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puthujjana {pi}

Pāḷi; √ puthujjana
alt. sp.: IPA: put̪ʰud͡ʒd͡ʒən̪ə, Velthuis: puthujjana, readable: puthujjana, simple: puthujjana
translation ~:
khmer: បុថុជ្ជន
thai: ปุถุชฺชน
sinhal.: පුථුජ්ජන
burm.: ပုထုဇ္ဇန


[dic] puthujjana

puthujjana: Description welcome. Info can be removed after imput.

ATI Glossary

puthujjana: One of the many-folk; a “worlding” or run-of-the-mill person. An ordinary person who has not yet realized any of the four stages of Awakening (see magga). Compare ariya-puggala.


Buddhist Dictionary

by late Ven. Nyanalokita Thera:

puthujjana: lit.: 'one of the many folk', 'worldling', ordinary man, is any layman or monk who is still possessed of all the 10 fetters (see saṅyojana) binding to the round of rebirths, and therefore has not yet reached any of the 4 stages of holiness (see ariya-puggala).

“Whoso is neither freed from the 3 fetters (personality-belief, sceptical doubt, attachment to mere rule and ritual), nor is on the way to lose these 3 things, such a one is called a worlding” Puggalapaññatti 9

According to Commentary to MN 9, a 'worlding' may be (1) an outsider (a non-Buddhist) who, if he believed in moral causation, may be said to have right view to that extent; but he has not the 'knowledge conforming to the Truths' (saccānulomika-ñāṇa), as has (2) the 'worldling inside the Buddha's Dispensation' (sāsanika). A worlding who professes Buddhism, may be either a 'blind worldling' (andha-puthujjana) who has neither knowledge of, nor interest in the fundamental teaching (the Truths, groups, etc.); or he is a 'noble worldling' (kalyāṇa-puthujjana), who has such knowledge and earnestly strives to understand and practise the Teaching.

- See Aṭṭhasālinī Translation II, 451 (translation by 'average man'); Commentary to MN 1, DN 1.


PTS Dictionary

by the Pali Text Society:


Glossary Thanissaro

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Illustrated Glossary of Pāli Terms

by Ven. Varado Maha Thera:


Puthujjana vs. ariyasāvaka

Puthujjano usually occurs in the suttas as assutavā puthujjano, the ignorant Everyman. The assutavā puthujjano is repeatedly contrasted with the learned noble disciple, sutavā ariyasāvako.

Puthujjana: options

Because puthujjano usually occurs with an adjective like assutavā, rendering it as ‘common man’ or ‘ordinary person’ is avoided here, because it results in double adjectives. The assutavā puthujjano would be an ‘ignorant, ordinary person’ or an ‘ignorant, common man,’ which are clumsy and condemnatory.

Words like ‘commoner’ or ‘plebeian’ are unuseable because they designate members of a lower social class, where puthujjano implies averageness without implications of class.

Puthujjana: the Everyman

Everyman is the allegorical character in The Summoning of Everyman, a 15th Century morality play in which the central figure represents the common man. The spelling is either ‘everyman’ or ‘Everyman.’ Capitalisation is chosen here because it emphasises the individuality of the ordinary man, his helplessness, and pitifulness.

Puthujjano: contexts without an adjective

Where puthujjana occurs without an adjective, we render it ‘common man.’ As a plural we render it ‘common men’:

• The foolish common men who cherish this [wretched human] body

Yemaṁ kāyaṁ mamāyanti andhabālā puthujjanā. (Tha 575)

The Summoning of Everyman: synopsis

The synopsis of the play The Summoning of Everyman is this:

God commands Death to summon Everyman to make his final reckoning. Death allows Everyman a companion for the journey to speak for his virtues. Most of Everyman’s friends refuse to accompany him, for example Fellowship, who represents Everyman's friends, and Kindred, who represents his family.

Goods refuses, saying that since Everyman was so devoted to gathering Goods, but never shared them, Goods' presence would make God's judgement more severe.

Good Deeds says she is too weak to go because Everyman has never appreciated her. But, in the presence of Confession, Everyman repents of his sins, and as a result, Good Deeds becomes strong enough to accompany him on his final journey. Everyman then climbs into his grave with Good Deeds. They ascend into heaven where they are warmly welcomed.

The play closes with the Doctor, representing a scholar, explaining the moral: in the end, man will only have Good Deeds to accompany him beyond the grave.

About the author of the play, nothing is known.


Illustration: puthujjana, Everyman

When the ignorant Everyman is affected by unpleasant bodily sense impression, he grieves, suffers, and laments, weeps beating his chest, and falls into bewilderment. This is called the ignorant Everyman who has not risen up in the bottomless abyss, one who has not gained a foothold.

Assutavā bhikkhave puthujjano sārīrikāya dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno socati kilamati paridevati urattāḷiṁ kandati sammohaṁ āpajjati. Ayaṁ vuccati bhikkhave assutavā puthujjano pātāle na paccuṭṭhāsi gādhañca nājajhagā. (SN iv 207)

Illustration: puthujjana, Everyman

The ignorant Everyman is not freed from birth, old age, and death, from grief, lamentation, physical pain, psychological pain, and vexation. He is not freed, I declare, from suffering.

assutavā puthujjano na parimuccati jātiyā jarāmaraṇena sokehi paridevehi dukkhehi domanassehi upāyāsehi na parimuccati dukkhasmā ti vadāmi. (MN i 8)

Illustration: puthujjana, Everyman

Engaged in sensuous quests, the ignorant Everyman conducts himself wrongly in three ways: by body, speech, and mind.

Kāmapariyesanaṁ bhikkhave pariyesamāno assutavā puthujjano tīhi ṭhānehi micchā paṭipajjati: kāyena vācāya manasā. (SN ii 152)

Illustration: puthujjana, Everyman

The ignorant Everyman has no faith in the Buddha. When he considers within himself that lack of faith in the Buddha, there is fright, trepidation, and fear of death and the future life.

assutavā puthujjano buddhe appasādena samannāgato hoti. Tañca panassa buddhe appasādaṁ attani samanupassato hoti uttāso hoti chambhitattaṁ hoti samparāyikaṁ maraṇabhayaṁ. (SN v 386)

Illustration: puthujjana, Everyman

The ignorant Everyman, who has no regard for the Noble Ones or for spiritually outstanding people, and who is ignorant of and uninstructed in their teaching, considers bodily form to be the [absolute] Selfhood.

Assutavā puthujjano ariyānaṁ adassāvī ariyadhammassa akovido ariyadhamme avinīto sappurisānaṁ adassāvī sappurisadhammassa akovido sappurisadhamme avinīto rūpaṁ attato samanupassati. (SN iv 286-7)

Illustration: puthujjana, Everyman

When [bodily form] has been explained, taught, proclaimed, established, disclosed, analysed, and elucidated by the Perfect One, whoever does not know or see it [according to reality], what can I do with that foolish, blind, sightless, unknowing, unseeing Everyman?

Yo bhikkhave tathāgatena evaṁ ācikkhiyamāne desiyamāne paññāpiyamāne paṭṭhapiyamāne vivariyamāne vibhajiyamāne uttānīkayiramāne na jānāti na passati tamahaṁ bhikkhave bālaṁ puthujjanaṁ andhaṁ acakkhukaṁ ajānantaṁ apassantaṁ kinti karomī. (SN iii 139-40)

Illustration: puthujjana, Everyman

The ignorant Everyman does not restrain the six senses [from grasping, through mindfulness]; he indulges himself as much as he likes in the five varieties of sensuous pleasure.

assutavā puthujjano chasu phassāyatanesu asaṁvutakārī pañcasu kāmaguṇesu yāvadatthaṁ madaṁ āpajjati. (SN iv 196)

Illustration: puthujjana, common man

The pursuit of sensuous pleasures, which is low, vulgar, the way of the common man, ignoble, and unconducive to spiritual well-being.

yo cāyaṁ kāmesu kāmasukhallikānuyogo hīno gammo pothujjaniko anariyo anatthasaṁhito. (Vin.1.10)

Illustration: puthujjana, common man

‘The man ignorant of the path’ represents the common man.

puriso amaggakusalo ti kho tissa puthujjanassetaṁ adhivacanaṁ. (SN iii 109)

Illustration: puthujjana, common man

One who has faith in [the significance of] these teachings and is intent on them is called a ‘faith follower,’ one who has entered the way of rightness [comprised of spiritually wholesome factors], entered the plane of spiritually outstanding people, transcended the plane of the common man.

Yo bhikkhave ime dhamme evaṁ saddahati adhivuccati ayaṁ vuccati saddhānusārī okkanto sammattaniyāmaṁ sappurisabhumiṁ okkanto vītivatto puthujjanabhumiṁ. (SN iii 225)

Illustration: puthujjana, common man

Whoever formerly fared alone who then pursues sexual intercourse, in the world is called a ‘lurching vehicle,’ ‘contemptible,’ a ‘common man.’

Eko pubbe caritvāna methunaṁ yo nisevati
Yānaṁ bhantaṁ va taṁ loke hīnamāhu puthujjanaṁ. (Snp 820)

Illustration: puthujjana, common man

I will not think those kinds of thought which are low, vulgar, the way of the common man, ignoble, and unconducive to spiritual well-being.

ye te vitakkā hīnā gammā pothujjanikā anariyā anatthasaṁhitā… iti evarūpe vitakke na vitakkessāmī ti. (MN iii 114)


Glossary various Teacher

puthujjana: a common worldling, an ordinary person who has not yet entered the path to stream-entry (as opposed to an ariyā). (Source: Glossary late Ven. Ajahn Chah)


See also

Suttas and Dhammadesanā

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