Cetana, aka: Cetanā; 12 Definition(s)

Introduction

Cetana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Chetana.

In Hinduism

Purana

1) Cetana (चेतन).—Is Cyavana.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 65. 88.

2) Cetanā (चेतना).—Released by Indra in the sacrifice.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 65. 81.
(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.

Samkhya (school of philosophy)

Cetana (चेतन, “conscious”).—According to Sāṃkhyakārikā 11, both vyakta and avyakta are unconscious (acetana). As the puruṣa is opposite of vyakta and avyakta (“tad viparita”), so he is conscious (cetana). To comment on Sāṃkhyakārikā 5, Vācaspati says, all material elements (jada) transform themselves in every moment except the consciousness (citiśakteḥ), i.e. puruṣa. Again, in Sāṃkhyakārikā 19, puruṣa is described as a mere spectator, i.e draṣṭā (seer). To comment on this, Vācaspati says, only consciousness can be a seer (draṣṭā), no unconscious element can be a seer (draṣṭā). As puruṣa is a seer, so it is conscious i.e cetana and as puruṣa is conscious (cetana) and non-object (aviṣaya), so it is witness (sākṣī) and seer (draṣṭā).

(Source): Shodhganga: Prakrti and purusa in Samkhyakarika an analytical review
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Samkhya (सांख्य, Sāṃkhya) is a dualistic school of Hindu philosophy (astika) and is closeley related to the Yoga school. Samkhya philosophy accepts three pramanas (‘proofs’) only as valid means of gaining knowledge. Another important concept is their theory of evolution, revolving around prakriti (matter) and purusha (consciousness).

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

One of the Sabbacittasadharana cetasikas. Cetana is volition. It urges citta and other co arising cetasikas to do their jobs. Cetana is the chief commiter of all actions bodily actions, verbal actions and mental actions.

While it arises together with committing citta, it becomes a potential like a seed that would grow to its full resultant effects whenever conditions favour. This potential or kamma always follow along with each arising citta as if our shades follow ourselves all the time and this will be ongoing until cuti citta or arahats.

(Source): Journey to Nibbana: Patthana Dhama

1. Cetana, volition, is a cetasika which arises with every citta, as we have seen. Seeing, hearing or thinking which arise now are accompanied by cetana. Every type of cetana perform the function of coordinating the different tasks of the accompanying dhammas, no matter whether the citta is kusala citta, akusala citta, vipaka citta or kiriya citta.

2. The characteristic of cetana is coordinating. It coordinates the citta and the other cetasikas it accompanies on the object.

One of the Seven Universals.

(Source): Dhamma Study: Cetasikas

'volition', will, is one of the seven mental factors (cetasika, q.v.) inseparably bound up with all consciousness, namely sensorial or mental impression (phassa), feeling (vedanā), perception (saññā), volition (cetanā), concentration (samādhi), vitality (jīvita), advertence (manasikāra). Cf. Tab. II, III.

With regard to karmical volition (i.e. wholesome or unwholesome karma) it is said in A. VI, 13: "Volition is action (karma), thus I say, o monks; for as soon as volition arises, one does the action, be it by body, speech or mind." For details, s. paticca-samuppāda (10), karma.

-- or --

cetanā.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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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).

General definition (in Buddhism)

Cetanā (चेतना, “intentions”) refers to one of the fourty “conditions” (saṃskāra) that are “associated with mind” (citta-samprayukta) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 30). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., cetanā). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

or mental formation, or action, or conduct, or deed, usually done through the body, mouth or mind. The Sanskrit word is Samskara.

(Source): Buddhist Door: Glossary

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

cetanā : (f.) intention.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Cetanā, (f. abstr. fr. cet, see cinteti) state of ceto in action, thinking as active thought, intention, purpose, will. Defined as action (kamma: A iii. 415; cp. KV. VIII, 9, § 38 untraced quotation; cp. A. V, 292). Often combd w. patthanā & paṇidhi (wish & aspiration), e.g. S. II, 99, 154; A. I, 32, 224; V 212; Nd2 112 (in def. of asucimanussā, people of ignoble action: asuciyā cetanāya, patthanāya, paṇidhinā samannāgatā). Also classed with these in a larger group in KV. , e.g. 343, 380.—Combd w. vedanā saññā c. citta phassa manasikāra in def. of nāmakāya (opp. rūpakāya) S. II, 3 (without citta), Ps. I, 183 (do.); Nett 77, 78.—Enumd under the four blessings of vatthu, paccaya, c. , guṇātireka (-sampadā) & def. as “cetanāya somanassa-sahagatañāṇa-sampayutta-bhāvo" at DhA. III, 94.—C. is opposed to cetasika (i.e. ceto) in its determination of the 7 items of good conduct (see sīla) which refers to actions of the body (or are wilful, called cetanākamma Nett 43, 96; otherwise distinguished as kāya- & vacīkammantā A. V, 292 sq.), whereas the 3 last items (sīla 8—10) refer to the behaviour of the mind (cetasikakamma Nett. , mano-kammanta A), viz. the shrinking back from covetousness, malice, & wrong views. ‹-› Vin. III, 112; S. III, 60; A. II, 232 (kaṇhassa kammassa pahānāya cetanā: intention to give up wrong-doing); VvA. 72 (vadhaka-cetanā wilful murder); maraṇacetanā intention of death DhA. I, 20; āhār’āsā cetanā intention consisting in deśire for food Vism. 537. ‹-› PvA. 8, 30 (pariccāga° intention to give); Pug. 12; Miln. 94; Sdhp. 52, 72.—In scholastic lgg. often expld as cetanā sañcetanā sañcetayitatta (viz. state or behaviour of volition) Dhs. 5; Vbh. 285.—Cp. Dhs. 58 (+citta); Vbh. 401 (id.); Vbh. 40, 403; Vism. 463 (cetayatī ti cetanā; abhisandahatī ti attho). (Page 271)

(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.

Marathi-English dictionary

cētana (चेतन).—a (S) Endued with life (animal or vegetable). 2 Sentient, percipient, conscious.

--- OR ---

cētanā (चेतना).—f (S) Life or vitality. 2 Generative or procreative power, virility. 3 S Understanding, intelligence, mind.

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

cētana (चेतन).—a Endued with life. Conscious, sentient.

--- OR ---

cētanā (चेतना).—f Life. Virility. Intelligence.

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

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Cetana (चेतन).—a. (- f.) [चित् -ल्यु (cit -lyu)]

1) Animate, alive, living, sentient, feeling; चेतनाचेतनेषु (cetanācetaneṣu) Me.5 animate and inanimate.

2) Visible, conspicuous, distinguished.

-naḥ 1 A sentient being, a man.

2) Soul, mind.

3) The supreme soul.

4) An animal in general.

-nā 1 Sense, consciousness; चुलुकयति मदीयां चेतनां चञ्चरीकः (culukayati madīyāṃ cetanāṃ cañcarīkaḥ) R. G.; U.3.31; Māl.9.12; R.12.74; चेतनां प्रतिपद्यते (cetanāṃ pratipadyate) regains one's consciousness.

2) Understanding, intelligence; पश्चिमाद्यामिनीयामात्प्रसादमिव चेतना (paścimādyāminīyāmātprasādamiva cetanā) R.17.1; ... शास्ताखानोऽल्प- चेतनः (śāstākhāno'lpa- cetanaḥ) Śiva. B.29.9.

3) Life, vitality, animation; Bg.13.6.

4) Wisdom, reflection.

-nam Appearance.

2) The thinking principle, the mind; अच्युतचेतनः (acyutacetanaḥ) Bhāg.9.15.41.

(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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