Avidyā is a Sanskrit word that means "ignorance", "delusion", "unlearned", "unwise" and that which is not, or runs counter to, vidya. It is used extensively in Hindu texts, including the Upanishads and as well in Buddhist thought. Refer Avidya (Buddhism) for the treatment of avidyā in Buddhist thought.


Nomenclature and etymology

The word avidyā is derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *weid-, meaning "to see" or "to know". It is a cognate of Latin vidēre (which would turn to "video") and English "wit".

In Advaita Vedanta

The work of avidya is to suppress the real nature of things and present something else in its place. In essence it is not different from Maya (pronounced Māyā). Avidya relates to the finite Self (Sanskrit: atman) while Maya is an adjunct of the cosmic Self. In both cases it connotes the principle of differentiation which is implicit in human thinking. It stands for that delusion which breaks up the original unity (refer: nonduality) of what is real and presents it as subject and object and as doer and result of the deed. What keeps humanity captive in Samsara is this avidya. This ignorance is not lack of erudition; it is ignorance about the nature of 'Being' (Sanskrit: Sat). It is a limitation that is natural to human sensory or intellectual apparatus. This is responsible for all the misery of humanity. Advaita Vedanta holds that the eradication of it should be humanity's only goal and that will automatically mean Realisation of the Self (Sanskrit: atman).

Adi Shankara on avidya

Adi Shankara says in his Introduction to his commentary on the Brahma Sutras, "Owing to an absence of discrimination, there continues a natural human behaviour in the form of 'I am this' or 'This is mine'; this is avidya. It is a superimposition of the attributes of one thing on another. The ascertainment of the nature of the real entity by separating the superimposed thing from it is vidya (knowledge, illumination)". In Shankara's philosophy avidya cannot be categorized either as 'absolutely existent' or as 'absolutely non-existent'.

See also

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См. также в других словарях:

  • Avidya — Avidyā Avidyā (sanskrit; pâli: avijjā ou moha synonyme ; tibétain: ma rig pa; japonais: mumyō), signifie ignorance, ou aveuglement. Dans le bouddhisme, avidyā est la source de toute souffrance, dukkha. Dans l hindouisme, c est d abord l ignorance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • avidya —    Avidya, or “ignorance,” is a centrally important term in Hinduism. The term also has an impor tant place in Buddhism. Avidya is the funda mental ignorance that causes us to misperceive the phenomenal world. Ignorance causes us to imagine that… …   Encyclopedia of Hinduism

  • Avidyā — Le terme sanskrit Avidyā (devanāgarī : अविद्य ; pāli,: avijjā ou moha; chinois: wúmíng 无明; tibétain: ma rig pa; japonais: mumyō), signifie ignorance, ou aveuglement. Dans le bouddhisme, avidyā est la première étape de la chaîne des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • avidya — /euh vid yah/, n. Hinduism, Buddhism. ignorance of the identity of oneself with Brahman, resulting in imprisonment within the cycle of birth and death. Cf. vidya. [ < Skt avidya ignorance, equiv. to a A 6 + vidya; see VIDYA] * * *… …   Universalium

  • avidyā — ignorance, spiritual ignorance, illusion. Ignorance is of four kinds: 1) to mistake that which is impermanent to be permanent 2) to mistake that which is full of misery to be blissful 3) to mistake that which is impure to be pure 4) to mistake… …   The Bhaktivedanta encyclopedia

  • Avidya — Avịdya   [Sanskrit »Unwissenheit«, z. B. bezüglich des Atman, Brahman, des »wahren« Gottes, des rechten Verhaltens], die »Nicht Erkenntnis«, die in der indischen Philosophie die Bindung des Menschen an den Kreislauf der Wiedergeburten bewirkt …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Avidya — Avi|dya [a vidja] vgl. ↑Awidya …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • AVIDYA —    ignorance in HINDU thought which is the explanation for the endless cycle of birth and REBIRTH which binds humans to the wheel of EXISTENCE …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • avidya — avi·dya …   English syllables

  • avidya — …   Useful english dictionary

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