King: 4 definitions


King means something in Buddhism, Pali, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India. 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.

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (mahayana)

The King (in Sanskrit: Rāja, or Manuṣyarāja) is mentioned in the sixth chapter of the Suvarṇaprabhāsottamasūtra, a Buddhist Mahāyāna Sūtra which teaches the protection of the state for the mutual benefit of the Buddhist Sangha and the monarch.—Accordingly, Chapter six (caturmahārājaparivarta—“on the four great kings”), conveys an explicit message: those kings (manuṣya-rāja) who venerate the Suvarṇaprabhāsottama and support the Buddhist Sangha will be protected from hostile armies and other dangers by the Four Great Kings (caturmahā-rāja), and their countries will exist in highest state of harmony. Simultaneously, those who ignore this tradition will face decline. This Sūtra directly and repeatedly refers to monarchs, and throughout this chapter and the whole scripture it is obvious that kings are envisaged as the principal target audience. At one point the scripture calls itself a rāja-śāstra, a text for kings.

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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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

The King represents the “punisher of those transgressing boundaries”, according to chapter 1.2 [ādīśvara-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra (“lives of the 63 illustrious persons”): a Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three important persons in Jainism.—Accordingly, “[...] together the twins approached Ṛṣabhanātha, and told him all the sin that was being committed. Possessing the three kinds of knowledge, recalling (former) births, the Master said, ‘A king will be the punisher of those transgressing boundaries. Seated on a very high throne, consecrated first, having at hand the fourfold army, he should have unbroken commands’. They said, ‘Be our king. Why do you neglect us? No one else like you is seen among us’ [...]”.

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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 geography

Source: Shodhganga: Vernacular architecture of Assam with special reference to Brahmaputra Valley

King is a Tai Khamti term referring to “3-legged hearth”.—It appears in the study dealing with the vernacular architecture (local building construction) of Assam whose rich tradition is backed by the numerous communities and traditional cultures.

Source: Singhi Jain Series: Ratnaprabha-suri’s Kuvalayamala-katha (history)

Kings were commonly depicted on the Saṃsāracakra paintings (representing scenes of human life), in ancient India, as mentioned in the Kathās (narrative poems) such as Uddyotanasūri in his 8th-century Kuvalayamālā (a Prakrit Campū, similar to Kāvya poetry).—Page 185.21 f.: Here follows a description of a printed scroll illustrating the Jaina conception of saṃsāracakra. [...] The saṃsāra-cakra illustrated the three worlds of hell, human world and the world of gods. [For example:] A king seated on his throne and surrounded by his feudatories and feeding on five mouthfuls of food offered in a leafy cup by a woman.

India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, 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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