Shakya, aka: Sakya, Śākya, Sakyā; 11 Definition(s)


Shakya means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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.

The Sanskrit term Śākya can be transliterated into English as Sakya or Shakya, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Śākya (शाक्य) refers to “Buddhists”, whose mask should be represented as having a shaven head (śiromuṇḍa), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. Providing masks is a component of nepathya (costumes and make-up) and is to be done in accordance with the science of āhāryābhinaya (extraneous representation).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
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Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).


Śākya (शाक्य).—A son of Sanjaya, and father of Śuddhoda (na).*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 12. 14; Matsya-purāṇa 271. 12; Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 288; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 22. 8.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Śākya (शाक्य):—Son of Sañjaya (son of Raṇañjaya). He will be born in the future and become a king. He will have a son called Śuddhoda. (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.12.14)

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

In Buddhism


sakya : (adj.) belonging to the Sākya race.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Sakya, : see Dictionary of Names. In cpd. °puttiya (belonging to the Sakya son) in general meaning of “a (true) follower of the Buddha, ” A. IV, 202; Vin. I, 44; Ud. 44; not a follower of the B. Vin. III, 25. (Page 661)

(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.

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

A tribe in North India, to which the Buddha belonged. Their capital was Kapilavatthu. Mention is also made of other Sakyan settlements e.g., Catuma, Khomadussa, Samagama, Devadaha, Silavati, Nagaraka, Medatalumpa, Sakkhara and Ulumpa (q.v.). Within the Sakyan tribe there were probably several clans, gotta. The Buddha himself belonged to the Gotamagotta. It has been suggested (E.g., Thomas, op. cit., 22) that this was a brahmin clan, claiming descent from the ancient isi Gotama. The evidence for this suggestion is, however, very meagre. Nowhere do we find the Sakyans calling themselves brahmins. On the other hand, we find various clans claiming a share of the Buddhas relics on the ground that they, like the Buddha, were khattiyas (D.ii.165). It is stated a that the Sakyans were a haughty people. Vin.ii.183; D.i.90; J.i.88; DhA.iii.163. Hiouen Thsang, however, found them obliging and gentle in manners (Beal, op. cit., ii.14).

When the Buddha first visited them, after his Enlightenment, they refused to honour him on account of his youth. The Buddha then performed a miracle and preached the Vessantara Jataka, and their pride was subdued. They evidently fond of sports and mention is made of a special school of archery conducted by a Sakyan family, called Vedhanna (D.iii.117; DA.iii.905). When the prince Siddhattha Gotama (later the Buddha) wished to marry, no Sakyan would give him his daughter until he had showed his proficiency in sport (J.i.58).

The Sakyans evidently had no king. Theirs was a republican form of government, probably with a leader, elected from time to time. The administration and judicial affairs of the gotta were discussed in their Santhagara, or Mote Hall, at Kapilavatthu. See, e.g., D.i.91; the Sakyans had a similar Mote Hall at Catuma (M.i.457). The Mallas of Kusinara also had a Santhagara (D.ii.164); so did the Licchavis of Vesali (Vin.i.233; M.i.228).

Ambattha (q.v.) once visited it on business; so did the envoys of Pasenadi, when he wished to marry a Sakyan maiden (see below). A new Mote Hall was built at Kapilavatthu while the Buddha was staying at the Nigrodharama, and he was asked to inaugurate it. This he did by a series of ethical discourses lasting through the night, delivered by himself, Ananda, and Moggallana. M.i.353f.; S.iv.182f; the hall is described at SA.iii.63; cf. UdA.409.

The Sakyans were very jealous of the purity of their race; they belonged to the Adiccagotta, (Adicca nama gottena, Sakiya nama jatiya, SN. vs.423) and claimed descent from Okkaka (q.v.). Their ancestors were the nine children of Okkaka, whom he banished in order to give the kingdom to Jantukumara, his son by another queen. These nine children went towards Himava, and, having founded Kapilavatthu (q.v. for details), lived there. To the eldest sister they gave the rank of mother,

(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).

General definition (in Buddhism)

Sakiya in Pali and Sakya in Sanskrit. The tribe to which Shakyamuni belonged.

(Source): Buddhist Door: Glossary

Sakya (sa-skya-pa), Tib.; a major school of Tibetan Buddhism named after the Sakya (lit., “Gray Earth”) Monastery, located in south­ern Tibet. In accordance with a prophecy of Atīsha, the Sakya Monastery was founded in the year 1073, and its abbots, members of the Khön family, devoted themselves primarily to the transmission of a cycle of Vajrayāna teachings known by the name of “path and goal.” This school concerned itself with creating a systematic order for the tantric writings, but also turned its atten­tion to problems of Buddhist logic. In the 13th and 14th centuries it had great political influence in Tibet.

(Source): Shambala Publications: General

India history and geogprahy

Sakya refers to one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.—Sakya is a city of Tibet. Atisa Dipankara travelled through this city. Khon Khonchog Gyalpo built the Sakya monastery in 413 CE (1073 CE – 660). Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the son of Khon Khonchog Gyalpo was born in the Sakya monastery. He was the first of the following five Patriarchs of Sakya school. Sonam Tsemo, the son of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo was born in 482 CE.

  1. Sachen Künga Nyingpo (432-498 CE)
  2. Loppön Sonam Tsemo (482-522 CE)
  3. Jetsün Drakpa Gyaltsen (487-556 CE)
  4. Kunga Gyaltsen or Sakya Pandita (522-591 CE)
  5. Drogön Chogyal Phagpa (575-620 CE).

Interestingly, Sakya Lamas became the de-facto autonomous rulers of Tibet during the time of Mongol Yuan dynasty.

(Source): The Chronological History of Tibetan Buddhism
India history book cover
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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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

śakya (शक्य).—a (S) Possible, practicable, feasible. 2 That may be conveyed by a particular word or phrase; that may be received as expressed or signified by it;--a sense or meaning.

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

śakya (शक्य).—a Possible, feasible.

(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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