Dhyana, aka: Dhyāna; 20 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.
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 is originally considered a branch of 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).
Purana and Itihasa (epic history)
Dhyāna (ध्यान).—(Meditation). Even from ancient times the people of Bhārata believed that heaven could be attained by meditation. There are scientific methods of meditating upon God. They are described below:
The root "dhyai", means "to think". Dhyāna (meditation) means thinking of God with concentration. God is invisible and figureless. We can meditate only upon some material that contains the attributes of God. So dhyāna (meditation) is to fix the mind on the object of meditation, and to imagine that particular object in a particular place and to concentrate the mind upon it. One who casts off his body, while engaged in meditation attains 'Sāyujya' (oneness with God). (See full article at Story of Dhyāna from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)Source: archive.org: Puranic EncyclopaediaSource: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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.
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
Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.
Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)
Dhyāna (ध्यान) is explained by Lakṣmaṇadeśika in his 11th-century Śaradātilaka.—The type of meditation (dhyāna) described as the seventh limb of yoga has the chosen deities as objects (26) and is therefore termed “filled” in Rāghavabhaṭṭa’s commentary.Source: academia.edu: The Śāradātilakatantra on Yoga
Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.
Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)
Dhyāna (ध्यान, “meditation”) refers to one of the six members (aṅga) of the Ṣaḍaṅgayoga, as taught in the early Śaiva Siddhānta.—Ṣaḍaṅgayoga is taught as the standard yoga of the Śaivasiddhānta (Siddhānta) a mainstream, Veda congruent dualist tradition. See, for example, the 6th century texts of Raurava-āgama, Kiraṇa-āgma, Sarvajñānottara-āgama, Svāyambhuvasūtrasaṃgraha, the 7th century Mālinīvijayottara and the 9th century Tantrasadbhāva.Source: academia.edu: The Śaiva Yogas and Their Relation to Other Systems of Yoga
Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.
Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)
Dhyāna (ध्यान) refers to one of the three functions of saṃyama (self-control).—The Pāñcarātrāgama offers its own treatment which has a significant contribution. Dhāraṇā is retaining the mind in God, dhyāna is joining the mind in God and meditating upon Him and samādhi is mere appearance of the nature of the object, (God). According to Viṣṇupurāṇa. (VI.7.86), dhāraṇā is stability of the citta In God, dhyāna is continuity of that cognition without any desire for other things (ibid. VI.7.91) and samādhi is a stage in Yogic practise in which God’s own nature is grasped without any imagined appendage (ibid. VI.7.92).Source: archive.org: Isvara Samhita Vol 1
Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.
Dhyāna (ध्यान) or Dhyānahasta refers to “meditation” and represents one of the four gestures with both hands, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—Accordingly, pratimā-lakṣaṇa (body postures of the icons) is comprised of hand gestures (hasta, mudrā or kai-amaiti), stances/poses (āsanas) and inflexions of the body (bhaṅgas). There are thirty-two types of hands [viz., dhyāna-hasta] classified into two major groups known as tolirkai (functional and expressive gestures) and elirkai (graceful posture of the hand).Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.
Ganapatya (worship of Ganesha)
Dhyāna (ध्यान) refers to “meditation”, representing one of the possible preliminary rites (upacāra) of a pūjā (deity worship).—Each act in a pūjā is not only physical and/or mental, but also symbolic, cosmic, and spiritual. Sprinkling, sipping, and bathing are symbolic of purification, of the worshipped as well as of the worshipper and the surroundings. Various offerings [viz., dhyāna] symbolize the surrendering of one’s latent tendencies (vāsanā) as expressed in thoughts, words, and deeds.Source: Google Books: Ganapati: Song of the Self
Ganapatya (गाणपत्य, gāṇapatya) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Ganesha is revered and worshipped as the prime deity (ishta-devata). Being a minor though influential movement, Ganapatya evovled, llike Shaktism and Shaivism, as a separate movement leaving behind a large body of 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
Dhyāna (ध्यान) refers to a “meditation verse” (describing the appearance of a deity) representing one of the various preparatory rites performed before pūjā (ritualistic worship of a deity) which aim at the purification of the devotee.—The worshipper takes flowers or unbroken rice in the hollow of the joined hands and recites the meditation verse(s). The flowers—consecrated by the mantra(s)—are then offered to the deity. A meditation (dhyāna) verse is a stanza describing the appearance of a deity in order to help the worshipper visualize the deity. Here five verses are supplied according to the five deities of the pañcāyatana, where the deities (Viṣṇu, Śiva, Ganesa, Sūrya, Devī) are arranged in such a way that one’s favorite deity is placed in the centre surrounded by the other deities arranged in a particular order. The verse addressed to the favorite deity (here: Viṣṇu) is recited first.
The devotee is expected not only to recite the verse but to meditate on the form of the deity. In the current performance, however, which is often done hurriedly, dhyāna has been reduced to the mere recitation of the prescribed verses).Source: ACHC: Smarta Puja
Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)
Dhyāna (ध्यान, “meditation”) according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVIII).—“meditation (dhyāna) is the concentrating of the distracted mind (vikṣiptacitta-saṃgrahaṇa). Distractions whirl about more easily than the down-feathers of the wild goose (sārasaloman); if their flying off is not restrained, their speed is greater than that of a hurricane; they are harder to contain than a monkey (markaṭa); they appear and disappear more quickly than lightning (vidyut). If the characteristic of the mind is at this point not fixed, those who want to control it would not succeed without dhyāna.”.
Dhyāna 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 (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):
- the first absorption has thinking, reflection, and the happiness and joy born of seclusion,
- the second has internal clarity, and happiness and joy,
- the third is equanimous, mindful, and has full knowledge,
- 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):
- sadoṣāpakarṣa-dhyāna (editation with fault that leads to decay),
- sukhavaihārika-dhyāna (meditation that is a happy abiding),
- aśeṣavaibhūṣita-dhyāna (meditation that is entirely magnificent).
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:
- ārta-dhyāna (the concentration of the mind on fulfilling worldly desires),
- raudra-dhyāna (the concentration of thoughts on violent activities),
- 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),
- 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:
- piṇḍastha (comprises the five forms of dhāraṇā, or ‘contemplation’),
- padastha (contemplation by means of certain mantric syllables),
- rūpastha (meditating on the divine qualities and extraordinary powers of the arahants),
- rūpātīta (meditation on the attributes of siddhātman.)
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:
- ārta-dhyāna (pan based or mournful),
- raudra-dhyāna (cruel),
- dharmya-dhyāna (virtuous),
- 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 9: Influx of karmas
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
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
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.
Dhyāna (ध्यान).—&c. See under ध्यै (dhyai); ध्यातं वित्तमहर्निशं नियमितप्राणैर्न शम्भोः पदम् (dhyātaṃ vittamaharniśaṃ niyamitaprāṇairna śambhoḥ padam) Bh.3.13.
See also (synonyms): dhyāta, dhyānika.
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1) Meditation, reflection, thought; contemplation; ज्ञानाद् ध्यानं विशिष्यते (jñānād dhyānaṃ viśiṣyate) Bg.12.12; Ms.1.12; 6.72.
2) Especially, abstract contemplation, religious meditation; तदैव ध्यानादवगतोऽस्मि (tadaiva dhyānādavagato'smi) Ś.7; ध्यानस्तिमितलोचनः (dhyānastimitalocanaḥ) R.1.73.
3) Divine intuition or discernment.
4) Mental representation of the personal attributes of a deity; इति ध्यानम् (iti dhyānam).Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
Dhyāna (ध्यान).—nt. (Sanskrit id.; in technical sense = Pali jhāna), lit. meditation or contemplation; mystic ‘trance’; Lévi (Sūtrāl.) extase. Normally four, as in Pali, described in some detail in a long ancient passage (the Pali form, virtually identical, cited in Childers), found with hardly a true variant LV 129.1—11; 343.14—344.4; Mv i.228.3—10; ii.131.16—132.5; Mvy 1478—1481; an abbreviated form, giving the central points, as follows: savitarkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ prītisukham iti prathamadhyānaṃ, adhyātma- [Page287-b+ 71] pramodanāt prītisukham iti dvitīyaṃ, upekṣāsmṛtisaṃ- prajanyaṃ sukham iti tṛtīyaṃ, upekṣāsmṛtipariśuddhir aduḥkhāsukhā vedaneti caturthaṃ dhyānam iti Dharmas 72; they are the first four of the nine anupūrvavihāra- (-samāpatti), qq.v.; these are related to the four dhyāna- bhūmi constituted or occupied by the various classes of rūpāvacara gods (see deva), as explained by Childers, in that attainment in worldly life of (various stages of adeptness in) each of the four dhyāna leads to rebirth in successively higher stages among these gods; catu-dhyāna- (meter proves single initial consonant pronounced for written dhy-)-dhyāyino (as before) SP 131.5 (verse); three dhyāna, listed as sadoṣāpakarṣa-, sukhavaihārika-, and aśeṣavaibhūṣita- (read °vaibhūtika-? see this word), Dharmas 109; I have found no other trace of this list; the names sound vaguely as if the first might apply to the first of the 4 dhyāna, the second to the 2d and 3d combined, and the third to the 4th; in Laṅk 10.11 na ṣaḍdhyānādidhyāyinā (tvayā bhavitavyam), you should not meditate on such things as the six dhyāna; apparently some reprehended practices are meant, but I have no more idea of the specific meaning than had Suzuki (Studies, 414).Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary
(-naṃ) 1. Meditation, reflection, but especially that profound and abstract consideration which brings its object fully and undisturbedly before the mind. 2. Mental representation of the personal attributes of the divinity to whom worship is addressed. E. dhyai to meditate, affix bhāve lyuṭ .Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
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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