Ratana Sutta; 2 Definition(s)


Ratana Sutta means something in Buddhism, Pali. 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)

Ratana Sutta in Theravada glossary... « previous · [R] · next »

1. Ratana Sutta

One of the suttas of the Khuddakapatha. It is also included in the Sutta Nipata (vss. 222 38); see also Gangarohana Sutta. It was preached at Vesali, on the occasion of the Buddhas visit there at the invitation of the Licchavis, who begged him to rid the city of the various dangers which had fallen upon it. According to the Commentaries (SNA.i.278ff.; DhA.iii.436ff.; KhpA.164f), the Buddha first taught the sutta to Ananda and asked him to go round the city, accompanied by the Licchavi princes, reciting the sutta and sprinkling water from the Buddhas bowl. Immediately all the evil spirits fled from the city and the people recovered from their diseases. They then gathered at the Mote hall with various offerings and thither they conducted the Buddha. In the assembly were present not only all the inhabitants of Vesali, but also the devas of two deva worlds, with Sakka at their head. The Buddha preached the Ratana Sutta to this great crowd. Another account, quoted by Buddhaghosa (DhA.iii.165), says that in the assembly the Buddha preached only the first five stanzas, the rest having been earlier recited by Ananda. Because this sutta was first preached to ward off the evil from Vesali, it became the most famous of Buddhist Ward runes (Paritta)

The sutta consists of seventeen verses: the first two contain a request to the devas to receive the homage and offerings of men and protect them in their danger; then follow twelve verses, descriptive of the virtues of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. It ends with three verses purporting (DhA.iii.195) to have been spoken by Sakka on behalf of all the devas, expressing their adoration of the Buddha, his Dhamma and his Sangha. It is also said (DhA.iii.196) that during this visit the Buddha stayed at Vesali for two weeks, preaching the sutta on seven consecutive days; on each day eighty four thousand beings realized the Truth. The Sutta seems also to have been known as the Gangarohana Sutta (Cv.xxxvii.191). When Ceylon was troubled by famine and plague in the reign of Upatissa II., the king had the sutta preached by monks while walking in the streets of the city. All troubles vanished, and he decreed that his successors should do likewise in times of need(Cv.xxxvii.195f). Sena II. had the whole sutta inscribed on a golden plate and held a great festival in its honour (Cv.li.79).

The sutta is given in the Mahavastu (i.290ff), where it is described as Svastyanagatha.

2. Ratana Sutta

The Digha Commentary (DA.i.250) refers the reader to a Ratana Sutta of the Bojjhanga Samyutta for details of the seven gems of a Cakkavatti. The reference is evidently to the Chakkavatti Sutta (q.v.). S.v.98.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Ratana Sutta in Pali glossary... « previous · [R] · next »

1) Ratana, 2 (most likely=Sk. aratni: see ratani) a linear measure (which Abhp p. 23 gives as equal to 12 aṅgula, or 7 ratanas=1 yaṭṭhi: see Kirfel, Kosmographie, p. 335. The same is given by Bdhgh. at VbhA. 343: dve vidatthiyo ratanaṃ; satta r. yaṭṭhi) J. V, 36 (vīsaṃr-sataṃ); VI, 401 (°mattaṃ); VvA. 321 (so given by Hardy in Index as “measure of length, ” but to be taken as ratana1, as indicated clearly by context & C.); Miln. 282 (satta-patiṭṭhito aṭṭha-ratan’ubbedho nava-ratan’āyāma-pariṇāho pāsādiko dassanīyo Uposatho nāgarājā: alluding to ratana1 2!). (Page 563)

2) Ratana, 1 (nt.) (cp. Vedic ratna, gift; the BSk. form is ratna (Divy 26) as well as ratana (AvŚ II. 199)) 1. (lit.) a gem, jewel VvA. 321 (not=ratana2, as Hardy in Index); PvA. 53 (nānāvidhāni).—The 7 ratanas are enumd under veḷuriya (Miln. 267). They are (the precious minerals) suvaṇṇa, rajata, muttā, maṇi, veḷuriya, vajira, pavāḷa. (So at Abhp 490.) These 7 are said to be used in the outfit of a ship to give it more splendour: J. II, 112. The 7 (unspecified) are mentioned at Th. 2, 487 (satta ratanāni vasseyya vuṭṭhimā “all seven kinds of gems”); and at DhA. I, 274, where it is said of a ratana-maṇḍapa that in it there were raised flags “sattaratana-mayā. ” On ratana in similes see J. P. T. S. 1909, 127.—2. (fig.) treasure, gem of (-°) Sn. 836 (etādisaṃ r. =dibb’itthi-ratana SnA 544); Miln. 262 (dussa° a very fine garment).—Usually as a set of 7 valuables, belonging to the throne (the empire) of a (world-) king. Thus at D. II, 16 sq.; of Mahā-Sudassana D. II, 172 sq. They are enumd singly as follows: the wheel (cakka) D. II, 172 sq. , the elephant (hatthi, called Uposatha) D. II, 174, 187, 197; the horse (assa, Valāhaka) ibid.; the gem (maṇi) D. II, 175, 187; the woman (itthi) ibid.; the treasurer (gahapati) D. II, 176, 188; the adviser (pariṇāyaka) ibid. The same 7 are enumd at D. I, 89; Sn. p. 106; DA. I, 250; also at J. IV, 232, where their origins (homes) are given as: cakka° out of Cakkadaha; hatthi from the Uposatha-race; assa° from the clan of Valāhassarāja, maṇi° from Vepulla, and the last 3 without specification. See also remarks on gahapati. Kern, Toev. s. v. ratana suspects the latter to be originally “major domus” (cp. his attributes as “wealthy” at MVastu I. 108). As to the exact meaning of pariṇāyaka he is doubtful, which mythical tradition has obscured.—The 7 (moral) ratanas at S. II, 217 & III, 83 are probably the same as are given in detail at Miln. 336, viz. the 5: sīla°, samādhi°, paññā°, vimutti°, vimutti-ñāṇadassana (also given under the collective name sīla-kkhandha or dhamma-kkhandha), to which are added the 2: paṭisambhidā° & bojjhaṅga°. These 7 are probably meant at PvA. 66, where it is said that Sakka “endowed their house with the 7 jewels” (sattar. -bharitaṃ katvā).—Very frequent is a Triad of Gems (ratana-ttaya), consisting of Dhamma, Saṅgha, Buddha, or the Doctrine, the Church and the Buddha (cp. BSk. ratna-traya Divy 481), e.g. Mhvs 5, 81; VbhA. 284; VvA. 123; PvA. 1, 49, 141.

—ākara a pearl-mine, a mine of precious metals Th. 1, 1049; J. II, 414; VI, 459; Dpvs. I, 18. —kūṭa a jewelled top DhA. I, 159. —paliveṭhana a wrapper for a gem or jewel Pug. 34. —vara the best of gems Sn. 683 (=vararatana-bhūta SnA 486). —sutta the Suttanta of the (3) Treasures (viz. Dhamma, Saṅgha, Buddha), representing Sutta Nipāta II. 1 (P. T. S. ed. pp. 39—42), mentioned as a parittā at Vism. 414 (with 4 others) and at Miln. 150 (with 5 others), cp. KhA 63; SnA 201. (Page 563)

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.

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