Paritta: 12 definitions


Paritta means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. 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)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

A collection of texts taken from the Khuddaka Patha, the Anguttara Nikaya, the Majjhima Nikaya and the Sutta Nipata, and recited on special occasions to ward off illness and danger. The word paritta means protection. The Milinda Panha (p.150f) gives a list of the chief Parittas:

Ratana Sutta, Khandha paritta, Mora paritta, Dhajagga paritta, Atanatiya paritta Angulimala

(for particulars of these see s.v.; also Dial.iii.185).

To these are generally added, in the extant collection of Parittas,

the Mangala Sutta and the Metta Sutta.

The word paritta first occurs in the Culla Vagga (Vin.ii.110) in connection with the Khandha paritta, which was allowed by the Buddha as a watch, a guard, a protection for oneself, for the use of the Order. The occasion of the delivery of this general injunction was the death of a monk from snake bite. The Milinda Panha states (see above) that the recital of the Paritta had the Buddhas express sanction.

The collection of Parittas is, to this day, more widely known by the laity of Burma and Ceylon than any other Pali book, and is generally used in times of danger or of sickness, both individual and national. Thus, Sena II., king of Ceylon, made the community of monks recite the Paritta, and by sprinkling the water charmed with Paritta he made the people free from illness, and so removed the danger of plague from the country.

He also decreed that this practice should continue every year (

Kassapa V. is said to have had a Paritta ceremony performed by the three fraternities of monks to protect his people from danger and plague and bad harvest (Ibid., lii.80).

In the recent (1935) epidemic of malaria in Ceylon, monks were taken in carts through the badly affected areas reciting the Paritta and sprinkling water. The ceremony is held on most diverse occasions such as the inauguration of a new house, the starting of a journey, of a new business, etc. For a discussion on the Paritta see Dial.iii.180 ff.; also P.L.C.75f.

Bode says (Op. cit., 4) that in the days of King Anorata of Burma corrupt and cynical monks used the recital of the Paritta as an easy means of clearing mans guilty conscience from all wrong doing, even from matricide.

Buddhaghosa is mentioned (Cv.xxxvii.226) as having once attempted to compile a Parittatthakatha. Geiger (Cv. Trs.i.24, 3) calls this a commentary on the Paritta, but it is more probable that paritta is here used as an adjective, meaning short, concise, and that what is meant is a short or concise commentary on the Pitakas.

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

F (Barrier, protection). Formula that is recited so as to bestow a general protection. There do exist several kinds of parittas. Notably, the paritta udaka and the paritta sutta:

The paritta udaka is meant for an effulgence of protection by means of water in direction of which the protective formula is being recited.

The paritta sutta is recited according to a procedure that is somehow similar, except that a thread is being utilised so as to disseminate the protection.

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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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Parītta (परीत्त) or Parīttaduḥkha refers to “lesser suffering”, according to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter 31).—Accordingly, “The suffering which the four noble truths [mention] the saint cognizes truly as suffering, but worldly people (pṛthagjana) call it happiness. It is necessary to rely on the noble truth (āryatattva) and reject error (moha) and doubt (kāṅkṣā). This body is really suffering because it rests on the ‘Great Suffering’ (mahāduḥkha) [of saṃsāra], and it is only a lesser suffering (parītta-duḥkha) that constitutes happiness. Thus, when a man condemned to death undergoes punishment (daṇḍa) instead of being executed, he feels great joy. This punishment is really suffering, but as he escapes from death, the condemned man calls it happiness.”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Paritta in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

paritta : (adj.) 1. small; insignificant; little; 2. protection; protective charm.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

1) Paritta, 2 (nt.) & Parittā (f.) (fr. pari+trā, cp. tāṇa, tāyati & also parittāna) protection, safeguard; (protective) charm, palliative, amulet Vin. II, 110 (atta° f. personal protection) IV. 305 (gutt’atthāya °ṃ pariyāpuṇāti); A. II, 73 (rakkhā+parittā); J. I, 200 (manto+parittaṃ+ vaḍḍhiṃ), 396 (paccekabuddhehi °ṃ kārāpeti makes them find a safeguard through the P.); IV, 31 (osadhaṃ vā °ṃ vā); Miln. 150 (f. & nt.).—Var. parittās in the way of Suttantas are mentioned at Vism. 414 (Khandha°; Dhajagga°: S. I, 218 sq.; Āṭānāṭiya°: D. III, 195 sq.; Mora°: J. II, 33). Cf. Dialogues III, 185.

2) Paritta, 1 (adj.) (BSk. parītta, pari+pp. of in short form *tta, like ātta for ādatta. The development of meaning however causes difficulties, paridatta meaning given up, transmitted, cp. Divy 388, whereas P. paritta means trifling. The BSk. form parītta (e.g. Divy 204, 498, 504; AvŚ I. 329; II, 137) may be a re-translation of P. paritta, which may correspond to Sk, prarikta, pp. of pra+ric, meaning “that which is exceeded, ” i.e. left (over or behind)) small, little, inferior, insignificant, limited, of no account, trifling Vin. I, 270; D. I, 45; M. III, 148 (°ābha of limited splendour, opp. Appamāṇ’‹-› ābha); S. II, 98; IV, 160 (opp. adhimatta); A. IV, 241; V, 63; It. 71; Sn. 61, 390 (°pañña of inferior wisdom, cp. Nd2 415), 1097 (id.); J. I, 221; Dhs. 181, 584, 1018, 1034 (cp. Dhs. trsl. 265, 269); DA. I, 119; KhA 133 (°dīpā the 2, 000 inferior islands), 176 (500 do.); PvA. 198; Sdhp. 251, 261. Synonyms: appaka, omaka, lāmaka, dukkha Nd2 414; catukka Nd2 415 (opp. mahā); appaka PvA. 48, 60; appama taka PvA. 262; ittara PvA. 60; oma SnA 347; oraka SnA 489; lāmaka SnA 347. (Page 426)

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.

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Sanskrit dictionary

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

Paritta (परित्त).—adj. (= Pali id., = parītta, q.v.), small: Lalitavistara 20.16 (so Lefm. with all mss.); Kāśyapa Parivarta 78.5, 7 (read parittaṃ for text pariktaṃ or, with dittography, pari- ktaktaṃ; separate from the preceding word, see abhy- antarita; Tibetan chuṅ ba, little).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Parītta (परीत्त).—[adjective] given up, delivered.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Parītta (परीत्त):—[=parī-tta] [from pari-dā] 1a (for 2. See p. 605, col. 1) mfn. ([Pāṇini 6-3, 124]) given away, given up, delivered up to ([locative case]), [Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā; Mahābhārata]

2) [=parī-tta] [from parī] 1b mfn. See pari-dā (p. 595)

3) [v.s. ...] 2. parī-tta mfn. (√do; cf. [Pāṇini 6-3, 124]) cut round, circumscribed, limited, [Buddhist literature]

4) [=parī-tta] a 1. 2. parī-tta. See under pari-dā and 1. parī.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Paritta (परित्त) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Paridiṇṇa.

[Sanskrit to German]

Paritta in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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Prakrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary

1) Paritta (परित्त) in the Prakrit language is related to the Sanskrit word: Parīta.

2) Parittā (परित्ता) also relates to the Sanskrit word: Paritrai.

2) Parittā has the following synonyms: Parittāa.

context information

Prakrit is an ancient language closely associated with both Pali and Sanskrit. Jain literature is often composed in this language or sub-dialects, such as the Agamas and their commentaries which are written in Ardhamagadhi and Maharashtri Prakrit. The earliest extant texts can be dated to as early as the 4th century BCE although core portions might be older.

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