Buddhist Studies glossary of buddhist terms

Glossary of Buddhist Terms: F- K

Five Precepts: or Five Training Rules:

(1) Undertaking the precept not to kill;
(2) Undertaking the precept not to steal;
(3) Undertaking the precept not to be involved in sexual misconduct;
(4) Undertaking the precept not to have false speech;
(5) Undertaking the precept not to indulge in intoxicants, that cloud the mind.

Five Khandas (Pali) (Skr. Skandhas): or Five Aggregates, that is, the five components of an intelligent being, or psychological analysis of the mind:

(1) Matter or Form (rupa) - the physical form responded to the five organs of senses, i.e., eye, ear, nose, tongue and body;
(2) Sensation or Feeling (vedana) - the feeling in reception of physical things by the senses through the mind;
(3) Perception and/or cognition (Pali, sanna) (Skr, sanjna) - the functioning of mind in distinguishing appearances;
(4) Volition or Mental Formation (Pali, sankara) (Skr, samskara) - habitual action, i.e., a conditioned response to the object of experience, whether it is good or evil, you like or dislike;
(5) Consciousness (Pali, vinnana) (Skr, vijnana) - the mental faculty in regard to perception, cognition and experience;

Four Bodhisattva Vows: Chanted daily by Zen students as an expression of their aspiration.

Four Noble Truths:

Fact of suffering - suffering is a necessary attribute of sentient existence
Cause of suffering is caused by passions (Cause of Suffering)
Cessation of suffering or extinction of passion (Effect of Happiness)
The Path leading to the extinction of passion (Cause of Happiness); i.e. Eightfold Path.

Fugen: One of the great Bodhisattvas. In Japanese, Samantabhadra.

Gassho: (Japanese) To join the palms (in reverence or respect).

Gatha: Verses; poem composed of them.

Geluk: (Tibetan) The virtuous Order. The order of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Lama Tsong Khapa and his disciples in the early fifteenth century.

Genjokoan: Realization of Ultimate Reality or The Way of Everyday Life, one of the key chapters of Dogen Zenji's Shobogenzo. An important Soto Zen text, it subtly explores the relationship between practice and realization.

Gotama: Gotama in Pali, Gautama in Sanskrit. The surname of the Shakya clan into which Shakyamuni was born. Another name for Shakyamuni.

Graduated Path: Teachings outlining the progressive training of the mind leading to enlightenment.

Guru: (Sanskrit) Spiritual teacher and guide.

Hara: The centre of gravity of the body, located in the lower abdomen; the centre of awareness in zazen meditation.

Heart Sutra: A distillation of the vast Prajnaparamita literature, it is chanted daily in Zen monasteries.

Hinayana: "Inferior Vehicle," a pejorative term, coined by a group who called themselves followers of the Mahayana, the "Great Vehicle," to denote the path of practice of those who adhered only to the earliest discourses as the word of the Buddha.

Hoben: (Japanese) Upaya. A means or device.

Hotoke: (Japanese) Buddha.

Hua-Yen: Chinese school of Buddhism founded in the seventh century, which attempted a synthesis of all the major schools, texts, and traditions of the time. The teachings of mutual interdependence and mutual causality are hallmarks of the school.

Hua-Yen Sutra: Last great compendium of Mahayana literature, completed in China in the eighth century, derived from the Sanskrit Avatamsaka Sutra.

Hui Neng: The Sixth Patriarch of Zen (Ch'an) Sect in China.

Idhappaccayata: (Pali) This / that conditionality. This name for the causal principle the Buddha discovered on the night of his Awakening emphasises the point that, for the purposes of ending suffering and stress, the processes of causality can be understood entirely in terms of conditions in the realm of direct experience, with no need to refer to forces operating outside of that realm.

Iddhis: (Pali) Attributes or powers of the mind.

Isipatana: The deer-park near Benares (now called Sarnath) where Buddha gave his first teachings.

Jainism: A religion founded by Nataputta, who was a royal clan of the Nata tribe in ancient India at the time of Shakyamuni. Its basic doctrine is non-materialistic atheism.

Jataka Tales: Stories or legends about Buddha's birth or previous forms of existence.

Je Tzong Khapa: Great 14th centruy Tibetan scholar, teacher and yogi.

Jhana: Mental absorption. A state of strong concentration focused on a single object.

Jikijitsu: (Japanese) Head of training and timer of zazen periods in the Rinzai zendo.

Jijimuge: (Japanese) The doctrine of the Kegon School of the 'unimpeded interdiffusion' of all Ji, things. Apparently the last word in the intellectual understanding of the unity of manifestation.

Jina: Conqueror.

Jiriki: (Japanese) The way of salvation by 'Self-power' or self-effort as distinguished from Tariki, the way of salvation by 'Other-power' or an external Saviour.

Jisha: (Japanese) Head of logistical arrangements in the Rinzai zendo.

Jivatman: The soul, as a separate individual.

Jnana: Wisdom; higher intellect.

Jodo: The Pure Land School of China.

Jodo Shinshu: (Japanese) True Sect of the Pure Land; one of the Pure Land Schools, traced from Shinran Shonin, 1174-1268.

Jukai: (Japanese) The ceremony of becoming a Buddhist.

Ju Lai: in Chinese. He who has fully arrived, the Perfect One. A title of the Buddha.

Kagyu: (Tibetan) The order of Tibetan Buddhism founded in the eleventh century by Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa, and their followers.

Kalpa: (Kalpa in Sanskrit, Kappa in Pali). It is a fabulous period of four hundred and thirty two million years of mortals, measuring the duration of world. It is the period of time between other creation and recreation of a world or universe. The four kalpas of formation, existence, destruction and emptiness as a complete period, is called maha kalpa or great kalpas. Each great kalpa is subdivided into four asamkhyeya-kalpas or kalpas. Each of the four kalpas is subdivided into twenty antara-kalpas, or small kalpas. There are different distinctions and illustrations of kalpas. In general, a small kalpa is represented as 16,800,000 years, a kalpa as 336,000,000 years and a mahakalpa is 1,334,000,000 years.

Kama: (Sanskrit) Desire of the senses, especially sexual desire. The craving which arises from the false belief in an ego or self separate from the rest of manifestation.

Kamma: (Pali) The principle of causality in moral experience.

Khandha: (Pali) A collection of parts forming a whole. The elements of existence. The components of the so-called 'self', being Rupa, Vedana, Sanna, Sankhara and Vinnana.

Kanjizai: (Japanese) Avalokitesvara; The One Who Perceives the [Essential] Self at rest; the one who perceives the emptiness of perceptions and forms.

Kannon: (Japanese) Kanzeon. Bodhisattva of Compassion.

Kanthaka: The young Buddha's favourite horse.

Kanzeon: (Japanese) Avalokitesvara; The One Who Perceives the Sounds of the World; incarnation of mercy and compassion.

Kapilavatsu: The capital of the Sakya kingdom. The king of Kapilavatsu was Suddhodana, who was the father of Shakyamuni. The present-day Kapilavatsu is in Nepal.

Karma: (Sanskrit), Kamma: (Pali): "action or volitional activities" the cosmic law of cause and effect: every physical or spiritual deed has its long-range consequences as determined by the agent's intention. Sanskrit form: karma.

Karuna: (Sanskrit and Pali) Compassion for all sentient beings.

Kasyapa: Skr. (Kassapa Pali) Main disciple of the Buddha.

Katsu: (Japanese) The shout given by Zen teachers.

Kendo: (Japanese) The way of the swordsman; Japanese fencing.

Kensho: (Japanese) Seeing into one's own nature; first experience of realization and enlightenment.

Ki: (Japanese) Breath; spirit; spiritual strength.

Kie: (Japanese) Taking refuge.

Kinhin: (Japanese) meditative walk; the formal group walk between periods of zazen.

Koan: (Japanese) A paradoxical anecdote or story; used to bring Zen students to realization and to help clarify their enlightenment.

Kondanna: A disciple of Buddha, the earliest convert to his teachings.

Kosala: Kosala in Pali, Kausala in Sanskrit. One of the four great states (i.e., Kosala, Magadha, Vansa and Avanti) in ancient India. The Shakya clan to which Shakyamuni belonged was under the power and influence of Kosala. The capital of Kosala was Savatthi where the famous monastery (Bodhi-mandala) Jetavanna Grove was located.

Koti: A large number.

Ksatriya: Ksatriya in Sanskrit, Khattiya in Pali. The second of the four Indian Castes at the time of Shakyamuni, they were the royal caste, the noble landlord, the warriors and the ruling castes.

Kshitigarbha: A Bodhisattva who seeks to save even those in hell. In Chinese, Ti Ts'ang.

Ku: (Japanese) Sky, sunyata, emptiness, the void.

Kundalini: (Sanskrit) Blissful energy dormant within the physical body, aroused through tantric practice and used to generate penetrative insight into the true nature of reality.

Kung-an or Koan: In Zen, it is a word, or a phrase, or a story couched in irrational language which cannot be solved by intellectual processes, but whose meaning must burst on the mind directly. Kung-an is used as an exercise in breaking the false thoughts, developing the deep intuition, and achieving a state of awareness.

Kusinara: Kusinara in Pali, Kusinagara in Sanskrit. The village where Shakyamuni Buddha died, and was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Malla.

Kyosaku: (Japanese) Keisaku, cautionary device; the flat, narrow stick carried by the monitor during zazen.


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