Sakyamuni, aka: Shakyamuni, Śākyamuni, Shakya-muni; 10 Definition(s)

Introduction

Sakyamuni 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.

The Sanskrit term Śākyamuni can be transliterated into English as Sakyamuni or Shakyamuni, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

"Sage of the Sakyans"; an epithet for the Buddha.(Source): Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

An epithet of the Buddha. See Bu.xxvi.9; Mil. 115.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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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).

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Śākyamuni (शाक्यमुनि) is the name of both the first as well as the present Buddha, according to the Vibhāṣā and the Kośa mentioned in the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter VI). Accordingly, “In one of his earlier lives, the present Buddha Śākyamuni was a potter (kumbhakāra) called Prabhāsa. At that time, there was a Buddha called Śākyamuni; his disciples were called Śāriputra, Maudalyāyana and Ānanda”.

Note: According to the Vibhāṣā and the Kośa, the ancient Śākyamuni was the first Buddha whom the present Śākyamuni venerated. At that time, the latter was a potter named Prabhāsa (cf. Kośavyākhyā). The Mahāvastu I, also is aware of a Buddha Śākyamuni who lived an infinite number of numberless kalpas ago, also from Kapilavastu, and who received the generosity of the present Śākyamuni, then a merchant (śreṣṭhin).

According to chapter LII, “Śākyamuni who appeared in an impure land and at a bad age, increased his preaching but did not always convince his auditors. The inhabitants of Magadha criticized him and his cousin Devadatta accused him of charlatanism”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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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.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Śākyamuni (शाक्यमुनि):—One of the Thirty-five buddhas of confession, according to the Trīskhandhadharmasūtra (‘Sutra of the Three Heaps’), which is a Mahāyāna sūtra. The sūtra describes the practice of purifying the transgressions of vows (especially the Bodhisattva-vows), by making prostrations to these Buddhas. In the Tibetan language (Wyl.), he is known as: sangs rgyas shAkya thub pa. His name means “the perfect buddha”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Buddhism

Śākyamuni (शाक्यमुनि) refers to the last of the “seven Buddhas” (saptatathāgata) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 6). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., saptatathāgata and Śākyamuni). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgrahaSakayamuni in Sanskrit, Shakyamuni in Pali. The founder of Buddhism. He was born as the Prince of Sakyans, and was called Siddhartha Goutama. At the age of 35, he attained the supreme Enlightenment and became the Buddha and was the called Shakyamuni. The word means "capability and kindness".(Source): Buddhist Door: GlossaryShakyamuni (Chinese: Shih chia; Japanese: Shaka), the Historical Buddha, was born in the 6th century B.C. in Lumbini (present day Nepal), achieved enlightenment at the age of thirty five, and spent the remaining forty five years of his life preaching his doctrine of salvation to others.(Source): The Art of Asia: Who is Who in Heaven

Shākyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha, is not the first and only buddha. Already in the early Hīnayāna texts, six buddhas who preceded him in earlier epochs are mentioned: Vipashyin (Pali, Vipassi), Shikin (Sikhī), Vishvabhū (Vessabhū), Krakuchchanda (Kakusandha), Konagamana, and Kashyapa (Kassapa). The buddha who will follow Shākyamuni in a future age and renew the dharma is Maitreya. Be­yond these, one finds indications in the litera­ture of thirteen further buddhas, of which the most important is Dīpamkara, whose disci­ple Shākyamuni was in his previous existence as the ascetic Sumedha. The stories of these leg­endary buddhas are contained in the Buddhavamsa, a work from the Khuddaka­nikāya.

(Source): Shambala Publications: General

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

sakyamuni : (m.) the noble sage of the Sakyans.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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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

Śākyamuni (शाक्यमुनि).—epithets of Buddha.

Derivable forms: śākyamuniḥ (शाक्यमुनिः).

Śākyamuni is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms śākya and muni (मुनि). See also (synonyms): śākyasiṃha.

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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.

Relevant definitions

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Shakya
Śakya (शक्य).—The substratum of potentiality which forms the object pointed out by means of the...
Muni
1) Muni (मुनि).—The mother of the Yakṣas. It is stated that Kaśyapaprajāpati begot of his wife ...
Mahamuni
Mahāmuni (महामुनि).—1) a great sage. 2) Name of Vyāsa. 3) an epithet of Buddha. 4) of Agastya. ...
Shakyartha
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Shakyasimha
Śākyasiṃha (शाक्यसिंह).—epithets of Buddha. Derivable forms: śākyasiṃhaḥ (शाक्यसिंहः).Śākyasiṃh...
Munitraya
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Saṭṭaimuni is also known as Kambaḷi Saṭṭaimuni and Kailāya Kambaḷi Saṭṭaimuni is a peculiar Sid...
Macchamuni
Matśyendranātha is glorified as the second Guru of the Nāth tradition and also the Guru of Gora...
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Muni, (cp. Vedic muni, originally one who has made the vow of silence. Cp. Chh. Up. VIII, 5, 2;...
Munivritti
Munivṛtti (मुनिवृत्ति).—a. leading an ascetic life; वार्द्धके मुनि- वृत्तीनाम् (vārddhake muni-...
Munyindra
Munyindra (मुन्यिन्द्र).—1) 'the lord of the sages', a great sage. 2) an epithet of Śākyamuni. ...
Munyisha
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Devamuni
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Shakyasamantata
Śakyasāmantatā (शक्यसामन्तता).—the state of being able to conquer the neighbouring kings.Śakyas...

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