Further or higher teaching. The philosophy and psychology of Buddhism
in abstract, systematic form.
Abhidhamma Pitaka (Abhidharma Pitaka)
This is the third of the three principal sections of the canon of basic
scripture. It is a systematic, philosophical treatment of the teachings
given in the Sutta Pitaka.
Agama ( Skt )
Section of the Buddhist Canon.
Also Amida (Japanese). Buddha of unlimited light and life respectively.
Disciple of the Buddha.
Without soul, self or ego. Insubstantiality; denial of a real or permanent
Impermanence; transience. Instability of all things, including self.
Arahat, Arahant (Arhat)
Enlightened disciple. The fourth and highest stage of Realisation recognised
by the Theravada tradition. One whose mind is free from all greed, hatred
and ignorance (Three Fires).
Indian Buddhist scholar and said to be the founder of the Cittamatra tradition. (310-90?CE)
The first Buddhist Emperor of India in the 3rd century BCE.
Fighting demons who live in one of the Six Realm of the Wheel of Life.
- B -
Fully ordained Buddhist monk.
Fully ordained Buddhist nun.
The tree (ficus religiosa) under which the Buddha realised Enlightenment.
A Bodhisattva’s aspiration.
A Wisdom Being. One intent on becoming, or destined to become, a Buddha.
Gotama, before his enlightenment as the historical Buddha.
A being destined for Enlightenment, who postpones final attainment of
Buddhahood in order to help living beings (See Mahayana).
Awakened or Enlightened One.
- C -
Mind/heart, (class of) consciousness.
A collection of sacred books accepted as genuine.
- D -
Dalai Lama (Tibetan)
Great Ocean. Spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people.
Generosity, giving, gift. The first of the Six Paramitas (perfections).
Universal law, ultimate truth. The teachings of the Buddha. A key Buddhist
Well-known scriptures of 423 verses.
Suffering, unsatisfactoriness. The nature of existence according to
the first Noble Truth.
- E -
Awakening. Realization of the truth of the way things are and the end
- F -
Four Noble Truth
(1) Suffering. (2) The cause of suffering. (3) The end of suffering.
(4) The Noble Eightfold Path.
- G -
Family name of the Buddha.
- H -
- I -
- J -
Birth story. Accounts of the previous lives of the Buddha, illustrating
Buddhist ethical ideas.
Also Ch’an (Chinese) and Zen (Japanese). Advanced meditation.
The fifth of the Six Paramitas.
- K -
Action. Intentional actions that affect one’s circumstances in
this and future lives. The Buddha’s insistence that the effect
depends on volition marks the Buddhist treatment of kamma as different
from the Hindu understanding of karma.
Heap; aggregate. The Five Khandhas together make up the ‘person’
(form, feeling, perception, mental formation and consciousness).
Patience; forbearance. The third of the Six Paramitas (perfections).
Fire or mental defilement, such as desire, anger or delusion. (The Three
A technical term used in Zen Buddhism referring to enigmatic or paradoxical
questions used by teachers to develop students’ intuition. Also
refers to religious problems encountered in daily life.
Also, Kannon (Japanese). Bodhisattva of Compassion, depicted sometimes
in female form. Identified with Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.
- L -
Teacher, or one who is revered.
A scripture of major importance to various schools within the Mahayana
tradition. It describes the virtues of the Boddhisattva, and emphasises
that all sentient beings possess Buddha-nature and can attain Enlightenment
Affectionate consideration for others (Metta).
- M -
Path, leading to cessation of suffering. The fourth Noble Truth. The
Noble Eightfold Path.
Great Way or Vehicle . Teachings that spread from India into Tibet,
parts of Asia and the Far East, characterised by the Bodhisattva ideal
and the prominence given to the development of both compassion and wisdom.
Some centuries after the Buddha Mahayana began to be expounded from
monasteries throughout India.
A pictorial diagram of the world, and of a person, used in meditation
and Tantric rituals.
Bodhisattva of Wisdom.
Set of words with a religious significance and power.
Bhavana (Pali). Development of the mind leading to awareness, tranquillity
Loving kindness. A pure love which is neither grasping nor possessive.
One who has the nature of loving kindness. Name of the future Buddha.
Ritual gesture, as illustrated by the hands of Buddha images.
Sympathetic joy. Welcoming the good fortune of others.
- N -
Blowing out of the fires of desire, anger and delusion, and the state
of perfect peace that follows. The end of rebirth. A key Buddhist term.
End (of suffering). The third Noble Truth.
Noble Eightfold Path
The path to be followed by a Buddhist, leading to end of suffering.
The fourth Noble Truth. The Middle Way.
Not being attached to anything, including ‘I’.
- O -
- P -
Wisdom. Understanding the true nature of things. The sixth of the Six
A perfection or virtue. One of the six or ten perfections necessary
for the attainment of Buddhahood.
Final and complete nirvana reached at the passing away of a Buddha.
The training rules of a monk or nun – 227 in the case of a Theravada
Basket. Collection of scriptures (see Tipitaka).
- Q -
- R -
Form. Used of an image of the Buddha; also, the first of the Five Khandhas.
- S -
Sage of the Sakyas (the tribe of the Buddha). Title of the historical
Meditative absorption. A state of deep meditation.
A state of concentrated calmness: meditation (see Vipassana).
Life of impermanence. The continual round of birth, illness, old age
and death, which can be transcended by following the Noble Eightfold
Path and Buddhist teaching.
Arising; origin of suffering. The second Noble Truth.
Community; assembly. Often used for the order of monks and nuns in Theravadin
countries. In the Mahayana countries, the Sangha includes lay devotees
and priests, eg in Japan.
Mental/karmic formation. The fourth of the Five Khandhas.
Perception. The third of the Five Khandas.
Awakening. A term used in Zen Buddhism.
Wish-fulfilled. The personal name of the historical Buddha.
Moral discipline. The second of the Six Paramitas.
Six perfections in Mahayana schools which form the path to Buddhahood.
A circular structure containing Buddhist relics.
Emptiness. A Mahayana idea: nothing has an existence of its own.
A Dhamma text.
Sutta Pitaka (Sutra Pitaka)
The second of the three collections – principally of teachings
– that comprise the canon of basic scripture.
- T -
Thirst; craving; desire (rooted in ignorance). One of the Three Fires;
the cause of suffering.
Another epithet for the Buddha. Nyorai in Japanese.
Way of the elders. A principal school of Buddhism, established in Sri
Lanka and South East Asia. Also found in the West.
Three baskets. A threefold collection of texts (Vinaya, Sutta and Abhidamma).
The Three Refuges. Buddha , the Dhamma and the Sangha. Another way of
referring to the Three Jewels.
Tsong Khapa (Tibetan)
Tibetan scholar and commentator of Madhyamika philosophy. (1357 - 1419?)
- U -
Equanimity; evenness of mind.
- V -
Thunderbolt; Diamond Way. Teachings promulgated later, mainly in India
and Tibet. Another term for esoteric Buddhism.
Seclusion during the rainy season.
Indian Buddhist Scholar said to be Asanga's brother. ( 4th century CE)
Feeling. The second of the Five Khandhas.
Dwelling place; monastery.
Yuima in Japanese. Protagonist of the Mahayana Vimalakirti-nirdesa Sutra.
The rules of discipline of monastic life.
The first of the three collections of the canon of basic scripture,
containing mostly the discipline for monks and nuns, with many stories
and some teachings.
Consciousness. The fifth of the Five Khandhas.
Insight into the true nature of things. A particular form of meditation
Energy; exertion. The fourth of the Six Paramita.
- W -
Wesak (Vesak: Sinhalese)
Buddha Day. Name of a festival and a month. On the full moon of Wesak
(in May or June), the birth, Enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha
took place, although some schools celebrate only the birth at this time,
- X -
- Y -
School of Mahayana Buddhism based on Asanga and Vasubandhu's teachings.
- Z -
Seated meditation, as in Zen Buddhism.
Meditation. Derived from the Chinese ‘Ch’an’ and the
Sanskrit ‘dhyana’. A school of Mahayana Buddhism that developed
in China and Japan.