Licchavi, aka: Licchavī; 3 Definition(s)

Introduction

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

Alternative spellings of this word include Lichchhavi.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[Licchavi in Theravada glossaries]

A powerful tribe of India in the time of the Buddha. They were certainly khattiyas, for on that ground they claimed a share of the Buddhas relics. D.ii.165; according to the Mtu.i.283, etc., they belonged to the Vasistha gotta; cp. the Mallas (q.v.), who are called Vasetthas.

Their capital was Vesali, and they formed a part of the Vajjian confederacy, being often referred to as the Vajjis (q.v.). Their strength lay in their great unity; if one Licchavi fell ill, all the others would visit him. The whole tribe would join in any ceremony performed in the house of Licchavi, and they would all unite in honouring any distinguished visitors to their city (DA.ii.519). They were beautiful to look at and wore brilliantly coloured garments, riding in brightly painted carriages (D.ii.96; A.iii.219: cp. Mtu.i.259). The Buddha once compared them to the gods of Tavatimsa (D.ii.96; also DhA.iii.280).

Though this would seem to indicate that they were very prosperous and rich, they do not appear to have lived in luxury and idleness. They are, on the contrary, spoken of (S.ii.267f) as sleeping on straw couches, being strenuous and diligent and zealous in their service (as skilful hardy archers, says the Commentary). They also practised seven conditions of welfare (aparihaniyadhamma), which the Buddha claimed to have taught them at the Sarandada cetiya:

(1) They held frequent public meetings of their tribe which they all attended; (2) they met together to make their decisions and carried out their undertakings in concord; (3) they upheld tradition and honoured their pledges; (4) they respected and supported their elders; (5) no women or girls were allowed to be taken by force or abduction; (6) they maintained and paid due respect to their places of worship; (7) they supported and fully protected the holy men (arahants) among them (D.ii.73f.; A.iv.15f).

The young men among the Licchavis were evidently fond of archery, for mention is made (A.iii.76) of large numbers of them roving about in the Mahavana, with bows and arrows, the strings set, and surrounded by hounds. They were a martial people and fond of sport, but we find one of their Elders, Mahanama complaining (A.iii.76, the Lalitavistara is even more condemnatory) of them to the Buddha: The Licchavi youths are quick tempered, rough and greedy fellows; such presents as are sent by the members of their tribe sugar cane, jujubes, sweet cakes, sweetmeats, etc. they loot and eat; they slap the women and girls of their tribe on the back. Violation of chastity was considered a serious offence among the Licchavis, and the assembly would even give its consent to a husbands request that his unfaithful wife should be murdered (Vin.iv.225).

According to the Buddhist books,

(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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India history and geogprahy

[Licchavi in India history glossaries]

Licchavi (लिच्छवि) is the name of a tribe mentioned in the Gupta inscriptions. The Gupta empire (r. 3rd-century CE), founded by Śrī Gupta, covered much of ancient India and embraced the Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. These tribes (eg., the Licchavis) migrated to places other than their original settlemenets and gave their names to the janapadas they settled. They replaced the old Vedic tribes in Punjab and Rajasthan though some of them are deemed as offshoots of the main tribe..

(Source): archive.org: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions
India history book cover
context information

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

Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Licchavi in Sanskrit glossaries]

Licchavi (लिच्छवि).—Name of a regal race.

Derivable forms: licchaviḥ (लिच्छविः).

See also (synonyms): licchivi.

(Source): DDSA: The practical 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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