) = It.89 (reads ājīvikā pakatā) = Miln.279. (Page 97)

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

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Ājīvaka (आजीवक).—

1) A beggar, one who earns his livelihood everywhere.

2) See आजीविकः (ājīvikaḥ) below.

Derivable forms: ājīvakaḥ (आजीवकः).

--- OR ---

Ājīvika (आजीविक).—A religious mendicant of the sect founded by Gosāla Maṅkhaliputra, following special rules with regard to livelihood.

Derivable forms: ājīvikaḥ (आजीविकः).

--- OR ---

Ājīvikā (आजीविका).—Profession, means of subsistence.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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