Nikaya, aka: Nikāya, Nikâya; 5 Definition(s)


Nikaya 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)

Nikaya means "body" or collection.

(Source): Buddhist Information: A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas
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).

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

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

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°; enumd PvA. 2; Anvs p. 35; DhA. II, 95 (dhammāsanaṃ āruyha pañcahi nikāyehi atthañ ca kāraṇañ ca ākaḍḍhitvā). The five Nikāyas are enumd 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
Pali book cover
context information

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.

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
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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