Nimitta; 16 Definition(s)
Nimitta 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.
Purana and Itihasa (epic history)
1a) Nimitta (निमित्त).—The son of Daṇḍapāṇi and father of Kṣemaka.*
- * Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 21. 15-6.
1b) Science of astrology;1 throbbing of limbs on the right, auspicious, and on the left, inauspicious; the results of such movements;2 gifts of suvarṇa to the Brahmana;3 a list of things that must not come against or cross the path when the king goes on a march; if seen, prayer to Keśava, mitigates effects;4 in connection with the installation of images.5Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.
Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).
Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)
1) Nimitta (निमित्त).—The formal cause of a grammatical operation; cf. निमित्ताभावे नैमित्तिकस्याप्यभाव (nimittābhāve naimittikasyāpyabhāva); given as a Paribhasa by many grammarians like Vyadi, Siradeva and others; cf. also प्रकृत्युपपदोपाधयो निमित्तं प्रत्यये निमित्ती (prakṛtyupapadopādhayo nimittaṃ pratyaye nimittī) M.Bh. on III.1.1 Vart. 2;
2) Nimitta.—Distinguishing sign यः प्रेक्षापूर्वकारी भवति सः अध्रुवेण निमित्तेन ध्रुवं निमित्तमुपादत्ते वेदिकां पुण्डरीकं वा (yaḥ prekṣāpūrvakārī bhavati saḥ adhruveṇa nimittena dhruvaṃ nimittamupādatte vedikāṃ puṇḍarīkaṃ vā), M.Bh. on I.1.26 Vart.5.Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.
Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms
N (Image, object, sign). Steady meditation support, on which the mind does focus so as to develop samatha concentration (which brings about tranquillity).Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary
The object in samatha bhavana is called nimitta.Source: Journey to Nibbana: Patthana Dhama
mark, sign; image; target, object; cause, condition. These meanings are used in, and adapted to, many contexts of which only the doctrinal ones are mentioned here.
1. 'Mental (reflex-) image', obtained in meditation. In full clarity, it will appear in the mind by successful practice of certain concentration-exercises and will then appear as vividly as if seen by the eye. The object perceived at the very beginning of concentration is called the preparatory image (parikamma-nimitta). The still unsteady and unclear image, which arises when the mind has reached a weak degree of concentration, is called the acquired image (uggaha-nimitta). An entirely clear and immovable image arising at a higher degree of concentration is the counter-image (patibhāga-nimitta). As soon as this image arises, the stage of neighbourhood (or access) concentration (upacāra-samādhi) is reached. For further details, s. kasina, samādhi.
2. 'Sign of (previous) kamma' (kamma-nimitta) and 'sign of (the future) destiny' (gati-nimitta); these arise as mental objects of the last karmic consciousness before death (maranāsanna-kamma; s. karma, III, 3).
Usages (1) and (2) are commentarial (s. App.). In sutta usage, the term occurs, e.g. as:
3. 'Outward appearance': of one who has sense-control it is said- that "he does not seize upon the general appearance' of an object (na nimittaggāhī; M. 38, D. 2; expl. Vis I, 54f; see sīla).
4. 'Object': the six objects, i.e. visual, etc. (rūpa-nimitta; S. XXII, 3). Also, when in explanation of animitta-cetovimutti, signless deliverance of mind (s. cetovimutti, vimokkha), it is said, 'sabba-nimittānam amanasikārā', it refers to the 6 sense-objects (Com. to M. 43), and has therefore to be rendered "by paying no attention to any object (or object-ideas)." - A pleasant or beautiful object (subha-nimitta, q.v.) is a condition to the arising of the hindrance of sense-desire; a 'repellent object' (patigha-nimitta) for the hindrance of ill-will; contemplation on the impurity of an object (asubha-nimitta; s. asubha) is an antidote to sense-desire.
5. In Pts.M. II, in a repetitive series of terms, nimitta appears together with uppādo (origin of existence), pavattam (continuity of existence), and may then be rendered by 'condition of existence' (s. Path, 194f.).Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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 Jainism)
Nimitta (निमित्त, “cause”).—What is the meaning of cause (nimitta)? Any event or object which is conducive to successfully complete an activity is called the nimitta.Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 1
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.
India history and geogprahy
Nimitta.—(SII 1), a sign. Note: nimitta 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
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.
Languages of India and abroad
nimitta : (nt.) sign; omen; portent; cause.Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
Nimitta, (nt.) (cp. Sk. nimitta, to mā, although etym. uncertain) 1. sign, omen, portent, prognostication D. I, 9 (study of omens=n. satthaṃ DA. I, 92, q. v. for detailed expln); J. I, 11 (caturo nimitte nâddasaṃ); Miln. 79, 178. Esp. as pubba° signs preceding an event, portents, warnings, foreshadowings S. V, 154, 278, 442; It. 76 (cp. Divy 193, of the waning of a god); J. I, 48, 50 (32 signs before birth, some at DA. I, 61), 59; Miln. 298; Vism. 577. ‹-› 2. outward appearance, mark, characteristic, attribute, phenomenon (opp. essence) D. III, 249; A. I, 256; III, 319, 375 sq.; IV, 33, 418 sq.; J. I, 420; Ps. I, 60, 91 sq. , 164, 170; II, 39, 64; Vbh. 193 sq.—Mental reflex, image (with ref. to jhāna) Vism. 123, cp. DhsA. 167.—Specified e.g. as foll. : oḷārika S. V, 259; pasādaniya S. V, 156; paccavekkhana° D. III, 278; Vbh. 334; bahiddhā-saṅkhārā° Ps. I, 66 sq.; bāla° (opp. paṇḍita°) M. III, 163; A. I, 102; mukha° (=face) D. I, 80; S. III, 103; V, 121; A. V, 92, 97 sq. , 103; rūpa°, sadda° etc. S. III, 10; M. I, 296; Ps. I, 92, 112; samatha° D. III, 213; samādhi° etc. A. I, 256 sq.; subha° (& asubha°) S. V, 64, 103 sq.; A. I, 3 sq. , 87, 200; V, 134; Vism. 178 sq. nimittaṃ gaṇhāti to make something the object of a thought, to catch up a theme for reflection Vin. I, 183, cp. S. V, 150 sq. (°ṃ uggaṇhāti); M. I, 119 (=five sorts of mental images); Nd2 659; DhsA. 53 (=ākāra). See below n-gāhin & animitta. ‹-› nimittaṃ parivajjeti to discard the phenomenal S. I, 188; Sn. 341.—3. mark, aim: in nimittaṃ karoti to pick out the aim, to mark out J. V, 436; Nd2 235, 1d; Miln. 418. ‹-› 4. sexual organ (cp. lakkhaṇa) Vin. III, 129 (n. & a°, as term of abuse); see also kāṭa & koṭacikā.—5. ground, reason, condition, in nimittena (Instr.) and nimittaṃ (Acc.) as adv. =by means of, on account of DhA. III, 175 (Instr.) PvA. 8, 97 (jāti-nimittaṃ), 106 (kiṃ n°ṃ=kissa hetu), 242 (yaṃ n°ṃ=yato nidānaṃ). gahita-nimittena “by means of being caught” Vism. 144=DhsA. 116 (read trsln 154 accordingly!). adj. nimitta (-°) caused by, referring to PvA. 64 (maraṇa-nimittaṃ rodanaṃ).—animitta free from marks or attributes, not contaminated by outward signs or appearance, undefiled, unaffected, unconditioned (opp. sa°) S. I, 188; IV, 225 (phassa), 268, 360 (samādhi); M. I, 296 (cetovimutti); A. I, 82; III, 292; IV, 78; Vin. III, 129; Th. 1, 92; D. III, 219, 249; Dh. 92; Sn. 342; Ps. I, 60, 91; II, 36, 59 sq. (vimokha), 65 sq. , 99; Dhs. 530 (read a° for appa°); Vism. 236; DhsA. 223 (absence of the 3 lakkhaṇas); Miln. 333, 413; DhA. II, 172; ThA. 50. See also Cpd. 199, 2115. sanimitta S. V, 213 sq.; A. I, 82.Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
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.
nimitta (निमित्त).—n (S) Object, purpose, aim, intention, view. Ex. pōṭa bharāyācē nimittānēṃ māṇasēṃ cākarī karitāta. 2 Cause, reason, account, ground. Ex. tō cōrīcē nimittānēṃ phāṃśīṃ gēlā. 3 Instrumental cause. 4 A false plea; a pretence, pretext, sham. Ex. pōṭadukhīcēṃ ni0 karūna gharīṃ rāhilā. 5 False imputation. v yē, lāga, ṭaḷa, lāva, āṇa, ṭhēva, ghē, kāḍha. Ex. tyānēṃ cōrī kēlī nasatāṃ cōrīcēṃ ni0 ālēṃ. 6 Used as prep On account of; for the sake of. Ex. cōrīnimitta māralēṃ; vidyēnimitta śrama kēlā. nimittācā That will furnish pretext for accusation or blame;--said of an article or a business which, although it seems good or fair, is in reality bad or intricate; and which, therefore, by its susceptibility of detriment in the use or management, is likely to bring unmerited censure upon the borrower or manager. 2 That will serve the occasion; that will do for a pretence; as nimittācī dēvapūjā-snāna-bhōjana-dānadharna. nimittācī bāyakō A woman that will pass as a wife: also nimittācā navarā-cākara-putra-ghōḍā &c. nimittāsa For appearance' sake; as a blind; as a make-believe. Ex. hyā kāmānta kōṇhī mōṭhā nimittāsa pāhijē. nimittāsa ṭēṅkaṇēṃ To watch or wait for a pretext; to seek occasion.Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
nimitta (निमित्त).—n Object, aim. Cause, reason A false plea; a pretext. False impu- tation. prep. On account of; for the sake of. nimittācā That will furnish pretext for accusation or blame. ni- mittācī bāyakō A woman that will pass as a wife. nimittāsa For appearance's sake; as a blind. nimittāsa ḍhēṅkaṇēṃ To wait for a pretext.Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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.
Nimitta (निमित्त).—[ni-mid-kta Tv.]
1) A cause, motive, ground reason; निमित्तनैमित्तिकयोरयं क्रमः (nimittanaimittikayorayaṃ kramaḥ) Ś.7.3.
2) The instrumental or efficient cause (opp. upādāna); धर्मार्थकाममोक्षाणां निमित्तान्यविरोधतः (dharmārthakāmamokṣāṇāṃ nimittānyavirodhataḥ) Bhāg.3.7.32.
3) Any apparent cause, pretext; निमित्तमात्रं भव सव्यसाचिन् (nimittamātraṃ bhava savyasācin) Bg.11.33; निमित्तमात्रेण पाण्डवक्रोधेन भवितव्यम् (nimittamātreṇa pāṇḍavakrodhena bhavitavyam) Ve.1.
4) A mark, sign, token.
5) A butt, mark, target; निमित्ते दूरपातित्वे लघुत्वे दृढवेधने (nimitte dūrapātitve laghutve dṛḍhavedhane) Mb.7.74.23; निमित्तादपराद्धेषोर्धानुष्कस्येव वल्गितम् (nimittādaparāddheṣordhānuṣkasyeva valgitam) Śi.2.27.
6) An omen, prognostic (good or bad); निमित्तं सूचयित्वा (nimittaṃ sūcayitvā) Ś.1; निमित्तानि च पश्यामि विपरीतानि केशव (nimittāni ca paśyāmi viparītāni keśava) Bg.1.31; R.1.86; Ms.6.5; Y.1.23;3.171.
7) Means of knowledge; तस्य निमित्तपरीष्टिः (tasya nimittaparīṣṭiḥ) MS.1.1.3.
8) Function, ceremony; एतान्येव निमित्तानि मुनीनामूर्ध्वरेतसाम् (etānyeva nimittāni munīnāmūrdhvaretasām) (kartavyāni); Mb.12.61.6. (nimitta is used at the end of comp. in the sense of 'caused or occasioned by'; kinnimitto'yamātaṅkaḥ Ś.3. nimittam, nimittena, nimittān 'because of', 'on occount of'.)
Derivable forms: nimittam (निमित्तम्).Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
Nimitta (निमित्त).—nt. (masc., nimittā ime LV 109.8, 193.16, verses; besides the Sanskrit mgs., the following seem worthy of distinct listings; all seem to be also in Pali, for which Childers must be consulted to correct and supplement PTSD), (1) (sign, mark, and so) external aspect or feature, appearance (but not only visual; compare AbhidhK. La V-P. i.28 saṃjñā nimittodgrahaṇātmikā, la notion consiste dans la préhension des caractères; comm. nimitta = vastuno 'vasthāviśeṣa, les diverses conditions ou manières d'être de la chose; quite similarly Laṅk), defined, yat saṃsthānā- kṛtiviśeṣākārarūpādilakṣaṇaṃ dṛśyate, tan nimittam Laṅk 228.6—7; each of the 5 objects of sense-perception has or consists of a nimitta, compare Suzuki, Studies, 156, end: na jātu rūpa-nimittam udgṛhītavān na śabda-ni° na gandha- ni° na rasa-ni° na sparśa-ni° RP 42.3—4; na nimitta- saṃjñāyām api pratitiṣṭhet Vaj 21.10, 19; compare 8—9 above, na rūpapratiṣṭhitena…na śabda-(etc.); duḥśraddadhaṃ etu…nimittasaṃjñīn’ (gen. pl., for °inām) iha bāla- buddhinām SP 57.7 (verse)…for fools who form notions based on appearances; nimittacārīṇa (gen. pl.) bravīti dharmam SP 120.3 (verse) …to men who follow appearances; anitya-saṃjñānimitta-kāmehi Mv i.54.6, desires for what is impermanent, (mere) name and appearance (wrongly Senart's note); (for the Bodhisattva about to attain enlightenment) śūnyā nimittā Mv ii.341.12; 344.9, appear- ances (esp. probably as objects of the senses) are void (wrongly Senart); so (Buddha) cakṣuṣā rūpaṃ dṛṣṭvā na ca nimitta- grāhī bhaviṣyan na cānuvyañjanagrāhī Mv iii.52.6, and with the other senses, incl. manasā dharmāṃ vijñāya, na ca etc. (10—)11, when he perceives the objects of sense he is not one who grasps appearances or minor marks (Pali also associates nimittaggāhin and anuvyañjanaggāhin in the same way); similarly Śikṣ 357.2, of Bodhisattvas; saced…bodhisattvo…rūpe (and below with vedanāyāṃ, saṃjñāyāṃ, saṃskāreṣu, vijñāne, the 5 skandhas) carati, nimitte carati (he operates in, on superficial appearance) ŚsP 683.4 ff., also…rūpaṃ nityam iti carati, nimitte [Page298-a+ 71] carati 8, etc.; (2) personal, physical mark or trait or characteristic, esp. of the body, but also of dress or orna- ment: mūrdhāto upādāya yāvat pādeṣu nimittaṃ paśyati Mv iii.148.3 (the following details include muñja-mekha- laṃ!); nimittāni 19; as basis for prognostication by soothsayers (compare nimittika, nai°), te tasya nimittam udgṛhītum ārabdhā(ḥ) Divy 579.20; (3) (sign, in sense of) hint, suggestion of something wanted; sometimes with avabhāsa, q.v., as in Pali, see Childers s.v. obhāsa, 298; avabhāsa-nimittaṃ Śikṣ 131.6 (designed by a monk to extract donations); na bodhisattvo dānapatiṃ vā dṛṣṭvā nimittaṃ karoti Śikṣ 268.6; so probably MSV ii.36.12 sā kāmarāgādhyavasitā nimittam upadarśayati, showed an intimation (of her desire). Cf. naimittika(-tā, -tva).Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary
(-ttaṃ) 1. Cause, motive, instrumental cause. 2. Mark, sign, spot, trace, token. 3. Omen. 4. A butt, a target. 5. Pretext. E. ni before, mi to measure, kta affix, also with kan added nimittaka .Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
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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s. nimitta, kasina, samādhi.
'preparatory image'; s. nimitta, kasina.
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