Samsara, Sansara, Sansāra, Sangsara, Samsāra, Saṃsāra, Samshara: 24 definitions



Samsara means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi, Hindi. 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Sansar.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Saṃsāra (संसार).—One in the line of Gurus. (See under Guruparaṃpara).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Saṃsāra (संसार).—Compared to an ocean; the evils of family life as explained by the king of mountains; the necessity of children, the difficulty and anxiety in procuring good husbands for daughters, etc;1 the duhham of, explained.2

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 55. 27; 154. 145-174; Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 195-204.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa VI. 5. 10-56.

1b) (tāmasa) of six kinds—man, animal (paśu), beast (mṛga), bird (pakṣi), snake (sarīsṛpu) and vegetation (sthāvara); sātvikam: Brahmā and others; rājasam—the intervening viṣṭambhaka among the 14 sthānas.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 14. 35-41; 100. 203.
Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Samsara (संसार): Means wandering, The tree worlds constitute Samsara. Refers to the concept of reincarnation or rebirth in Indian philosophical traditions.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist TermsTransmigration; the round of death and rebirth. See vatta.Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

Samsāra (“round of rebirth”), lit. “perpetual wandering”, is a name by which is designated the sea of life ever restlessly heaving up and down, the symbol of this continuous process of ever again and again being born, growing old, suffering and dying. More precisely put, samsāra is the unbroken chain of the five-fold khandha-combinations, which, constantly changing from moment to moment follow continuously one upon the other through inconceivable periods of time.

Of this samsāra, a single lifetime constitutes only a tiny and fleeting fraction; hence to be able to comprehend the first noble truth of universal suffering, one must let one's gaze rest upon the samsāra, upon this frightful chain of rebirths, and not merely upon one single life-time, which, of course, may be sometimes less painful.

Cf. tilakkhana, anattā, paramattha, patisandhi.

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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General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Buddhism

Saṃsāra (संसार, “continuous movement”) or “continuous flowing”.—Saṃsāra means the concept of a cycle of birth (jāti). All beings in the universe apply to its rules, and can only be escaped through enlightenment. According to Buddha there is no starting/ending point of Saṃsāra, just like a circle.

Source: Buddhist Door: GlossarySanskrit word meaning turning of the wheel or revolving. It refers to the transmigration in the Six Directions of Reincarnation, the realm of birth and death.Source: Amaravati: Glossary

(sang sah ra)the unenlightened, unsatisfactory experience of life; the world as conditioned by ignorance.

Source: Shambala Publications: General

1. Samsāra (samsāra), Skt., lit., “journeying”; the “cycle of existences,” a succession of re­births that a being goes through within the vari­ous modes of existence until it has at­tained liberation and entered nirvāna. Imprisonment in samsāra is conditioned by the three “unwholesome roots” : hatred (dvesha), desire or craving (trishnā), and delusion (avidyā). The type of rebirth within samsāra is determined by the karma of the being. In the Mahāyāna, samsāra refers to the phenomenal world and is considered to be es­sentially identical with nirvāna.

2. Samsara (Skt.) is cyclic existence, in which—owing to the corrupting influence of the mental delusions of hatred, desire, and ignorance—sentient creatures are compelled to wander from one life form to another without respite until they meet up with the spiritual path.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

Saṃsāra (संसार) refers to “worldly existence”, according to chapter 4.5 [dharmanātha-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra (“lives of the 63 illustrious persons”): a Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three important persons in Jainism.

Accordingly, as Dharma-nātha said in his sermon on the kaṣāyas:—“[...] This very soul, consisting of pure thought, has a body from union with karma, but may become perfect soul, spotless, having its karma consumed by the fire of meditation. This same soul, overcome by passions and the senses is saṃsāra (worldly existence); and wise men call the very same, when it overcomes the passions and senses, mokṣa (emancipation)”.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 2: the Category of the living

Saṃsāra (संसार).—What is the meaning of saṃsāra (transmigration)? The entity in which transmigration takes place. It can also be called as change /transmigration. (see Tattvārthasūtra 2.10)

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.

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India history and geography

Source: Project Gutenberg: Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Volume 1

Samsara (“family”) is one of the gotras (clans) among the Kurnis (a tribe of South India). Kurni is, according to the Census Report 1901, “a corruption of kuri (sheep) and vanni (wool), the caste having been originally weavers of wool”. The gotras (viz., Samsara) are described as being of the Brāhman, Kshatriya, and Vaisya sub-divisions of the caste, and of Shanmukha’s Sudra caste.

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

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

saṃsāra : (m.) faring on; transmigration.

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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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

saṃsāra (संसार).—m (S) The world, mundane existence, human life, man's mortal state. 2 The affairs of life; worldly business; the vocations and engagements, the cares and troubles of secularity. saṃ0 vṛthā jāṇēṃ g. of s. To have one's worldly affairs or secular standing ruined or marred; to lose one's life Ex. tukayācī jyēṣṭha kāntā || mēlī anna anna karitāṃ || yēṇēṃ lajjā vāṭē cittā || saṃ0 vṛthā gēlā kīṃ ||. saṃ0 hākaṇēṃ To manage the worldly affairs. saṃsā- rācī mātrā karaṇēṃ To blast the affairs, hopes, and prospects of, to ruin.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

saṃsāra (संसार).—n The world; the affairs of life. saṃsāra hākaṇēṃ Manage the worldly affairs. saṃsārācī mātrā karaṇēṃ To ruin.

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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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Saṃsāra (संसार).—

1) Course, passage.

2) The course or circuit of worldly life, secular life, mundance existence, the world; न स तत् पदमाप्नोति संसारं चाधिगन्छति (na sa tat padamāpnoti saṃsāraṃ cādhiganchati) Kath. 3.7; असासः संसारः (asāsaḥ saṃsāraḥ) U.1; Māl.5.3; संसारधन्वभुवि किं सारमामृशसि शंसाधुना शुभमते (saṃsāradhanvabhuvi kiṃ sāramāmṛśasi śaṃsādhunā śubhamate) Aśvad.22; or परिवर्तिनि संसारे मृतः को वा न जायते (parivartini saṃsāre mṛtaḥ ko vā na jāyate) Pt.1.27.

3) Transmigration, metempsychosis, succession of births.

4) Worldly illusion.

5) The state (future) of life (gati); येन यस्तु गुणेनैषां संसारान् प्रतिपद्यते (yena yastu guṇenaiṣāṃ saṃsārān pratipadyate) Ms.12.39.

Derivable forms: saṃsāraḥ (संसारः).

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

Saṃsāra (संसार).—name of a householder's son of Śrāvastī: Avadāna-śataka ii.161.13 ff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Saṃsāra (संसार).—m.

(-raḥ) 1. The world, the habitation of mortals. 2. Mundane existence. 3. A succession of births or existences. 4. Transmigration, metempsychosis. 5. Wordly illusion. 6. Secular life. 7. Course, passage. E. sam together, (mankind,) sṛ to go, aff. ghañ .

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

Saṃsāra (संसार).—i. e. sam-sṛ + a, m. 1. Transmigration, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 12, 40. 2. Mundane existence, [Pañcatantra] 165, 17. 3. The world, [Hitopadeśa] pr. [distich] 14, M. M.

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

Saṃśara (संशर).—[masculine] breaking down, tearing asunder.

--- OR ---

Saṃsāra (संसार).—[masculine] wandering, [especially] from one existence into another, metempsychosis, transmigration, the cycle of existence; life i.[grammar]

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

1) Saṃśara (संशर):—[=saṃ-śara] a saṃ-śāruka See saṃ√sṝ, p.1118col.1.

2) [=saṃ-śara] [from saṃ-śṝ] b m. crushing, breaking, rending, [Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā; Taittirīya-brāhmaṇa]

3) Saṃsāra (संसार):—[=saṃ-sāra] a etc. See saṃ-√sṛ below.

4) [=saṃ-sāra] [from saṃ-sṛ] b m. going or wandering through, undergoing transmigration, [Maitrī-upaniṣad]

5) [v.s. ...] course, passage, passing through a succession of states, circuit of mundane existence, transmigration, metempsychosis, the world, secular life, worldly illusion (ā saṃsārāt, ‘from the beginning of the world’), [Upaniṣad; Manu-smṛti; Mahābhārata] etc.

6) [v.s. ...] [wrong reading] for saṃ-cāra, [Bhartṛhari]

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

Saṃsāra (संसार):—[saṃ-sāra] (raḥ) 1. m. The world; mundane existence.

[Sanskrit to German] (Deutsch Wörterbuch)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Böhtlingk and Roth Grosses Petersburger Wörterbuch

Saṃśara (संशर):—(von 1. śar mit sam) m. das Zusammenbrechen [Vājasaneyisaṃhitā 30, 17.] das Zerreissen: stomānām [Taittirīyabrāhmaṇa 1, 8, 7, 1.]

--- OR ---

Saṃsāra (संसार):—(von sar mit sam)

1) adj. wandernd, Wiedergeburten erfahrend: citta [MAITRYUP. 6, 34.] man könnte aber auch saṃsāre st. saṃsāraṃ vermuthen. —

2) m. a) das Hindurchgehen: asūcīsaṃsāre tamasi [Spr. (II) 785, v. l.] (für saṃcāre). — b) die Wanderung aus einem Leben in ein anderes, das sich stets wiederholende Dasein, Kreislauf des Lebens, das (sich immer wieder erneuernde) Leben mit allen seinen Leiden [Trikāṇḍaśeṣa 1,1, 133.] [Hemacandra’s Anekārthasaṃgraha 4, 91.] [Medinīkoṣa ṇ. 111.] [Halāyudha 5, 20.] ta ime mithyājñānādayo duḥkhāntā avicchedena pravartamānāḥ śabdārtho ghaṭīcakravanniravadhiranuvartate [SARVADARŚANAS. 115, 20. fg.] vairāgyātprakṛtilayaḥ saṃsāro bhavati rājasādrāgāt [SĀṂKHYAK. 45.] yatra yatra bhavettṛṣṇā saṃsāraṃ viddhi tatra vai [AṢṬĀV. 10, 3.] mokṣasthitibandhahetu [ŚVETĀŚV. Upakośā 6, 16.] saṃsāreṣu vicitreṣu pacyamānāḥ [Mahābhārata 3, 12627.] [Spr. (II) 4793.] saṃsāramadhigacchati [Kaṭhopaniṣad 3, 7.] pratipadyate [Manu’s Gesetzbuch 6, 74.] [Yājñavalkya’s Gesetzbuch 3, 140.] saṃsārānpratipadyate [Manu’s Gesetzbuch 12, 39. 54.] pāpāṃsaṃyānti saṃsārān 52. sajīva iha saṃsārāṃstrīnāpnoti [Mahābhārata 13, 5450.] sa ugrānpraiti saṃsārān [5452.] pāpāṃsaṃsṛtya saṃsārān [Manu’s Gesetzbuch 12, 70.] gamana [1, 117.] saṃsārānmucyate [NṚS. TĀP. Upakośā] in [Weber’s Indische Studien 9, 83.] saṃsārādabibhayuḥ 88. saṃsāraṃ hātum [AṢṬĀV. 16, 9.] tīrṇaḥ [Raghuvaṃśa 12, 60.] bhramati saṃsāre [Spr. 5357.] na saṃsārātparo ripuḥ [(II) 3452.] sarvasya saṃsārasya duḥkhātmakatvam [SARVADARŚANAS. 13, 20.] [WASSILJEW 12 u.s.w.] asmintsaṃsāre [MAITRYUP. 1, 4.] evaṃ patati saṃsāre tāsu tāsviha yoniṣu [Mahābhārata 3, 117.] [Varāhamihira’s Bṛhajjātaka S. 105, 13.] [Spr. 3265. (II) 4559. 5961. 6459.] saṃsāre kiṃ sāram [?6639. fg. Kathāsaritsāgara 30, 63. 40, 30. Rājataraṅgiṇī 4, 68. Vetālapañcaviṃśati in Lassen’s Anthologie (III) 16, 15.] cakrākāra [Kathāsaritsāgara 70, 118.] cakravadgati [Spr. (II) 293.] parivartin [6681.] mṛgatṛṣṇāsama [2318, v. l.] kadalīstambhaniḥsāra [4823, v. l.] asāra [4464] (und virasa). [6641. fg.] [Rājataraṅgiṇī 2, 113.] [Pañcatantra 33, 12. 165, 17.] gatasāra [Spr. (II) 2067.] parivartana [Mahābhārata 12, 7755.] bandhanāni [Mārkāṇḍeyapurāṇa 16, 8.] bīja [SARVADARŚANAS. 40, 3.] [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 7, 10, 3.] hetūparama [2, 2, 6.] duḥkha [3, 5, 38.] paritāpa [5, 6, 18.] pariśrama [8, 24, 46.] śrāntacitta [Spr. (II) 6637.] saṃsārārtibhayāpaha [WEBER, KṚṢṆAJ. 291.] sukha [Caurapañcāśikā] Comm. Einl. sāra [Dhūrtasamāgama 88, 1.] sāracakra [Oxforder Handschriften 120,a,39.] tyaktasaṃsārasaṅga [Spr. (II) 3085.] saṃsārānte [2004.] ā saṃsārāt so v. a. vom Anfang der Welt (vgl. āsaṃsāram) [Kathāsaritsāgara 32, 167.] janmasaṃsārabandhana die Fessel der Geburt und des weltlichen Daseins [Mahābhārata 13, 6938.] mit mṛtyu verbunden [Bhagavadgītā 9, 3. 12, 7.] kārin [Oxforder Handschriften 150,a,6.] poṣaka [AṢṬĀV. 18, 38.] hṛt [Spr. (II) 6638.] vairi (vairin?) [PAÑCAR. 4, 1, 29.] varjita [SARVADARŚANAS. 69, 20.] vāsanā (vgl. [AṢṬĀV. 9, 8]) [PAÑCAR. 1, 9, 10. 15, 19.] [Gītagovinda 3, 1.] vartman [Spr. (II) 2847.] [Kathāsaritsāgara 28, 182.] [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 4, 25, 6.] padavī [3, 27, 3.] saraṇi [Spr. (II) 127.] cakra [MAITRYUP. 6, 28] (sañcāra der Text, vgl. aber Comm.). [Mahābhārata 13, 5434.] [Weber’s Indische Studien 2, 49.] [Kathāsaritsāgara 70, 107.] [Oxforder Handschriften 60], b, [40.] [Prabodhacandrodaja 69, 15.] [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 6, 11, 27. 17, 18. 7, 9, 16. 21.] maṇḍala [] zu [Bṛhadāranyakopaniṣad] [S. 26.] kārāgṛha [Spr. (II) 2578.] sāgara [WEBER, KṚṢṆAJ. 295.] [PAÑCAR. 2, 4, 16.] [Pañcatantra 33, 21.] samudra 15. saṃsārodadhi [Spr. (II) 6643.] saṃsārābdhi [PAÑCAR. 3, 12, 20.] saṃsārārṇava [1, 5.] [Spr. (II) 1269.] kūpa [Bhāgavatapurāṇa.7,15,46.] [Oxforder Handschriften.5,b,35.] vana [Spr. (II) 6643, v. l.] kānana [6895.] kāntāra [AṢṬĀV. 10, 7.] vṛkṣa [Weber’s Indische Studien.2,214.] [Oxforder Handschriften 83,a,2.] viṣavṛkṣa [Spr. (II) 6636.] taru [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 3, 25, 11.] viṭapāṅkura [AṢṬĀV. 16, 7.] bāhīka [4, 1.] saṃsārāṅgāra [SARVADARŚANAS. 154, 15.] saṃsārānala [Vedānta lecture No. 19.] putradārādi, śāstra so v. a. Erbärmlichkeit, Armseligkeit [Spr. (II) 4107.] — Vgl. āsaṃsāram, bhūtasaṃsāra, saṃsaraṇa und saṃsṛti .

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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 (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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Hindi dictionary

[«previous next»] — Samsara in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Saṃsāra (संसार) [Also spelled sansar]:—(nm) the world; -[cakra] circuit of worldly existence; -[baṃdhana] the worldly fetters; —[sāgara] the ocean of the world; —[choḍanā/tyāganā] to renounce the world; to depart for the other world; —[se uṭha jānā/cale jānā/vidā honā] to expire.

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