Duhkha, aka: Duḥkha; 9 Definition(s)


Duhkha 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

Vaisheshika (school of philosophy)

Duḥkha (दुःख, “pain”) is one of the seventeen guṇas (‘qualities’), according to the Vaiśeṣika-sūtras. These guṇas are considered as a category of padārtha (“metaphysical correlate”). These padārthas represent everything that exists which can be cognized and named. Together with their subdivisions, they attempt to explain the nature of the universe and the existence of living beings.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vaiśeṣika
Vaisheshika book cover
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Vaisheshika (वैशेषिक, vaiśeṣika) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. Vaisheshika deals with subjects such as logic, epistemology, philosophy and expounds concepts similar to Buddhism in nature

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Duḥkha (दुःख) refers to “time of sorrow” and is one of the six reasons for “conjugal union” (vāsaka) between a king and a women, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 24. Accordingly, “conjugal union (vāsaka) being due, kings should go to the bed-chamber of a wife even if she may be in her menses and may not be his favourite”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).


Duḥkha (दुःख).—Agni Purāṇa tells the following about the origin of Duḥkham.

Hiṃsā (violence) is the wife of Adharma (unrighteousness). To the couple were born two daughters called Anṛta (falsehood) and Nikṛta (fraud) and from them were born the daughters Bhayā (fear) Naraka (hell) Māyā (illusion) and Vedanā (pain). Māyā brought forth Mṛtyu (death), the annihilator of all living objects, and Vedanā, from Raurava (a particular hell) brought forth Duḥkha (sorrow, grief). From Mṛtyu were born Jāti (caste), Jarā (wrinkles), Śoka (sorrow), Tṛṣṇā (covetouseness) and Krodha (anger). (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 19).

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia
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.

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Duḥkha (दुःख, “suffering ”) refers to one of the eight kinds of contemplations (anupaśyanā) among the Buddha’s disciples, according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XVI). Accordingly, “for them, everything is impermanent (anitya), suffering (duḥkha), empty (śūnya), egoless (anātmaka), like a sickness (roga), an ulcer (gaṇḍa), like an arrow (śalya) stuck in one’s body, like an agony (agha)”.

(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)

Duḥkha (दुःख, “suffering”) refers to the first of the “four noble truths” (caturāryasatya) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 21). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., duḥkha). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Duḥkha refers to one of the “eight worldly conditions” (lokadharma) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 61).

Duḥkha or Duḥkhajñāna refers to the “knowledge of suffering” and represents one of the “ten knowledges” (jñāna) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 93).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Duḥkha (दुःख, “misery”) refers “feeling of misery” and is one of the causes leading to the influx (āsrana) of karmas extending unpleasant feelings (asātāvedanīya).

Duḥkha is a Sanskrit technical term defined in the Tattvārthasūtra (ancient authorative Jain scripture) from the 2nd century, which contains aphorisms dealing with philosophy and the nature of reality.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Duḥkha (दुःख, “suffering”) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 5.20.—“The function of matter (pudgala) is also to contribute to pleasure (sukha), suffering (duḥkha), life (jīvita) and death (maraṇa) of living brings”. What is misery (duḥkha)? Owing to the rise of the asātā-vedanīya (experience of misery) karma and due to the external efficient causes like place, time, substance or modes, the disposition of affliction of the soul is called misery.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 5: The category of the non-living
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

duḥkha (दुःख).—n (S) Pain, sorrow, affliction, unhappiness. 2 A difficulty, disease, trouble; a cause or an occasion of pain. 3 Lues Venerea. duḥkha pāhūna ḍāga dyāvā Apply the remedy to the evil. duḥkha mānaṇēṃ g. of s. To be pained or grieved about; to be sorry for. duḥkha vēśīsa bāndhaṇēṃ To tell a grievance or pain to the whole world. duḥkhācā vāṇṭā ucalaṇēṃ-ghēṇēṃ To take part in the pain or trouble of. duḥkhāvara ḍāga dēṇēṃ or phāsaṇyā ghālaṇēṃ or ṭākaṇēṃ To triumph over an unfortunate person; to apply salt to a sore: also to touch a sore point. duḥkhēṃ pāpēṃ (With pain and sin.) With painful effort and great ado.

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

Relevant definitions

Search found 160 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Duḥkhaduḥkha (दुःखदुःख).—(instr.) with great difficulty; (dhārayantī) शय्योत्सङ्गे निहित- मसकृद...
Duḥkhajñāna (दुःखज्ञान) or simply Duḥkha refers to the “knowledge of suffering” and represents ...
Duḥkhārta (दुःखार्त).—a. pained, afflicted, distressed. Duḥkhārta is a Sanskrit compound consis...
Duḥkhadohyā (दुःखदोह्या).—(a cow) difficult to be milked. Duḥkhadohyā is a Sanskrit compound co...
Duḥkhātīta (दुःखातीत).—a. freed from pain. Duḥkhātīta is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the ...
Dvandvaduḥkha (द्वन्द्वदुःख).—pain arising from opposite alternations (as heat and cold &c.); स...
Duḥkhasāgara (दुःखसागर).—'the sea of troubles'; worldly life.Derivable forms: duḥkhasāgaraḥ (दु...
Duḥkhalavya (दुःखलव्य).—a. hard to be pierced or cut; B. R.4.11. Duḥkhalavya is a Sanskrit comp...
Duḥkhādhivāsanā (दुःखाधिवासना) or Duḥkhādhivāsanākṣānti refers to “receptivity from forbearance...
Adacanince Duhkha
aḍacaṇīñcē duḥkha (अडचणींचे दुःख) [or दुखणें, dukhaṇēṃ].—n An embarrassing or awkward disorder ...
Dṛṣṭaduḥkha (दृष्टदुःख).—&c. a. one who has experienced or suffered misery, inured to hardships...
Duḥkhachinna (दुःखछिन्न).—a. 1) tough, hard. 2) pained, distressed. Duḥkhachinna is a Sanskrit ...
Duḥkhatrayābhighāta (दुःखत्रयाभिघात).—unbearable association of the three sufferings; दुःखत्रया...
Duḥkhajāta (दुःखजात).—a. feeling pain. Duḥkhajāta is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the term...
Duḥkhagrāma (दुःखग्राम).—'the scene of suffering', worldly existence. Derivable forms: duḥkhagr...

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