Duhkha, aka: Duḥkha; 10 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

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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).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Duhkha in Purana glossary... « previous · [D] · next »

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.

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Nyaya (school of philosophy)

Duhkha in Nyaya glossary... « previous · [D] · next »

1) Duḥkha (दुःख, “pain”) refers to one of the twelve prameya (“objects of valid knowledge) according to the first chapter of Gautama’s Nyāyasūtra (2nd century CE). Prameya in turn represents the second of the sixteen padārthas (“categories”). Accordingly, “duḥkha (pain) is caused from the painful and bitter experience of everybody”.

2) Duḥkha (दुःख, “pain”) and Sukha (pleasure) refers to two of the twenty-four guṇas (qualities) according to all the modern works on Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika.—Sukha (pleasure) and duḥkha (pain) are the special qualities (guṇa) of the self. These two qualities are treated in pair, but these are not contradictory qualities. That means duḥkha is not the negation of sukha or the vice-versa. Both these are positive qualities. According to Praśastapāda sukha is a positive feeling which is produced from the contact of the sense-organs with agreeable objects together with the conjunction of the self and mind. These contacts together with the merit of the self-bring about a felling the effect of which is characterized by affection brightness of the eye etc. Praśastapāda also maintains that pleasure can be smṛtija (produced by memory) and saṃkalpaja (produced by imagination). Smṛtija-sukha is produced from the recollection of past pleasurable objects. Saṃkalpaja-sukha is produced from the expectation of future objects.

While defining sukha and duḥkha in the Tarkasaṃgraha Annaṃbhaṭṭa follows Praśastapāda. Thus, in his view also that which is experienced by all with agreeable feeling is called sukha. Similarly that which is experienced by all as disagreeable feelings is called duḥkha. However, it appears that he finds these definitions of pleasure and pain as not adequate and faulty and as such he offers a better definition of sukha in the Dīpikā. Pleasure is that which is qualified by the generality sukhatva generated by apperception (anuvyavasāya) of the judgement ‘I am happy’. The similar will be the case of duḥkha though Annaṃbhaṭṭa has not specifically mentioned it. He also says that the description of pleasure and pain mentioned earlier are only descriptions of their nature and not definitions.

Source: Shodhganga: A study of Nyāya-vaiśeṣika categories
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Nyaya (न्याय, nyaya) refers to a school of Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. The Nyaya philosophy is known for its theories on logic, methodology and epistemology, however, it is closely related with Vaisheshika in terms of metaphysics.

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

1) Duḥkha (दुःख, “suffering ”) refers to one of the eight kinds of contemplations (anupaśyanā) among the Buddha’s disciples, according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter 16). 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)”.

According to chapter 31, there are two kinds of suffering (duḥkha):

  1. inner suffering (ādhyātmika-duḥkha),
  2. outer suffering (bāhyaduḥkha-duḥkha).

According to chapter 37,  there are two kinds of suffering:

  1. bodily suffering (kāyika-duḥkha),
  2. mental suffering (caitasika-duḥkha).

By the power of their wisdom (prajñābala), the holy individuals (āryapudgala) have no further mental suffering like sadness (daurmanasya), jealousy (īrṣyā), malice (vyāpāda), etc. On the other hand, because they have received a body composed of the four great elements as a result of actions in their previous existences, they still have bodily sufferings such as old age (jarā) and sickness (vyādhi), hunger and thirst (kṣutpipāsa), cold and heat (śītoṣṇa), etc., but these bodily sufferings are slight and quite rare.

2) Duḥkha (दुःख) refers to “sensation of displeasure” and represents one of the twenty-two faculties (indriya), according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 38. The word indriya, derived from the root id or ind, is synonymous with great power, with control. The twenty-two Dharmas in question [viz., duḥkha] have the characteristic of being dominant in regard to the living being (sattva) in that which concerns: his primary constitution, his distinctiveness, his duration, his moral defilement and his purification.

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)

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.

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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.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Duḥkha (दुःख).—a. [duṣṭāni khāni yasmin, duṣṭaṃ khanati khan-ḍa, duḥkh-ac vā Tv.]

1) Painful, disagreeable, unpleasant; सिंहानां निनदा दुःखाः श्रोतुं दुःखमतो वनम् (siṃhānāṃ ninadā duḥkhāḥ śrotuṃ duḥkhamato vanam) Rām.

2) Difficult, uneasy.

-kham 1 Sorrow, grief, unhappiness, distress, pain, agony; सुखं हि दुःखान्यनुभूय शोभते (sukhaṃ hi duḥkhānyanubhūya śobhate) Mk.1.1; यदेवोपनतं दुः- खात्सुखं तद्रसवत्तरम् (yadevopanataṃ duḥ- khātsukhaṃ tadrasavattaram) V.3.21; so दुःखसुख, समदुःखसुख (duḥkhasukha, samaduḥkhasukha) &c.

2) Trouble, difficulty; Ś. Til.12; अर्थानामर्जने दुःखमर्जितानां च रक्षणे । आये दुःखं व्यये दुःखं धिगर्थाः कष्टसंश्रयाः (arthānāmarjane duḥkhamarjitānāṃ ca rakṣaṇe | āye duḥkhaṃ vyaye duḥkhaṃ dhigarthāḥ kaṣṭasaṃśrayāḥ) || Pt.1.163. (duḥkham and duḥkhena are used as adverbs in the sense of 'hardly' 'with difficulty' 'or trouble' Ś.7.13. avyaktā hi gatirduḥkhaṃ dehavadbhiravāpyate Bg.12.5; Ku.4.13; Pt.1.; R.19.49; H.1.158).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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

Search found 195 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Duḥkhajñāna (दुःखज्ञान) refers to the “knowledge of suffering” and represents one of the eleven...
Duḥkhānvita (दुःखान्वित).—mfn. (-taḥ-tā-taṃ) Pained, afflicted, distresed. E. duḥkha, and anvit...
Duḥkhaduḥkha (दुःखदुःख).—(instr.) with great difficulty; (dhārayantī) शय्योत्सङ्गे निहित- मसकृद...
Samaduḥkha (समदुःख).—a. feeling for another's woe, sympathising (with another); a fellow-suffer...
Ādhyātmikaduḥkha (आध्यात्मिकदुःख) or simply Ādhyātmika refers to “inner suffering” and represen...
Duḥkhayoga (दुःखयोग).—infliction of pain; Ms. Derivable forms: duḥkhayogaḥ (दुःखयोगः).Duḥkhayog...
Duḥkhaduḥkhin (दुःखदुःखिन्).—a. having sorrow upon sorrow; मया रक्षति दुःखदुःखी (mayā rakṣati d...
Duḥkhagata (दुःखगत).—adversity, calamity; Mb.12. Derivable forms: duḥkhagatam (दुःखगतम्).Duḥkha...
Duḥkhajāta (दुःखजात).—a. feeling pain. Duḥkhajāta is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the term...
Adacanince Duhkha
aḍacaṇīñcē duḥkha (अडचणींचे दुःख) [or दुखणें, dukhaṇēṃ].—n An embarrassing or awkward disorder ...
Duḥkhānta (दुःखान्त).—final emancipation. Derivable forms: duḥkhāntaḥ (दुःखान्तः).Duḥkhānta is ...
Duḥkhaśīla (दुःखशील).—a. 1) hard to please or manage, bad tempered, irritable; उपेत्य सा दोहददु...
Samānaduḥkha (समानदुःख).—a. sympathiser. Samānaduḥkha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the ...
Avajñāduḥkha (अवज्ञादुःख).—the agonies of humiliation; मा जीवन् यः परावज्ञादुःखदग्धोऽपि जीवति (...
Duḥkhaloka (दुःखलोक).—worldly life, the world as a scene of constant suffering. Derivable forms...

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