Svabhava, aka: Svabhāva, Sva-bhava; 7 Definition(s)


Svabhava means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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

Mīmāṃsā (school of philosophy)

[Svabhava in Mimamsa glossaries]

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to “one’s disposition” and is one of the six factors through which positive ethical precepts (regarding Dharma) are conditioned. The discerning student is required to distinguish between grades of vidhi or to compare their levels of authority or applicability. The primary distinction is derived from their motivation and goals, thus producing the concepts of puruṣārtha and kratvārtha.

(Source): Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis
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Mimamsa (मीमांसा, mīmāṃsā) refers to one of the six orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy, emphasizing the nature of dharma and the philosophy of language. The literature in this school is also known for its in-depth study of ritual actions and social duties.

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[Svabhava in Mahayana glossaries]

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) or Svabhāvāśuci refers to the “impurity of intrinsic nature” and represents one of the five “impurities of the body” (kāyāśuci), contemplating on which, the Yogin can obtain the four “foundations of mindfulness” (smṛtyupasthāna), forming part of the thirty-seven auxiliaries to enlightenment (bodhipākṣika), according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XXXI.—Accordingly, “from head to toe and on all four sides, the body is a lowly rag. Everything in it is full of impurities. Decorate it with garments, bathe it with perfumed water, nourish it with the best dishes and food of many flavors, at the end of one night all of it will be impure. Even if that you clothe it in celestial garments (divyavastra) and feed it with celestial food (divyāhāra), because of the body itself, all of it will become impure. Then what can be said if you give it only human garments and human clothes?... That is what is called the impurity of intrinsic nature (svabhāva-aśuci).”.

(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.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

[Svabhava in Buddhism glossaries]

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) is a name for Svayambhū (or Ādi-Buddha), according to the Svābhāvika, a popular buddhist sect in Nepal and China.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Buddhism

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) or svabhāvaśūnyatā refers to “emptiness of self-existence” one of the “twenty emptinesses” (śūnyatā) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 41). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., svabhāva). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[Svabhava in Marathi glossaries]

svabhāva (स्वभाव).—m (S) Own or native state or quality; the nature or the natural temper, disposition, or constitution: also any natural property. Compounds at will; as puṇyasvabhāva, pāpasvabhāva, pōrasvabhāva, strīsvabhāva, puruṣasvabhāva. svabhāvānēṃ or svabhāvēṃ Naturally &c. See svabhāvataḥ or svābhāvika ad.

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

svabhāva (स्वभाव).—m Own or native state or quality.

(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

[Svabhava in Sanskrit glossaries]

Svabhāva (स्वभाव).—

1) own state.

2) an essential or inherent property, natural constitution, innate or peculiar disposition, nature; स्वभावहेतुजा भावाः (svabhāvahetujā bhāvāḥ) Mb.12.211.3; पौरुषं कारणं केचिदाहुः कर्मसु मानवाः । दैवमेके प्रशंसन्ति स्वभावमपरे जनाः (pauruṣaṃ kāraṇaṃ kecidāhuḥ karmasu mānavāḥ | daivameke praśaṃsanti svabhāvamapare janāḥ) || 12.238.4; Bg.5.14; स्वभावो दुरतिक्रमः (svabhāvo duratikramaḥ) Subhāṣ.; so कुटिल°, शुद्ध°, मृदु°, चपल°, कठिन° (kuṭila°, śuddha°, mṛdu°, capala°, kaṭhina°) &c. °आत्मक (ātmaka) a. natural, inborn; स्वभावतः प्रवृत्तो यः प्राप्नोत्यर्थ न कारणात्। तत् स्वभावात्मकं विद्धि फलं पुरुष- सत्तम (svabhāvataḥ pravṛtto yaḥ prāpnotyartha na kāraṇāt| tat svabhāvātmakaṃ viddhi phalaṃ puruṣa- sattama) || Mb.3.32.19. °उक्तिः (uktiḥ) f.

1) spontaneous declaration.

2) (in Rhet.) a figure of speech which consists in describing a thing to the life, or with exact resemblance; स्वभावोक्तिस्तु डिम्भादेः स्वक्रियारूपवर्णनम् (svabhāvoktistu ḍimbhādeḥ svakriyārūpavarṇanam) K. P.1, or नानावस्थं पदार्थानां रूपं साक्षाद्विवृण्वती (nānāvasthaṃ padārthānāṃ rūpaṃ sākṣādvivṛṇvatī) Kāv.2.8. °ज (ja) a. innate, natural. °भावः (bhāvaḥ) natural disposition. °वादः (vādaḥ) the doctrine that the universe was produced and is sustained by the natural and necessary action of substances according to their inherent properties, (and not by the agency of a Supreme Being). °सिद्ध (siddha) a. natural, spontaneous, inborn.

Derivable forms: svabhāvaḥ (स्वभावः).

Svabhāva is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms sva and bhāva (भाव).

(Source): DDSA: The practical 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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Relevant definitions

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