1. (f.) pity compassion. Karuṇā is one of the 4 qualities of character significant of a human being who has attained enfranchisement of heart (ceto-vimutti) in the 4 sentiments viz. mettā k.˚ upekhā muditā Freq. found in this formula with ˚sahagatena cetasā. The first two qualities are complementary, and Snp-a.128 (on Snp.73 explains k˚ as “ahita-dukkh-âpanaya-kāmatā,” the desire of removing bane and sorrow (from one’s fellowmen), whilst mettā is expl. as “hita-sukh-ûpanayakāmatā,” the desire of bringing (to one’s fellow-men) that which is welfare and good. Other definitions are “paradukkhe sati sādhūnaṃ hadayakampanaṃ karotī ti” Bdhd 21; “sattesu k˚ karuṇāyanā karuṇāyitattaṃ karuṇā cetovimutti” as expl. of avihiṃsa dhātu Vb.87; paradukkhāsahana-rasā Vism.318. K˚-sahagatena cetasā denotes the exalted state of compassion for all beings (all that is encompassed in the sphere of one’s good influence: see cātuddisa “extending over the 4 i.e. all, directions): DN.i.251; DN.iii.78, DN.iii.50, DN.iii.224; SN.iv.296 SN.iv.322, SN.iv.351; SN.v.115; AN.i.183, AN.i.196; AN.ii.129, AN.ii.184; AN.iii.225 AN.v.300, AN.v.345; Ja.ii.129; Nd ii.on Snp.73; Vb.273, Vb.280; Dhs.1258. The def. of karuṇā at Vism.318 runs “paradukkhe sati sādhūnaṃ hadaya-kampanaṃ karoti. Frequently referred to as an ideal of contemplation (in conn. w. bhāvanā & jhāna), so in “karuṇaṃ cetovimuttiṃ bhāveti” SN.v.119; AN.i.38; AN.v.360; in k˚ cetovimutti bhāvitā bahulī-katā, etc. DN.iii.248; AN.iii.291 AN.iv.300; in k˚-sahagataṃ saddhindriyaṃ AN.i.42; unspecified SN.v.131; AN.iii.185; Ne.121, Ne.124; Pts.i.8 k˚ + mettā Ne.25; k˚ + muditā Bdhd 16 sq., Bdhd 26 sq. Bdhd 29; ananta k˚ pañña as epithet of Buddha Bdhd 1 karuṇaṃ dūrato katvā, without mercy, of the Yamadūtā messengers of Death Sdhp.287; mahā˚; great compassion Pts.i.126, Pts.i.133; -samāpatti a ʻgest,’ feat of great compassion: in which Buddha is represented when rising and surveying the world to look for beings to be worthy of his mercy and help DN.ii.237; Pts.i.126 f Dhp-a.i.26, Dhp-a.i.367; Pv-a.61, Pv-a.195.
  2. As adj. only in compounds (e.g. ˚vācā merciful speech; neg. akaruṇa merciless Mhbv.85, & ati˚ very merciful Ja.iv.142) and as adv. karuṇaṃ pitifully, piteously, mournfully, in k paridevati Ja.vi.498, Ja.vi.513, Ja.vi.551; Cp.ix.54; also in abl karuṇā Ja.vi.466
    ■ See also kāruñña.
  • -ādhimutta intent upon compassion DN.ii.241, DN.ii.242
  • -ānuvattin following the dictates of mercy Dāvs iii.46
  • -guṇaja originating in the quality of compassion Sdhp.570;
  • -jala water of c., shower of mercy Mil.22; Mhbv.16;
  • -jhāna meditation on pity, ecstasy of c. DN.ii.237–DN.ii.39
  • -ṭṭhāniya worthy of c. Pv-a.72;
  • -para one who is highest in compassion, compassionate Sdhp.112, Sdhp.345;
  • -bala the power of c. Mhvs.15, Mhvs.61, Mhvs.130; Sdhp.577;
  • -brahmavihāra divine state of pity Vism.319.
  • -ādhimutta intent upon compassion DN.ii.241, DN.ii.242
  • -rasa the sweetness of c. Mhbv.16;
  • -vihāra (a heart) in the state of c. Vism.324 (& adj. ˚vihārin); DN-a.i.33;
  • -sāgara an ocean of mercy Mhbv.7;
  • -sītala “cool with c.” + hadaya whose heart is tempered with mercy Sdhp.33; DN-a.i.1.

cp. Vedic karuṇa nt. (holy) action; Sk. karuṇā, fr. kṛ. As adj. karuṇa see under 3.