Terms are from
Sanskrit unless stated otherwise.
Generic term applied to a collection of traditional doctrines and
precepts, The sutras of Theravada (Hinayana) are referred to at
times as the Agamas.
Samayak Sambodhi. The incomparably, completely and fully awakened
mind; it is the attribute of buddhas.
The one who has achieved Nirvana: A Saint in the Theravada tradition.
The stage is preceded by three others, 1. Stream Winner, 2. Once-Returner,
3. Non-Returner, 4. Arhat.
Any individual ennobled by his/her own continuing effort on the
path to enlightenment.
(kalpa). Term related to the Buddhist metaphysics of time. Each
of the periodic manifestations and dissolutions of universes which
go on eternally has four parts, called asamkhiya kalpas.
name is a compound of Ishwara, meaning Lord, and avalokita, looked
upon or seen, and is usually translated as the Lord Who Observes
(the cries of the world); the Buddhist embodiment of compassion
as formulated in the Mahayana Dharma; the most important Bodhisattva
of the Mahayana pantheon, second only to the Buddha.
or Avatamsaka (Sutra). One of the 5 key texts of the Mahayana
canon. Its principal doctrine is that of the law-nature (Dharma-dhatu)
of the universe. In modern terms it means that all objects and energies
are under the law of causation, on account of which they are co-existent
Religious mendicant; Buddhist fully ordained monk. Bhikshuni is
the equivalent term designating a woman.
Perfect wisdom or insight knowledge by means of which a person becomes
Or Indra's net, characterized by holding a luminous gem in every
one of its eyes. (Hindu mythology).
Extended mantra used in esoteric branch of Buddhism to focus and
expand the mind. Its words, or sounds, should not communicate any
The Law-doctrine that is the reality behind being and non-being.
It is interpenetrative and all-inclusive, just as the rotation of
the earth holds both night and day.
The first of the three forms of the Buddha: The Self--Nature or
Void aspect. The real being in his true nature, indescribable and
Conditions of Passions and Delusions: 1. Wrong views which are
common to triloka; 2. Clinging or attachment in the desire realm;
3. Clinging or attachment in the form realm; 4. Clinging or attachment
in the formless realm which is still mortal; 5. The state of unenlightenment
which is the root-cause of all distressful delusion.
of the Arhat. See under Arhat entry.
Lit., a small vehicle; designates Buddhist tradition of southeast
Asia; replaced by the term Theravada.
Periodic manifestations and dissolutions of universes which go on
eternally. Great kalpas consist of four asamkhiya kalpas corresponding
to childhood, maturity, old age and the death of the universe.
Or Saddharma-pundarika, Dharma Flower, or "The Lotus of the
True Law." The sutra is the basis for the Lotus sect (T'ien-t'ai
in Chinese). Among the sutras of the Mahayana canon.
Lit., great vehicle; the dominant Buddhist tradition of China. Special
characteristics of Mahayana are 1. Emphasis on bodhisattva ideal,
2. The accession of the Buddha to a superhuman status, 3. The development
of extensive philosophical inquiry to counter Brahmanical and other
scholarly argument, 4. The development of elaborate devotional practice.
Also called Middle Doctrine School or Madhyamika; one of the two
main schools of Mahayana thought; it upholds the Void as the only
really real or independent, unconditioned Reality.
The last of the sutras in the Mahayana canon. It emphasizes the
importance of Buddha-nature, which is the same as Self-Nature.
Perfected virtue, of which there are six, namely: 1. Dana: Generosity;
charity. 2. Shila: Morality; harmony. 3. Kshanti: Patience; tolerance
of insults. 4. Virya: Valor; vigor in practice. 5. Dhyana: Contemplation;
meditation. 6. Prajna: Essential wisdom; awareness as such, beyond
the duality of subject and object.
Self-enlightened being who attained without a teacher; attained
individual unwilling or unable to teach.
See entry under Lotus Sutra.
or Saha world; this world to be endured, this earth.
Learned language of India. Canonical texts of Mahayana Buddhism
in its Indian stage were written in Sanskrit.
As taught by the Buddha, the skandhas are the components of the
human so-called entity that is constantly changing. They are: 1.
Name/form; 2. Feeling; 3. Conception; 4. Impulse; 5. Consciousness.
See entry under Hinayana.
Lit. laborer; applied to those who wholeheartedly practice toward
enlightenment; root word of the designation for novice monk.
Lit. hearer; it originally referred to those who paid devoted attention
to the spoken words of the Buddha; today it is more often applied
to an ardent teacher of Buddhist texts; an individual still needing
guidance in Dharma.
Chinese term meaning the way. In Buddhist terminology it may be
applied to practice, to Self-nature or to the Ultimate.
Thus gone; term frequently used by the Buddha in reference to himself.
Chinese name designating a school of Buddhism in that country; the
Lotus Sutra is the school's textual foundation. The T'ien T'ai doctrine
speaks of the threefold Truth, the three being three in-one. These
are: 1. All things are of the Void; 2. Phenomenal existences of
all kinds are only temporary productions and so only the Void; 3.
As everything involves everything else, all is one, and something
of everything involves everything else, all is one, and something
of everything is the basis of its being, this something being the
Buddha-nature. The school emphasizes Buddhist philosophy.
The ten Directions.
North, South, East, West, N-E, N-W, S-E, S-W, Zenith and Nadir.
Lit., the School of the Elders; one of the two main forms of Buddhism
known in the world today; practiced chiefly in south-east Asia;
has the Pali Canon for textual foundation.
Trailoka. The three realms: World of sensuous desire; form;
formless world of pure spirit.
Lit., three baskets: The earliest Buddhist canonical text consisting
of three sections: 1. Buddha's discourses (sutras), 2. Rules of
Discipline (Vinaya), 3. Analytical and explanatory texts or commentaries
(Sastras); usually referred to as the Pali canon.
Buddhist lay disciple (man), who formally received five precepts
or rules of conduct. Upasika is the equivalent term designating