Saṃsāra (/səmˈsɑːrə/) is a Sanskrit word that means "wandering" or "world", with the connotation of cyclic, circuitous change.[1][2] It also refers to the concept of rebirth and "cyclicality of all life, matter, existence", a fundamental assumption of most Indian religions.[3][4] In short, it is the cycle of death and rebirth.[2][5] Saṃsāra is sometimes referred to with terms or phrases such as transmigration, karmic cycle, reincarnation, and "cycle of aimless drifting, wandering or mundane existence".[2][6]

The concept of Saṃsāra has roots in the post-Vedic literature; the theory is not discussed in the Vedas themselves.[7][8] It appears in developed form, but without mechanistic details, in the early Upanishads.[9][10] The full exposition of the Saṃsāra doctrine is found in Sramanic religions such as Buddhism and Jainism, as well as various schools of Hindu philosophy after about the mid-1st millennium BCE.[10][11] The Saṃsāra doctrine is tied to the Karma theory of Indian religions, and the liberation from Saṃsāra has been at the core of the spiritual quest of Indian traditions, as well as their internal disagreements.[12][13] The liberation from Saṃsāra is called Moksha, Nirvana, Mukti or Kaivalya.[6][14][15]

Etymology and terminology

Saṃsāra (Sanskrit: संसार) means "wandering",[2][16] as well as "world" wherein the term connotes "cyclic change".[1] Saṃsāra is a fundamental concept in all Indian religions, is linked to the karma theory, and refers to the belief that all living beings cyclically go through births and rebirths. The term is related to phrases such as "the cycle of successive existence", "transmigration", "karmic cycle", "the wheel of life", and "cyclicality of all life, matter, existence".[2][5][17] Many scholarly texts spell Saṃsāra as Samsara.[5][18]

According to Monier-Williams, Saṃsāra is rooted in the term Saṃsṛ (संसृ), which means "to go round, revolve, pass through a succession of states, to go towards or obtain, moving in a circuit".[19] A conceptual form from this root appears in ancient texts as Saṃsaraṇa, which means "going around through a succession of states, birth, rebirth of living beings and the world", without obstruction.[19] The term shortens to Saṃsāra, referring to the same concept, as a "passage through successive states of mundane existence", a transmigration, metempsychosis, a circuit of living where one repeats previous states, from one body to another, a worldly life of constant change, that is rebirth, growth, decay and redeath.[6][19][20] The concept is then contrasted with the concept of moksha, also known as mukti, nirvana, nibbana or kaivalya, which refers to liberation from this cycle of aimless wandering.[6][19]

The concept of Samsara developed in the post-Vedic times, and is traceable in the Samhita layers such as in sections 1.164, 4.55, 6.70 and 10.14 of the Rigveda.[9][21][22] While the idea is mentioned in the Samhita layers of the Vedas, there is lack of clear exposition there, and the idea fully develops in the early Upanishads.[23][24] Damien Keown states that the notion of "cyclic birth and death" appears around 800 BCE.[25] The word Saṃsāra appears, along with Moksha, in several Principal Upanishads such as in verse 1.3.7 of the Katha Upanishad,[26] verse 6.16 of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad,[27] verses 1.4 and 6.34 of the Maitri Upanishad.[28][29]

The word Samsara is related to Saṃsṛti, the latter referring to the "course of mundane existence, transmigration, flow, circuit or stream".[19]

Definition and rationale

The word literally means "wandering through, flowing on", states Stephen J. Laumakis, in the sense of "aimless and directionless wandering".[30] The concept of Saṃsāra is closely associated with the belief that the person continues to be born and reborn in various realms and forms.[31]

The earliest layers of Vedic text incorporate the concept of life, followed by an afterlife in heaven and hell based on cumulative virtues (merit) or vices (demerit).[32] However, the ancient Vedic Rishis challenged this idea of afterlife as simplistic, because people do not live an equally moral or immoral life. Between generally virtuous lives, some are more virtuous; while evil too has degrees, and the texts assert that it would be unfair for god Yama to judge and reward people with varying degrees of virtue or vices, in "either or" and disproportionate manner.[33][34][35] They introduced the idea of an afterlife in heaven or hell in proportion to one's merit, and when this runs out, one returns and is reborn.[33][11][36] This idea appears in ancient and medieval texts, as the cycle of life, death, rebirth and redeath, such as section 6:31 of the Mahabharata and section 6.10 of Devi Bhagavata Purana.[33][17][21]


The historical origins of a concept of a cycle of repeated reincarnation are obscure but the idea appears in texts of both India and ancient Greece during the first millennium BCE.[37][38]

The idea of Samsara is hinted in the late Vedic texts such as the Rigveda, but the theory is absent.[9][39] The late textual layers of the Vedas mention and anticipate the doctrine of Karma and rebirth, however states Stephen Laumakis, the idea is not fully developed.[23] It is in the early Upanishads where these ideas are more fully developed, but there too the discussion does not provide specific mechanistic details.[23] The detailed doctrines flower with unique characteristics, starting around the mid 1st millennium BCE, in diverse traditions such as in Buddhism, Jainism and various schools of Hindu philosophy.[10]

Some scholars state that the Samsara doctrine may have originated from the Sramana traditions and was then adopted by the Brahmanical traditions (Hinduism).[40][41][42] The evidence for who influenced whom in the ancient times, is slim and speculative, and the odds are the historic development of the Samsara theories likely happened in parallel with mutual influences.[43]

Punarmrityu: redeath

While Saṃsāra is usually described as rebirth and reincarnation of living beings, the chronological development of the idea over its history began with the questions on what is the true nature of human existence and whether people die only once. This led first to the concepts of Punarmṛtyu ("redeath") and Punaravṛtti ("return").[20][44][45] These early theories asserted that the nature of human existence involves two realities, one unchanging absolute Atman (soul) which is somehow connected to the ultimate unchanging immortal reality and bliss called Brahman,[46][47] and that the rest is the always-changing subject (body) in a phenomenal world (Maya).[48][49][50] Redeath, in the Vedic theosophical speculations, reflected the end of "blissful years spent in svarga or heaven", and it was followed by rebirth back in the phenomenal world.[51] Samsara developed into a foundational theory of the nature of existence, shared by all Indian religions.[52]

Rebirth as a human being, states John Bowker, was then presented as a "rare opportunity to break the sequence of rebirth, thus attaining Moksha, release".[47] Each Indian spiritual tradition developed its own assumptions and paths (marga or yoga) for this spiritual release,[47] with some developing the ideas of Jivanmukti (liberation and freedom in this life),[53][54][55] while others content with Videhamukti (liberation and freedom in after-life).[56][57]

The Sramanas traditions (Buddhism and Jainism) added novel ideas, starting about the 6th century BCE.[60] They emphasized human suffering in the larger context, placing rebirth, redeath and truth of pain at the center and the start of religious life.[61] Samsara was viewed by the Sramanas as a beginningless cyclical process with each birth and death as punctuations in that process,[61] and spiritual liberation as freedom from rebirth and redeath.[62] The samsaric rebirth and redeath ideas are discussed in these religions with various terms, such as Āgatigati in many early Pali Suttas of Buddhism.[63]

Evolution of ideas

Across different religions, different soteriology were emphasized as the Saṃsāra theories evolved in respective Indian traditions.[13] For example, in their Saṃsāra theories, states Obeyesekere, the Hindu traditions accepted Atman or soul exists and asserted it to be the unchanging essence of each living being, while Buddhist traditions denied such a soul exists and developed the concept of Anatta.[52][13][64] Salvation (moksha, mukti) in the Hindu traditions was described using the concepts of Atman (self) and Brahman (universal reality),[65] while in Buddhism it (nirvana, nibbana) was described through the concept of Anatta (no self) and Śūnyatā (emptiness).[66][67][68]

The Ajivika tradition combined Saṃsāra with the premise that there is no free will, while the Jainism tradition accepted the concept of soul (calling it "jiva") with free will, but emphasized asceticism and cessation of action as a means of liberation from Saṃsāra it calls bondage.[69][70] The various sub-traditions of Hinduism, and of Buddhism, accepted free will, avoided asceticism, accepted renunciation and monastic life, and developed their own ideas on liberation through realization of the true nature of existence.[71]

Samsāra in Hinduism

Release from Saṃsāra, or Moksha, is considered the ultimate spiritual goal in Hinduism, but its traditions disagree on how to reach this state. Left: Loving devotion is recommended in dualistic Hindu traditions. Right: Meditation is recommended in nondualistic Hindu traditions.

Meerabai (crop)
Bronze figure of Kashmiri in Meditation by Malvina Hoffman Wellcome M0005215

In Hinduism, Saṃsāra is a journey of the soul.[72] The body dies, assert the Hindu traditions, but not the soul which it assumes to be the eternal reality, indestructible and bliss.[72] Everything and all existence is connected, cyclical and composed of two things, the soul and the body or matter.[18] This eternal soul called Atman never reincarnates, it does not change and cannot change in the Hindu belief.[18] In contrast, the body and personality, can change, constantly changes, is born and dies.[18] Current Karma impacts the future circumstances in this life, as well as the future forms and realms of lives.[73][74] Good intent and actions lead to good future, bad intent and actions lead to bad future, in the Hindu view of life.[75]

A virtuous life, actions consistent with dharma, are believed by Hindus to contribute to a better future, whether in this life or future lives.[76] The aim of spiritual pursuits, whether it be through the path of bhakti (devotion), karma (work), jnana (knowledge), or raja (meditation) is self-liberation (moksha) from Samsara.[76][77]

The Upanishads, part of the scriptures of the Hindu traditions, primarily focus on self-liberation from Saṃsāra.[78][79][80] The Bhagavad Gita discusses various paths to liberation.[72] The Upanishads, states Harold Coward, offer a "very optimistic view regarding the perfectibility of human nature", and the goal of human effort in these texts is a continuous journey to self-perfection and self-knowledge so as to end Saṃsāra.[81] The aim of spiritual quest in the Upanishadic traditions is find the true self within and to know one's soul, a state that it believes leads to blissful state of freedom, moksha.[82]

Differences within the Hindu traditions

All Hindu traditions and Darśanas share the concept of Saṃsāra, but they differ in details and what they describe the state of liberation from Saṃsāra to be.[83] The Saṃsāra is viewed as the cycle of rebirth in a temporal world of always changing reality or Maya (appearance, illusive), Brahman is defined as that which never changes or Sat (eternal truth, reality), and moksha as the realization of Brahman and freedom from Saṃsāra.[65][84][85]

The dualistic devotional traditions such as Madhvacharya's Dvaita Vedanta tradition of Hinduism champion a theistic premise, assert the individual human soul and Brahman (Vishnu, Krishna) are two different realities, loving devotion to Vishnu is the means to release from Samsara, it is the grace of Vishnu which leads to moksha, and spiritual liberation is achievable only in after-life (videhamukti).[86] The nondualistic traditions such as Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta tradition of Hinduism champion a monistic premise, asserting that the individual human soul and Brahman are identical, only ignorance, impulsiveness and inertia leads to suffering through Saṃsāra, in reality they are no dualities, meditation and self-knowledge is the path to liberation, the realization that one's soul is identical to Brahman is moksha, and spiritual liberation is achievable in this life (jivanmukti).[68][87]

Saṃsāra in Jainism

Symbolic depiction of Saṃsāra at Shri Mahaveerji temple of Jainism.

In Jainism, the Saṃsāra and Karma doctrine are central to its theological foundations, as evidenced by the extensive literature on it in the major sects of Jainism, and their pioneering ideas on karma and Saṃsāra from the earliest times of the Jaina tradition.[88][89] Saṃsāra in Jainism represents the worldly life characterized by continuous rebirths and suffering in various realms of existence.[90][89][91]

The conceptual framework of the Saṃsāra doctrine differs between the Jainism traditions and other Indian religions. For instance, in Jaina traditions, soul (jiva) is accepted as a truth, as is assumed in the Hindu traditions, but not assumed in the Buddhist traditions. However, Saṃsāra or the cycle of rebirths, has a definite beginning and end in Jainism.[92]

Souls begin their journey in a primordial state, and exist in a state of consciousness continuum that is constantly evolving through Saṃsāra.[93] Some evolve to a higher state, while some regress, a movement that is driven by karma.[94] Further, Jaina traditions believe that there exist Abhavya (incapable), or a class of souls that can never attain moksha (liberation).[92][95] The Abhavya state of soul is entered after an intentional and shockingly evil act.[96] Jainism considers souls as pluralistic each in a karma-Saṃsāra cycle, and does not subscribe to Advaita style nondualism of Hinduism, or Advaya style nondualism of Buddhism.[95]

The Jaina theosophy, like ancient Ajivika, but unlike Hindu and Buddhist theosophies, asserts that each soul passes through 8,400,000 birth-situations, as they circle through Saṃsāra.[97][98] As the soul cycles, states Padmanabh Jaini, Jainism traditions believe that it goes through five types of bodies: earth bodies, water bodies, fire bodies, air bodies and vegetable lives.[99] With all human and non-human activities, such as rainfall, agriculture, eating and even breathing, minuscule living beings are taking birth or dying, their souls are believed to be constantly changing bodies. Perturbing, harming or killing any life form, including any human being, is considered a sin in Jainism, with negative karmic effects.[100][91]

A liberated soul in Jainism is one who has gone beyond Saṃsāra, is at the apex, is omniscient, remains there eternally, and is known as a Siddha.[101] A male human being is considered closest to the apex with the potential to achieve liberation, particularly through asceticism. Women must gain karmic merit, to be reborn as man, and only then can they achieve spiritual liberation in Jainism, particularly in the Digambara sect of Jainism;[102][103] however, this view has been historically debated within Jainism and different Jaina sects have expressed different views, particularly the Shvetambara sect that believes that women too can achieve liberation from Saṃsāra.[103][104]

In contrast to Buddhist texts which do not expressly or unambiguously condemn injuring or killing plants and minor life forms, Jaina texts do. Jainism considers it a bad karma to injure plants and minor life forms with negative impact on a soul's Saṃsāra.[105] However, some texts in Buddhism and Hinduism do caution a person from injuring all life forms, including plants and seeds.[105][106][107]

Samsara in Buddhism

The wheel of life, Trongsa dzong
Traditional Tibetan thangka showing the bhavacakra and six realms of Saṃsāra in Buddhist cosmology.[108]

Saṃsāra in Buddhism, states Jeff Wilson, is the "suffering-laden cycle of life, death, and rebirth, without beginning or end".[109] Also referred to as the wheel of existence (Bhavacakra), it is often mentioned in Buddhist texts with the term punarbhava (rebirth, re-becoming); the liberation from this cycle of existence, Nirvana, is the foundation and the most important purpose of Buddhism.[109][110][111]

Samsara is considered impermanent in Buddhism, just like other Indian religions. Karma drives this impermanent Samsara in Buddhist thought, states Paul Williams, and "short of attaining enlightenment, in each rebirth one is born and dies, to be reborn elsewhere in accordance with the completely impersonal causal nature of one's own karma; This endless cycle of birth, rebirth, and redeath is Saṃsāra".[112] The Four Noble Truths, accepted by all Buddhist traditions, are aimed at ending this Samsara-related re-becoming (rebirth) and associated cycles of suffering.[113][114][115]

Like Jainism, Buddhism developed its own Samsara theory, that evolved over time the mechanistic details on how the wheel of mundane existence works over the endless cycles of rebirth and redeath.[116][117] In early Buddhist traditions, Saṃsāra cosmology consisted of five realms through which wheel of existence recycled.[109] This included hells (niraya), hungry ghosts (pretas), animals (tiryak), humans (manushya), and gods (devas, heavenly).[109][116][118] In latter traditions, this list grew to a list of six realms of rebirth, adding demi-gods (asuras).[109][119] The "hungry ghost, heavenly, hellish realms" respectively formulate the ritual, literary and moral spheres of many contemporary Buddhist traditions.[109][116]

The Saṃsāra concept, in Buddhism, envisions that these six realms are interconnected, and everyone cycles life after life, and death is just a state for an afterlife, through these realms, because of a combination of ignorance, desires and purposeful karma, or ethical and unethical actions.[109][116] Nirvana is typically described as the freedom from rebirth and the only alternative to suffering of Samsara, in Buddhism.[120][121] However, the Buddhist texts developed a more comprehensive theory of rebirth, states Steven Collins, from fears of redeath, called amata (death-free), a state which is considered synonymous with nirvana.[120][122]

Saṅsāra in Sikhism

Sikhism incorporates the concepts of Saṃsāra (sometimes spelled as Sansara in Sikh texts), Karma and cyclical nature of time and existence.[123][124] Founded in the 15th century, its founder Guru Nanak had a choice between the cyclical concept of ancient Indian religions and the linear concept of early 7th-century Islam, and he chose the cyclical concept of time, state Cole and Sambhi.[124][125] However, states Arvind-Pal Singh Mandair, there are important differences between the Saṅsāra concept in Sikhism from the Saṃsāra concept in many traditions within Hinduism.[123] The difference is that Sikhism firmly believes in the grace of God as the means to salvation, and its precepts encourage the bhakti of One Lord for mukti (salvation).[123][126]

Sikhism, like the three ancient Indian traditions, believes that body is perishable, there is a cycle of rebirth, and that there is suffering with each cycle of rebirth.[123][127] These features of Sikhism, along with its belief in Saṃsāra and the grace of God, is similar to some bhakti-oriented sub-traditions within Hinduism such as those found in Vaishnavism.[128][129] Sikhism does not believe that ascetic life, as recommended in Jainism, is the path to liberation. Rather, it cherishes social engagement and householder's life combined with devotion to the One God as Guru, to be the path of liberation from Saṅsāra.[130]

See also


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External links


The bhavachakra (Sanskrit; Pāli: bhavachakka; Tibetan: srid pa'i 'khor lo) is a symbolic representation of saṃsāra (or cyclic existence). It is found on the outside walls of Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries in the Indo-Tibetan region, to help ordinary people understand Buddhist teachings.

Creator in Buddhism

Buddhist beliefs regarding a creator deity are conflicted. It teaches the concept of gods, heavens and rebirths in its Saṃsāra doctrine, but it considers none of these gods as a creator. Buddhism posits that mundane deities such as Mahabrahma are misconstrued to be a creator. Buddhist ontology follows the doctrine of Dependent Origination, whereby all phenomena arise in dependence on other phenomena, hence no primal unmoved mover could be acknowledged or discerned.

However, Mahayana Buddhism does believe in the doctrine of Sunyata(emptiness) or Tathata(thatness) out of which all things emerge. Furthermore, this ultimate reality is considered to be the Tathagatagarbha (Womb of all Buddhas) and the Adi Buddha (Primordial Buddha) who is worshipped differently in various Mahayana traditions as Vairocana or Amitabha and in the Vajrayana traditions as Samantabhadra or Vajradhara. Thus this concept of an ultimate reality which is the source of all things approximates the idea of a creator God.


Jainism (), traditionally known as Jain Dharma is an ancient Indian religion. Followers of Jainism are called "Jains", a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina (victor) and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths by destroying the karma through an ethical and spiritual life. Jainism is a transtheistic religion, and Jains trace their spiritual ideas and history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviours and teachers known as tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who according to Jain tradition lived millions of years ago, as Matsya the twenty-third being Parshvanatha in 900 BCE, and twenty-fourth being the Mahāvīra around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal dharma with the tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology.

The main religious premises of Jainism are ahiṃsā (non-violence), anekāntavāda (many-sidedness), aparigraha (non-attachment) and asceticism. Devout Jains take five main vows: ahiṃsā (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (not stealing), brahmacharya (celibacy or chastity or sexual continence), and aparigraha (non-attachment). These principles have affected Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle that avoids harm to animals and their life cycles. Parasparopagraho Jīvānām (the function of souls is to help one another) is the motto of Jainism. Ṇamōkāra mantra is the most common and basic prayer in Jainism.Jainism has two major ancient sub-traditions, Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras; and several smaller sub-traditions that emerged in the 2nd millennium CE. The Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras have different views on ascetic practices, gender and which Jain texts can be considered canonical. Jain mendicants are found in all Jain sub-traditions except Kanji Panth sub-tradition, with laypersons (śrāvakas) supporting the mendicants' spiritual pursuits with resources.

Jainism has between four and five million followers, with most Jains residing in India. Outside India, some of the largest Jain communities are present in Canada, Europe, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Suriname, Fiji, and the United States. Major Jain festivals include Paryushana and Daslakshana, Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, and Dipawali.

Jīva (Jainism)

The Jīva or Atman (; Sanskrit: आत्मन्) is a philosophical term used within Jainism to identify the soul. As per the Jain cosmology, jīva or soul is the principle of sentience and is one of the tattvas or one of the fundamental substances forming part of the universe. The Jain metaphysics, states Jagmanderlal Jaini, divides the universe into two independent, everlasting, co-existing and uncreated categories called the jiva (soul) and the ajiva (non-soul). This basic premise of Jainism makes it a dualistic philosophy. The jiva, according to Jainism, is an essential part of how the process of karma, rebirth and the process of liberation from rebirth works.


Moksha (; Sanskrit: मोक्ष, mokṣa), also called vimoksha, vimukti and mukti, is a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism which refers to various forms of emancipation, enlightenment, liberation, and release. In its soteriological and eschatological senses, it refers to freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth. In its epistemological and psychological senses, moksha refers to freedom from ignorance: self-realization, self-actualization and self-knowledge.In Hindu traditions, moksha is a central concept and the utmost aim to be attained through three paths during human life; these three paths are dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life), and kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment). Together, these four concepts are called Puruṣārtha in Hinduism.In some schools of Indian religions, moksha is considered equivalent to and used interchangeably with other terms such as vimoksha, vimukti, kaivalya, apavarga, mukti, nihsreyasa and nirvana. However, terms such as moksha and nirvana differ and mean different states between various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The term nirvana is more common in Buddhism, while moksha is more prevalent in Hinduism.

Moksha (Jainism)

Sanskrit moksha or Prakrit mokkha refers to the liberation or salvation of a soul from saṃsāra, the cycle of birth and death. It is a blissful state of existence of a soul, attained after the destruction of all karmic bonds. A liberated soul is said to have attained its true and pristine nature of infinite bliss, infinite knowledge and infinite perception. Such a soul is called siddha and is revered in Jainism.

In Jainism, moksha is the highest and the noblest objective that a soul should strive to achieve. In fact, it is the only objective that a person should have; other objectives are contrary to the true nature of soul. With the right view, knowledge and efforts all souls can attain this state. That is why Jainism is also known as mokṣamārga or the "path to liberation".

According to the Sacred Jain Text, Tattvartha sutra:Owing to the absence of the cause of bondage and with the functioning of the dissociation of karmas the annihilation of all karmas is liberation.


Nirvāṇa ( neer-VAH-nə, -⁠VAN-ə, nur-; Sanskrit: निर्वाण nirvāṇa [nɪɽʋaːɳɐ]; Pali: निब्बान nibbāna; Prakrit: णिव्वाण ṇivvāṇa, literally "blown out", as in an oil lamp) is commonly associated with Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, and represents its ultimate state of soteriological release, the liberation from repeated rebirth in saṃsāra.In Indian religions, nirvana is synonymous with moksha and mukti. All Indian religions assert it to be a state of perfect quietude, freedom, highest happiness as well as the liberation from or ending of samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death.However, Buddhist and non-Buddhist traditions describe these terms for liberation differently. In the Buddhist context, nirvana refers to realization of non-self and emptiness, marking the end of rebirth by stilling the fires that keep the process of rebirth going. In Hindu philosophy, it is the union of or the realization of the identity of Atman with Brahman, depending on the Hindu tradition. In Jainism, it is also the soteriological goal, it represents the release of a soul from karmic bondage and samsara.


In Buddhism, the term parinirvana (Sanskrit: parinirvāṇa; Pali: parinibbāna) is commonly used to refer to nirvana-after-death, which occurs upon the death of the body of someone who has attained nirvana during his or her lifetime. It implies a release from the Saṃsāra, karma and rebirth as well as the dissolution of the skandhas.

In some Mahāyāna scriptures, notably the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra, Parinirvāṇa is described as the realm of the eternal true Self of the Buddha.


The Pratimokṣa (Sanskrit prātimokṣa) is a list of rules (contained within the vinaya) governing the behaviour of Buddhist monastics (monks or bhikṣus and nuns or bhikṣuṇīs). Prati means "towards" and mokṣa means "liberation" from cyclic existence (saṃsāra).

It became customary to recite these rules once a fortnight at a meeting of the sangha during which confession would traditionally take place. A number of prātimokṣa codes are extant, including those contained in the Theravāda, Mahāsāṃghika, Mahīśāsaka, Dharmaguptaka, Sarvāstivāda and Mūlasarvāstivāda vinayas. Pratimokṣa texts may also circulate in separate pratimokṣa sūtras, which are extracts from their respective vinayas.

Samsara (disambiguation)

Saṃsāra is a religious concept of reincarnation in Hinduism and other Indian religions.

Saṃsāra or Samsaram may also refer to:

Saṃsāra (Buddhism), similar but distinct concept in Buddhism

Saṃsāra (Jainism), cycle of births and deaths as per Jainism

Saṃsāra (Buddhism)

Saṃsāra (Sanskrit, Pali; also samsara) in Buddhism is the beginningless cycle of repeated birth, mundane existence and dying again. Samsara is considered to be dukkha, unsatisfactory and painful, perpetuated by desire and avidya (ignorance), and the resulting karma.Rebirths occur in six realms of existence, namely three good realms (heavenly, demi-god, human) and three evil realms (animal, ghosts, hellish). Samsara ends if a person attains nirvana, the "blowing out" of the desires and the gaining of true insight into impermanence and non-self reality.

Saṃsāra (Jainism)

Saṃsāra (transmigration) in Jain philosophy, refers to the worldly life characterized by continuous rebirths and reincarnations in various realms of existence. Saṃsāra is described as mundane existence, full of suffering and misery and hence is considered undesirable and worth renunciation. The Saṃsāra is without any beginning and the soul finds itself in bondage with its karma since the beginning-less time. Moksha is the only way to be liberated from saṃsāra.

Sentient beings (Buddhism)

In Buddhism, sentient beings are beings with consciousness, sentience, or in some contexts life itself. Sentient beings are composed of the five aggregates, or skandhas: matter, sensation, perception, mental formations and consciousness. In the Samyutta Nikaya, the Buddha is recorded as saying that "just as the word 'chariot' exists on the basis of the aggregation of parts, even so the concept of 'being' exists when the five aggregates are available." While distinctions in usage and potential subdivisions or classes of sentient beings vary from one school, teacher, or thinker to another, it principally refers to beings in contrast with buddhahood. That is, sentient beings are characteristically not enlightened, and are thus confined to the death, rebirth, and dukkha (suffering) characteristic of saṃsāra.

However, Mahayana Buddhism simultaneously teaches that sentient beings also contain Buddha-nature—the intrinsic potential to transcend the conditions of saṃsāra and attain enlightenment, thereby obtaining Buddhahood.Those who greatly enlighten illusion are Buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about enlightenment are sentient beings."

In Mahayana Buddhism, it is to sentient beings that the Bodhisattva vow of compassion is pledged. Furthermore, and particularly in Tibetan Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism, all beings (including plant life and even inanimate objects or entities considered "spiritual" or "metaphysical" by conventional Western thought) are or may be considered sentient beings.

Stri Parva

The Stri Parva (Sanskrit: स्त्री पर्व), or the "Book of the Women," is the eleventh of eighteen books of the Indian Epic Mahabharata. It traditionally has 4 sub-books and 27 chapters, as does the critical edition.Sometimes spelled Stree Parva, it describes the grief of women because of the war. The parva recites the grief of men too, such as of Dhritrashtra and the Pandava brothers. The chapters include a treatise by Vidura and Vyasa on passage rites with words of comfort for those who have lost loved ones, as well as the saṃsāra fable of the man and a well.


Taṇhā is a Pāli word, which originates from the Vedic Sanskrit word tṛ́ṣṇā, which means "thirst, desire, wish", from Proto-Indo-Iranian *tŕ̥šnas. It is an important concept in Buddhism, referring to "thirst, desire, longing, greed", either physical or mental. It is typically translated as craving, and is of three types: kāma-taṇhā (craving for sensual pleasures), bhava-taṇhā (craving for existence), and vibhava-taṇhā (craving for non-existence).Taṇhā appears in the Four Noble Truths, wherein taṇhā is the cause of dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness) and the cycle of repeated birth, becoming and death (Saṃsāra).

Three marks of existence

In Buddhism, the three marks of existence are three characteristics (Pali: tilakkhaṇa; Sanskrit: त्रिलक्षण, trilakṣaṇa) of all existence and beings, namely impermanence (aniccā), unsatisfactoriness or suffering (dukkha), and non-self (anattā). These three characteristics are mentioned in verses 277, 278 and 279 of the Dhammapada. That humans are subject to delusion about the three marks, that this delusion results in suffering, and that removal of that delusion results in the end of suffering, is a central theme in the Buddhist Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, the three seals are impermanence, non-self and nirvana. He says in "The heart of the Buddha's Teaching" that "In several sutras the Buddha taught that nirvana, the joy of completely extinguishing our ideas and concepts, rather than suffering, is one of the Three Dharma Seals."


In Jainism, a tirthankara (Sanskrit: tīrthaṅkara; English: literally a 'ford-maker') is a saviour and spiritual teacher of the dharma (righteous path). The word tirthankara signifies the founder of a tirtha, which is a fordable passage across the sea of interminable births and deaths, the saṃsāra. According to Jains, a tirthankara is a rare individual who has conquered the saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth, on their own, and made a path for others to follow. After understanding the true nature of the Self or soul, the Tīrthaṅkara attains Kevala Jnana (omniscience), and the first Tirthankara refounds Jainism. Tirthankara provides a bridge for others to follow the new teacher from saṃsāra to moksha (liberation).Digambara tradition believes a woman can reach to the 16th heaven and can attain liberation only being reborn as a man.

In Jain cosmology, the wheel of time is divided in two halves, Utsarpiṇī or ascending time cycle and avasarpiṇī, the descending time cycle (said to be current now). In each half of the cosmic time cycle, exactly twenty-four tirthankaras grace this part of the universe. There have been an infinite number of tirthankaras in the past time periods. The first tirthankara in this present time cycle was Rishabhanatha, who is credited for formulating and organising humans to live in a society harmoniously. The 24th and last tirthankara of present half-cycle was Mahavira (599–527 BC). History records the existence of Mahavira and his predecessor, Parshvanath, the twenty-third tirthankara.A tirthankara organises the sangha, a fourfold order of male and female monastics, srāvakas (male followers) and śrāvikās (female followers).The tirthankara's teachings form the basis for the Jain canons. The inner knowledge of tirthankara is believed to be perfect and identical in every respect and their teachings do not contradict one another. However, the degree of elaboration varies according to the spiritual advancement and purity of the society during their period of leadership. The higher the spiritual advancement and purity of mind of the society, the lower the elaboration required.

While tirthankaras are documented and revered by Jains, their grace is said to be available to all living beings, regardless of religious orientation.Tīrthaṅkaras are arihants who after attaining kevalajñāna (pure infinite knowledge) preach the true dharma. An Arihant is also called Jina (victor), that is one who has conquered inner enemies such as anger, attachment, pride and greed. They dwell exclusively within the realm of their Soul, and are entirely free of kashayas, inner passions, and personal desires. As a result of this, unlimited siddhis, or spiritual powers, are readily available to them – which they use exclusively for the spiritual elevation of living beings. Through darśana, divine vision, and deshna, divine speech, they help others in attaining kevalajñana, and moksha (final liberation) to anyone seeking it sincerely.

Ānanda (Hindu philosophy)

Ānanda (Sanskrit: आनन्द) literally means bliss or happiness. In the Hindu Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad gita, ānanda signifies eternal bliss which accompanies the ending of the rebirth cycle. Those who renounce the fruits of their actions and submit themselves completely to the divine will, arrive at the final termination of the cyclical life process (saṃsāra) to enjoy eternal bliss (ānanda) in perfect union with the godhead. The tradition of seeking union with God through loving commitment is referred to as bhakti, or devotion.

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Jainism in
Jainism and
Dynasties and empires


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