Saptaratna, aka: Sapta-ratna; 6 Definition(s)

Introduction

Saptaratna 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.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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

Saptaratna (सप्तरत्न).—(of emperors); cakra, chariot, precious stones, consort, treasure, horses and elephants.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 57. 68.
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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Katha (narrative stories)

Saptaratna in Katha glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

Saptaratna (सप्तरत्न) refers to the seven jewels of a Cakravartin, as mentioned in the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 109. Accordingly, “... then he [Naravāhanadatta] obtained the moonlight-jewel and the wife-jewel, and the jewel of charms, named the destroying charm. And thus having achieved in all seven jewels [saptaratna] (useful in time of need, and bestowers of majesty), taking into account the two first, the lake and the sandalwood-tree, he went out from that cave and told the hermit Vāmadeva that he had succeeded in accomplishing all his objects”.

Note: The seven jewels of the Cakravartin are often mentioned in Buddhist works. In the Mahāvastu, p. 108 (edited by Sénart) they are: chariot, elephant, horse, wife, householder, general. The number and variety of the “jewels” or ratnas varies, although seven was the usual number.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning saptaratna, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Saptaratna (सप्तरत्न) refers to the “the seven emblems of royalty” (Tib. རྒྱལ་སྲིད་སྣ་བདུན་, gyal si na dün, Wyl. rgyal srid sna bdun) are the seven possessions of a universal monarch (Skt. cakravartin). They are:

  1. the precious golden wheel (Skt. cakraratna; Wyl. 'khor lo rin po che),
  2. the precious wish-fulfilling jewel (Skt. maṇiratna; Wyl. nor bu rin po che),
  3. the precious queen (Skt. strīratna; Wyl. btsun mo rin po che),
  4. the precious minister (Skt. puruṣaratna or pariṇāyakaratna; Wyl. blon po rin po che),
  5. the precious elephant (Skt. hastiratna; Wyl. glang po rin po che),
  6. the precious horse (Skt. aśvaratna; Wyl. rta mchog rin po che), and
  7. the precious general (Skt. khaḍgaratna or senāpatiratna; Wyl. dmag dpon rin po che).

These symbolize “the seven noble riches”. In the Thirty-seven Point Mandala Offering, the vase of great treasure is added as an eighth emblem.

Source: Tibetan Buddhism: Vajrakilaya
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Saptaratna in Mahayana glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

Saptaratna (सप्तरत्न, “seven treasures”).—Commonly occurring in the Gaṇḍavyūha (and several other Mahāyāna sūtras) are seven treasures (saptaratna):

  1. gold (suvarṇa),
  2. silver (rūpya),
  3. lapis lazulio (vaiḍūrya),
  4. crystal (sphaṭika),
  5. red pearl (lokitamukti),
  6. emerald (aśmigarbha),
  7. coral (musāragalva).

Also mentioned frequently are diamonds (vajra), gems (ratna), jewels (maṇi), and maṇi-gems (maṇiratna).

Source: Google Books: Power, Wealth and Women in Indian Mahayana Buddhism
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.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

Saptaratna in Buddhism glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

Saptaratna (सप्तरत्न) refers to the “seven jewels of Universal Monarchs” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 85):

  1. cakra-ratna (the wheel jewel),
  2. aśva-ratna (the horse jewel),
  3. hasti-ratna (the elephant jewel),
  4. maṇi-ratna (the gem jewel),
  5. strī-ratna (the woman jewel),
  6. khaṅga-ratna (the rhinoceros jewel),
  7. pariṇāyaka-ratna (the advisor jewel).

The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., saptaratna). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Saptaratna (सप्तरत्न, “seven kinds of treasures”) or ‘seven treasures’ or ‘seven kinds of gems’. Precious substances mentioned in the sutras. The list differs among the Buddhist scriptures. According to the Lotus Sutra, the seven are:

  1. gold,
  2. silver,
  3. lapis lazuli,
  4. seashell,
  5. agate,
  6. pearl, and
  7. carnelian.

In the "Treasure Tower" (eleventh) chapter of the sutra, the treasure tower adorned with these seven kinds of treasures appears from beneath the earth.

Source: Soka Gakkai International: The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism

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