|A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
- Abhayagiri : An ancient monastery in Sri Lanka built by king Vattagaman1. Unlike the great Monastery, Mahavihara, this monastery was given to an individual monk. The residents of Abhayagiri were referred to as belonging to Dhannaruci School.
- Abhidharmakosa : An Abhidharma text written by Vasubandhu before he converted to Mahanyana Buddhism. The name of the text literally means the strorehouse (kosa) of Abhidharma. The text comprises two parts a bare text of 600 verses called the Abhidharmakosa-karikar and 8000 verses of preso commentary called the Abhidharmakosa-bhasya. Abhidharmakosa is one of the most important texts in Buddhism.
- Abhidharma Pitaka :The third amongst the Buddhist cannon scriptures (other two been the vinaya and sutta), Abhidharma Pitaka presents the philosophical and psychological teachings of the early Buddhism.
- Abhidharmasamuccaya : A Mahayana text written by Asanga in which arguments lead to an understanding of all dharma as empty.
- Abhijina : Six Supernormal powers usually possessed by Buddha, bodhisattvas or arhant. These powers include magical powers,divine ears,penetration of the mind of others,divine eye, memory of former existence and knowledge of the exitinction of moral impurities.
- Adi Buddha : The primordial Buddha. The concept existed since very early in Buddhism but evolved in esoteric Buddhism only.
- Agama : A title given to those scriptures that form part of the Sutra Pitaka in Sanskrit Buddhist tradition. Usually four agamas are recognised the Dirgha Agama, the Madhyma Agama,the Samyukta Agama and the Ekottarika Agama.
- Ahimsa : Non violence
- Aksobhaya : Earliest of the non historical celestial Buddhas who is believed to govern the Eastern Paradise also known as the Abhirati. He is mostly represented in dark blue or sometimes even golden colour. He has a vajra or a diamond sceptre in his right hand and makes the earth touching gesture from his left. He is usually shown seated on a blue elephant. Aksobhaya is well known in Nepal and Tibet.
- Amitabha/ Amida/Amita : He is the Buddha of Unlimited Light and rules over the Western paradise of Sukhavati. Legends say that a monk wished to attain Buddha hood and for this purpose he made 48 vows. This monk, after a number of lifetime practice, became Buddha Amitabha. He is generally regarded either an object of meditation or embodiment of passion.
- Amitayurdhyana- Sutra : This means Discourse on Meditation on the Buddha Amitayus. It is one of the three text basic to the Pure Land Buddhism.
- Amoghasiddhi : One of the five celestial Buddha of the Mahayana Buddhism, Amoghasiddhi literally means the Unfailing success. He is shown in green colour with his left hand in his lap and his right hand making gesture of fearlessness.
- Ananda : Ananda was one of the principle disciples of the Buddha and was with Him during last 25 years of His life. He is known for establishing the order of nuns. He was also picked up at the First Councli, by President Kasyapa, to recite all the sermons preached by the Buddha.
- Anataman : One amongst the three marks of existence taught in the buddhas second sermon. It literally means not self.
- Anitya : One amongst the traditional three marks of conditioned existence taught in Buddhas second sermon. Most simply, it it implies that everything is in contual process of change.
- Arahant : The term literally means worthy one and is used to identify an enlightened individual who has achieved nirvana. An arahant is the one who has joined the community of noble persons by taking up a difficult series of practice to eliminate all impurities.
- Arya Pudgala : A generic term used for the member of arya samgha. The term implies that a person has risen above the ordinary status and attained entry into path that culminates into arhantship.
- Arya Samgha : The samgha of persons who have achieved the status of Arya Pudgala.
- Arya Satyas : The four noble truths taught by the Buddha and forming the basis of his doctrine of Dharma.
- Asanga : The Buddhist who established the Yogcara School of Buddhism. He is considered the author of Mahayanasamgraha, Abhidharmasamuccaya and a commentary on the Samdhinirmocana.
- Asokavadana : Sanskrit title of the text devoted to the legend of Asoka, the Indian ruler.
- Astasahasrika- Prajnaparamita-Sutra : The Perfection of Wisdom Discourse in 8000 lines which eventually expanded to 1,00,000 lines.
- Asvaghosa : Buddhist poet known for his epic poem, Buddhacarita, the first complete biography of the Buddha
- Atisa : A Bengali Buddhist Scholar who contributed immensely to the growth of Buddhism in tibet.
- Avalokitesvara : Amongst the most important celestial bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism, Avalokitesvara is the embodiment of compassion.
- Avasa : One of the two types of rainy season abode for monks and nuns.
- Avatamsaka-Sutra : The Flower of Ornament Sutra, a Mahayana text which is at the basis of the Chinese Hua-Yen and Japanese Kegon School of Buddhism.
- Bardo Thodol : Tibetan Book of the Dead attributed to Padmasambhava.
- Bhaisajyaguru- Buddha : A term which is a reference to the Healing Buddha or Medicine Buddha.
- Bhiksu : Techincal term for mendicant monk, a religious prefessional who has abandoned worldly pleasures to attain Buddhist idea of nirvana.
- Bhiksuni : Technical term for female mendicant, a Buddhist nun.
- Bhumi : A technical term made use of in Mahayana tradition and meaning earth, level and more often stage.
- Bka-gdams-pa (Kadmpa) : Tibetan Buddhist School established by Brom-ston, principal follower of Atisa.
- Bka-gyur (Kanjur) : First part of the Tibetan Buddhist Cannon the printing of which took place not in Tibet but in China. It is rendered Translation of the word of the Buddha.
- Bka-rgyud-pa (Kagyupa) : Tibetan Buddhist School owing its origins to Marpa, a follower of four primary school of Tibetan Buddhism.
- Bodh Gaya : A city in Bihar state of India where prince Siddharta attained enlightenment.
- Bodhi : A Sanskrit term used for enlightenment. The term is generally applied to those individuals who have understood the effectiveness of four noble truths and achieved the results of completing the eightfold path.
- Bodhicaryavatara : A classical text written by Santideva.dealing with Mahayana ethics. It is meant for spiritual development of the Mahayana bodhisattvas
- Bodhicatta : A Mahayana technical term meaning thought of enlightenment. Bodhicatta is believed to be the prerequisite to actual entry onto bodhisattva path.
- Bodhisattva : An enlightened being who has put aside his own salvation so as to save all sentient beings.
- Bodhisattvabhumi-Sutra : Mahayana Buddhist text by Asanga laying down the stages (bhumis) of the path of the bodhisattva.
- Bodhisattva Sila : Moral discipline of the Bodhisattva
- Boddhisattva- Yana : The vehicle of the Bodhisattva , bodhisattva yana refers to Mahayana Buddhism or Greater vehicle School of Buddhism.
- Bodhi Tree : This refers to the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. The original tree was destoryed in the 7th century, however the offshoots of this tree are still there in Sri Lanka and India.
- Brahma-Viharas : Meaning divine abodes that are representatives of emotions like compassion,sympathetic joy and equanimity. These are usually linked with early Buddhism reflecting high ethical import. These emotions generally develop as one develops and matures through Buddhist practices.
- Brog-mi : (Drok-mi):Founder of sas-kya-pa school of Tibetan Buddhism as well as Sa-skya Monastery.
- Brom-Ston (Drom-ton) : Founder of the bKagdams-pa school of Tibetan Buddhism and an important follower of Atisa.
- Bstan-Gyur (Tenjur) : Second portion of Tibetan Buddhist Cannon, the the name of whic means, Translation of Teachings.
- Buddha : Refers to one who has become awakened and attained nirvana through eradication of impurities. He will no more be reborn in the cycle of samsara.
- Buddhadharma : Buddha doctrine or the teachings of the Buddha.
- Buddhahood : A term used for the state of being Buddha.
- Buddhaksetra : Refers to Buddha Land or each place where a celestial Buddha resides.
- Buddha-Nature : Mahayana idea that all sentient beings have within them pure nature similar to that of the Buddhas. This is one idea that separates Mahayana from Hinayana form of Buddhism.
- Caitya : A religious onuments or stupa that preserves the relics of the Buddha or other significant individuals in Buddhism.
- Cakra : A term derived from Sanskrit and meaning wheel or circle. It is an important symbol in Buddhism and represents Dharma.
- Cakravartin : A wheel turner. A sage had predicted at the birth of Siddhartha that he would become a cakravartim. The sage had said that if Siddharta remained in secular world, he would unite India under his rule, however, if he chose to renounce the world, he world become a Buddha and turn the wheel of religious law. Cakravartin is one of the many epithets used for the buddha.
- Chan : A Chinese Buddhist School that derives its name from Sanskrit term dhyana. The school traces its origin to the Indian Meditation master, Bodhidharama.
- Chang-an : An important Chinese Buddhist centre in China that ultimately became the capital during the Sui and Tang dynasties.
- Chen-yen : A Buddhist Tantric school that was introduced in China during the 8th century by Subhakarasimha. The school was popular for only a short while in China, later it gained importance in japan as Shingan School.
- Chicago Columbian Exposition : An important event that hosted the World Parliament of Religions in 1893. This coneference was the first one where the Asian religion were presented to the American public in an systematic fashion.
- Chih-kuan : Meditative practice well known in the Tien-tai school of Buddhism.
- Chih-kuan-ta-tso : A term which means aiming at nothing except sitting. This is based on the premise that sitting in meditation itself is the actualisation of Buddha nature.
- Ching-tu : A Chinese technical term for Pure Land.
- Citta : A term derived from Sanskrit and meaning mind or thought.
- Civara : A more common term used to refer to the robes worn by monastic community.
- Daimoku : Chant recited by members of Japanese Sokagakkai Buddhist sect. The chant involves repeating the phrase Nam Myoho Renge Kyo which literally trasnlates into Homage to Lotus sutra.
- Dana : A term that literally means giving. It generally means providing goods and services to the monastic community by the lay community. The term also implies giving the gift of dharma by the monastic community to lay people.
- Dasabhumika-Sutra : A Mahayana text, the name of which means Sutra on the ten Stages. The book is important for it lays down the ten stages of the bodhisattva path.
- Denko-Roku : An important book in Zen tradition which means Book of Transmission. It contains specific koan and its solution in each of the fifty two transmissions of dharma from Sakyamuni Buddha to Dogen Zenji, the founder of Soto Zen.
- Dge-lugs-pa : A Tibetan Buddhist School established by Tsong-kha-pa.
- Dhammapada : Amongst the books of the Khuddaka Nikaya, Dhammapada means Stanzas on the teachings or verses of dhamma.
- Dharma : A term used for Teachings of the Buddha.
- Dharmacakra : The Wheel of Teaching, it is a Buddhist symbol that represents Buddhas teachings.
- Dharmacakrapravartana- Sutra : This is what the Buddhas first sermon is known as. It literally translates into Sermon on the Turning of the Wheel of the Law.
- Dharmaguptaka : Amongst the earliest Buddhist sects that existed during the time of Ashoka. The name literally means Protector of the Dharma.
- Dharmakara : Primary figure in the Larger Sukhavativyuha-sutra. He was a monk who desired to become Buddha and was successful in doing so after countless lifetime. He came to be known as Buddha Amitabha.
- Dharma Kaya : Dharma-body, third of the three bodies of the Buddha in Mahayana. The idea of the three body of the Buddha first includes apparituinal body (nirmana-kaya) which is seen by commoners. The next is enjoyment body (sambhoga-kaya) which concerns those on the path of bodhisattvas. The third is the Dharma body or the Dharma Kaya, the true nature of Buddhahood, which is obtained after completing the path.
- Dharmakirti : Buddhist logician from India who is well known for his texts Pramanavarttika and Nyayabindhu.
- Dhyana : Sanskrit term used for meditation. In Pali, it is known as jhana.
- Diamond Sutra : An important Mahayana text which in Sanskrit is known as Vajracchedika-prajnaparamita-sutra. The text is a formal dialogue between the Buddha and his follower Subhati.
- Digha Nikaya : Comprising 34 long discourses, this is the first collection in the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Cannon
- Dignaga : Buddhist logician who lived in the 5-6th century and is well known for two logic treatise Pramanasamuccaya and Nyayamukha.
- Dokusan : A private formal meeting between a Zen student and master in which the former can discuss his specific particular meditation problems with the latter thereby displaying the depth and degree of his attainment. It also gives an opportunity to master to understand the problems of each student. This was initially a tradition in all Zen Schools, but today, it is functioning only in the Rinzai tradition.
- Dukha : It is the first of the four noble truth which in its simplest form means suffering, however, in Buddhism, it also means that lifes experience are transient and yield unsatisfactory results. Dukha is also one of the three marks of existence.
- Eightfold Path : The last of foru noble Truth in which the Buddha outlined the path to cessation of suffering.
- Ekayana : A sanskrit term which in English means, One vehicle. It is a Mahayan idea of Buddha vehicle that results in complete and perfect enlightenment.
- Ethics : Moral framework in Buddhism as per two important kind of literature, Vinaya and Sila. The first is the rule of conduct for the Samgha while the second is tyhe non codified general maxims for proper human conduct.
- Fa-Hsiang : Chinese Buddhist School founded by Hsuantsang & his follower, Kuei-chi. The name of the school is derived from Sanskrit term dharma lakshna meaning marks of dharma.
- Five Degree of Enlightenment : Stepwise scale of depth of enlightenment in the Chan & Zen tradition.
- Fukasetsu : A Japanese term which means the unspeakable. In Mahyana Buddhism, it is said that the experience of Buddha-nature cannot be explained in words because it is empty of any contextual basis.
- Gandavyuha-Sutra : One of the two major parts of the Avatamsaka-sutra which focusses on the development of a young disciple named Sudhana. The text, also known as the Flower Array Sutra, is one of the important treatise of the Chinese Hua-yen School of Buddhism.
- Gati : A term meaning destiny. It usually refers to the six modes of existence in 3 realms. Refers to the different rebirth possible in the traditional cycle of samsara.
- Gedatsu : A term in Japan that is used for liberation
- Gohonzon : A term in Japanese Buddhism which means an object of worship, particularly a mandala like form, scrolled on paper with Nam Myoho Renge Kyo inscribed on it.
- Goko- Shichishu : A term in Japan which refers to the five houses and seven schools of Chan (Zen) Buddhism during Tang dynasty of China.
- Gosan-Bungaku : A collection of writing of Zen masters from five significant monasteries of Kyoto during Ashikaga period of Japan. This literature brought Chinese culture, specufically art & science to Japan.
- Guhyasamaja-Tantra : An important text in Vajrayana Buddhism associated with Anuttarayoga-tantra class.
- Haiku : A Japanese poetic form made up of seventeen syllables arranged in 5-7-5 order.
- Han Dynasty : A period in Chinese history when Buddhism entered the country.
- Hara : A term in Zen which refers to ones spiritual centre in the lower abdomen area. It is also called Kikai tanden.
- Hassu : A term used for Dharma heir of a Zen master.
- Heart Sutra : English title of a Mahayana text in Sanskrit, Prajnaparamita-hrdaya-sutra.
- Hevajra-Tantra : An important Vajrayana text associated with Anuttara-yoga-tantra class. It is preserved in Sanskrit, Chinese & Tibetan version.
- Hossen : A Japanese term refers to a Dharma contest. In it, two enlightened being reveal their experience directly in a dramatic fashion.
- Hosso : Japanese version of the Chinese Fa-hsiang school of Buddhism.
- Hua-yen : Chinese Buddhist School derived from the Hua-yen Ching or the Flower ornament Sutra.
- Inka-Shomei : A Japanese term meaning the seal of proof. It indicates that a disciple has been confirmed a Dharma heir to a Buddhist master.
- Jataka : Pali title used for that part of Buddhist literature which is devoted to stories of Buddhas previous life.
- Jina : A term in Sanskrit which means, conqueror or victorious one. It is one of the epithets used for the Buddha.
- Jiriki : A Japanese term meaning own power. It indicates to a religious achievement gained through ones own efforts through a specific means.
- Jnana : A Sanskrit term associated with knowledge.
- Jodo Shinshu : True Pure Land School of Japanese Buddhism established by Shinran.
- Jodo Shu : Pure Land School of Japanese Buddhism whose founder was Honen.
- Jukai : A term in Japanese Buddhism which implies receiving the precepts. It refers to the occasion where a future Buddhist disciple formally accepts the Buddhist precepts thereby becoming a part of the lay community.
- Kalacakra tantra : One of the most difficult tantric texts belonging to Atiyoga subdivision of Anuttarayoga-tantra, literally meaning, wheel of time.
- Kalpa : A term from Sanskrit meaning, world cycle
- Kalyanmitra : A Sanskrit term meaning, good friend or noble friend. It is used to refer to a persons spiritual preceptor.
- Karma : A Sanskrit term used for action. In Buddhism, it is believed that every free will activity accrues result which is in keeping with the nature of the act itself.
- Kasina : A term from Pali language which means, entire. It is used as the title of a category of objects used in the Theravada Meditation tradition.
- Kathavatthu : A Pali Abhidhamma text meaning the Points of Discussion. The points here are those issues discussed in the third traditional Theravada council.
- Katsu : Shout used by Zen master to aid followers break through rational thought pattern to attain enlightenment.
- Kegon : Japanese Buddhist school owing its origin to Flower of Ornament Sutra.
- Kensho : Amongst the numerous Japanese term for enlightenment in Zen.
- Khuddaka Nikaya : The fifth collection in the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali cannon. It literally means little collection and contains fifteen selections of miscellaneous work.
- Kinhin : Zen walking which is important along with Zazen, Zen meditation.
- Koan : Zen term for public case which is used to aid in the attainment of realisation
- Ksanti : Sanskrit term for patience. One of the ten traditional perfection of Mahayana Buddhism.
- Kyo Jong : One of the two major schools in Korean Buddhism.
- Kyosaku : A three feet long stick used to encourage students engaged in Zazen practice.
- Lalitvistara : A Buddhist Sanskrit text which probably had its origin in the Sravastivadin school of Buddhism.
- Lama : Tibetan term used for Guru or teacher.
- Lam-rim : Tibetan term for stages of the path. It refers to the doctrinal manual which lay down the various stages of the various stages of the Vajrayana spiritual path.
- Lankavatara Sutra : A Mahayana text meaning , Descent into Lanka. In it, the Buddha answers to the questions put to him bybodhisattva Mahamati.
- Laughing Buddha : Chinese way of presenting Maitreya, believed to be the future Buddha.
- Lohan : Chinese term for early Buddhist idea of the Arahant or worthy one.
- Lotus Sutra : Title of one of the famous Mahayana Discourse, the Sanskrit of which is Sadharma-Pundarika-Sutra.
- Madhyamika : Nagarjuna established Indian Mahayana School.
- Mahaparinibbana sutta : The Discourse of the Great Parinibbana, it is the 16th discourse the Digha Nikaya. It presents the Buddha final days of life and his decision to die.
- Mahaparinirvana sutta : A Mahayana text not to be mixed with Pali text of similar name.
- Mahasamghika : One of the two Buddhist sect which springed from the unified Buddhist community in the first secetarian division.
- Mahasiddha : Great Master in Vajrayana tradition. Refers to those who have mastered tantra.
- Mahavastu : Sanskrit text, the English title of which is the Great Story. It belongs to Mahasamghika school and Avadana class of literature.
- Mahavibhasa : Short title for Abhidharma-mahavibhasa-sastra, a Sravstivadan Abhidharma commentary.
- Mahayanasamgraha : A text written by Asanga and highlighting the fundamental philosophical tenets of Yogcara school.
- Maitreya : This is what the future Buddha is known as.
- Manas : Sanskrit term used for mind.
- Mandala : A sacred circle that symbolically depicts the world. It is usually connected with a particular individual.
- Manjusri : An important bodhisattva in Mahayana tradition whose names implies Sweet Glory.
- Mantra : A term derived from Sanskrit, mantra is a syllable, word or phrase that serves as a means of manifesting power so as to ward off evil, gain favours or assist in generating positive meditational states.
- Mappo : A Japanese term for latter day dharma, a period of decline in dharma.
- Menpeki : Japanese term for wall facing. In Zen Buddhism, meditation is done while facing a blank wall.
- Middla Way : English term for Sanskrit madhyamapratipad. It has different meanings in different schools of buddhism.
- Mondo : Japanese term for questions and answers between master and student or between masters.
- Moxa : A painful but popular practice in Japanese Buddhism in which small scars are burnt into the head of an oridnand.
- Mudra : Hands or body gestures meant to depict some aspect of Buddhist teachings in a symbolic manner.
- Nam Myoho Renge Kyo : Japanese formula which in English translates into Homage to the scripture of the Lotus of the Good Teachings. It is known as daimoku.
- Namu Amida Butsu : Yet another Japanese formula, the enlish translation of which is Homage to Amida Buddha. This formula is known as nembutsu.
- Nikaya : A term used both in Pali and Sanskrit and meaning collection or group.
- Nirvana : A term from Sanskrit language which is used for goal of Buddhist religious practice.
- Obaku School : Along with Rinzai and Sotto, this is a major school of Zen Buddhism.
- Ordination : An act that establishes membership in the monastic component of the Buddhist samgha.
- Panc Sila : Five moral precepts which members of Buddhist community need to follow.
- Parinirvana : A term that refers to the final nirvana or death of Lord Buddha.
- Prajna : Sanskrit term used for wisdom. It is one of the most important goals for all Buddhist schools.
- Prajnaparamita Literature : Sanskrit title for a series of Mahayana texts. In English, they are known as Perfection of Wisdom Discourse.
- PratyekaBuddha : A term used for private or solitary Buddha. It refers to an individual who has achieved enlightenment, however, he neither teaches nor becomes a part of active community.
- Ratnasambhava : Amongst the five celestial Buddha whose name means jewel born.
- Rinzai Zen : A School in Japanese Buddhism
- Ritsu School : Japanese Vinaya school of Buddhism which was introduced into Japan by Chien-chen, a monk.
- Roshi : The term literally translates into elder teacher and refers to a Zen master who has attained the seal of enlightenment from his teacher.
- Samantabhadra : In Mahayana tradition, he is one of the most important bodhisattva who is associated with Vairocana Buddha. His name translates into Universal sage in English.
- Samgha : Sanskrit term for group, in Buddhism it refers to Buddhist community. It includes monks, nuns, upasaks and upasikas
- Samsara : A term used both in Hinduism and Buddhism and referring to a universe that has existed eternally, has no untimate creation and knows no final destruction.
- Samyak Sambuddha : A term which means complete perfect enlightenment and is used as a title for the Buddha.
- Sa-skya-pa : Tibetan Buddhist School whose founder was Brog-mi (Drok-mi).
- Satori : A term in Zen Buddhism which is used for enlightenment.
- Sesshin : A term in Zen Buddhism which means to collect the mind. It refers to an elongated period of zazen or sitting meditation.
- Shingon School : Japanese Esoteric Buddhist school founded by Kukai.
- Shinko Shukyo : The term literally translates into new religions. It refers to those new forms of Buddhism that sprung from the older established forms.
- Sila : A term usually meaning conduct or virtue. It refers to rules of ethical training for Buddhists.
- Sonjong : Sonjong or the Meditation School is one of the two major schools of Buddhism in Korea.
- Soto Zen : Buddhist School introduced in Japan by Dogen Zenji.
- Sunyata : Doctrine of emptiness or voidness emphasised in many Mahayana scriptures. It is also important in Vajrayana School.
- Tara : Female bodhisattva, who, it is believed, was born from the two tear drops shed by Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Tara, whose name means savioress, is immensely important in Tibetan Buddhism.
- Tathagata : One of the various epithets used for the Buddha which literally means Thus come.
- Tathagata-Garbha : A Sanskrit term, the English of which is womb of the Tathgata. It is made use of in Mahayana tradition to imply that all living being have a scope for buddha nature.
- Trikaya : A concept in Mahayans Buddhism which refers to three bodies of Buddha. As per it, the Buddha is revealed in different ways to different individual depending on their level of spiritual development. The three bodies are nirmana kaya, sambhog kaya and dharma kaya.
- Upasaka : A term used for male Buddhist lay disciple.
- Upasika : A term used for female Buddhist lay disciple.
- Vairocana : One of the five celestial Buddhas of the Mahayana tradition whose name means shinning out. In quiet a few tradition, he is also taken as Adi Buddha or the pri mordial buddha.
- Won Buddhism : Modern form of Buddhism in Korea which began in 1924 by Soetae San.
- Zazen : A religious practice in Zen Buddhism which means sitting in meditation.
- Zendo : A term in Japanese which refers to meditation hall. It is present in all Zen Monasteries.