Ti Lakkhana, Tilakkhaṇa: 6 definitions


Ti Lakkhana means something in Buddhism, Pali. 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 Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Ti Lakkhana in Theravada glossary
Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist TermsThree characteristics inherent in all conditioned phenomena - being inconstant, stressful, and not self.Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

1. Lakkhana. Son of Dasaratha and brother of Rama, Sita and Bharata. He is identified with Sariputta. J.iv.130; for details see the Dasaratha Jataka.

2. Lakkhana. One of the eight brahmins who recognized the auspicious signs at the birth of the Buddha (J.i.56). The Milinda (Mil. 236) speaks of him as one of the Buddhas first teachers.

3. Lakkhana Thera. Mentioned as having stayed with Maha Moggallana on Gijjhakuta. Once, when they were going down to Rajagaha for alms, Lakkhana noticed that at a certain spot Moggallana smiled; on asking him why, he was told to wait till they saw the Buddha. When the question was repeated in the Buddhas presence, Moggallana said that he had smiled on seeing various Petas with gruesome forms flying through the air. From the text it would appear that these visions were seen again on several occasions. S.ii.254; Vin.iii.104ff.; the stories of some of the Petas seen and of their past lives are given in detail in DhA.ii.68ff.; iii.60ff.; 410ff., 479.

The Commentary (SA.ii.159) explains that Lakkhana was one of the thousand Jatilas ordained by the Buddha (when he converted the Tebhatika Jatilas). He attained arahantship at the conclusion of the preaching of the Adittapariyayadesana. He was called Lakkhana because of his marvellous personality, like unto Brahmas (brahmasamena). It adds further that Lakkhanas failure to see the Petas was not because he lacked the divine eye but because he was not giving attention (anavajjento), as a clairvoyant must. It is said (Vin.iii.105) that when Moggallana related his vision, some of the monks blamed him for claiming superhuman powers (uttarimanussadhamma), but the Buddha declared him free from blame.

4. Lakkhana. A deer, son of the Bodhisatta, identified with Sariputta. For his story see the Lakkhana Jataka.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

'characteristics'. For the 3 ch. of existence, s. ti-lakkhana.

-- or --

the '3 characteristics of existence', or signata, are impermanency (anicca), suffering or misery (dukkha; s. sacca, dukkhatā), not-self (anattā).

"Whether Perfect Ones appear in the world, or whether Perfect Ones do not appear in the world, it still remains a firm condition, an immutable fact and fixed law: that all formations are impermanent, that all formations are subject to suffering, that everything is without a self'' (A. III, 134).

"What do you think, o monks: Is corporeality (rūpa) permanent or impermanent? - Impermanent, o Venerable One. - Are feeling (vedanā), perception (saññā), mental formations (sankhāra) and consciousness (viññāna), permanent or impermanent? - Impermanent, o Venerable One.

"But that which is impermanent, is it something pleasant or painful? - It is painful, o Venerable One.

"But, of what is impermanent, painful and subject to change, could it be rightly said, 'This belongs to me, this am I, this is my ego'? - No, Venerable One.

"Therefore, whatever there is of corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness, whether past, present or future, one's own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, of all these things one should understand, according to reality and true wisdom: 'This does not belong to me, this am I not, this is not my ego' " (S. XXII, 59).

"In one who understands eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and all the remaining formations as impermanent, painful and not-self, in him the fetters (samyojana, q.v.) are dissolved" (S. XXXV, 53).

It is the full comprehension of the 3 characteristics by direct meditative experience which constitutes liberating insight. About their relation to the three gateways ot liberation', s. vimokkha I .

For further details, s. anicca, dukkha, anattā, vipassanā.


  • The Three Signata, by Prof. O. H. de A. Wijesekera (WHEEL 20). -
  • The Three Basic Facts of Existence: I-III (WHEEL BPS),
  • Vis.M. XX, 13ff. 18ff; XXI, 47f, 67f.

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).

Discover the meaning of ti lakkhana in the context of Theravada from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Ti Lakkhana in Buddhism glossary
Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

The Three Universal Characteristics are connected with the existence. They are: 1. All phenomena are impermanent. 2. All Dharma are not self. 3. All sensations are suffering.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

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

lakkhaṇa : (nt.) a sign; mark; characteristic; a prognosticative mark; a quality.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Lakkhaṇa, (nt.) (Vedic lakṣman nt. sign; adj. lakṣmaṇa; later Sk. lakṣmaṇa nt. In the definition of grammarians syn. with aṅka brand, e.g. Dhtp 536 “aṅka lakkhaṇe lakkha dassane, ” or Dhtm 748 “lakkha=dassanaaṅke”; cp. J. I, 451 lakkhaṇena aṅketi to brand. ‹-› The Sk. Np. Lakṣmaṇa appears also in Prk. as Lakkhaṇa: Pischel, Prk. Gr. § 312) 1. sign, characteristic, mark; esp. a sign as implying something extraordinary or pointing to the future, therefore a prognosticative mark (cp. talisman), a distinguishing mark or salient feature, property, quality (as Rh. D. in Dial. I. 19 somewhat lengthily, after Bdhgh, translates lakkhaṇa by “signs of good & bad qualities in the foll. things and of the marks in them denoting the health or luck of their owners”) D. I, 9 (a long list, as forbidden practice of fortune-telling, like maṇi° from jewels, daṇḍa° from sticks, asi° from marks on swords etc.); Sn. 360 (pl. lakkhanā, here as fortune-telling together with supina telling fr. dreams, cp. SnA 362: daṇḍa°, vattha° etc. referring to D. I, 9), 927 (with Āthabbana, supina & nakkhatta, all kinds of secret sciences; explained at SnA 564 as “maṇi-lakkhaṇâdi”) 1018 (gottaṃ brūhi sa° “with its distinguishing marks”); J. VI, 364 (sign of beauty); Miln. 171 (yathāva° just characterization); Mhvs 35, 109 (itthi° auspicious signs in women); PvA. 161, 219; SnA 386. A long enumeration of all sorts of (perfect) marks (tatha-lakkhaṇāni) is found at DA. I, 62 sq. Cp. tādi-lakkhaṇa marks of such (a being), with ref. to good luck etc. J. III, 98; SnA 200; VvA. 95.—2. mark on the body, esp. when serving a def. purpose, e.g. as the branding (of slaves), or the marks of a fortunate being, pointing towards his future greatness: (a) brand J. I, 451, cp. cpd. °āhata.—(b) the (32) marks of a mahā-purisa or a great being, either destined to be a rājā cakkavatti, or a sammā-sambuddha. These are given at Sn. 1019 (pl. lakkhanā), 1021, 1022 as only 3 (viz. mukhaṃ jivhāya chādeti, uṇṇ’assa bhamuk’antare, kos’ohitaṃ vattha-guyhaṃ with ref. to his tongue, the hair between the eyebrows & the sexual organ); more completely as 32 at D. II, 16 sq.; III, 142 sq. (the Lakkhaṇa Suttanta); referred to at D. I, 88, 105; J. I, 56; Mhvs 5, 91; cp. paripuṇṇa-kāya Sn. 548 (with explanation lakkhaṇehi puṇṇatāya at SnA 452).—3. (in spec. sense: ) pudendum J. V, 197 (subha°, the male member), 366.—4. (adj.) (—°) having the marks (of), characterized by, of such & such character A. I, 102 (kamma°; bāla° & paṇḍita°, together with bāla- & paṇḍitanimitta); Miln. 111 (sata-puñña°, of the Buddha); VvA. 71 (para-sampatti-usuyyā-lakkhaṇā issā); PvA. 17, 120.—5. (as t. t. in philosophy) specific attribute, characteristic (mark). In contrast to nimitta more a substantial attribute or primary characteristic (cp. VbhA. 261). Compared with other terms of definition we get the foll. : rasa essential property, paccupaṭṭhāna recurring phenomenon, padatṭhāna immediate occasion DhsA. 63 (translation Expos. I. 84), cp. Cpd. 13 (where padaṭṭhāna is translated as “proximate cause”).—Ps. I, 54 sq. (khandhānaṃ); II, 108 (saccānaṃ), VbhA. 85, 136 (with ref. to the Paṭiccasamuppāda, cp. Vism. 528), 261 (fourfold, of kesā etc.); Vism. 278 (with ref. to kammaṭṭhāna) 351 (4, of the dhātus: thaddha°, ābandhana°, paripācana°, vitthambhana°), 363 sq. (id.), 495 (ariya-saccānaṃ); VvA. 38 (compd with ārammaṇa with ref. to jhāna).—The 3 properties (tilakkhaṇaṃ) of existing things or of the phenomenal world are anicca, dukkha, anatta, or impermanence, suffering, unreality: thus at J. I, 48 (dhamma-desanā ti-l-°muttā), 275; III, 377 (through contemplating them arises vipassanā & pacceka-bodhi-ñāṇa).—Abl. lakkhaṇato “by or qua characteristic, ” “in its essential qualification, ” often found in exegetical analysis in Commentary style combined with var. similar terms (atthato, kamato, nimittato etc.), e.g. Vism. 351, 363, 495, 528; VbhA. 46, 76, 83, 131, 261 (where Vism. 351 has paripācana for uṇhatta); SnA 343.—Cp. upa°, vi°, sa°. —āhata affected with a mark (of punishment or disgrace), branded Vin. I, 76; VvA. 66. —kusala clever at interpreting bodily marks or at fortune-telling from signs (cp. nemittaka) M. I, 220; J. I, 272. —kusalatā cleverness at (telling people’s fortune by) signs VvA. 138. —paṭiggāhaka one who reads the signs, a soothsayer, wise man J. I, 56. —pāṭhaka an expert in (interpreting) signs, fortune-teller J. I, 455; II, 194; V, 211. —manta the secret science of (bodily) marks Sn. 690 (but explained at SnA 488 as “lakkhaṇāni ca vedā ca, ” thus taking it as Dvandva); DhA. III, 194. —sampatti excellency of marks J. I, 54. —sampanna endowed with (auspicious) signs Sn. 409; J. I, 455.

the 3 lakkhaṇas at Sn. 1022 refer to the brahmin Bāvari. (Page 578)

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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