Samgha, aka: Saṃgha, Sangha, Saṅgha, Saṅghā; 18 Definition(s)


Samgha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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.

In Hinduism

Dharmashastra (religious law)

Saṅgha (सङ्घ) refers to a ‘confederation’, composed of several persons following one ‘dharma,’ living in different places. The word is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti. (See the Manubhāṣya, verse 8.219)

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

On the conventional (sammati) level, this term denotes the communities of Buddhist monks and nuns; on the ideal (ariya) level, it denotes those followers of the Buddha, lay or ordained, who have attained at least stream entry (see sotapanna), the first of the transcendent paths (see magga) culminating in nibbana. Recently, particularly in the West, the term "sangha" has been popularly adapted to mean the wider sense of "community of followers on the Buddhist path," although this usage finds no basis in the Pali canon. The term "parisa" may be more appropriate for this much broader meaning.(Source): Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

1. Sangha. An astrologer (samvacckarikanayaka) who predicted the destiny of Kitti (afterwards Vijayabahu I.). It was this prediction which made Buddharaja support Kitti. Cv.lvii.48.

2. Sangha. Father of Suranimmila; he was the father of seven sons and lived in Khandavitthika. Mhv.xxiii.19.

3. Sangha. An upasaka who will wait on Metteyya Buddha (Anagat. vs. 61) and be his chief lay patron. Ibid., 98.

4. Sangha. A minister of Dutthagamani. He gave alms, in circumstances that won applause from the deity of the kings parasol, to Mahanaga Thera of Kotagallapabbata, to a monk of Timbarugama, and to another of Devagirivihara and Cetiyapabbata. The king sent for him and made him Treasurer. It is probably this same Sangha that is mentioned in the Extended Mahavamsa (xxxii.246) as destined to become the chief patron of Matteyya Budda. His wife was Sanghadatta (q.v.). Ras.ii.75f, 180.

5. Sangha. A minister of Kakavannatissa; his brother was Cullasangha and his daughter Kincisangha. When the latter was taught cooking, the first meal she made was given to the monks. Thus she came to be called Sanghupatthayika. Later, she was abandoned by her parents at Nigrodhasalakhanda, but she was rescued by Sakka in the guise of a youth. She gave alms to a monk of Cittalapabbata when she had been starving for seven days, and also gave her only garment, herself wearing leaves. The king heard of this from the deity of his parasol, and, having sent for her, gave her in marriage to one of his sons. Ras.ii.45f.

Sangha Sutta. The Buddha tells Upali of ten things which disunite the Order and their ten opposites which unite it. A.v.73.

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1. Sangha Theri. She belonged to Prince Siddhatthas court, and having joined the Order with Pajapati Gotami, became an arahant. Thig. vs. 18; ThigA.24.

2. Sangha. Daughter of Mahanama and step sister of Sotthisena. She killed Sotthisena and gave the kingdom to her husband, who was his umbrella bearer, but he died within a year. Cv.xxxviii.1f.

3. Sangha. Wife of King Manavamma. She was the daughter of the Malayaraja Sanghasena. Cv.xlvii.3, 8.

4. Sangha. Daughter of Aggabodhi VI. and wife of Aggabodhi VII. Her husband once struck her in anger, and, when she complained to her father, he sent her to a nunnery. There her maternal cousin, also called Aggabodhi, became friendly with her and ran away with her to Rohana. But her husband made war on him and seized both him and Sangha. After that husband and wife lived in peace. Cv.x1viii.54ff.

5. Sangha. Mahesi of Sena I. She and her husband built the Pubbarama and the Sanghasenarama in the Mahavihara. Sangha also built the Uttara vihara and the Mahindasena parivena. Cv.l.7, 69, 79.

6. Sangha. Daughter of Kittaggabodhi and Deva and wife of Sena II. She had a son (Kassapa V.).(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

M Community of bhikkhus, established by Buddha.

The raison detre of the sangha is to transmit the sasana and to preserve it. To do so, the mode of functioning of this community is entirely ruled by the vinaya that the Perfect one has established. If such wasnt the case, his teaching would have disappeared since quite long. It could have never, twenty five centuries after Buddhas parinibbana, been still brought to the acknowledgement of mankind, neither being practised, nor being realised.

Remark: We most often see this word written as "sangha" instead of "sangha". It is however a mistake. In accordance with the Pali transcribing or transliteration, the combination "san" does not exist, or then we do obtain "sa + ngha", which calls for a different pronunciation (close to "sana").

See also: sangha

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

(lit.: congregation), is the name for the Community of Buddhist monks.

As the third of the Three Gems or Jewels (ti-ratana) and the Three Refuges (ti-sarana), i.e. Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, it applies to the ariya-sangha, the community of the saints, i.e. the 4 Noble Ones (ariya-pugga), the Stream-winner, etc.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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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)

Saṃgha (संघ) refers to an “assembly” according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter VI. Accordingly, “the gathering together of many Bhikṣus in one place is called saṃgha. The Bhikṣus must be gathered together to constitute a saṃgha”.

There are four types of saṃgha:

  1. the assembly having shame (hrīmat),
  2. the shameless saṃgha (āhrīkya),
  3. the assembly of dumb sheep (eḍamūka),
  4. the true saṃgha (bhūta).
(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)

Saṅgha (सङ्घ) or Saṃgha is the third of the “three treasures” (triratna) defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 1). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., triratna and saṅgha). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Saṅgha or Saṅghānusmṛti refers to one of the “six recollections” (anusmṛti) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 54).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgrahaThe Buddhist monastic order. The corporate assembly of at least 3 monks under a chairman, empowered to hear confession, grant absolution and ordain. In general terms, it refers to any community practising the Buddhist Way.(Source): Buddhist Door: Glossary

the community of those who practise the Buddhas Way. More specifically, those who have formally committed themselves to the lifestyle of a mendicant monk or nun.

(Source): Amaravati: Glossary

Sangha (samgha), Skt., lit., “crowd, host”; the Buddhist community. In a narrower sense the sangha consists of monks (bhikshu), nuns (bhikshunī), and novices (shrāmanera). In a wider sense the sangha also includes lay fol­lowers.

(Source): Shambala Publications: General

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Saṃgha (संघ, “congregation”) refers to “attributing faults the congregation of ascetics” and is one of the causes leading to the influx (āsrana) of faith-deluding (darśana-mohanīya) karmas.

Saṃgha is a Sanskrit technical term defined in the Tattvārthasūtra (ancient authorative Jain scripture) from the 2nd century, which contains aphorisms dealing with philosophy and the nature of reality.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Saṅgha (सङ्घ).—The Jain Order is known as the Jain saṅgha. The current Jain saṅgha was re established by Mahāvīra who was the 24th and last tīrthankara of the current time period.

The Jain saṅgha is composed of the following four groups.

  1. sādhus (monks)
  2. sādhvis (nuns)
  3. śrāvakas (male householders)
  4. śrāvikās (female householders)
(Source): Shodhganga: A cultural study on the jain western Indian illustrated manuscripts

1) Saṃgha (संघ).—What is meant by the congregation of ascetics or religious order (saṃgha)? The group of ascetics endowed with right perception-knowledge-conduct is called congregation (saṃgha).

What is meant by finding faults in the congregation (saṃgha-avarṇavāda)? To find faults in the nirgrantha monks, nuns, laity, etc who is a part of congregation (and are detached from their body and worldly possessions and things) and say that they are not the real as prescribed in the scriptures is called finding faults in the congregation.

2) Saṃgha (संघ).—One of the ten types of ‘nursing services’ (vaiyāvrata)? What is meant by ‘the four fold congregation of the monks, nuns, votary men and votary women’ (saṃgha)? Congregation of the four folds /orders namely monks, votary men, votary women and nuns is called saṃgha. Alternatively congregation of ṛṣis, yatis, munis and totally detached from the household (anagāra) is called congregation or holy-gathering.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 6: Influx of karmas
General definition book cover
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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

Pali-English dictionary

saṅgha : (m.) a multitude; an assemblage; the Buddhist clergy.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Saṅgha, (fr. saṃ+hṛ; lit. “comprising. ” The quâsi pop. etym. at VvA. 233 is “diṭṭhi-sīla-sāmaññena saṅghāṭabhāvena saṅgha”) 1. multitude, assemblage Miln. 403 (kāka°); J. I, 52 (sakuṇa°); Sn. 589 (ñāti°); 680 (deva°); D. III, 23 (miga°); Vv 55 (accharā°=samūha VvA. 37). bhikkhu° an assembly of Buddhist priests A. I, 56, etc.; D. I, 1, etc.; S. I, 236; Sum I. 230, 280; Vin. I, 16; II, 147; bhikkhunī° an assembly of nuns S. V, 360; Vin. I, 140; sāvaka° an assembly of disciples A. I, 208; D. II, 93; S. I, 220; PvA. 195, etc.; samaṇa° an assembly of ascetics Sn. 550.—2. the Order, the priesthood, the clergy, the Buddhist church A. I, 68, 123, etc.; D. I, 2, etc.; III, 102, 126, 193, 246; S. IV, 270 sq.; Sn. 227, etc.; J. II, 147, etc.; Dhs. 1004; It. 11, 12, 88; Vin. I, 102, 326; II, 164, etc. ‹-› 3. a larger assemblage, a community A. II, 55=Sv. 400; M. I, 231 (cp. gaṇa).—On the formula Buddha, Dhamma, Sṅngha see dhamma C 2.

—ânussati meditation on the Order (a kammaṭṭhāna) D. III, 250, 280; A. I, 30; J. I, 97. —ārāma a residence for members of the Order J. I, 94; VbhA. 13. —kamma an act or ceremony performed by a chapter of bhikkhus assembled in solemn conclave Vin. I, 123 (cp. I. 53, 143 & expln at S. B. E. XXII. 7); III, 38 sq.; J. I, 341. —gata gone into the saṅgha, joining the community M. I, 469. —thera senior of the congregation Vin. II, 212, 303. —bhatta food given to the community of bhikkhus Vin. I, 58; II, 109, 212. —bhinna schismatic Vin. V, 216. —bheda causing dissension among the Order Vin. I, 150; II, 180 sq.; A. II, 239 sq.; It. 11; Tikp 167, 171; J. VI, 129; VbhA. 425 sq. —bhedaka causing dissension or divisions, schismatic Vin. I, 89, 136, 168; It. 11. —māmaka devoted to the Saṅgha DhA. I, 206. —rāji (=rāji2) dissension in the Order Vin. I, 339; II, 203=VbhA. 428; Vin. IV, 37. (Page 667)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's 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.

Marathi-English dictionary

saṅgha (संघ).—m S An assembly, a multitude; a collection, an assemblage; a number (of things animate or inanimate, but esp. of living beings) gathered together.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

saṅgha (संघ).—m An assembly, multitude; a collec- tion. saṅghaśakti The power of union, the corporate power.

--- OR ---

saṅgha (संघ).—f Junction; joint; a gap.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

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.

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