Glossary

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  • 37 facets of awakening
    Practices that lead to the cultivation of insight. (Pali: bodhipakkhiyā-dhamma, Sanskrit: bodhipaksya-dharma)
  • abbhana
    Absolution. The karman of the monastic community for rehabilitating and restoring the rights of a suspended monastic, i.e. one who committed a sanghavasesa.
  • abbot
    The one who gives the disciples the monastic precepts.
  • Abhidharma
    Ancient Buddhist texts that contain detailed scholastic and scientific reworkings of doctrinal material appearing in the sūtras, according to schematic classifications. (Pali: Abhidhamma)
  • absorption factors
    Mental factors developed in the process of cultivating concentration, namely coarse engagement, refined engagement, rapture, bliss and one-pointedness. (Pali: jhānanga)
  • access concentration
    State of concentration where the five main hindrances are suppressed, but the absorption factors are not fully developed and can be lost. (Pali: upacāra-samādhi)
  • act of merit
    Virtuous deed performed by a bodhisattva to demonstrate his sincerity and dedication to fulfill his aspiration to become a fully awakened Buddha. (Pali: adhikāra)
  • action prohibited by the Buddha
    An action which is not naturally negative but is to be avoided because the Buddha established a precept prohibiting it, for example, singing and dancing done with attachment by those with monastic precepts.
  • adhikarana-samatha
    Modes of handling disputes mentioned in the Pratimoksa Sutra.
  • affirmative phenomenon
    A phenomenon realized by a mind that does not eliminate an object of negation.
  • afflictions
    Non-virtuous mental states that overwhelm the mind and lead to non-virtuous physical and verbal actions, the root ones being sensuality, anger, views, doubt, conceit and ignorance (one of the three pollutants). (Pali: kilesa, Sanskrit: kleśa, Tibetan: nyönmong)
  • afflictive obscurations
    The afflictions, their seeds and polluted actions that cause rebirth in saṃsāra and hinder the attainment of true cessation. (Pali: kilesāvaraṇa, Sanskrit: kleśāvaraṇa)
  • Āgamas
    Collection of early Buddhist scriptures in the Sanskrit tradition. (Sanskrit: Ᾱgamas)
  • aggregates
    The parts on which “I” is labeled. There is one physical aggregate (the form aggregate) and four mental aggregates (feeling, discrimination, volitional factors and consciousness). (Pali: sakkāya)
  • anagārika
    Lay Buddhist who holds for life the five lay precepts, with the third precept being one of celibacy, plus three additional precepts to avoid singing and dancing with attachment, sitting on high chairs and beds with pride, and eating at inappropriate times.
  • analytical meditation
    Thinking about the topics of the gradual path by using reasons and quotations and by understanding their application to our lives. (Tibetan: bpyad sgom)
  • anger
    Ill-will towards those who have harmed us. (Pali: paṭigha, Sanskrit pratigha) Based on an exaggeration or projection of negative qualities, an emotion that cannot endure an object, person, idea, etc., and wishes either to destroy it or get away from it.
  • animal liberation
    A wonderful Dharma practice when done with a compassionate motivation and in a wise manner. The purpose is to save the lives of animals or insects who are about to be killed. By doing so, we create merit that we can dedicate to the awakening of all living beings.
  • arhat
    Ariya who has attained true cessation. (Pali: arahant)
  • arya
    Being who has realised emptiness directly and non-conceptually. (Pali: ariya, Sanskrit: āryā)
  • aspiration
    Strong wish made by a bodhisattva to become a fully awakened Buddha. (Pali: abhinīhāra, Sanskrit: ābhinirhāra) Mental factor that takes interest in and wants to derive the benefits of cultivating serenity (Pali/Sanskrit: chanda) Single-pointed concentration that wishes to attain(...)
  • attachment
    An attitude that exaggerates the good qualities of a person or thing and then clings to it.
  • awakening
    The state of a Buddha, i.e. the state of having forever eliminated all disturbing attitudes, karmic imprints, and their stains from our mindstream, and having developed all our good qualities to their fullest. Enlightenment supersedes liberation.
  • bardo
    An intermediate state between one life and the next rebirth. (Sanskrit: bardo)
  • basis of designation
    The parts or attributes upon which something is labeled. In the case of the I, it is the aggregates.
  • bhavaṅga
    A type of mental consciousness with its own inner object, which continues throughout a lifetime and maintains the continuity of consciousness when no clear cognition is occurring. (Pali: bhavaṅga)
  • bhikshu
    Fully-ordained Buddhist monk. (Pali: Bhikkhu, Tibetan: Gelong)
  • bhikshuni
    Fully-ordained Buddhist nun. (Pali: Bhikkhuni, Tibetan: Gelongma)
  • bhikshuni-upadhyayini
    One’s bhikshuni preceptor with whom a newly-ordained bhikshuni trains for at least two years.
  • bless
    Inspire. It means to transform our mind. A blessing is not like an object given from master to student. A student has received "blessing" or has been inspired when his or her own mind transforms into the Dharma, i.e. when the student has understood and integrated the meaning of the teachings(...)
  • bliss
    Joyful feeling accompanying concentration due to the depth of stillness in the mind. (Pali: sukha)
  • bodhicitta
    Altruistic intention to become a fully awakened buddha.
  • bodhisattva
    Being who has generated bodhicitta. (Pali: bodhisatta)
  • Bodhisattva Vehicle
    The Buddhist tradition emphasizing the development of bodhicitta and leading to full awakening. (Pali: bodhisattayāna, Sanskrit: bodhisattvayana)
  • body
    In the context of the four establishments of mindfulness, referring to the five sense powers, five sense objects, and coarse physical sense organs. Corpus or collection of qualities of a buddha. (Pali: kāya, Sanskrit: kāya)
  • brahmacarya
    Celibacy. (Tibetan: tshangs par spyod pa)
  • breakthrough wisdom
    Wisdom that realizes true cessation, which arises from the concentrated mind focusing on wisdom that penetrates the ultimate truth. (Pali: abhisamaya pañña)
  • buddha
    A person who has purified all defilements and developed all good qualities. “The Buddha” refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha who lived over 2,500 years ago in India.
  • buddha essence
    The ultimate nature of the mind of sentient beings, which is empty of inherent existence and can be purified of adventitious defilements. (Sanskrit: Tathāgatagarbha)
  • Buddha figure
    A manifestation of the Buddha; a Buddhist deity.
  • cessation
    The extinguishment of an obscuration — for example, anger — so that it can never arise again. When all afflictions have been eliminated, we attain nirvana. (Pali/Sanskrit: nirodha)
  • cessation of discrimination and feeling
    Ninth meditative absorption where all manifest activity of the six consciousnesses is temporarily suspended. (Pali: saññā-vedayita-nirodha, Sanskrit: saṃjā-vedanā-nirodha)
  • clinging
    Attachment to sense pleasures and views, which cause us to engage in activities that produce our next existence. (Pali/Sanskrit: upādāna)
  • coarse engagement
    Repeatedly directing and applying the mind to the meditation object. (Pali: vitakka, Sanskrit: vitarka)
  • cognitive obscurations
    Defilements that hinder knowledge of all phenomena and effortless work for the welfare of sentient beings. (Pali: ñeyyāvaraṇa, Sanskrit: jñeyāvaraṇa)
  • collections
    Accumulations or requisites a practitioner must assemble to attain true cessation. (Sanskrit: saṃbhāra)
  • compassion
    The wish to allay the suffering of sentient beings. (Pali: karuṇā)
  • compounded phenomena
    Phenomena produced by causes and conditions.
  • conceived object
    The truly existent object which appears to ignorance and which the latter grasps or conceives as existing. (Tibetan: zhen yul)
  • concentration
    A powerful state of mind able to control mental activity and the arising of afflictions, and when cultivated single-pointedly on an unchanging object, leads to meditative stabilizations. (Pali/Sanskrit: samādhi)
  • conceptually acquired
    Developed from learning incorrect philosophies. (Sanskrit: parikalpita)
  • conditions
    Supporting factors that contribute to the arising of phenomena in saṃsāra. (Pali: paccaya, Sanskrit: pratyaya)
  • consciousness
    The fifth aggregate, comprising the five sense consciousnesses and the mental consciousness. (Pali: viññāna, Sanskrit: vijñāna) The bhavaṅga, the consciousness that links with the fertilized ovum.
  • cooperative conditions
    The conditions which help something to arise, for example, water and fertilizer enable the seed to grow into a sprout.
  • correct belief
    An understanding that is correct but not firm. It does not get at its object in such a way as to eliminate superimpositions.
  • craving
    Thirst for the satisfaction of our desires. (Pali: taṇhā, Sanskrit: tṛṣṅa)
  • craving for existence
    Desire for the bliss of the material and immaterial realms and seeking rebirth there. (Pali: bhava taṇhā)
  • craving for nonexistence
    Desire for death based on the belief that the cessation of the self at death is peaceful and sublime. (Pali: vibhava taṇhā)
  • craving for sensual objects
    Desire for the six sense objects and the pleasant feelings that arise due to contact with them. (Pali: kama taṇhā)
  • cyclic existence
    Taking a body in the desire, material, or immaterial realms under the control of afflictions and karma. (Pali/Sanskrit: saṃsāra)
  • Dalai Lama
    Spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are believed to be enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take(...)
  • deathless
    Not fading or disappearing, free from the vagaries of constant rebirth. (Pali: amataṭṭho)
  • defilement
    Impediment to entering meditative absorption, or which makes meditative absorption deteriorate. (Pali: sankilesa, Sanskrit: saṃkleśa)
  • deity
    A meditational deity; a manifestation of the enlightened minds appearing in a physical form. (Tibetan: yidam)
  • dependent arising
    The fact that all phenomena are dependent on the parts of which they are made and on the mind that conceives and labels them. Many phenomena — our body, tables, and so forth — also depend on causes and conditions to exist.
  • designated object
    The object designated, labeled or imputed on its basis of designation. For example, the I is designated on its basis of designation, the aggregates.
  • determination to be free
    The attitude aspiring to be free from cyclic existence and to attain liberation.
  • Dharma
    In the most general sense, Dharma refers to the teachings of the Buddha. Most specifically, it refers to the realizations of the path and the resultant cessations of suffering and its causes. (Pali: Dhamma)
  • Dharma protector
    Dharma protectors may be either: (1) an arya bodhisattva who manifests in a fierce aspect in order to protect the Dharma in our minds and our world, or(2) an ordinary being who is a spirit who has made a promise to a high lama to protect the Dharma. The first are considered to be supramundane(...)
  • Dharmaguptaka
    Vinaya school in the Sanskrit tradition predominantly practiced in China, Taiwan, Korea and Vietnam.
  • direct nonconceptual realization of emptiness
    A mind that sees directly and without conception, the non-existence of the conceived object of ignorance.
  • discordant class
    A class of objects which does not concord with or is in some way dissimilar to another class of objects.
  • doubt
    A mental factor which is indecisive and wavering regarding important points such as karma and its result, emptiness, etc.
  • dukkha
    The unsatisfactory nature of the five appropriated aggregates, which are under the control of afflictions and karma. (Pali: dukkha, Sanskrit: duḥkha)
  • dusktra
    Light offense. (Pali: dukkata)
  • emptiness
    Pāli tradition: State of being free of ignorance, anger, and attachment, and of being conditioned. (Pāli: suññata) Sanskrit tradition: Lack of inherent existence of the entity of an object. (Sanskrit: śūntayā)
  • empty
    The absence of a permanent, unitary, independent self or soul that is a different entity from the aggregates. (Pali: suñña, Sanskrit: śūnya) Free of attachment, anger, and confusion. Lacking a core, essence or substantiality. (Pali: tucchaka, Sanskrit: tucchakta)
  • equalizing self and others
    The attitude that feels that the importance of others’ wish to have happiness and be free of suffering is equal to our own.
  • equanimity
    A balanced mind that remains tranquil and steady no matter what we encounter. (Pali: upekkhā, Sanskrit: upekṣā)
  • exchanging self and others
    Exchanging the object of importance from self to others, i.e. cherishing others the way we used to cherish ourselves and neglecting the self the way we used to neglect others.
  • existing from its own side
    Existing without depending on causes, conditions, or any other factors.
  • far-reaching practices
    States of mind and practices cultivated with the bodhicitta motivation. The six far-reaching practices are generosity, ethical conduct, fortitude, joyous effort, meditative stabilization, and wisdom. (Pali: pāramī, Sanskrit: pāramīta)
  • five lay precepts
    Ethical restraints that Buddhists who are not ordained as monastics can request from a spiritual mentor to uphold for life, namely to avoid killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and intoxicants. (Pali: pañcasīla, Sanskrit: pañcaśila)
  • focal object
    The basic object which the mind refers to or focuses upon while apprehending certain aspects of that object. (Tibetan: dmigs yul)
  • form body
    The physical manifestations of a Buddha. (Sanskrit: Rupakaya)
  • fortitude
    Ability to remain resolute and calm in the face of hardship or suffering. (Pali: khanti, Sanskrit: kṣānti)
  • four noble truths
    The Buddha’s first teaching which describes our present situation and our potential: the truths of suffering, its causes, their cessation, and the path to that cessation.
  • four seals
    Four basic principles shared by all Buddhists: 1. All conditioned phenomena are transient, 2. All polluted phenomena are dukkha—unsatisfactory or in the nature of suffering, 3. All phenomena are empty and selfless, 4. Nirvana is true peace
  • four-fold assembly
    Fully ordained monks, fully ordained nuns, laymen and laywomen, the presence of which ensures the Buddhist doctrine will flourish. (Pali:catu-parisa, Sanskrit: catur-parsad)
  • functioning thing
    An impermanent phenomenon; something that performs a function.
  • fundamental vehicle
    The path to one’s individual liberation.
  • gatha
    A brief saying to recite and contemplate that helps one to maintain mindfulness of one's activities.
  • geshe
    A learned master (comparable to a Ph.D.) in Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Geshe Lharampa
    The highest degree that can be earned in the Tibetan Buddhist system of monastic studies.
  • glance meditation
    Going over the steps of the path or the outline of a particular step in order to gain general understanding of it.
  • grasping at true existence
    The conception or grasping at the objective existence of phenomena through their own entity without being posited by thought.
  • great compassion
    Wishing all sentient beings to be free from suffering and its causes.
  • great resolve
    Determining to take the responsibility upon oneself to bring about the happiness of sentient beings and to eliminate their suffering.
  • ground
    Consciousness that is a spiritual realization that is the foundation for the growth of good qualities and release from obscurations. (Sanskrit: bhūmi)
  • gurudharma
    Eight important rules regarding the relationship between bhikshus and bhikshunis. (Pali: gurudhamma)
  • hearers
    Those who follow the path to liberation from cyclic existence and become arhats. They are so-called because they hear the Buddha’s teachings and teach them to others. (Pali: sāvaka, Sanskrit: śrāvaka)
  • heartwarming love
    Wanting all sentient beings to be happy, based on seeing them as lovable.
  • ignorance
    A mental factor that, unaware of the nature of reality, conceives people and phenomena to exist as independent entities unrelated to any other phenomenon.
  • impermanence
    The state of changing moment to moment. All produced things are impermanent.
  • impermanent
    Changing moment to moment. All produced things are impermanent.
  • imprint
    The residual energy left on the mindstream when an action has been completed. When it matures, it influences our experience. Imprints generally refer to karmic seeds.
  • inference
    An infallible conceiving cognition that arises in direct dependence upon a correct reason or a consequence as its basis. This mind is a valid cognition.
  • inherent existence
    A false and non-existent quality that we project onto all persons and phenomena; existence independent of causes and conditions, parts, or the mind conceiving and labeling a phenomena.
  • initiation
    A ceremony in Vajrayana Buddhism after which the disciple is permitted to meditate on a particular manifestation of the Buddha.
  • innate self-grasping
    The inborn, spontaneous grasping at self-existence that all beings in cyclic existence have.
  • intellectually acquired self-grasping
    Self-grasping learned through studying wrong philosophies.
  • introspective awareness
    A mental factor that is watchful so that we are aware of the contents of our mind. It enables us to bring our mind and actions back to ethical behavior or to the object of meditation if it has strayed. (Pali: sampajañña, Sanskrit: samprajanya)
  • joy
    Taking delight in the happiness and good qualities and good fortune of others. (Pali: muditā)
  • karma
    Actions of our body, speech and mind. Our actions leave imprints on our mindstream and later bring about our experiences.
  • karmic latency
    The residual "energy" left on the mindstream when an action has been completed. When these latencies mature, they influence what we experience.
  • kathina
    The robe of merit. At the kathina ceremony after the rains retreat, the sangha receives and distributes offerings of cloth to be used to make robes.
  • koan
    A seeming puzzle given by a Zen master to his or her student. By contemplating this and holding it in mind, the student comes to understand the nature of reality.
  • lamrim
    The Tibetan name for the Gradual Path to Enlightenment, a step-by-step layout of the path.
  • learner of parajika
    A bhikshu or bhikshuni who, upon committing a parajika offense, immediately has sincere regret for the wrongdoing and does not wish to conceal it even for a moment. The person may continue to live with the sangha, although he or she is not considered an actual bhikshu or bhikshuni.
  • liberation
    The state of having removed all disturbing attitudes and karma causing us to take rebirth in cyclic existence, together with their imprints. (Sanskrit: moksha)
  • love
    Wishing sentient beings to have happiness and its causes. (Pali: mettā, Sanskrit: maītri)
  • maechee
    An eight-precept nun in Thailand.
  • Mahaprajapati
    The Buddha’s aunt and stepmother, who became the first bhikshuni. (Pali: Mahapajapati)
  • mala
    Prayer beads, rosary.
  • manatta
    The period of penance, repentance, and suspension of monastic privileges for one who has committed a sanghavasesa.
  • mandala offering
    Offering the universe and everything beautiful in it to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
  • mantra
    A series of syllable consecrated by a Buddha and expressing the essence of the entire path to enlightenment. They can be recited during meditation to purify and calm the mind.
  • meditation
    Habituating ourselves with positive attitudes and accurate perspectives.
  • meditative equipoise on emptiness
    Single-pointed meditation on the emptiness of inherent existence.
  • mental factor
    A type of mind that apprehends a particular quality of an object or has a specific function in the process of cognition.
  • merit
    Imprints of positive actions, which will result in happiness in the future.
  • migrating beings
    Beings born within cyclic existence. They migrate from one body to another under the influence of afflictions and karma.
  • mind training
    A psychological method for transforming adversity into the spiritual path. (Tibetan: lojong)
  • mindfulness
    Mental factor that is familiar with the meditation object and holds the mind on it in such a way that impedes distraction and forgetfulness. (Pali: sati, Sanskrit: smṛti)
  • mindfulness of breathing
    Meditation technique to observe the breath in order to develop wisdom about the body, feelings, mind and phenomena. (Pali: ānāpānasati, Sanskrit: ānāpānasmṛti)
  • mindstream
    The continuity of the mind.
  • monastic
    A general term for a monk or nun. This includes one who is a sramanera, sramanerika, bhikshu, or bhikshuni.
  • monk
    Celibate male ordained practitioner.
  • Mulasarvastivada
    The Vinaya school prevalent in Tibet.
  • naihsargika-payattika
    Lapses with forfeiture. A category of precepts found in the Pratimoksa Sutra. (Pali: nissaggiya pacittiya)
  • name and form
    Mentality and materiality – form refers to the form aggregate, or our body constituted of the four elements and forms derived from them. In the Pali tradition name refers to the five mental factors that enable us to make sense of the world—feeling, discrimination, intention, contact, and(...)
  • naturally negative actions
    Actions which bring suffering results whether one has a precept to abandon them or not, forexample, killing, stealing, lying, and so on.
  • ngondro
    Preliminary practices, such as prostrations and recitation of the Vajrasattva mantra, done beforeundertaking major tantric practices.
  • nirvana
    The cessation of suffering and its causes; freedom from cyclic existence. (Pali: nibbana)
  • noble eightfold path
    The path leading to liberation. The eight branches, which can be categorized under the three higher trainings are: correct speech, action, livelihood, mindfulness, concentration, view, realization and effort. (Pali: ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo, Sanskrit: āryāṣṭāṅgamārga)
  • non-abiding nirvana
    Full enlightenment in which one does not abide in either cyclic existence or the self-complacent peace of an arhat’s nirvana.
  • non-affirming negative
    The mere absence of the object of negation. Nothing positive is implied in its stead and one is left with a mere absence or emptiness.
  • nun
    Celibate female ordained practitioner.
  • object of knowledge
    That which is suitable to serve as an object of an awareness.
  • object of negation
    What is to be negated or proven non-existent in the meditation on emptiness, for example. It is essential to identify this properly before meditating on emptiness.
  • object of the mode of apprehension
    The main object with which a consciousness is concerned.
  • objects of refuge
    Those we turn to for spiritual guidance. For Buddhists, these are the Three Jewels — the Buddhas, Dharma, and Sangha.
  • occasionally produced
    Produced only when its causes and conditions have been assembled.
  • offering
    Actual or imagined objects that we offer to the merit field in order to generate delight in giving and to create merit.
  • ordination
    The ceremony through which one becomes a monastic. (Pali: pravrajya)
  • parajika
    A root precept for bhikshus and bhikshunis. A full transgression means one is defeated and is no longer a monastic.
  • parinirvana
    The time when a Buddha passes away and leaves his or her earthly body. (Pali: parinibbana)
  • parivasa
    Probation. A time in which a bhikshuni who has committed a sanghavasesa lives apart from the community to contemplate her misdeed.
  • parmarabjung
    Pre-novice ordination taken for the duration of one’s life.
  • payantika
    Lapse. A category of precepts in the Pratimoksa Sutra. The offense committed when a naihsargika-payattika or prayascittika precept is transgressed. (Pali: pacittiya)
  • permanent, single (or partless), and independent self
    In this context, permanent means not arising and not perishing; single means not relying on parts; and independent means not depending on causes and conditions. That the person exists in this way is to be negated.
  • phenomena
    That which holds its own entity. In general, this is synonymous with object of knowledge and refers to all existents. In the context of the self-grasping of persons and of phenomena, however, “phenomena” refers to all existents other than persons.
  • posadha
    The confession ceremony held on new and full moon days during which Buddhist monastics purify and restore their precepts. (Pali: uposatha, Tibetan: sojong)
  • Prasangika Madhyamika
    A proponent of non-inherent existence who does not assert that phenomena exist by way of their own nature even conventionally. This is considered the most exact and highest school of philosophical tenets.
  • pratidesaniya
    An offence requiring confession. A category of precepts in the Pratimoksa Sutra. (Pali: Patidesaniya)
  • Pratimoksa Sutra
    The sutra containing the list of bhikshu or bhikshuni precepts. (Pali: Pāṭimokkha Sutta)
  • Pratimoksa vows
    The vows of individual liberation. They are of eight kinds: 1) bhikshu, 2) bhikshuni, 3) siksamana, 4) sramanera, 5) sramanerika 6) upasaka, 7) upasika, 8) one-day vow with eight precepts.
  • pravarana
    The ceremony marking the end of the summer retreat (rains retreat). (Pali: pavāraṇā; Tibetan: gagye)
  • pravrajya
    The ordination procedure going from home to the homeless state.
  • precept
    A guideline or rule for training one's body, speech, or mind.
  • priest
    Non-celibate Buddhist clergy from the various Japanese Buddhist traditions.
  • proclamation
    A repetition of the announcement made at a karma with a call requesting disagreeing opinions from the assembly.
  • puja
    An offering ceremony often chanted together in a group.
  • Pure Land
    A Mahayana Buddhist tradition emphasizing methods to be reborn in a pure land. A pure land is a place established by a Buddha or bodhisattva where all conditions are conducive for the practice of Dharma and the attainment of enlightenment.
  • purification
    A four-step practice involving:1) regretting our mistake,2) restoring the relationship by generating a positive attitude towards the one we harmed,3) resolving to avoid the harmful action in the future, and4) doing some sort of remedial behavior.This mitigates the force of our destructive actions.
  • rabjung
    Leaving the householder's life.
  • rains retreat
    The three-month period of the summer monsoon rains in India, during which the sangha lives within a restricted boundary in order to avoid unnecessary movement that could harm crops and insects prevalent during this season. (Pali: vassā, Sanskrit: varṣa)
  • realization
    A deep understanding that becomes part of us and changes our outlook on the world.
  • relative truth
    The conventional existence of phenomena.
  • relative world
    The world of functioning, dependently arising things.
  • sadhana
    The meditational practice associated with a particular buddha. This is often a written a text that one follows, by chanting or reading, in order to meditate on that buddha.
  • saiksadharma
    Training rules. A category of precepts in the Pratimoksa Sutra. (Pali: sekhiya, skyhya)
  • sangha
    Any person who directly and non-conceptually realizes emptiness. In a more general sense, sangha refers to a community of at least four ordained monks and nuns.
  • sanghavasesa
    The second most serious categories of precepts for bhikshu and bhikshunis. (Pali: sanghadisesa)
  • sanzen
    A private meeting between a teacher and student in the Zen tradition.
  • self-existent
    Being able to exist without depending on anything, be it causes and conditions, parts, or the mind that conceives and labels it. This type of existence is negated on all existents, both persons and other phenomena.
  • self-grasping
    Grasping at phenomenon as existing completely independent of anything else. This is a form of ignorance.
  • self-sufficient substantially existent person
    A person existing without depending on the aggregates. This is to be negated.
  • sensual desire
    Craving for sense pleasures. (Pali: kāmachanda, Sanskrit: kāmacchanda)
  • sensuality
    Attachment to pleasures derived from sense objects. (Sanskrit: rāga)
  • sentient being
    Any being with a mind who is not a Buddha. This includes ordinary beings as well as arhats and bodhisattvas.
  • serenity
    Concentration that is able to remain single-pointedly on its object of meditation with a pliant and blissful mind. State of access concentration supported by tranquility, which arises prior to the attainment of the first meditative stabilization. (Pali: samatha, Sanskrit: śamatha)
  • serenity concentration
    Type of concentration focused on a sign as a meditation object. (Pali: samatha-samādhi)
  • sesshin
    (Zen) A meditation retreat.
  • seven awakening factors
    Causes of awakening that are transformed into the ariya path, namely mindfulness, discrimination of phenomena, joyous effort, rapture, pliancy, concentration and equanimity. (Pali: bojjhaṅgā, Sanskrit: bodhyaṅga)
  • seven-limb prayer
    A recitation in which we 1) bow, 2) make offerings, 3) reveal with regret our destructive actions, 4) rejoice in our own and others' virtue, 5) request the Buddhas to remain in our world, 6) request our teachers and the Buddhas to guide and teach us, and 7) dedicate our merit for the(...)
  • sign
    Colored luminous sphere or radiant light that arises in the mind when the meditator is close to attaining meditative stabilization. (Pali: nimitta)
  • signless
    In the Pali tradition, free from the signs of ignorance, anger, and attachment, and conditioned things. (Pali: animitta) In the Sanskrit tradition, lack of inherent existence of the cause of an object. (Sanskrit: animitta)
  • siksamana
    Female nun who holds the novice precepts plus six additional regulations for two years and is preparing to become a bhikshuni. (Pali: sikkhamana, Tibetan: gelopma)
  • siksapada
    Precept of training. (Pali: sikkhapada)
  • sila
    Ethical discipline.
  • sima
    The boundary within which a particular karma of the sangha is performed.
  • skandha
    Groups of similar teachings prescribing religious rituals and practices that the sangha is to do. (Pali: khandhaka)
  • skillful means
    In the Pali tradition, wisdom that transforms the far-reaching practices into the collections necessary to attain full awakening. (Pali: upāyakosalla) In the Sanskrit tradition, the way fully awakened buddhas and bodhisattvas explain the Dharma and adapt their behavior to best communicate(...)
  • solitary realizer
    Someone who, in their last lifetime before becoming an arhat, practice in solitude at a time when no Buddha has appeared in the world. (Pali: paccekabuddha, Sanskrit: pratyekabuddha)
  • special insight
    Discriminating analytical wisdom. Special insight into emptiness realizes the empty nature of phenomena. (Pali: vipassana, Sanskrit: vipasyana)
  • spiritual mentor
    Spiritual teacher. (Sanskrit: guru Tibetan: lama)
  • sramanas
    Ascetic renunciates in ancient India. (Pali: samaṇas, Sanskrit: śramaṇa)
  • sramanera
    Male novice monk with ten (subdivided into 36) precepts. (Pali: samanera)
  • sramanerika
    Female novice nun with ten (subdivided into 36) precepts. (Pali: samaneri)
  • stabilizing meditation
    A type of meditation used to develop concentration. It involves training the mind to rest single-pointedly on its object of meditation.
  • sthulatyaya
    A grave offence, usually one in which either a parajika or sanghavasesa precept was partially, but fully, transgressed. (Pali: thullaccaya)
  • stream-enterer
    Ariya who has abandoned the three fetters of the view of a personal identity, doubt, and the view of rules and practices, and will take at most seven more rebirths in saṃsāra. (Pali: sotāpanna, Sanskrit: srotāpanna)
  • stupa
    A Buddhist reliquary or monument.
  • subsequent attainment
    The mind of a practitioner who has arisen from meditative equipoise on emptiness and is engaging in other activities.
  • substantial cause
    The main thing that produces something else, e.g. the seed is the perpetuating cause of the sprout.
  • supramundane
    Aspect of the eightfold noble path possessed by ariyas, which eradicates different levels of fetters and leads to true cessation. (Pali: lokuttara)
  • sutra
    A teaching of the Buddha which is not a tantric teaching; Buddhist scripture. (Pali: sutta)
  • sūtrayana
    Spiritual practices where the practitioner nurtures his Buddha essence to create the causes to realize Buddhahood. (Sanskrit: sūtrayana)
  • take refuge
    Entrusting our spiritual development to the guidance of the Buddhas, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
  • taking and giving
    A meditation in which we imagine taking on others' suffering with compassion and giving them our body, possessions, and merit with love. (Tibetan: tonglen)
  • taming
    The fifth stage of sustained attention, where the mind is tamed and can stay on the object almost continuously without wandering. (Sanskrit: cittadamana)
  • tantra
    A scripture taught by the Buddha describing the Vajrayana practice. A means to becoming a fully awakened Buddha through identity with meditational deities
  • tantrayāna
    Spiritual practices that involve realizing oneself as an enlightened being through sophisticated meditation practices that make it possible to attain full awakening quickly. (Sanskrit: tantrayāna)
  • Tathagata
    Epithet for a fully awakened Buddha, literally translated as The One Thus Gone or The One Thus Come to Nibbāna
  • teisho
    (Zen) A Dharma talk.
  • Theravada
    Vinaya school in the Pāli tradition practiced predominantly in South and Southeast Asia. (Sanskrit: Sthaviravāda)
  • thoroughly pacifying
    The seventh stage of sustained attention, where engagement with the meditation object can still be interrupted by subtle distractions, but they are easily subdued. (Sanskrit: cittavyupaśamana)
  • three baskets
    Three Baskets of the Buddha’s teachings: The categorization of the Buddha’s teachings into three broad topics—Vinaya (ethical discipline), Sutra (discourses), and Abhidharma (knowledge of phenomena). (Sanskrit: Tripitaka)
  • three higher knowledges
    Superknowledges that the Buddha gained under the bodhi tree, namely recollection of past lives, knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings according to their karma, and destruction of the pollutants. (Pali: tevijjā, Sanskrit: trividyā)
  • three higher trainings
    The higher trainings of ethics (Sanskrit: sila), meditative stabilization (samadhi), and wisdom (prajña). (Sanskrit: trisra-siksa; Pali: tisso sikkha)
  • Three Jewels
    The Buddhas, Dharma, and Sangha.
  • three poisonous attitudes
    Ignorance, anger (hostility), and attachment. They poison our mind and motivate actions that poison our relationships.
  • three principal aspects of the path
    The determination to be free, the altruistic intention, and the wisdom realizing emptiness.
  • torma
    A ritual cake made out of roasted barley flour that is offered to a meditational deity.
  • tranquility
    Bliss of pliancy, where the body and mind are joyous, flexible and confident in concentration on the meditation object. (Pali: pāssāddhi, Sanskrit: praśrabhi)
  • true cessation
    Elimination of various levels of afflictions by progressing through the paths to arhatship and Buddhahood. (Pāli: nirodha-sacca, Sanskrit: nirodha-satya)
  • true cessation without remainder
    State an arahant attains after the five polluted aggregates are forsaken after death. (Pali: anupādisesa, Sanskrit: anupadhiśeṣa)
  • true cessations
    Pali tradition: Elimination of clinging to the five appropriated aggregates, resulting in the cessation of duḥkha and its origins. Reality that is directly seen by ariyas’ supramundane wisdom. Sanskrit tradition: Eradication of both acquired and innate afflictions. The(...)
  • true duḥkha
    The first noble truth, referring to the polluted physical and mental aggregates produced by afflictions and karma. (Pali:dukkha-sacca, Sanskrit: duḥkha-satya)
  • true existence
    The objective existence of phenomena through their own entity without being posited by thought.
  • true origins
    Fundamental sources. (Pali: samudaya-sacca, Sanskrit, samudaya-satya)
  • true path
    Pāli tradition: The supramundane eightfold noble path, which leads to true cessation. Pali: (magga-sacca) Sanskrit tradition: An arya’s realization informed by the wisdom directly realizing emptiness. (Sanskrit: marga-satya)
  • truth body
    In general, the Buddha’s mind. This includes both the ultimate nature or emptiness of this mind and the wisdom of a Buddha. (Sanskrit: Dharmakaya)
  • tulku
    Identified incarnation of a spiritual master in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
  • unconditioned
    Free from conditions and impermanence. (Pali: asaṅkhataṭṭho)
  • uninterrupted path
    One aspect of the first phase of the path of seeing, during which the acquired afflictions are abandoned. (Sanskrit: ānantaryamārga)
  • upadhaya
    A senior bhikshu or bhikshuni who trains those newly ordained.
  • upasaka
    Male lay follower of the Buddha who has taken refuge and often lay precepts.
  • upasampada
    Full ordination as a bhikshu or bhikshuni. (Pali: upasampanna)
  • upasika
    Female lay follower of the Buddha who has taken refuge and often lay precepts.
  • Vajrayana
    A Mahayana Buddhist tradition, popular in Tibet and Japan, in which the practitioner engages in tantric practice.
  • valid cognition
    A consciousness that knows its object without mistaking it; an incontrovertible cognition.
  • vastu
    Bases for ethical training.
  • view of a personal identity
    Grasping at a real self existing in relation to the five appropriated aggregates. (Pali: sakkāyadiṭṭhi, Sanskrit: satkāyadṛṣṭi)
  • view of rules and practices
    Clinging to precepts and the idea that performing rituals will bring about true cessation. (Pali: sīlabbata-parāmāsa, Sanskrit: śīlavrataparāmārśa)
  • view of the transitory collection
    A viewing consciousness which, having apprehended the nominally existent “I” or “mine” conceives them to truly exist. “I” refers to the person; “mine” refers principally to the person’s aggregates and also includes one’s possessions.
  • views
    Attachment to wrong views such as the view of a personal identity and the view of rules and practices, which is one of the six root afflictions. (Pali: diṭṭhi, Sanskrit: dṛṣṭi)
  • vihara
    A monastic dwelling, an early monastery.
  • Vinaya
    The ethical discipline, precepts, and rules of training for the monastic community. The texts explaining this.
  • wind-energies
    Life energy that flows through the subtle energy channels in the body. (Pali: pāṇa, Sanskrit: prāṇa)
  • wisdom realizing emptiness
    An attitude which correctly understands the ultimate or final manner in which all persons and phenomena exist, that is, the mind realizing the emptiness of inherent existence.
  • worldly spirits
    Beings born in the god realm or as powerful spirits. As they still take rebirth in cyclic existence under the force of afflictions and karma, their powers are limited and temporary.
  • wrong views
    Stubborn and closed-minded views that the Three Jewels, cause and effect, and so on do not exist; believing that sentient beings are inherently selfish and cannot become enlightened.
  • Yogācāra
    The Mind-Only school, a Buddhist philosophical system that posits that objects cannot exist independently of being perceived by the mind.
  • zazen
    The type of meditation done in the Zen tradition.
  • Zen
    A Mahayana Buddhist tradition popular in China and Japan.
  • zendo
    (Zen) A meditation hall.