Jivaka, aka: Jīvaka; 7 Definition(s)


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

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

1. Jivaka Komarabhacca - A celebrated physician. He was the son of Salavati, a courtesan of Rajagaha. (AA. (i.216) says that Abhayarajakumara was his father). Directly after birth the child was placed in a basket and thrown on a dust heap, from where he was rescued by Abhayarajakumara. When questioned by Abhaya, people said he was alive (jivati), and therefore the child was called Jivaka; because he was brought up by the prince (kumarena posapito), he was called Komarabhacca. It has been suggested, however, that Komarabhacca meant master of the Kaumarabhrtya science (the treatment of infants); VT.ii.174; in Dvy. (506-18) he is called Kumarabhuta.

When grown up, he learnt of his antecedents, and going to Takkasila without Abhayas knowledge, studied medicine for seven years. His teacher then gave him a little money and sent him away as being fit to practise medicine. His first patient was the setthis wife at Saketa, and for curing her he received sixteen thousand kahapanas, a manservant, a maid servant and a coach with horses. When he returned to Rajagaha, Abhaya established him in his own residence. There he cured Bimbisara of a troublesome fistula and received as reward all the ornaments of Bimbisaras five hundred wives. He was appointed physician to the king and the kings women and also to the fraternity of monks with the Buddha at its head. Other cures of Jivakas included that of the setthi of Rajagaha on whom he performed the operation of trepanning, and of the son of the setthi of Benares who had suffered from chronic intestinal trouble due to misplacement, and for this case Jivaka received sixteen thousand kahapanas.

When Candappajjota, king of Ujjeni, was ill, Bimbisara lent Jivaka to him. Candappajjota hated ghee, which was, however, the only remedy. Jivaka prepared the medicine, prescribed it for the king, then rode away on the kings elephant Bhaddavatika before the king discovered the nature of the medicine. Pajjota, in a rage, ordered his capture and sent his slave Kaka after him. Kaka discovered Jivaka breakfasting at Kosambi and allowed himself to be persuaded to eat half a myrobalan, which purged him violently. Jivaka explained to Kaka that he wished to delay his return; he told him why he had fled from the court and, having returned the elephant, proceeded to Rajagaha. Pajjota was cured and, as a token of his favour, sent Jivaka a suit of Siveyyaka cloth, which Jivaka presented to the Buddha (Vin.i.268-81; AA.i.216). Jivaka was greatly attracted by the Buddha. Once when the Buddha was ill, Jivaka found it necessary to administer a purge, and he had fat rubbed into the Buddhas body and gave him a handful of lotuses to smell. Jivaka was away when the purgative acted,

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
context information

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).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

1) Jīvaka (जीवक) is the name of a place at Rājagṛha where was located the stoppig-place, or vihāra named Ambavana, according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter V. Rājagṛha is the name of a sacred city where the Buddha was dwelling at the beginning of the discourse in the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra.

2) Jīvaka (जीवक) is the son of king Bimbisāra and Āmrapāli according to a note at “story of Bimbisāra” from the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVIII).—Āmrapāli was born miraculously in the flower of a mango-tree belonging to a Brāhman in Vaiśālī. The Brāhman adopted Āmrapāli and made her a courtesan. Seven kings disputed over the favors of the young lady; Bimbasāra, king of Magadha, even though he was at war with the Licchavi of Vaiśālī, surreptitiously entered the city, penetrated into the tower where Āmrapāli was shut up and amused himself with her for a week. Āmrapālī bore him a son who later became the famous physician Jīvaka.

Note: According to the Sarvāstivādin Vinaya, the son of Bimbisāra and Āmrapālī was called Abhaya (Gilgit Manuscripts, III, 2, p. 22), while Jīvaka was the son of Bimbisāra and the wife of a merchant whose name is not given. In the Pāli sources, Vimala-Kondañña is given as the son of Bimbisāra and Āmrapālī (Theragāthā Comm., I, p. 146): Jīvaka’s father was Abhaya-Rājakumāra—one of Bimbisāra’s sons—and his mother, a courtesan of Rājagṛha called Sālavati.

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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Jivaka in Pali glossary... « previous · [J] · next »

jīvaka : (m.) one who lives; a personal name.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Jīvaka, (adj.)=jīva, in bandhu° N. of a plant VvA. 43.—f. °ikā q. v. (Page 285)

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.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Jīvaka (जीवक).—a. [jīv-ṇic ṇvul]

1) Living, making a livelihood by, generating &c.

2) One who lives a long time.

-kaḥ 1 A living being.

2) A servant.

3) A Buddhist mendicant, any mendicant who lives by begging.

4) A usurer.

5) A snake-catcher.

6) A tree.

7) A medicinal plant of that name.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Jīvaka (जीवक).—(= Pali id.), n. of a physician and follower of Buddha (called in Pali Komārabhacca, in BHS Kumāra- bhṛta, °bhūta, qq.v.): Divy 270.12 ff.; 506.2 ff.; MSV ii.25.5 ff.; has epithet Vaidyarāja(n) KP 96.2, 3; Śikṣ 159.8, 12 (here, amazingly, Bendall and Rouse translate vaidyarāja as n. pr. (proper name) and jīvaka as adj., when alive!). See also Jīvika.

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Jīvaka (जीवक) or Jīvika.—(1) , the physician: Av ii.134.6 ff.; [(2) in LV 430.20 text jīvika-pariskāra, but most mss. jīvita- or javika-; read jīvita-, equipment or utensils for living.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit 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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