Nikaya, aka: Nikāya, Nikâya; 8 Definition(s)

Introduction

Nikaya 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.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Nikaya means "body" or collection.

Source: Buddhist Information: A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas
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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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General definition (in Buddhism)

Nikāya is a Pāḷi word and literally means "volume". It is similar to the Sanskrit word Agama meaning "basket". It is also used to mean "collection", "assemblage", "class" or "group" in both the Pāḷi and Sanskrit languages. It is most commonly used in reference to the Buddhist texts of the Sutta Piṭaka, but can also refer to the monastic divisions of Theravāda Buddhism. In addition, the term Nikāya schools is sometimes used in contemporary scholarship to refer to the early Buddhist schools, of which the Theravāda is one.

In the Theravāda canon (in particular, the "Discourse Basket" or Sutta Piṭaka) the meaning of nikāya is used to describe groupings of discourses. For example, the Sutta Piṭaka is broken up into five nikāyas:

  1. the Dīgha Nikāya, the collection of long (Pāḷi: dīgha) discourses
  2. the Majjhima Nikāya, the collection of middle-length (majjhima) discourses
  3. the Samyutta Nikāya, the collection of thematically linked (samyutta) discourses
  4. the Anguttara Nikāya, the "gradual collection" (discourses grouped by content enumerations)
  5. the Khuddaka Nikāya, the "minor collection"

Among the Theravāda nations of Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka, nikāya is also used as the term for a monastic division or lineage; these groupings are also sometimes called "monastic fraternities" or "frateries".

Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

India history and geogprahy

Nikāya.—(EI 7), a religious corporation. (EI 18; LL), a Buddhist school or community; a frater- nity of Buddhist monks. Cf. Kaulika-nikāya (LL), a guild of the Kaulikas or weavers. (CII 1), a class or group. Note: nikāya 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
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 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

Nikaya in Pali glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

nikāya : (m.) a group; sect; a collection.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Nikāya, (Sk. nikāya, ni+kāya) collection (“body”) assemblage, class, group; 1. generally (always —°): eka° one class of beings DhsA. 66; tiracchāna° the animal kingdom S. III, 152; deva° the assembly of the gods, the gods D. II, 261 (60); M. I, 102; S. IV, 180; A. III, 249; IV, 461; PvA. 136; satta° the world of beings, the animate creation, a class of living beings S. II, 2, 42, 44; M. I, 49 (tesaṃ tesaṃ sattānaṃ tamhi tamhi s. -nikāye of all beings in each class); Vbh. 137; PvA. 134.—2. especially the coll. of Buddhist Suttas, as the 5 sections of the Suttanta Piṭaka, viz. Dīgha°, Majjhima°, Saṃyutta°, Aṅguttara° (referred to as D. M. S. A. in Dictionaryquotations), Khuddaka°; enumerated PvA. 2; Anvs p. 35; DhA. II, 95 (dhammāsanaṃ āruyha pañcahi nikāyehi atthañ ca kāraṇañ ca ākaḍḍhitvā). The five Nikāyas are enumerated also at Vism. 711; one is referred to at SnA 195 (pariyāpuṇāti master by heart). See further details under piṭaka. Cp. nekāyika. (Page 352)

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Nikāya (निकाय).—[ni-ci-ghañ kutvam]

1) A heap, an assemblage, a class, multitude, flock, group in general; Mv.1. निकाय इति सङ्घात् औत्तराधर्येणावस्थित उच्यते (nikāya iti saṅghāt auttarādharyeṇāvasthita ucyate) | ŚB. on MS. 8.1.19; तप्तहेमनिकायाभं शितिकण्ठं त्रिलोचनम् (taptahemanikāyābhaṃ śitikaṇṭhaṃ trilocanam) (vīkṣya) Bhāg. 4.24.25.

2) A congregation, school, an association of persons who perform like duties.

3) A house, habitation dwelling-place; Ms.1.36; काशीनिकायः (kāśīnikāyaḥ) &c.

4) The body.

5) Aim, butt, mark.

6) The Supreme Being.

7) Ved. Air, wind; Vāj.15.5.

Derivable forms: nikāyaḥ (निकायः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Nikāya (निकाय).—(1) (as in Sanskrit, but nt., in Sanskrit m.) collection, group: yena…deva-nikāyaṃ tenopasaṃkrameyaṃ Mv i.54.13; Buddha is saptabhiś ca nikāyaiḥ saṃpuraskṛto Divy 159.15; (2) (= Pali id.) ‘collection’ of sūtras in the Buddhist canon, or more loosely, the canon collectively: nikāya-gati-saṃbhavāt Laṅk 292.13, from (having their) origin in the course of the canon, and °gati-gotrā(ḥ) 16, said of the abhijñā (psychic powers, Suzuki) as acquired by orthodox canonical lore; Suzuki misunderstands the meaning, which is made clear by naikāyika, q.v., shortly after; (3) school (of religious opinion), in nikāyāntarīya, q.v. (orig. and lit., no doubt, canon as under 2). The four Nikāyas of the Pali canon are usually called Āgamas in BHS.

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

Nikāya (निकाय).—m.

(-yaḥ) An assemblage of persons performing like duties, a congregation, an audience. 2. A flock, a multitude. 3. A butt, a mark. 4. A house, habitation. 5. The Supreme Being. 6. The body. E. ni in or within, ci to collect, affix ghañ, and ka substituted for the radical initial.

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Nikāya (निकाय) or Nikāyya.—m.

(-yaḥ) A house. E. ni in or within, ci to collect, affix ṇyat kutvam .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara 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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