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Jāti (P. jāti; T. skye ba; C. sheng; J. shō 生) means birth, arising, generation, production etc. It can refer to the birth of a sentient being, or to arising more generally.

Jati is identified with the Buddhist teachings in the following contexts:

Within the Four Noble Truths

Within the teachings on the Four Noble Truths, jāti is identified as an aspect of dukkha (suffering). For example, The Discourse That Sets Turning the Wheel of Truth states:Template:Refn

  1. "Now this, monks, is the noble truth of dukkha: birth (jati) is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha.

Ajahn Sucitto explains the difficulty or suffering (dukkha) involved in birth from the Buddhist point of view:Template:Sfn

How is birth difficult, or how does it involve suffering? Well, giving birth is physically painful; and also birth is appearance into an uncertain realm. Notice how babies suffer: coming into the world must be a desperate and frightening experience. For the majority of beings, including people in the world today, it means the end of guaranteed nourishment and the beginning of the struggle to survive. Even for the small percentage of privileged humans who live in affluent societies, with birth begins a life in which some physical discomfort is guaranteed, along with the need to sustain or defend the comfort, the property, and the health that they do have. In every case, the obvious long- or short-term consequence of birth is death—the ultimate trajectory is an unavoidable decline. So whatever the joy that comes as a result of birth, birth includes an element of suffering or stress that will arise sooner or later. Birth can also be viewed as “the unfulfilled,” which seeks fulfillment. That is, birth is the beginning of need, a shadow-mood that accompanies anything that arises.

Within the twelve links of dependent origination


Jāti is the eleventh of the twelve links of dependent origination; it is conditioned by becoming (bhava), and is the condition for the arising of old age and death ([[Jaramarana|Template:IAST]]) in a living being. That is, once a being is born, it will necessarily grow old and eventually die.

As a nonconcurrent formation

As a nonconcurrent formation, jāti refers to the arising of conditioned phenomena. It is identified as:

Forms of physical birth

In traditional Buddhist thought, there are four forms of birth:[1][2]

Within the Buddhist discourses

Jāti is identified within the Buddha's first discourse, The Discourse That Sets Turning the Wheel of Truth, as an aspect of dukkha (suffering):

"The Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha), monks, is this: birth (jati) is suffering, aging is suffering..., death is suffering, association with the unpleasant is suffering, dissociation from the pleasant is suffering, not to receive what one desires is suffering—in brief the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering."[3]

In the Paṭiccasamuppāda Vibhaṅga Sutta, the Buddha states:

"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] spheres of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth."[4]



  1. 佛學問答第三輯
  2. Bot Thubten Tenzin Karma and Rebirth
  3. Boldface added. This formula can be found, for instance, in the Buddha's first discourse, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (Piyadassi, 1999), as well as in his famed Mahasatipatthana Sutta (Thanissaro, 2000). (Note that the former sutta also includes the phrase "... sickness is suffering ..." which has been elided from the quote used in this article to reflect the common text between the two identified discourses.)
  4. See, for instance, SN 12.2 (Thanissaro, 1997) and DN 22 (Thanissaro, 2000).

Web references


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Page is sourced from

www.encyclopediaofbuddhism.org Jāti