Dhyana, aka: Dhyāna; 11 Definition(s)


Dhyana 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.

In Hinduism


Dhyāna (ध्यान).—A dharma of the yoga, kills unrighteous qualities;1 described by Kṛṣṇa to Uddhava.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 10. 76 and 93; 104. 25.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XI. 14. 32-46.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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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.

Yoga (school of philosophy)

Dhyāna (ध्यान, “meditation”) is a Sanskrit word referring to one of the eight brances of yoga, also known as the eightfold-path (aṣṭānga). Also see the fifth section of the Varāha-upaniṣad.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Yoga
Yoga book cover
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Originally, Yoga is considered a branch of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Dhyāna (ध्यान).—Each aspect of construction has a “theological” (oscillating between mythical and metaphysical) dimension, which the sthapati accesses through a spiritual kind of “seeing” while conducting the operation or performing the ritual. This is dhyāna, meditation (as well as contemplation). Dhyāna derives from √dhyā, “to think, contemplate”, which, etymologically, is “a perfectly normal variant of the root from √dhī [‘to see, perceive’]” (see Jan Gonda, The Vision al the Vedic Poets, “dhyānam”).

The principle behind dhyāna in artistic and architectural making is that of identification. The sthapati pierces into the metaphysical essence of the form being created and identifies himself as one with it. This is achieved through a dialectic between the “technique” (in the yogic sense) of intense contemplation that the sages employed on the one hand, and the emotional rapture of devotional love ending in ecstatic vision that the saints experienced (the latter implied in the text by the term rāga, passion, and its connotations pertinent to artistic creativity) on the other. In each of these modes, the perceptual and cognitive faculties are absorbed into the spiritual experience of union with the divine.

(Source): McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra
Vāstuśāstra book cover
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Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Dhyāna (ध्यान) refers to “meditation” and represents one of the thirty-two mudrās (hand gestures) of the dual-hand type, commonly used by the deities in sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses.—In seated images, the dhyāna hasta is formed with the left hand opened fully and placed on the lap, over which a similarly opened right hand is placed. Both the hands face upward and the fingers are held in abhaya hasta.

(Source): Shodhganga: The significance of the Mula beras in the Hindu temples of Tamilnadu
Śilpaśāstra book cover
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Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Dhyāna can refer to either meditation or meditative states. Equivalent terms are "Chán" in modern Chinese, "Zen" in Japanese, "Seon" in Korean, "Thien" in Vietnamese, and "Samten" in Tibetan.

As a meditative state, dhyāna is characterized by profound stillness and concentration. It is discussed in the Pāli canon (and the parallel agamas) and post-canonical Theravāda Buddhist literature, and in other literature. There has been little scientific study of the states so far.

Dhyāna in Sanskrit (Devanagari: ध्यान) or jhāna (झान) in Pāli;

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Dhyāna (ध्यान, “meditation”) is the source of the virtue of meditation (dhyānapāramitā). In the dhyānas, the Vodhisattva does not relish any enjoyment (āsvadana), does not seek any reward (vipāka) and does not pursue heavenly rebirths as reward. It is in order to tame his own mind that he enters into dhyāna. By the skillful means of his wisdom (prajñopāya), he will be reborn in kāmadhātu in order to save beings there. Dhyāna takes the name of virtue in this case.

(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.

General definition (in Buddhism)

1) Dhyāna (ध्यान, “meditation”) or dhyānapāramitā represents the fifth of the “six perferctions” (ṣaṭpāramitā) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 17). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., ṣaṣ-pāramitā and dhyāna). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Dhyāna forms, besides a part of the “six perferctions” (ṣaṭpāramitā), also a part of the “ten perfections” (daśa-pāramitā).

2) Dhyāna (ध्यान, “absorption”) or Caturdhyāna refers to the “four absorptions” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 72):

  1. the first absorption has thinking, reflection, and the happiness and joy born of seclusion,
  2. the second has internal clarity, and happiness and joy,
  3. the third is equanimous, mindful, and has full knowledge,
  4. the fourth absorption has complete purity of mindfulness and equanimity, with feeling that is neither-unpleasant-nor-pleasant.

3) Dhyāna (ध्यान, “meditation”) or Tridhyāna also refers to the “three kinds of meditation” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 109):

  1. sadoṣāpakarṣa-dhyāna (editation with fault that leads to decay),
  2. sukhavaihārika-dhyāna (meditation that is a happy abiding),
  3. aśeṣavaibhūṣita-dhyāna (meditation that is entirely magnificent).
(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Dhyāna (ध्यान, “concentration of mind”).—In the Jaina tradition dhyāna generally means “concentrating the mind” on some object or mental image. According to them our thoughts, and their instrument, the mind, are restless, and their regulation and concentration is called dhyāna.

Jainism describes four kinds of dhyāna:

  1. ārta-dhyāna (the concentration of the mind on fulfilling worldly desires),
  2. raudra-dhyāna (the concentration of thoughts on violent activities),
  3. dharma-dhyāna (the concentration of the mind on auspicious thoughts, or on the well-being of one’s self as well as the well-being of others),
  4. śukla-dhyāna (here the mind gradually shortens it fields of concentration and at last becomes nirvikalpa, steady and motionless)

The author of the Jñānārṇava, in addition, elaborately expounds the process of dhyāna by classifying into:

  1. piṇḍastha (comprises the five forms of dhāraṇā, or ‘contemplation’),
  2. padastha (contemplation by means of certain mantric syllables),
  3. rūpastha (meditating on the divine qualities and extraordinary powers of the arahants),
  4. rūpātīta (meditation on the attributes of siddhātman.)
(Source): Google Books: Yoga in Jainism

Dhyāna (ध्यान).—What is meant by ‘meditation’ (dhyāna)? Concentrating of thoughts on one object for a maximum of one Indian-hour by an ascetic with perfect body structure (uttama-sahanana-śarira) is called meditation. An ascetic with perfect body structure can meditate properly for a maximum period of an Indian-hour (48 minutes approx). An Indian-hour is equal to two ghadī. A ghadī equals 24 minutes.

The four types of meditation are:

  1. ārta-dhyāna (pan based or mournful),
  2. raudra-dhyāna (cruel),
  3. dharmya-dhyāna (virtuous),
  4. śukla-dhyāna (the pure).

What are the benefits of meditation (dhyāna)? It annihilates all karmas bonded with the soul. A correct meditation for an intra-Indian-hour (antaramuhūrta) can destroy all obscuring karmas and enable the practitioner to become an omniscient. What are the essential components for a proper meditation (dhyāna)? The four things, namely: the one who meditates, the process of meditation, the object of meditation and the period of meditation are the four components of the proper meditation.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 6: Influx of karmas
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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

dhyāna (ध्यान).—n (S) Meditation or reflection, esp. that profound and abstract contemplation, the favorite religious exercise of secluded Brahmans. 2 Mind, apprehension, understanding. Ex. hī gōṣṭa dhyānānta yēta nāhīṃ. 3 Attention, advertence, heed, regard. Ex. tē gaḍī khēḷatīla viraṅguḷatīla tikaḍē dhyāna asūṃ dyā. 4 Mind, memory, remembrance. Ex. hī gōṣṭa myāṃ dhyānānta ṭhēvilī āhē. 5 Presence of the senses and faculties. Ex. mī nijūna uṭhalōṃ āhēṃ ajhūṇa pura- tā dhyānāvara ālōṃ nāhīṃ. 6 Liking, approval, mind. Ex. myāṃ jēṃ kēlēṃ tēṃ tyācē dhyānāsa yēta nāhīṃ. 7 Form, figure, the aspect, air, appearance;--esp. used of the images of the deities as they are represented in different attitudes and under different dispositions (of their arms, legs, weapons &c.) Ex. hēṃ dhyāna ugra, tēṃ dhyāna saumya. Hence, laxly, Air, cast, manner, style, fashion; general bearing or character. Ex. dōghē jaṇa sāvakārī karatāta parantu tēṃ dhyāna nirāḷēṃ hēṃ dhyāna nirāḷēṃ; ājacē gāṇyācēṃ kāṃhīṃ dhyānaca nirāḷēṃ. 8 The piece of poetry describing any dhyan or representation of a god. 9 Applied to a crazy or idiotic person, to a mischievous child &c. dhyānāsa lāgaṇēṃ g. of o. To think upon or pursue fondly, intently, devotedly &c.

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

dhyāna (ध्यान).—n Meditation or reflection. Mind, apprehension. Attention, memory. Liking, approval. Form, the aspect. Applied to a crazy or idiotic person, to a mischievous child &c. dhyānāsa lāgaṇēṃ g. of o. To think upon or pursue fondly, intently, devotedly &c.

(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.

Relevant definitions

Search found 112 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

dhyānamudrā (ध्यानमुद्रा).—f The prescribed attitude in which to meditate upon the deity. The l...
Dhyānastha (ध्यानस्थ).—a. absorbed in meditation; lost in thought.Dhyānastha is a Sanskrit comp...
Dhyānapāramitā (ध्यानपारमिता) or simply dhyāna refers to the “perfection of meditation” and rep...
Dhyānayoga (ध्यानयोग).—profound meditation. Derivable forms: dhyānayogaḥ (ध्यानयोगः).Dhyānayoga...
Tridhyāna (त्रिध्यान) or simply Dhyāna also refers to the “three kinds of meditation” as define...
Raudradhyāna (रौद्रध्यान).—One of the four types of ‘meditation’ (dhyāna);—Raudra means ‘cruel ...
Śukladhyāna (शुक्लध्यान).—One of the four types of ‘meditation’ (dhyāna);—Śukla means ‘pure’ or...
Dharmyadhyāna (धर्म्यध्यान).—One of the four types of ‘meditation’ (dhyāna);—Concentration on t...
Ārtadhyāna (आर्तध्यान).—One of the four types of ‘meditation’ (dhyāna);—The meaning of ārta is ...
Sukhavaihārikadhyāna (सुखवैहारिकध्यान) or simply Sukhavaihārika refers to the “meditation that ...
Dhyānagamyā (ध्यानगम्या).—a. attainable by meditation only; योगिभिर्ध्यानगम्यम् (yogibhirdhyāna...
Aśeṣavaibhūṣitadhyāna (अशेषवैभूषितध्यान) or simply Aśeṣavaibhūṣita refers to the “meditation th...
Dhyānāhāra (ध्यानाहार) refers to “nutriment of absorption” (āhāra) and represents one of the “f...
Sadoṣāpakarṣadhyāna (सदोषापकर्षध्यान) or simply Sadoṣāpakarṣa refers to the “meditation with fa...
Paradhyāna (परध्यान).—absolute meditation or contemplation; ध्येये मनो निश्चलतां याति ध्येयं वि...

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