adjective noun

  1. (racial) Aryan DN.ii.87.
  2. (social) noble, distinguished, of high birth.
  3. (ethical) in accord with the customs and ideals of the Aryan clans, held in esteem by Aryans, generally approved Hence: right, good, ideal.

[The early Buddhists had no such ideas as we cover with the words Buddhist and Indian. Ariya does not exactly mean either. But it often comes very near to what they would have considered the best in each.]

(adj.): DN.i.70 = (˚ena sīlakkhandhena samannāgata fitted out with our standard morality); DN.iii.64 (cakkavatti-vatta), DN.iii.246 (diṭṭhi); MN.i.139 (pannaddhaja), MN.ii.103 (ariyāya jātiyā jāto, become of the Aryan lineage) SN.ii.273 (tuṇhībhāva); SN.iv.250 (vaddhi), SN.iv.287 (dhamma), SN.v.82 (bojjhangā), SN.iv.166 (satipaṭṭhānā), SN.iv.222 (vimutti), SN.iv.228 (ñāṇa), SN.iv.255 (iddhipādā), SN.iv.421 (maggo), SN.iv.435 (saccāni), SN.iv.467 (paññā-cakkhu); AN.i.71 (parisā); AN.ii.36 (ñāya); AN.iii.451 (ñāṇa), AN.iv.153 (tuṇhībhāva); AN.v.206 (sīlakkhandha); Iti.35 (paññā), Iti.47 (bhikkhu sammaddaso); Snp.177 (patha = aṭṭhangiko maggo Snp-a.216); Dhp.236 (bhūmi), Dhp.270; Pts.ii.212 (iddhi) -alamariya fully or thoroughly good DN.i.163 = DN.iii.82; AN.iv.363; nâlamariya not at all good, object, ignoble ibid
(m.) Vin.i.197 (na ramati pāpe); DN.i.37 = (yaṃ taṃ ariyā ācikkhanti upekkhako satimā etc.: see 3rd. jhāna), DN.i.245; DN.iii.111 (˚ānaṃ anupavādaka one who defames the noble); MN.i.17, MN.i.280 (sottiyo ariyo arahaṃ); SN.i.225 (˚ānaṃ upavādaka); SN.ii.123 (id.); SN.iv.53 (˚assa vinayo), SN.iv.95 (id.) AN.i.256 (˚ānaṃ upavādaka); AN.iii.19, AN.iii.252 (id.); AN.iv.145 (dele see arīhatatta); AN.v.68, AN.v.145 sq., AN.v.200, AN.v.317; Iti.21, Iti.108; Dhp.22, Dhp.164, Dhp.207; Ja.iii.354 = Mil.230; MN.i.7, MN.i.35 (ariyānaṃ adassāvin: “not recognising the Noble Ones” Pv-a.26, Pv-a.146; Dhp-a.ii.99; Sdhp.444 (˚ānaṃ vaṃsa). anariya (adj. & n.); not Ariyan, ignoble, undignified, low common, uncultured AN.i.81; Snp.664 (= asappurisa Snp-a.479; Dhs-a.353); Ja.ii.281 (= dussīla pāpadhamma C.), Ja.v.48 (˚rūpa shameless), Ja.ii.87; Dhp-a.iv.3
■ See also ñāṇa magga, sacca, sāvaka.

  • -āvakāsa appearing noble Ja.v.87
  • -uposatha the ideal feast day (as one of 3) AN.i.205 sq., AN.i.212
  • -kanta loved by the Best DN.iii.227
  • -gaṇā (pl.) troops of worthies (= brāhmaṇa-gaṇā, te kira tāda ariyâcārā ahesuṃ tena te evam āha C.)
  • -garahin casting blame on the righteous Snp.660
  • -citta a noble heart
  • -traja a true descendant of the Noble ones Dpvs.v.92
  • -dasa having the ideal (or best) belief Iti.93 = Iti.94
  • -dhana sublime treasure; always as sattavidha˚ sevenfold, viz. saddhā˚ sīla˚, hiri˚, ottappa˚, suta˚, cāga˚, paññā˚ “faith, a moral life, modesty, fear of evil, learning, self-denial, wisdom Thag-a.240; Vv-a.113; DN-a.ii.34
  • -dhamma the national customs of the Aryans (= ariyānaṃ eso dhammo Mnd.71 Mnd.72) MN.i.1, MN.i.7, MN.i.135; AN.ii.69; AN.v.145 sq., AN.v.241, AN.v.274; Snp.783; Dhs.1003
  • -puggala an (ethically) model person, Pts.i.167; Vin.v.117; Thag-a.206
  • -magga the Aryan Path.
  • -vaṃsa the (fourfold) noble family, i.e. of recluses content with the 4 requisites DN.iii.224 = AN.ii.27 = Pts.i.84 = Cnd.141; cp. AN.iii.146
  • -vattin leading a noble life, of good conduct Ja.iii.443
  • -vatā at Thag.334 should be read ˚vattā (nom. sg. of vattar, vac) “speaking noble words”;
  • -vāsa the most excellent state of mind habitual disposition, constant practice. Ten such at DN.iii.269 DN.iii.291 = AN.v.29 (Passage recommended to all Buddhists by Asoka in the Bhabra Edict)
  • -vihāra the best practice SN.v.326
  • -vohāra noble or honorable practice. There are four, abstinence from lying, from slander, from harsh language, from frivolous talk. They are otherwise known as the 4 vacī-kammantā & represent sīla nos. 4–7. See DN.iii.232; AN.ii.246; Vin.v.125
  • -saṅgha the communion of the Nobles ones Pv-a.1
  • -sacca, a standard truth, an established fact, DN.i.189, DN.ii.90, DN.ii.304 sq.; DN.iii.277; MN.i.62, MN.i.184; MN.iii.248; SN.v.415 sq. = Vin.i.10, Vin.i.230. Iti.17; Snp.229, Snp.230, Snp.267; Dhp.190; Dhp-a.iii.246; Kp-a.81, Kp-a.151 Kp-a.185, Kp-a.187; Thag-a.178, Thag-a.282, Thag-a.291; Vv-a.73
  • -sāvaka a disciple of the noble ones (= ariyānaṃ santike sutattā a Snp-a.166). MN.i.8, MN.i.46, MN.i.91, MN.i.181, MN.i.323; MN.ii.262; MN.iii.134, MN.iii.228 MN.iii.272; Iti.75; Snp.90; Mil.339; Dhp-a.i.5, (opp. putthujjana)
  • -sīlin of unblemished conduct, practising virtue DN.i.115 (= sīlaṃ ariyaṃ uttamaṃ parisuddhaṃ DN-a.i.286) MN.ii.167.

When the commentators, many centuries afterwards began to write Pali in S. India & Ceylon, far from the ancient seat of the Aryan clans, the racial sense of the word; ariya was scarcely, if at all, present to their minds Dhammapāla especially was probably a non -Aryan, and certainly lived in a Dravidian environment. The then current similar popular etmologies of ariya and arahant (cp. next article) also assisted the confusion in their minds. They sometimes therefore erroneously identify the two words and explain Aryans as meaning Arahants (Dhp-a.i.230; Snp-a.537; Pv-a.60). In other ways also they misrepresented the old texts by ignoring the racial force of the word. Thus at Ja.v.48 the text, speaking of a hunter belonging to one of the aboriginal tribes, calls him anariya-rūpa. The C. explains this as “shameless” but what the text has, is simply that he looked like a non-Aryan. (cp ʻfrank’ in English).

Vedic ārya, of uncertain etym. The other Pāli forms are ayira & ayya