Definition - What does Bhanga mean?

A concept in Buddhism, bhanga is a Pali term that means “dissolution” or “breaking up.” It is typically used in the phrase, bhanga nana, which refers to “knowledge of the dissolution of formations.” Bhanga is one of the 16 insights or stages of knowledge through which the Buddhist passes during vipassana meditation, each more subtle than its predecessor until reaching nirvana.

In the traditional Indian medical system of Ayurveda, bhanga refers to a medicinal herb of the genus, Cannabis. It is believed to increase pitta dosha and balance vata and kapha doshas.

Yogapedia explains Bhanga

In bhanga nana (the fifth nana), the Buddhist continues to develop awareness and concentration. Phenomena passes away or dissolves, demonstrating that nothing is permanent, nor can any form (rupa) provide security.

In Ayurveda, bhanga is used to treat the following conditions:

  • Headache and migraine
  • Convulsions and delirium
  • Bowel problems
  • Insomnia
  • Skin diseases
  • Dandruff and lice
  • Hemorrhoids and inflammations
  • Wounds and sores

Bhanga is administered as a syrup, a tonic or snuff. In addition, the seeds and leaves may be consumed.

Finally, in some traditions, bhanga is used to induce trances for ritualistic worship.

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