Bhikshu, aka: Bhikṣu; 7 Definition(s)


Bhikshu means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi. 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.

The Sanskrit term Bhikṣu can be transliterated into English as Bhiksu or Bhikshu, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism


[Bhikshu in Purana glossaries]

1a) Bhikṣu (भिक्षु).—(mārga) taught by Nārada to the children of Dakṣa;1 duties of.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 5. 36.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 40. 1, 5.

1b) (see also Yati) main vratas five; and supplementary, five; main:—dhyānam, samādhi of the senses, begging at seven houses, silence and release from sangha. Supplementary:—Purity in conduct, discipline (vinaya) śaucam, non-retaliation and samyakdarśanam, besides non theft, Brahmacarya, non-covetousness, ahiṃsa, non-anger, service to the Guru, medicated food, daily study, alms, resig nation, generosity, etc., becomes one with Brahmā for observing such dharma.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 7. 179; Vāyu-purāṇa 8. 186-7; 16. 18-9; 59. 25; 105. 25; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 9. 24-42.
(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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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[Bhikshu in Mahayana glossaries]

Bhikṣu (भिक्षु) refers to a “mendicant” according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter VI. What is a bhikṣu?

1) He is called bhikṣu because of his pure means of livelihood... One is called bhikṣu in accordance with this pure means of livelihood which consists of begging one’s food.

2) Furthermore, bhi means to cut (bhid) and kṣu means afflictions (kṣud = kleśa). The person who has cut the afflictions is called bhikṣu.

3) Furthermore, the monk who has gone forth from home (pravrajita) is called bhikṣu. It is like the eastern (Hou), Chinese (Han) and Tibetan slaves who each have their name.

4) Furthermore, the one who says, from ordination (upasaṃpad) onward: “I, the bhikṣu so-and-so, will observe the precepts (śīla) for my whole life.”

5) Furthermore, bhi means to frighten (bhī) and kṣu means ability (kṣam). The one who has the power to frighten Māra and his followers is called bhikṣu.


(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

[Bhikshu in Buddhism glossaries]

Bhiksuni in Sanskrit, Bhikkhuni in Pali. A nun observing more strict rules than a Bhiksu. See also Bhiksu.

(Source): Buddhist Door: Glossary

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Bhikshu in Jainism glossaries]

Bhikṣu (भिक्षु) refers to the last of the four stages of a layman (āśrama) according to Cāmuṇḍarāya (940–989 A.D.) in his Caritra-sāra. Cāmuṇḍarāya, who was a Digambara Jain, has taken over the Hindu concept of the four āśramas, which, following Jinasena, he terms brahmacārin, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and bhikṣu.

The following categories of Bhikṣu are mentioned in the Caritra-sāra:

  1. anagāra,
  2. yati,
  3. muni,
  4. ṛṣi.

According to Medhāvin (fifteenth century) the vānaprastha—here equivalent to a kṣullaka—is also styled apavāda-liṅgin and the bhikṣu (as) utsarga-liṅgin.

(Source): Jaina Yoga
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[Bhikshu in Marathi glossaries]

bhikṣu (भिक्षु).—m S bhikṣuka m (S) A Brahman of the fourth or mendicant order; one that subsists upon alms and gifts and employs himself in sacred studies and duties. 2 A beggar in general.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

bhikṣu (भिक्षु).—m A Brahman beggar; a beggar.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Bhikshu in Sanskrit glossaries]

Bhikṣu (भिक्षु).—[bhikṣ-un]

1) A beggar, mendicant in general; भिक्षां च भिक्षवे दद्यात् (bhikṣāṃ ca bhikṣave dadyāt) Ms.3.94.

2) A religious mendicant, a Brāhmaṇa in the fourth order of his religious life (when he quits his house and family and lives only on alms), a Sannyāsin.

3) The fourth order stage in the religious life of a Brāhmaṇa (saṃnyāsa).

4) A Buddhist mendicant.

Derivable forms: bhikṣuḥ (भिक्षुः).

(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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