Samsara, aka: Samsāra, Saṃsāra, Sangsara, Sansara, Sansāra; 17 Definition(s)


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

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Samsara in Purana glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

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

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

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.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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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)

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

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

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

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.

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).

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General definition (in 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: Wisdom Library: BuddhismSanskrit 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: Buddhist Door: Glossary

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

Source: Amaravati: Glossary

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.

Source: Shambala Publications: General

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Samsara in Jainism glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

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)

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

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India history and geogprahy

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.

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

Samsara in Pali glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

saṃsāra : (m.) faring on; transmigration.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
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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.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Samsara in Marathi glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

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 Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

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

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

Saṃsāra (संसार).—n. of a householder's son of Śrāvastī: Av ii.161.13 ff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit 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: Shabda-Sagara 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.

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