1. a brahmanic sacrifice.
  2. alms-giving charity, a gift to the Sangha or a bhikkhu.

The brahmanic ritual of Vedic times has been given a changed and deeper meaning. Buddhism has discarded the outward and cruel form and has widened its sphere by changing its participant, its object as well as the means and ways of “offering,” so that the yañña now consists entirely in a worthy application of a worthy gift to a worthy applicant. Thus the direct and as it were self-understood definition of yañña is at Cnd.523 given with “yañño vuccati deyyadhammo”, and as this the 14 constituents of the latter are enumerated; consisting of the 4 paccayas, and of anna, pāna, vattha yāna, mālā, gandhā, vilepana, seyya, avasatha, padīpeyya Cp. Mnd.373

The term parikkhāra, which refers to the requisites of the bhikkhu as well (see DN-a.i.204–DN-a.i.207), is also used in the meaning of “accessory instrument” concerning the brahmanic sacrifice: see DN.i.129 sq., DN.i.137 sq. They are there given as 16 parikkhāras as follows: (4) cattāro anumati-pakkhā viz the 4 groups khattiyas, ministers, brahmans and householders, as colleagues by consent; (8) aṭṭhangāni of a king-sacrificer; (4) cattār’ angāni of a purohita.

The term mahāyañña refers to the brahmanic ritual (so at MN.ii.204; Dhs-a.145, cp. Expositor 193); its equivalent in Buddhist literature is mahādāna, for which yañña is also used at Pv.ii.9#50 (cp. Pv-a.134).

The Jātakas are full of passages referring to the ineffectiveness and cruelty of the Brahmanic sacrifice e.g. Ja.iii.518 sq.; Ja.vi.211 sq., & cp. Fick, Sociale Gliederung p. 146 sq.

One special kind of sacrifice is the sabba-catukkayañña or the sacrifice of tetrads, where four of each kind of gifts, as elephants, horses, bulls and even men were offered: Ja.i.335; Ja.iii.44, Ja.iii.45; Pv-a.280. The number 4 here has the meaning of evenness completeness, or harmony, as we find it freq., in the notion of the square with ref. to Vimānas & lotus ponds (in Ja., Vv & Pv etc.); often also implying awfulness magic, as attached e.g. to cross-roads. Cp. the Ep of niraya (Purgatory) “catu-dvāra” (esp. at Pv.i.10) See compounds of catur. It may also refer to the 4 quarters of the sky, as belonging to the 4 Guardians of the World (lokapālā) who were specially worth offering to, as their influence was demonic (cp. Pv.i.4).

The prevailing meaning of yañña in the Suttapiṭaka is that of “gift, oblation to the bhikkhu, alms-giving.” cp. Snp.295 Snp.461 Snp.484 Snp.1043 At Vv.3426 the epithets “su-dinna, su-huta, su-yiṭṭha” are attributed to dāna.

The 3 constituents which occur under dāna & deyyadhamma as the gift, the giver and the recipient of the gift (i.e. the Sangha: cp. opening stanza Pv; i1 are similarly enumerated under yañña (or yaññapatha) as “ye yaññaṃ (viz. cīvaraṃ etc.) esanti” those who wish for a gift, “ye yaññaṃ abhisankharonti” those who get it ready, and “ye yaññaṃ denti” those who give it, at Cnd.70 (under appamatta). Similarly we find the threefold division of “yañña” (= cīvara etc.), “yaññayājaka” (= khattiyā, brāhmaṇā etc., including all 8 classes of men: see Cnd.p.129 s. v. khattiya, quoted under janab), and “dakkhiṇeyya” (the recipient of the gift, viz. samaṇa-brāhmaṇā, kapaṇ’addhikā vanibbakā yācakā) at Cnd.449#b (under puthū)

Cp. the foll. (mixed) passages: DN.i.97, DN.i.128–DN.i.144 (brahmanic criticised); DN.ii.353, DN.ii.354 (profitable and unprofitable criticised); MN.i.82 (brahm.); SN.i.76, SN.i.160; SN.ii.42 sq., SN.ii.63 SN.ii.207; SN.iii.337; SN.iv.41; AN.i.166; AN.ii.43 (nirārambhaṃ yaññaṃ upasankamanti arahanto, cp. Dhs-a.145); Snp.308 (brahm.), Snp.568 (aggihutta-mukhā yaññā: the sacrifices to Agni are the best; brahm.); Thag.341; Ja.i.83, Ja.i.343; Ja.iii.517 (˚ṃ yajati; brahm.); Ja.iv.66; Ja.v.491 Ja.v.492; Ja.vi.200 (yañña-kāraka-brāhmaṇa), Ja.vi.211 sq.; DN-a.i.267; Dhp-a.ii.6.

  • -āgāra a hall for sacrifices Pp.56 (= yañña-sālā Pp-a 233).
  • -āvāṭa the sacrificial pit DN.i.142, DN.i.148; Ja.i.335; Ja.iii.45, Ja.iii.517; Ja.vi.215 (where reading yaññavāṭa cp. yaññavāṭaka at Cp.i.7#2). It has been suggested by Kern, Toev, s. v., and it seems more to the sense to read yañña- vāṭa for yanñ’ āvāṭa, i.e. enclosed place for sacrifice. Thus at all passages for ˚āvāṭa.
  • -kāla a suitable (or the proper) time for sacrifice DN.i.137; Snp.458, Snp.482; DN-a.i.297.
  • -upanīta one who has been brought to the sacrifice SN.i.168 (trsl. K.S. 211 not quite to the point: “the oblation is brought.” Reading is uncertain; variant reading -opanīta which may be read as opavīta “wearing the sacrificial cord”: see foll.).
  • -opavīta (?) upavīta*] in phrase yaññ’ opavīta-kaṇṭhā “having the (sacrificial, i.e.) alms-cord wound round their necks” Snp-a.92 (variant reading BB yaññ-opacita-kammā). Cp yañña-suttaka.
  • -patha [cp. patha2] (way of) sacrificing, sacrifice Snp.1045; Cnd.524 (yañño y’ eva vuccati yañña-patho); Ja.vi.212, Ja.vi.215.
  • -vaṇṇa praise of sacrifice Ja.vi.200.
  • -vidhāna the arrangement or celebration of a sacrifice Ja.vi.202.
  • -sampadā success of the sacrifice DN.i.128 sq. (in its threefold mode), DN.i.134, DN.i.143, DN.i.144; Snp.505, Snp.509.
  • -sāmin lord or giver of a sacrifice DN.i.143
  • -suttaka “sacrificial string,” i.e. alms-cord (the sign of a mendicant) Dhp-a.ii.59. Cp. above: ˚opavīta.

Vedic yajña, fr. yaj: see yajati. The metric reading in the Veda is sometimes yajana, which we are inclined to look upon as not being the source of the P. yajana