(1) In the discourses of the Pali Canon, this term simply means
"higher Dhamma," a systematic attempt to define the
Buddha's teachings and understand their interrelationships.
(2) A later collection of analytical treatises based on lists
of categories drawn from the teachings in the discourses, added
to the Canon several centuries after the Buddha's life.
Ahimsa: (Pali) Non-harming or not hurting; gentleness
to all forms of life.
Ajahn: The Thai word for teacher; often
used as the title of the senior monk or monks at a monastery.
This is also spelt achaan, acharn (and
several other ways - all derived from the Pali word acariya).
Amida: The Buddha who is the main object of devotion
in the Pure Land School of Chinese Buddhism, and the Jodo and
Shin Schools in Japan.
Amida: (Japanese) Amitabha. The Buddha of Infinite
Amitabha: (Sanskrit) The Buddha who is the main object
of devotion in the Pure Land School of Chinese Buddhism, and
the Jodo and Shin Schools in Japan.
Amitabha: Literally means boundless light. He is
the Buddha in the Land of Ultimate Bliss (Pure Land), in which
all beings enjoy unbounded happiness. Amitabha has forty-eight
great vows to establish and adorn his Pure Land. People who
also recite or call upon his name by the time of dying will
be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss with the reception by
Anagarika: (Pali/Sanskrit) 'Homeless one'. One who
enters the homeless life without formally joining the Sangha.
Ananda: One of the Shakyamuni Buddha's Ten Great
Disciples, and the Buddha's cousin. He was first in hearing
the Buddha's words. As he had excellent memory, he memorized
the Buddha's sermons, which were later recorded as sutras. He
was also the cousin of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Anapana-sati: (Pali) 'Mindfulness on In-and-out breathing',
is one of the most important exercises for reaching mental concentration
and the four absorbtions (jhanas).
Anathapindika: A name given to Sudatta, meant one
who gives to the needy. He was a wealthy merchant of Savatthi
in ancient India who bought the land from Prince Jeta with as
much gold as would cover the ground for the construction of
Jetavanna Grove - one of the great monastery or Bodhimandala
of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Anatman/Anatta: 'Non-self, Non-ego' impersonality,
the Buddhist negation of the Hindu understanding of atman as
indestructible core of personal individuality.
Anatta: (Pali) Anatman (Sanskrit) No-soul non-self
teaching of Buddhism.
Anittya/Anicca: (Skt./Pali) 'Impermanence', one of
the three essential characteristics of existence, along with
Anicca and Dukkha.
Anjali: (Pali) To join the palms in a reverential
gesture of respect.
Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi: (Pali) Supreme perfect
Apaya: (Pali) Realm of destitution. One of the four
lower realms of existence, in which beings suffer because of
their bad Kamma: hell, the realm of hungry shades, the realm
of angry demons, and level of common animals. In the Buddhist
cosmology, a person reborn in any of these realms may stay there
for long or short periods of time, but never for an eternity.
After the bad kamma has worked out, the person will return to
the higher realms.
Apsara: Celestial nymph.
Arahat: (Pali) The perfected disciple; one who has
completed the discipline required to attain liberation.
Arahant: (Pali) A "worthy one" or "pure
one;" a person whose mind is free of defilement and thus
is not destined for further rebirth. A title for the Buddha
and the highest level of his noble disciples.
Arhat: (Sanskrit) The perfected disciple; one who
has completed the discipline required to attain liberation.
Ariya: (Pali) Arya: (Sanskrit) Noble; the
noble ones; the elect.
Asava: Effluent; fermentation. Four qualities - sensuality,
views, becoming, and ignorance - that "flow out" of
the mind and create the flood of the round of death and rebirth.
Asavas: The 'cankers' which obstruct spiritual achievement
(e.g. sensual longing, desire for continued separate existence,
Ashoka: A Buddhist monarch of 300 B.C., the third
emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, who unified most of India under
his rule and fostered the dissemination of Buddhism. It is said
that the Third Council was held during his reign. Ashoka set
the model for many other rulers who sought to govern in accordance
with Buddhist philosophy.
Asura: (Ashura in Sanskrit, Asura in Pali). It is
a peculiar path in the Six Paths. They are the enemies of the
devas, and are the mightest of all demons. In terms of material
enjoyment and psychic power, it is similar to Deva. However,
in some aspects, it is even worse than the Human Path. The male
Asura is extremely ugly and furious, and they always fight with
each other. The female Asura is as beautiful as an angel.
Asubha: (Pali) 'Impurity', loathsomeness, foulness,
the perception of Impurity.
Atta: 'Self', Ego, Personality, is in Buddhism a
mere conventional expression, and no designation for anything
Avalokiteshvara: One of the principal Bodhisattvas
in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition; personifies boundless compassion.
Avalokitesvara: In Chinese, Kwan Yin. A Bodhisattva
conceived as merciful to those in special need.
Avidya/Avijja: (Pali /Sanskrit) 'Ignorance', nescience,
unknowing, synonymous with Delusion: is the primary root of
all evil and suffering in the world.
Bhagawan: Epithet of a Buddha, meaning one who has
destroyed all obstacles, who is endowed with realizations and
who has transcended the world.
Bhakti: (Sanskrit) Devotion to a spiritual ideal.
Bhante: (Pali) Venerable Sir.
Bhavana: 'Mental development', (lit., 'calling into
existence, producing) is what in English is generally but rather
vaguely known as meditation. (Sanskrit and Pali)
Bhikkhu: (Pali) Alms mendicant; the term for a monk,
who lives on alms and abides by training precepts which define
a life of renunciation and morality.
Blue Cliff Record: This collection of 100 koans with
appreciatory verses and commentaries is a key text in the Rinzai
school. It was studied by Dogen Zenji, who carried a handwritten
copy back to Japan from China.
Bodhi: (Sanskrit and Pali) Enlightenment; the spiritual
condition of a Buddha or Bodhisattva.
Bodhicitta: (Sanskrit and Pali) The aspiration to
attain full enlightenment in order to enlighten all beings.
Bodhidharma: The twenty-eighth Ch'an patriarch in
India and the first in China. He brought Zen to China from India.
Bodhisatta: "A being (striving) for Awakening;"
a term used to describe the Buddha before he actually became
Buddha, from his first aspiration to Buddhahood until the time
of his full Awakening. Sanskrit form: Bodhisattva.
Bodhisattva: One moved by compassionate zeal to aid
fellow beings, hence willing to postpone his or her own entrance
into Nirvana to this end.
Bodhisattva: One whose 'being' or 'essence' (sattva)
Bodhi tree: Sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa), under
which the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Bon-po: (Tibetan) The indigenous religion of Tibet.
A form of nature-worship which has affected Tibetan Buddhism.
Bonze: Monk of the Mahayana school, active in China
and Japan. Original meaning is the chief monk in a Buddhist
monastery, now used for any monk.
Bo-tree: Sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa), under
which the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Brahma: One of the three major deities of Hinduism,
along with Visnu (Vishnu) and Siva (Shiva). Adopted as one of
the protective deities of Buddhism.
Brahman: The highest of the Four Castes in ancient
India at the time of Shakyamuni. They served Brahma, with offerings;
the keepers of the Vedas, i.e. priestly caste.
Brahmana: Usually spelled Brahmin. A member of the
highest, namely the priestly, caste.
Brahmin: Name used in the present text for the priestly
caste of Hindus. See Brahman.
Buddha: The Illumined One. The main title of the
founder of Buddhism after his Enlightenment.
Buddha: fully "enlightened one," a historical
person in the Theravada view; one of innumerable beings in Mahayana
view because each person is a potential Buddha.
Buddhi: intuitive awareness, true intelligence, that
mental faculty capable of profoundest insight.
Buddha Hall: Traditionally, the room or building
in a Zen Buddhist monastery in which services are held.
Buddha Rupa: an image of the Buddha.
Butsu: (Japanese) Buddha.
Chaitya: (Sanskrit) (Pali: Cetiya) A tumulus raised
over a burial mound. In Buddhism synonymous with Dagoba, Stupa,
Tope or Chorten; sometimes used for a hall (for meditation).
Chakra: Dharma wheel
Ch'an: (Chinese) Dhyana or meditation. Japanese:
Channa: The young Buddha's charioteer and personal
Chan-shih: (Chinese) Zenji;
Zen master (an honorific title).
Chela: (Sanskrit) A disciple or follower of a Guru.
Chenrezig: (Tibetan) Avalokiteshvara. The Buddha
of compassion. A male meditational deity embodying fully enlightened
Citta: Consciousness or knowing.
Compassion: To vibrate in sympathy with others.
Contemplation: Abstract contemplation. There are
four levels through which the mind frees itself from all subjects
and objective hindrances and reaches a state of absolute indifference
and annihilation of thought, perception, and will. See also
Cyclic Existence: The cycle of death and rebirth,
fraught with suffering and dissatisfaction, that arises from
ignorance of the true nature of reality.
Daitokuji: Rinzai Zen monastery in Kyoto, Japan.
Dalai Lama: Head of Tibetan Sangha and the former
ruler of Tibet.
Dana: (Sanskrit and Pali) giving assistance physically,
mentally or verbally. Gift, Offering or Donation.
Deva: Literally, "shining one". An inhabitant
of the heavenly realms.
Devadatta: Buddha's cousin.
Dhamma (Pali) Sanskrit form: Dharma: The Universal
Truth; The Teachings and the inner practice of the Teachings
of Buddha; Essential quality and factual reality.
Dhammapada: (Dhammapada in Pali, Dharmapada in Sanskrit).
A sutra consisting of two sections and 39 chapters, with 423
short verses of the Buddha, teachings given at various times
and places. It is regarded as the "original" teaching
of the Buddha, which can be used for reference, moral instruction
Dharani: Words or sentences possessing magic power.
Dharma Discourse: Formal talk given by a teacher explicating
Dharmakaya: Literally, body of the law. In Mahayana thought,
one aspect of ultimate reality.
Dhyana: Meditation, concentration. It is the Sanskrit word
of which Ch'an and Zen are Chinese and Japanese transliterations.
Dogen Zenji: Founder of the Japanese Soto school of Zen,
he established Eiheiji, the principal Soto training monastery
of Japan. He is the author of the Shobogenzo.
Dojo: (Japanese) Spot or place of enlightenment of the Buddha
under the bodhi tree; one's own place of enlightenment; the
Dokusan: (Japanese) To go alone; to work alone; Sanzen,
the personal interview between the Roshi and student.
Dorje: (Tibetan) The 'thunder-bolt' symbol used in art and
Dosa: (Pali) Hatred, anger, ill will. One of the 'Three
poisons', which cause Dukkha.
Dukkha: (Pali) Suffering, stress, pain, misery, sorrow,
unhappiness, dissatisfaction with the way things are, a central
factor in the human condition, one of the "three marks"
Eightfold Path: The path that leads to liberation, consisting
of right understanding, right aim, right speech, right action,
right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right
Emptiness: (Skt. Shunyata) (Pali, Sunyata) The actual way
in which all things exist, the absence of the apparent inherent
existence of things.
Enlightenment: Complete elimination of all negative aspects
of the mind and perfection of all positive qualities.