Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Hinduism & Buddhism The eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In Hinduism, Buddhism, and some other eastern religions, the ongoing cycle of birth, death, and rebirth endured by human beings and all other mortal beings, and from which release is obtained by achieving the highest enlightenment.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (Hinduism and Buddhism) the endless cycle of birth and suffering and death and rebirth

Etymologies

Sanskrit saṃsāraḥ, course of life, samsara : sam, together; see sem-1 in Indo-European roots + sarati, it flows.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Sanskrit संसार (saṃ-sāra). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In Buddhism, we strive to gain liberation from these uncontrollably recurring cycles, which we call samsara, and to go on to become enlightened Buddhas so that we can be of best help to everyone.

    Tibeto-Mongolian Astrology and Karma

  • To which a Buddhist might reply: yes, indeed, better never to have started the march of History, better never to have become involved in samsara, better to have stayed inert, with one's toe in one's mouth, partaking in nothingness.

    Hegel on Buddhism

  • Hindu culture believes in a cycle of birth, death and rebirth, called samsara, whereby how we've behaved in the past affects how we live now.

    Serene Jones: Hate And Hope

  • That's called samsara, due to the always circular structure of habitual logic.

    Ethan Nichtern: Radical Buddhism and the Paradox of Acceptance

  • The way out of the loop, the way off the wheel of pain - called samsara in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other religions - is to become a mensch.

    Perry Garfinkel: The Groundhog Day Buddhism Sutra

  • Of course, the ethics we need to follow in order to reach enlightenment and in order to improve our samsara are the same.

    Introduction to Buddhist Sexual Ethics: Having Sex with Someone Else's Partner

  • This ultimate of enlightenments, or supreme nirvana, is beyond the extremes of bias either in the direction of being caught in the cyclic existence of the repeated round of birth, aging, sickness, and death called samsara or of inactive peace, a state of liberation from the round of suffering without full capability of helping others.

    Mind Of Clear Light

  • One of the characteristics of samsara is that our moods go up and down until we are completely free from samsara, which is an unbelievably advanced state.

    Dharma in Daily Life

  • The last of the four thoughts is of the unsatisfactoriness of samsara, which is the actual acknowledgement of difficulties and problems in life.

    The Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind to the Dharma

  • This is what is known as samsara -- uncontrollably recurring problems.

    The Compassionate Heart of Bodhichitta

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