Pudgala; 6 Definition(s)


Pudgala means something in Buddhism, Pali, Jainism, Prakrit, 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

General definition (in Buddhism)

Pudgala (पुद्गल) or Aṣṭapudgala refers to the “eight persons” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 102):

  1. srota-āpanna-phala-pratipannaka (the one on the path to the fruit of stream-entry),
  2. srota-āpanna (the stream-enterer),
  3. sakṛdāgāmi-phala-pratipannaka (the one on the path to the fruit of once-returning),
  4. sakṛdāgāmi (the once-returner),
  5. anāgāmi-phala-pratipannaka (the one on the path to the fruit of non-returning),
  6. anāgāmi (the non-returner),
  7. arhat-phala-pratipannaka (the one on the path to the fruit of worthiness),
  8. arhat (and the worthy one).

The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., pudgala). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

1. Pudgala [puggala] an individual, self. Pudgala stands for an individual entity as opposed to a group. It signifies a sentient being who is a mere combination of material as well as mental processes. According to one etymology, human beings are called pudgala-s because they have to undergo afflictions in hell due to their evil actions. [Pun ti vuccati nirayo tasmin galantīti puggalā.]

2. A person, in the everyday sense of an individual.

3. The concept of personhood, particularly in the philosophical sense of an enduring self similar to (but not quite the same as) the eternal soul (ātman), which Buddhism denies.See pudgala-vāda.

(Source): Buddhist Door: Glossary

Pudgala is the essential factor that unifies a person's life processes, It appropriates and sustains a body for a certain amount of time, and constitutes the same person from conception to death, and then extends through other lives.

The pudgala is like a single person wearing different outfits. It is the pudgala that constitutes the person who carries a certain name, lives a certain time, suffers or enjoys the consequences of its acts.

(Source): Scribd: The Literature of the Pudgalavadins

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

1. In Buddhism, Pudgala means the entity that reincarnates as an individual or person, i.e., the bundle of tendencies that keeps an individual reincarnating until they attain enlightenment.

2. In Jainism, Pudgala (or Pudgalāstikāya) is one of the six Dravyas, or aspects of reality that fabricate the world we live in.

The six dravyas include the jiva and the fivefold divisions of ajiva (non-living) category:

  1. dharma (motion),
  2. adharma (rest),
  3. akasha (space),
  4. pudgala (matter)
  5. and kala (time).

Pudgala, like other dravyas except kala is called astikaya in the sense that it occupies space.

(Source): WikiPedia: Jainism

Pudgala (पुद्गल, “matter”) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 5.5.—Things which have form (rūpī) constitute matter (pudgala). Why matter is called pudgala? Pud means combine and gala means to separate. The main attribute of matter is its ability to combine and separate (fusion and fission) to form clusters. Matter (pudgala) is with form (mūrtika or rūpī). How do we know it? Existence and activities of matter in the universe are perceptible by sense organs. Hence it is called with form or just concrete.

According to Tattvārthasūtra 5.10, what is matter (pudgala)? An entity which has fusion and fission (combining and separating) as its primary attributes and which is concrete is called matter. What are the popular attributes of matter? Touch, taste, smell and colour are the popular attributes of mater.

According to Tattvārthasūtra 5.23.—“The forms of matter (pudgala) are characterized by touch (sparśa), taste (rasa), smell (gandha) and colour (varṇa)”. What is the meaning of matter (pudgala) substance? An entity which has touch, taste, smell and form /colour as its attributes is called matter.

According to Tattvārthasūtra 5.25.—How many types of matter (pudgala) are there? They are of two types namely sub-atom (paramāṇu) and aggregate /molecule (skandha). What is the meaning of a sub-atom? The smallest indivisible part with one space point is its volume is called sub-atom. What is the meaning of aggregate /molecule (skandha)? An entity formed by combining two, three or more sub-atoms is called an aggregate.

What is the difference between a sub-atom (paramāṇu) and an aggregate/molecule (skandha)? They are both matter. Sub-atoms are characterized by touch, taste, smell and colour. Molecules on the other hand are characterized by modes of matter such as sound (śabda), union (bandha), fineness (sukṣmapanā), grossness (sthūlapanā), shape (saṃsthāna), divisions (bheda), darkness (andhakāra), shadow (chāyā), warm light (ātapa), cool light (udyota).

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 5: The category of the non-living
General definition book cover
context information

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.

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Pudgala (पुद्गल).—a. Beautiful, lovely, handsome.

-laḥ 1 Atom (paramāṇuḥ) पुद्गलाः परमाणवः (pudgalāḥ paramāṇavaḥ) Śrīdhara.

2) The body, matter; A. Rām.3.2.28.

3) The soul.

4) The Ego or individual.

5) Man.

6) An epithet of Śiva.

(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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