Characteristics. Tri-lakkhana, the three characteristics of
existence: change, unsatisfactoriness and not-self.
Lama: (Tibetan) Spiritual teacher or senior monk.
Law of Causal Condition: The fundamental doctrine of Buddhism
that all phenomena in the universe are produced by causation.
Since all phenomena result from the complicated causes and effects,
all existing things in the universe are inter-dependent, i.e.,
no self nature or existence on its own. Moreover, all phenomena
and things are impermanent (i.e. changing constantly). It was
to this law that Shakyamuni was awakened when he attained enlightenment.
Law of Cause and Effect: The Law of Cause and Effect treats
of the Law of Causal Condition as it relates to an individual.
Law of Dependent Origination: (Paticcasamuppada) It states
that all phenomena arise depending upon a number of causal factors.
In other words, it exists in condition that the others exist;
it has in condition that others have; it extinguishes in condition
that others extinguish; it has not in condition that others
Law of Karma: The results of actions, which produce effects
that may be either good or bad. It is derived from the Law of
Causal Condition (Law of Cause and Effect).
Liberation: The state of complete personal freedom from
suffering and its causes (delusion and karma).
Lobha: (Sanskrit and Pali) Covetousness or greed.
Loka: 'World', denotes the three spheres of existence comprising
the whole world in Buddhist cosmology.
Loka-Dhamma: (Pali) "Worldly Conditions", eight
things are called Worldly Conditions, since they arise in connection
with worldly life: Gain and loss, honour and dishonour, happiness
and misery, praise and blame.
Lokuttra: (Pali) 'Supermundane', is a term for the four
paths and the four fruits of the Sotapatti.
Lotus Sutra: Short name of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower
of the Wonderful Law, or Saddharma-pundarik-sutra in Sanskrit.
It is one of the most important sutras of Mahayana Buddhism.
Basically, it states that all sentient beings can attain Buddhahood,
and nothing less than this is the appropriate final goal of
all Buddhists. It also states that the Buddha is eternal, and
the supreme form of Buddhist practice is the way of the Bodhisattva.
Lotus flower is used to describe the brightness and pureness
of the One Buddha Vehicle.
Lumbini Park: The birthplace of Shakyamuni Buddha, which
lay between the state of the Shakyas and the Koliyas.
Madhyamaka: (Sanskrit) The middle way, a system of analysis
founded by Nagarjuna, based on the prajnaparamita sutras of
Shakyamuni Buddha, and considered to be the supreme presentation
of the wisdom of emptiness.
Magadha: One of the four great kingdoms (i.e. Magadha, Kosala,
Vansa, and Avanti) in ancient India. The capital of Magadha
was Rajagaha. The King of Magadha, Bimbisara, became the follower
as in The Eight-fold Path (atthangika-magga).
Mahakashyapa: (Skt) Mahakassapa (Pali) The Dharma heir and
most prominent disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha. The First Patriarch
in the Zen Buddhist tradition, he was responsible for convening
the first Buddhist council after the death of the Buddha.
Mahamaya: The mother of Shakyamuni. She was the Koliyan
Princess and married to Suddhodana. She died seven days after
giving birth to Shakyamuni.
Mahasanghika: Literally means the Member of the Great Order,
majority, community. During the First Council, when the Sthavira
or elder disciples assembled in the cave after the Buddha's
death, and the other disciples (called to be Mahasanghika) assembled
outside the cave. Both compiled the Tripitaka. However, the
former emphasized on the rules of disciplines in the monastic
community, while the latter concerned the spread of the spirit
of Buddhism in lay community. As sects, the principal division
took place in the Second Council.
Mahatma: The highest principle in man; a great sage.
Mahayana: (Skt) The greater vehicle; one of the two major
divisions of Buddhism, as in China, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet and
Maitreya: (Skt), literally means friendly and benevolent.
He will be the next Buddha in our world. He is now preaching
in Tusita Heaven. He is usually represented as the fat laughing
Majjhima-patipada: (Pali) 'Middle Path', is the whole noble
eight-fold path which, by avoiding the two extemes of senual
lust and self-torment leads to enlightenment and deliverence
Makyo: (Japanese) Fantasies, hallucinations, and seemingly
real mental or physical experiences that arise during zazen;
they are said to be an obstacle to practice.
Mana: 'Conceit', pride, is one of the ten fetters binding
one to existence.
Manas: The discriminative and deliberative faculty of mind.
Mandala: Microcosmic diagram, used as a power circle and
object of contemplation in the rituals of Tantric Buddhism.
Mangala: (Pali) means in general usage, anything regarded
as 'auspicious', lucky or a 'good omen'.
Manjushri: One of the principal Bodhisattvas of the Zen
Buddhist tradition. Personifies wisdom and is often represented
riding a lion and holding the sword of wisdom, which can cut
through delusion. Also known as Monju in Japanese.
is in the Abhidhamma used as a synonym of vinnana (consciousness)
and citta (state of consciousness, mind).
Mantra: (Skt) Sacred word or formula repeated often of only
one or two syllables, used in certain Buddhist rituals.
Mara: The personification of evil and temptation.
Marana: Death. Maranussati: 'Recollection of Death'.
Marpa: (Tibet 1012-96) Founder of the Kagyu tradition of
Tibetan Buddhism. He was a renowned tantric master and translator,
and a disciple of Naropa and the guru of Milarepa.
Maya: (Sanskrit) Illusion, popularly used in this sense.
Philosophically, the phenomenal universe, being subject to differentiation
and impermanence is Maya.
Meditation: The process of becoming deeply acquainted with
one's own mind. see Bhavana.
Meditational Deity: A visualized figure, used in meditation,
representing a specific aspect of the fully enlightened mind;
for example, Tara and Avalokiteshvara.
Merit: Insight, power or energy bestowed on the mind when
one performs virtuous actions.
Metta: (Pali) Love in the
sense of loving-kindness; goodwill. The first of the four Brahma
Viharas. The subject of the famous Metta Sutta.
Metteyya: (Pali) Matriya (Skr.) The name of the Buddha-to-be
or next Buddha. A famous Bodhisattva.
Milarepa: (Tibet 1040-1123) Foremost disciple of Marpa,
famous for his intense practice, devotion to his guru, attainment
of enlightenment in his lifetime, and his many songs of spiritual
Moggalana: One of Buddha's chief disciples, noted for his
Moha: (Pali) One of the 'Three Fires'. Mental dullness,
infatuation, stupidity. The philosophical doctrine of Maya applied
to the human mind.
Moksha: Ultimate release or liberation from the cycle of
birth and death.
Mondo: (Japanese) Questions and answers; short, pithy dialogue
between Zen masters and disciples.
Mount Gudhakutra: Vulture Peak, the site of many of Shakyamuni
Buddha's recorded discourses and important in Zen as the site
of the first transmission from the Buddha to Mahakashyapa.
Mount Meru: The centre of the universe according to Buddhist
Mu: (Japanese); does not have; Case One of the Wu Men Kuan,
often the first koan of the Zen student.
Mudra: (Sanskrit) Hand gesture, essential element in Buddhist
Mudita: (Pali) 'Altruistic (or Sympathetic) Joy', is one
of the Sublime States.
Muni: A sage.
Myokonin: (Japanese) The Subtly Pure People; a gnostic movement
in the Pure Land Tradition.
Nagarjuna: (Sanskrit) The second century AD Indian Buddhist
philosopher who propounded the Madhyamaka philosophy of emptiness.
Nama-rupa: (Pali) (lit. 'name and form'). Mind-and-Body,
mentality and corporeality.
Namu Amida Butsu: (Japanese) Veneration to Amitabha Buddha;
the Nembutsu; mantra of Pure Land schools.
Nat: The nature spirits of Burma still worshipped in village
shrines, comparable to the devatas of Sri Lanka.
Nayuta: A large number.
Nen: (Japanese) Thought; one thought frame.
Nibbana (Pali) Nirvana (Sanskrit): Literally, the
"unbinding" of the mind from passion, aversion, and
delusion, and from the entire round of death and rebirth. This
term also denotes the extinguishing of a fire, it carries connotations
of stilling, cooling, and peace.
Nichiren: Japanese Buddhist sect, traced from Nichiren Shonin,
Nidana: (Pali) The Twelve Nidanas are spokes on the Wheel
of Becoming, links in the 'Chain of Causation' or Paticcasamuppada.
Nihonza: (Japanese) Japanese sitting; seiza.
Nirmanakaya: (Sanskrit) The "emanation body";
the form in which the enlightened mind appears in order to benefit
ordinary beings. One of the three bodies of a Buddha.
Nirodha: The end to ignorance, which causes suffering; the
Third Noble Truth taught by the Buddha.
Nivarana: 'Hindrances', are five qualities which are obstacles
to the mind and blind our mental vision. They are: Sensuous
Desire, Ill-will, Sloth and Torpor, Restlessness and Worry and
Obaku Zen: School of Zen brought from China to Japan in
1654 by Yin-Yuan. (Jap. Ingen). Obaku was the teacher of Rinzai,
the founder of the Rinzai school of Zen.
Osho: (Japanese) Father, the priest's title.
Pagoda: Typically an east-Asian multistoried memorial structure,
ultimately derived from an elaboration of the upper portions
of a stupa.
Pali: The canon of texts preserved by the Theravada school
and, by extension, the language in which those texts are composed.
An early language of Buddhism.
Panna: (Pali) Transcendental wisdom or insight.
Pansil: (Pali) A shortened form of Pancha Sila, the Five
Precepts. Training to abstain from the principal forms of immorality.
Paramita: (Sanskrit and Pali) Perfection, ideal virtue.
Parinirvana: Beyond Nirvana, the state into which one who
has attained Nirvana passes at death.
Parivarta: (Sanskrit) The Mahayana doctrine of 'turning
over' acquired merit for the benefit of others.
Patimokkha: Basic code of monastic discipline, composed
of 227 rules for monks and 310 for nuns.
Peepul tree: Sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa), under which
the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Pitaka: (Pali) Lit: 'basket'. The three Pitakas are the
main divisions of the Pali Canon, the Sutta Pitaka or Sermons,
the Vinaya Pitaka or Rules of the Order (Sangha), and the Abhidhamma
Prajna: (Sanskrit) Panna (Pali): pure and intuitive "wisdom,"
one of the aspects under which the goal of Buddhism is known,
often personified as feminine.
Prajnaparamita: The 'Wisdom that has gone beyond', a literature
compiled in India from the first century B.C.
Prapti: A force maintaining the living equilibrium of the
factors composing a personality.
Pratyeka Buddha: (Skr.) One seeking salvation independently
Prayer Wheel: (Tibetan) Wheel or cylinder with written
prayers on or in it.
Preta: (Sanskrit) Hungry spirit, a non-human being who experiences
intense suffering of hunger, thirst, heat and cold.
Puja: (Sanskrit) A gesture of worship or respect, usually
that of raising the hands, palms together, the height of the
hands indicating the degree of reverence.
Pure Land: Generally refers to the Paradise of the West,
presided over by Amitabha. Also known as the Land of Ultimate
Bliss. Other Buddhas have their own Pure Lands, all of which
are the adornment of merits and virtues in moral or spiritual
cultivation. The Pure-Land Sect whose chief tenet is salvation
by faith in Amitabha; it is the popular cult in China and Japan.
Raga: (Pali) Greed; passion; uncontrolled lust of any kind.
Rahula: He was one of the Ten Great Disciples of Shakyamuni.
He was the first in esoteric practices and in desire for instruction
in the Law. He was also the son of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Raja: King; chief; ruler.
Rajas: (Sanskrit) Restless activity. Passion as passionate
anger. One of the 'Three Fires' with Dosa and Moha.
Rajagaha: Rajagaha in Pali, Rajagrha in Sanskrit. The capital
of the ancient kingdom of Magadha in India, which was the centres
of culture at the time of Shakyamuni. The first monastery called
the Bamboo Grove Park was built by the elder Kalanda and King
Bimbisara of Magadha in Rajagaha.
Rebirth: The corollary of karma. The doctrine that each
individual is born into the world again and again to inherit
the effects of his deeds, or rather, that by action in this
life the individual creates a fresh personality for himself
in order that the results of his actions may be fulfilled in
a future life.
Renunciation: The attitude of complete detachment from the
experiences of samsara, seeing that there is no true pleasure
or satisfaction to be found within it.
Rinzai: (Japanese) The Rinzai Zen Buddhist Sect, traced
from Lin-chi, ninth century.
Rishi: A sage (usually a hermit).
Roshi: (Japanese) The Zen master of a monastery who takes
the pupil monks in San-Zen and gives them Zen instruction.
Rupa: (Sanskrit and Pali) Body, form. As the physical body
and personality, one of the five Skandhas. A Buddha Rupa is
a Buddha image.