Ariya, aka: Āriya; 5 Definition(s)


Ariya means something in Buddhism, Pali. 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 Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Noble, ideal. Also, a "Noble One"(Source): Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

1. Ariya - A country and people in South India. Palandipa was one of its divisions. It once had a king named Viradeva who led an expedition against Jayabahu I. of Ceylon (Cv.lxi.36f).

It was also the name of a dynasty, the Aryan dynasty of the Pandya (Pandu) in South India. Cv.lxiii.15; see also Cv. trans. i.239, n.1.

2. Ariya - A fisherman of a settlement near the north gate of Savatthi. The Buddha, seeing his upanissaya for sotapatti, passed with the congregation of monks close by the spot where he was fishing and stopped not far from him. Then the Buddha proceeded to ask the monks their names, and noticing that the fisherman himself expected to be questioned, he asked him his. On learning that it was Ariya, the Buddha suggested to him that he was unworthy of the name, because a real Ariya never injured any living thing. At the end of the discourse the fisherman became a sotapanna. DhA.iii.396-8.

3. Ariya - A Pacceka Buddha mentioned in the list of the Isigili Sutta. M.iii.70; also ApA.i.107.

4. The four iddhi padas, if cultivated, conduce to the utter destruction of Ill. They are ariyaniyyanika. S.v.255.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

T (Noble being). A being who has experienced nibbana. With this, he has eliminated the wrong views (existence of a self inherent entity, efficacy of rituals, etc.), and has acquired an immovable confidence towards the dhamma. He is assured of no more rebirths in the lower realms.

According to the experienced stage, four kinds of ariyas are being considered (sotapana, sakadagami, anagami and arahanta).

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary
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).


ariya : (adj.) noble; distinguished. (m.), a noble man; one who has attained higher knowledge.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Ariya, (adj. -n.) (Vedic ārya, of uncertain etym. The other Pāli forms are ayira & ayya) 1. (racial) Aryan D. II, 87. ‹-› 2. (social) noble, distinguished, of high birth.—3. (ethical) in accord with the customs and ideals of the Aryan clans, held in esteem by Aryans, generally approved. Hence: right, good, ideal. (The early Buddhists had no such ideas as we cover with the words Buddhist and Indian. Ariya does not exactly mean either. But it often comes very near to what they would have considered the best in each).—(adj.): D. I, 70 = (°ena sīlakkhan&dcb;hena samannāgata fitted out with our standard morality); III, 64 (cakkavatti-vatta), 246 (diṭṭhi); M. I, 139 (pannaddhaja); II, 103 (ariyāya jātiyā jāto, become of the Aryan lineage); S. II, 273 (tuṇhībhāva); IV, 250 (vaddhi), 287 (dhamma); V, 82 (bojjhaṅgā), 166 (satipaṭṭhānā), 222 (vimutti), 228 (ñāṇa), 255 (iddhipādā), 421 (maggo), 435 (saccāni), 467 (paññā-cakkhu); A. I, 71 (parisā); II, 36 (ñāya); III, 451 (ñāṇa); IV, 153 (tuṇhībhāva); V, 206 (sīlakkhandha); It. 35 (paññā), 47 (bhikkhu sammaddaso); Sn. 177 (patha = aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo SnA 216); Dh. 236 (bhūmi), 270; Ps. II, 212 (iddhi). —alamariya fully or thoroughly good D. I, 163 = III, 82 = A. IV, 363; nâlamariya not at all good, object, ignoble ibid.—(m.) Vin. I, 197 (na ramati pāpe); D. I, 37 = (yaṃ taṃ ariyā ācikkhanti upekkhako satimā etc. : see 3rd. jhāna), 245; III, 111 (°ānaṃ anupavādaka one who defames the noble); M. I, 17, 280 (sottiyo ariyo arahaṃ); S. I, 225 (°ānaṃ upavādaka); II, 123 (id.); IV, 53 (°assa vinayo), 95 (id.); A. I, 256 (°ānaṃ upavādaka); III, 19, 252 (id.); IV, 145 (dele! see arīhatatta); V, 68, 145 sq. , 200, 317; It. 21, 108; Dh. 22, 164, 207; J. III, 354 = Miln. 230; M. I, 7, 135 (ariyānaṃ adassāvin: “not recognising the Noble Ones") PvA. 26, 146; DhA. II, 99; Sdhp. 444 (°ānaṃ vaṃsa). ‹-› anariya (adj. & n.) not Ariyan, ignoble, undignified, low, common, uncultured A. I, 81; Sn. 664 (= asappurisa SnA 479; DhsA. 353); J. II, 281 (= dussīla pāpadhamma C.); V, 48 (°rūpa shameless), 87; DhA. IV, 3.—See also ñāṇa, magga, sacca, sāvaka.

—âvakāsa appearing noble J. V, 87.—uposatha the ideal feast day (as one of 3) A. I, 205 sq. , 212.—kanta loved by the Best D. III, 227.—gaṇā (pl.) troops of worthies J. VI, 50 (= brāhmaṇa-gaṇā, te kira tāda ariyâcārā ahesuṃ, tena te evam āha C.).—garahin casting blame on the righteous Sn. 660.—citta a noble heart.—traja a true descendant of the Noble ones Dpvs. V, 92.—dasa having the ideal (or best) belief It. 93 = 94.—dhana sublime treasure; always as sattavidha° sevenfold, viz. saddhā°, sīla°, hiri°, ottappa°, suta°, cāga°, paññā° “faith, a moral life, modesty, fear of evil, learning, self-denial, wisdom" ThA. 240; VvA. 113; DA. II, 34.—dhamma the national customs of the Aryans (= ariyānaṃ eso dhammo Nd1 71, 72) M. I, 1, 7, 135; A. II, 69; V, 145 sq. , 241, 274; Sn. 783; Dhs. 1003.—puggala an (ethically) model person, Ps. I, 167; Vin. V, 117; ThA. 206.—magga the Aryan Path.—vaṃsa the (fourfold) noble family, i.e. of recluses content with the 4 requisites D. III, 224 = A. II, 27 = Ps. I, 84 = Nd2 141; cp. A. III, 146.—vattin leading a noble life, of good conduct J. III, 443.—vatā at Th. 1, 334 should be read °vattā (Nom. sg. of vattar, vac) “speaking noble words": — vāsa the most excellent state of mind, habitual disposition, constant practice. Ten such at D. III, 269, 291 = A. V, 29 (Passage recommended to all Buddhists by Asoka in the Bhabra Edict).—vihāra the best practice S. V, 326.—vohāra noble or honorable practice. There are four, abstinence from lying, from slander, from harsh language, from frivolous talk. They are otherwise known as the 4 vacī-kammantā & represent sīla nos. 4—7. See D. III, 232; A. II, 246; Vin. V, 125.—saṅgha the communion of the Nobles ones PvA. 1.—sacca, a standard truth, an established fact, D. I, 189, II. 90, 304 sq. ; III 277; M. I, 62, 184; III, 248; S. V, 415 sq. = Vin. I, 10, 230. It. 17; Sn. 229, 230, 267; Dh. 190; DhA. III, 246; KhA 81, 151, 185, 187; ThA. 178, 282, 291; VvA. 73.—sāvaka a disciple of the noble ones (= ariyānaṃ santike sutattā a. SnA 166). M. I, 8, 46, 91, 181, 323; II, 262; III, 134, 228, 272; It. 75; Sn. 90; Miln. 339; DhA. I, 5, (opp. putthujjana).—sīlin of unblemished conduct, practising virtue D. I, 115 (= sīlaṃ ariyaṃ uttamaṃ parisuddhaṃ DA. I, 286); M. II, 167.

When the commentators, many centuries afterwards, began to write Pali in S. India & Ceylon, far from the ancient seat of the Aryan clans, the racial sense of the word ariya was scarcely, if at all, present to their minds. Dhammapāla especially was probably a non-Aryan, and certainly lived in a Dravidian environment. The then current similar popular etmologies of ariya and arahant (cp. next article) also assisted the confusion in their minds. They sometimes therefore erroneously identify the two words and explain Aryans as meaning Arahants (DhA. I, 230; SnA 537; PvA. 60). In other ways also they misrepresented the old texts by ignoring the racial force of the word. Thus at J. V, 48 the text, speaking of a hunter belonging to one of the aboriginal tribes, calls him anariya-rūpa. The C. explains this as “shameless", but what the text has, is simply that he looked like a non-Aryan. (cp “frank" in English). (Page 77)

— or —

Āriya, in anāriya at Sn. 815 is metric for anariya (q. v.). (Page 108)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

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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