Kaya, aka: Kāya; 20 Definition(s)


Kaya means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, 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

Ayurveda (science of life)

Kāya (काय) refers to the anabolic character of the human body as well as to the abode of jīva (soul). The term is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Suśruta-saṃhitā and the Caraka-saṃhitā.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

The term Kāya literally signifies the vital heat or fire which runs through the entire system, and hence the Kāya-chikitsā deals with diseases which may gradually invade the root-principles of a living human organism.

Source: archive.org: Sushruta samhita, Volume I
Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Kāya’—‘Ka’ stands for Prajāpati: hence ‘kāya’ is that which is dedicated to Prajāpati. (Manubhāṣya, II.62)

Source: Google Books: Manusmṛti with the Manubhāṣya
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Body. Usually refers to the physical body (rupa kaya; see rupa), but sometimes refers to the mental body (nama kaya; see nama).Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

M (Body).

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

kaya means related to physical body.

Source: Journey to Nibbana: Patthana Dhama

kāya. Contemplation on the b. is one of the 4 satipatthāna.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

(lit: accumulation): 'group', 'body', may either refer to the physical body (rūpa-kāya) or to the mental body (nāma-kāya).

In the latter case it is either a collective name for the mental groups (feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness; s. khandha), or merely for feeling, perception and a few of the mental formations (s. nāma), e.g. in kāya-lahutā, etc. (cf. Tab. II).

Kāya has this same meaning in the standard description of the 3rd absorption (jhāna, q.v.) "and he feels joy in his mind or his mental constitution (kāya)", and (e.g. Pug. 1-8) of the attainment of the 8 deliverances (vimokkha, q.v.); "having attained the 8 deliverances in his mind, or his person (kāya)." -

Kāya is also the 5th sense-organ, the body-organ; s. āyatana, dhātu, indriya.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

The Pali term kaya means body, but it can also stand for the "mental body" which are the cetasikas.

Source: Dhamma Study: Cetasikas
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) Kāya (काय, “body”).—According to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XIV), the Buddha has two bodies (kāya): a body of essence and a body born from father and mother. To undergo the retribution of sins is the business of the Buddha’s body of birth . The Buddha of birth body preaches the Dharma in stages as if it were a human body. Since there are two sorts of Buddha, it is not a mistake that the Buddha experiences the retribution for wrongdoings.

According to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XX), “the Bodhisattva has two kinds of bodies (kāya): 1) a body born from bonds and actions (bandhanakarmaja-kāya) and 2) a body of the Dharma (dharma-kāya). The perfection of the virtue of generosity that he practices in these two bodies is called paripūrṇadāna-pāramitā”. Note: also see Appendix 1 of that chapter.

2) Kāya (काय, “body”) refers to the 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., kāya] 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)

Kāya (काय, “body”) or kāyāyatana refers to one of the “twelve sense spheres” (āyatana) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 24). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., kāya). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Kāya (“body”) also represents one of the “eighteen elements” (dhātu) as well as one of the “eleven form components” (rūpaskandha).

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Kāya (काय, “body”) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 5.1.—The word kāya which literally means “body” implies here with many space-points (bahupradeśī). Medium of motion (dharma), the medium of rest (adharma), space (ākāśa) and matter (pudgala) are all with many space-points also.

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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India history and geogprahy

Kāya.—(IE 7-1-2), ‘six’. Note: kāya is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

kaya : (m.) purchase. || kāya (m.), a heap; a collection; the body.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

1) Kaya, (fr. kri) purchase, buying A. III, 226 (+vi°).

2) Kāya, (der. probably fr. ci, cinoti to heap up, cp. nikāya heaping up, accumulation or collection; Sk. kāya) group, heap, collection, aggregate, body.

3.a) (Applied meaning) Kāya under the physical aspect is an aggregate of a multiplicity of elements which finally can be reduced to the four “great” elements, viz. earth, water, fire, and air (D. I, 55). This “heap, ” in the valuation of the Wise (muni), shares with all other objects the qualities of such elements, and is therefore regarded as contemptible, as something which one has to get rid of, as a source of impurity. It is subject to time and change, it is built up and kept alive by cravings, and with death it is disintegrated into the elements. But the kamma which determined the appearance of this physical body has naturally been renewed and assumes a new form.

3.b) Kāya under the psychological aspect is the seat of sensation (Dhs. §§ 613‹-› 16), and represents the fundamental organ of touch which underlies all other sensation. Developed only in later thought.

4.a) (Physical meaning) Understanding of the body is attained through introspection (sati). In the group of the four sati-paṭṭhānas, the foundations of introspection, the recognition of the true character of “body” comes first (see Vbh. 193). The standing formula of this recognition is kāye kāyânupassī ... contemplating body as an accumulation, on which follows the description of this aggregate: “he sees that the body is clothed in skin, full of all kinds of dirty matter, and that in this body there are hair, nails, teeth, ” etc.

4.b) Various qualities and functions of the material body. As trunk of the body (opposed to pakkhā and sīsa) S. II, 231; also at Pv. I, 83; as depending on nourishment (āhāra-ṭṭhitika, etc.) Sv. 64; A. II, 145 (with taṇhā, māna, methuna); as needing attention: see °parihārika.

4.c) Valuation of physical body. From the contemplating of its true character (kāyânupassī) follows its estimation as a transient, decaying, and repulsive object.

4.d) Similes.—Out of the great number of epithets (adhivacanāni) and comparisons only a few can be mentioned (cp. above under def. & syn.): The body is compared to an abscess (gaṇḍa) S. IV, 83=A. IV, 386; a city (nagara) S. IV, 194; a cart (ratha) S. IV, 292; an anthill (vammīka) M. I, 144; all in reference to its consisting of the four fundamental elements.

4.e) Dissolution of the body is expressed in the standard phrase: kāyassa bhedā param maraṇā ... , i.e. after death ... upon which usually follows the mention of one of the gatis, the destinies which the new kāya has to experience.

5) (Psychological).—As the seat of feeling, kāya is the fifth in the enumeration of the senses (āyatanāni). It is ajjhattika as sense (i.e. subjective) and its object is the tangible (phoṭṭhabba). The contact between subject and object consists either in touching (phusitvā) or in sensing (viññeyya). The formulas vary, but are in essence the same all through.

6) (Ethical).—Kāya is one of the three channels by which a man’s personality is connected with his environment & by which his character is judged, viz. action, the three being kāya, vacī (vāca) and manas. These three kammantas, activities or agents, form the three subdivisions of the sīla, the rules of conduct. Kāya is the first and most conspicuous agent, or the principle of action kat) e)coxήn, character in its pregnant sense.

Kāya as one of a triad.—Its usual combination is in the formula mentioned, and as such found in the whole of the Pāli Canon. But there is also another combination, found only in the older texts.

7) Kāya as one of a dyad: vācā and kāya: S. I, 172 (°gutta) M. I, 461 (rakkhita and a°); Pv. I, 22 (°saññatā and opp.); Vism. 28 (k°-vacī-kamma); PvA. 98.

8) Kāya alone as a collective expression for the three.

9) Kāya in combn with citta: ṭhito va kāyo hoti ṭhitaṃ cittaṃ ... S. V, 74;

Note: this is an except of the full article on Kaya, Kāya.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
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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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Marathi-English dictionary

kayā (कया).—f (kāya S) Freshness, clearness, healthiness of appearance (of the countenance or body).

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kāya (काय).—pron inter (kiṃ S) What? 2 pron indef That which, whatever. Ex. tō kāya dēīla tēṃ ghēūna yē. 3 An interjection by way of surprise or question. Ex. kāya tvāṃ tyālā māralēṃsa kāya? āja pāūsa paḍēla kāya? 4 To how great a degree. Used either inter or indef. Ex. hā kāya hō mūrkha. 5 A particle disjoining and distinguishing the several heads or points constituting that of which something is stated. Ex. sajagōrā kāya jōndhaḷā kāya gahūṃ kāya jō jinasa pāhijē tō āhē. 6 Reduplicated (as kāya kāya), it expresses marvelousness (of number, extent, variety); Ex. mī kāya kāya tyācē guṇa sāṅgūṃ or the particularity and several consideration of parts and items. Ex. tyānēṃ kāya kāya tulā sāṅgitalēṃ or kāya kāya padārtha dilhē.

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kāya (काय).—m S The body. The popular form is kāyā.

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kāyā (काया).—f (kāya S) The body. 2 Freshness or healthiness of appearance (of the body or countenance). kāyā dākhaviṇēṃ-disaṇēṃ-pāhaṇēṃ To show, be seen, see the body of. Expressions betwixt patient and physician, wife and husband, or of a widow with reference to yielding up her body in another marriage &c. kāyā as constructed with jhāṅkaṇēṃ, ughaḍī ṭākaṇēṃ-paḍaṇēṃ &c. (To cover or hide, or to expose or become exposed) implies any part of the body which decency demands to be clothed. The expressions are constant amongst females. In this use kāyā answers to the English "Person." aṅga or rather āṅga (not dēha, śarīra, tanū or other synonyme for Body) undergoes the same construction and bears the same implication. kāyā pālaṭaṇēṃ- phiraṇēṃ-badalaṇēṃ g. of s. To recover freshness and healthiness of look (after sickness). kāyāvācāmanēṃ- karūna In act, speech, and thought: or with all the limbs and members of the body, and all the faculties and affections of the mind and soul--performing virtuous or sinful actions.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kayā (कया).—f Freshness, healthiness of ap- pearance.

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kāya (काय).—pron What? Whatever? m The body.

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kāya (काय).—f The body. Freshness of appear- ance. kāyāvācāmanēṅkarūna In act, speech, and thought. kāyā (jhāṅkaṇēṃ-ughaḍī ṭākaṇēṃ) Implies any part of the body which decency demands to be clothed. kāyā pālaṭaṇēṃ To recover freshness and healthiness of look.

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.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kāya (काय).—[cīyate'smin asthyādikamiti kāya; ci-ghañ ādeḥ kakāraḥ P.III.3.41. Sk.]

1) The body; विभाति कायः करुणापराणां परोपकारैर्न तु चन्दनेन (vibhāti kāyaḥ karuṇāparāṇāṃ paropakārairna tu candanena) Bh.2.71; कायेन मनसा बुद्ध्या (kāyena manasā buddhyā) Bg.5.11; so कायेन, वाचा, मनसा (kāyena, vācā, manasā) &c.

2) The trunk of a tree.

3) The body of a lute (the whole lute except the wires).

4) A multitude, assemblage, collection.

5) Principal, capital.

6) Home, residence, habitation.

7) A butt, a mark.

8) Natural temperament.

-yam (with or without tīrtha) The part of the hand just below the fingers, especially the little finger, or the last two fingers (this part being considered sacred to Prajāpati is called prajāpatitīrtha; cf. Ms.2.58-59).

-yaḥ One of the eight forms of marriage, generally known as प्राजापत्य (prājāpatya) q. v.; स कायः पावयेत्तज्जः (sa kāyaḥ pāvayettajjaḥ) Y.1.6; Ms.3.38.

Derivable forms: kāyaḥ (कायः), kāyam (कायम्).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kāya (काय).—normally m. (= Sanskrit, but sometimes nt., LV 289.20, verse, naivāsanāt kāyam ataś caliṣyate, my body shall by no means move from this seat; Mv i.44.4 hāyiṣyati asura- kāyaṃ, n. sg.; ii.124.2—3 idam eva kāyaṃ, acc. sg., twice; SP 52.8, verse, avanāmitaṃ kāyu, n. sg.; but WT with ms. Ḱ °taḥ): (1) sometimes, as in Pali, body used instead of Sanskrit tvac as term for the organ of touch: Mvy 2036 kāyāyatanam; 2053 kāya-dhātuḥ; its object is spraṣṭavya, q.v.; (2) as in Pali (Sanskrit Lex.), body in the sense of group, collection, mass, crowd, totality: usually at the end of cpds., as jana-k°, mahato janakāyasyārthāya, for the welfare of a great crowd (? the vast mass or totality) of people, SP 41.1; 81.2; 162.10; mahatā janakāyena parivṛtaṃ, by a large retinue… SP 103.6; taṃ ca mahāntaṃ janakāyaṃ… adhyabhāṣat LV 124.13; mahājana-kāya = the body of the populace (contrasting with kings and great men), Mv i.37.1; 198.15; ii.2.17; and probably LV 131.22; sarva eva Jambudvīpanivāsī janakāya Divy 59.22; bala-kāya, body of troops, army, vārāṇasī (so read) caturaṅgena balakāyena veṣṭitā (so with v.l.) Mv ii.82.11; caturaṅgeṇa balakāyena LV 14.22; caturaṅga-bala-kāyaṃ (mss. vara for bala) saṃnahitvā hastikāyaṃ aśvak° rathak° pattik° saṃna- hitvā Mv i.30.6; caturaṅgabalakāyo ii.111.7; (hastyaśvara- tha)padāti-balakāya-samanvitaḥ LV 22.15; mahāntaṃ hastikāyaṃ…pattikāyam avahāya Mv ii.161.5 f.; patti- kāya-parivṛtaḥ Divy 618.24; sattvakāye, in the (whole) mass of creatures, Mv i.158.10; 159.5; rājño Māndhātasya putrapautra-kāye napta-pranapti-kāye (so read) bahūni rājasahasrāṇi Mv i.348.9, in the body (mass) of King Māhārāṣṭrī's sons, grandsons, and remoter descendants there were many thousands of kings (misunderstood by Senart; fem. forms impossible); tailavyāmiśro gandhakāyo (a collection of perfume, i.e. of sweet-scented substances) dattaḥ (at a stūpa) Av i.362.1; sa paśyati mahāprajño dharmakāyam aśeṣataḥ SP 143.3 (verse),…the whole mass of conditions of existence (compare sarva-dharmān 143.1); in the same sense, māyāsvapnasvabhāvasya dharmakāyasya kaḥ stavaḥ Laṅk 22.12 (verse); (visaṃvādakaṃ sarvam eva) dharma- kāyaṃ Mv ii.147.18, disappointing (is) the whole mass of conditions of existence; probably also, dharmakāyajñāna- śarīratvān…LV 428.21—22, because his body contains (or consists of) knowledge of the whole mass of states of existence (he is called a Great Tree); otherwise Foucaux; probably also, na rājan kṛpaṇo loke dharmakāyena saṃspṛśet Divy 560.2 (verse),…with the mass of material conditions (surely not ‘spiritual body’ with Index); acc. to LaV-P. AbhidhK. vii.81, n. 1, ‘souvent dharmakāya = le corps des écritures = le deuxième ratna’; I have not found this usage; he refers to Bodhicaryāv. i.1, where I see no such meaning in the word; to Divy 396 (? line 28, śarīraṃ…dharmamayaṃ); and to Przyluski, Açoka, 359, where it does not have that meaning but contrasts with rūpakāya, q.v.; sparśa-kāya, see this; nāma-kāyaḥ, collection of ‘names’ = words Mvy 1996, vyañjana-k° 1997, c. of ‘letters’, sounds, or syllables (= akṣara), and pada-k° 1998, c. of phrases, expressions, sentences (these terms explained in LaVallée Poussin, AbhidhK. ii.238—40; Tibetan renders kāva bv tshogs, mass, [Page178-a+ 71] quantity, and pada, q.v. by tshig, which means both word and speech, utterance); sometimes, but more rarely, used out of comp. with modifying adj. or appositional noun, as, tuṣite kāye Mv i.199.7 = ii.3.5; (parihāsyante…) asurāḥ kāyāḥ, divyāḥ kāyāḥ paripūriṃ gamiṣyanti LV 401.6; hāyetsu(ḥ) āsurā kāyā, divyā kāyā abhivardhetsu Mv i.330.9 (compare on the other hand, hāyiṣyati asura-kāyaṃ, nara-maru-saṃgho vivardhanti Mv i.44.4). On the three ‘bodies’ (kāya) of a Buddha, dharma-, saṃbhoga-, nirmāṇa-k°, see these words; Régamey, Samādh. p. 23, with refs. They hardly occur in the texts included in this work. A little better known is the two-fold contrast of dharma- with rūpa-k°, qq.v.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Kāya (काय).—mn.

(-yaḥ-yaṃ) The body. n.

(-yaṃ) 1. Part of the hand sacred to the creator; the root of the little finger. 2. Clarified butter or any oblation to Brahma. m.

(-yaḥ) 1. One of the eight modes of marriage, the same as prājāpatya. 2. Assemblage, collection. 3. A butt or mark, an object to be hit or attained. 4. Natural temperament of any thing or being. 5. A house, a habitation. 6. Principal, capital. E. ka a name of Brahma, and aṇ deriv. affix, i is added to ka, and aya is substituted for the short vowel; proceeding from or relating to Brahma, &c.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
context information

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

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Mahākāya (महाकाय).—mfn. (-yaḥ-yā-yaṃ) Large, bulky, stout. m. (-yaḥ) 1. A name of Nandi, the do...
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