L - R

Ruling principle, universal basis, essential element, i.e. fundamental law.

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
It states that all phenomenon arise depending upon a number of casual factors. In other word, it exists in condition that the other exist; it has in condition that others have; it extinguishes in condition that others extinguish; it has not in condition that others have not. For existence, there are twelve links in the chain:

Law of Karma
The results of actions, which produce effect that may be either good or bad. It is derived from the Law of Causal Condition (Law of Cause and Effect).

One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Mahasanghikah, which held the view that all in the world is merely phenomenal and that reality exists outside it. They held that the body of the Buddha was transcendental from the time of his birth to the time of his death. Consequently, his behaviour as a human was merely a convention.

Lotus Sutra
Short name of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law, or Saddharma-pundarik-sutra in Sanskrit. It consists of a series of sermons delivered by Shakyamuni towards the end of his preaching ministry. It is one of the most important sutras of Manayana 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.

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, Bimblisara, became the follower of Shakyamuni.

Mahakassapa in Pali, Mahakasyapa in Sanskrit.   He was a Brahman in Magadha, who became one of the Ten Great Disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha. He was the foremost in ascetism. He is regarded as the First Patriarch because he responded with a smile when Shakyamuni Buddha held up a golden flower in a sermon. This is known to be the transmission of heart-seal. After the death of Shakyamuni, he was the leader of the disciples. He convened the First Council to compile the Buddhist canon, i.e. Tripitika. Mahakassapa is supposed to be living in Kukkutapada (Cock Foot Mountain) in Magadha, on which he enters into Nirvana.

The mother of Shakyamuni. She was the Koliyan Princess and married to Suddhodana. She died seven days after giving birth to Shakyamuni.

She was the sister of Mahamaya, the mother of Shakyamuni. They both married King Suddhodana. Maya died seven days after the birth of Shakyamuni. Mahapajapati then became the step/foster mother of Shakyamuni, and treated Shakyamuni so kind as her son, Nanda. Nanda was one of the Ten Great Disciples of Shakyamuni. After the death of King Suddhodana, Mahapajapati was ordained to be the first woman admitted in Buddhist order.

Maha-Parinibbana-Sutta in Pali and Maha-Parinirvana-Sutra in Sanskrit.   Also known as the Sutra of the Great Nirvana/Decease, recording the final sermon, the death and the funeral of Shakyamuni.

The Sutra was delivered by Shakyamuni in four places at sixteen assemblies. It consists of 600 volumes as translated by Hsuan-tsang. It is the fundamental philosophical work of the Mahayana Buddhism, the formulation of wisdom, which is the sixth paramita.

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.

Mahasanghika and Sthavira are known as two earliest sects in Hinayana. Mahasanghika is said to be the basis of the development of the Mahayana Buddhism, while Sthavira of the Theravada Buddhism.

For the sub division of Mahasanghika, please refer to the Eighteen Sects of Hinayana.

There are seven meanings of Mahasattva:

  1. He has perfected great roots.
  2. He has great wisdom.
  3. He believes the great Dharma.
  4. He understands the great principle.
  5. He cultivates the great conduct.
  6. He passes through great kalpas.
  7. He seeks the great fruit.

A subdivision of the Sthavirah school, which opposed to the Mahayana system.

Also called Great Vehicle or Bodhisattva Vehicle. It is a school of Buddhism prevalent in China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Tibet and other places in the Far East. It is also called Northern Buddhism.

Mahayana is described as seeking Buddhahood and transforming beings, thus self-benefiting for the benefits of the others.

See also Hinayana. For further details, please refer to Section 3 A Glimpse in the Scope of Buddhism in Vol. 1 No. 4 of Budddhist Door.

One of the Hinayana school, a branch of Sarvastivadah founded 300 years after the Nirvana, but the doctrines of the school are said to be similar to those of the Mahasanghika. Literally means a ruler who converted or rectified his land or people. The school denied reality to past and future, but maintained the reality of the present. Similarly, the school rejected the doctrine of the void and the non-ego, the production of taint by the Five consciousness, the theory of nine kinds of non-activity, and so on. They held that enlightenment came suddenly rathern than gradually.

Sanskrit word, 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 Buddha.

A diagrammatic circular picture used as an aid in meditation or ritual, sometimes a symbol of the universe, or a representation of a deed of merit. Sometimes, it represents a place of enlightenment, where Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are existent. Mandalas also reveal the direct retribution of each of the ten worlds of beings (see Ten Realms). Each world has its mandala which represents the originating principle that brings it to completion. It is one of the three mystics in Tantric Buddhism.

Manjusri Bodhisattva
As one of the Four Great Bodhisattva, he is the one with the greatest wisdom. Manjusri is said to have: wonderful head, universal head, glossy head, revered head, wonderful virtue and wonderfully auspicious. Manjusri, the guardian of wisdom, is often placed on the left of Shakyamuni, while Visvabhadra, the guardian of law, is on the right. Manjusri always rides on a lion. He is described as the ninth predecessor or Buddha-ancestor of Shakyamuni. In the past lives, he is also described as being the parent of many Buddhas and have assisted the Buddha into existence. He is the Chief of the Bodhisattva, and the chief disciple of the Buddha. He is the object for the pilgrimages visiting the Wu Tai Shan of Shansi Province in China.

Sanskrit words signifying a sacred word, verse or syllable which embodies in sound of some specific deity or supernatural power. It is one of the three mystics in Tantric Buddhism.

Literally, "murderer". The Evil One who "takes" away the wisdom-life of all living beings.

Lakana in Sanskrit word. It is a notion of form. In Diamond Sutra, it says "All with marks is empty and false. If you can see all marks as no marks then you see the Tathagata." See also Four Marks.

Or Form or Thing. The Sanskrit word is Rupa. It is defined as that which has resistence, or which changes and disappear, i.e., the phenomenal. There are inner and outer forms representing the organs and objects of sense respectively.
Rupa is one of the Six Bahya-ayatanna or Six Gunas and also one of the Five Skandhas.

See Ten Great Disciples of Shakyamuni.

The fifth Paramita. There are numerous methods and subjects of meditation. See also Contemplation.

Middle Path
See Middle Way.

Middle Way
It denotes the mean between two extremes, particularly between realism and nihilism, eternal substantial existence and annihilation. This doctrine opposes the rigid categories of existence and non-existence in the interest of a middle way. This is the utlimate truth of Buddhism, and the reality character of all Buddha. See also Eight Negations.

See Deer Park.

The second Paramita, to take precepts and to keep the moral laws.

See Deer Park.

One of the three mystics in Tantric Buddhism, which is the symbolic gesture of hand fingers.

It was a branch of the Sarvastivadin sect, which asserted the doctrine of the reality of things. It held that all is produced by causative action, and everything is dynamic, not static. Mulasavastivada is a school of reality of all phenomena, one of the early Hinayana sects, said to have been formed, about 300 years after the Nirvana of Shakyamuni. Later it subdivided into five:

A Bodhisattva in South India, born into a Brahman family about 800 years after the Nirvana of Shakyamuni, i.e., 200 AD. He was the founder of Madhyamika (Middle Way) and Sunya (emptiness). He had plenty of writings in Buddhism. He was one of the chief philosophers of Mahayana Buddhism.

The founder of Jain religion, i.e. Jainism.

A Sanskrit word interpreted as a numeral, 100,000 or one million or ten million.

Nine Realms
The nine realms of error, or subjection to passions, i.e. all the realms of the living except the tenth and highest, the Buddha-realm. The nine realms are

Nine Stages of Lotus Flowers
Or Nine Grades, Classes of Lotus Flowers, i.e. upper superior, middle superior, lower superior, upper medium, middle medium, lower medium, upper inferior, middle inferior and lower inferior, which represent ninefold future life into Pure Land. The nine grades, or rewards, of the Pure Land, corresponding to the nine grades of development in the previous life, upon which depends, in the next life, one's distance from Amitabha, the consequent aeons that are required to approach Amitabha, and whether one's lotus will open early or late.

Nirvana is a Sanskrit word which is originally translated as "perfect stillness". It has many other meanings, such as liberation, eternal bliss, tranquil extinction, extinction of individual existence, unconditioned, no rebirth, calm joy, etc. It is usually described as transmigration to "extinction", but the meaning given to "extinction" varies.

There are four kinds of Nirvana:

  1. Nirvana of pure, clear self-nature
  2. Nirvana with residue
  3. Nirvana without residue
  4. Nirvana of no dwelling

Nirvana of pure, clear self-nature
It is commonly possessed by all individual sentient beings. It is not subject to birth and death, nor increase and decrease.
Nirvana with residue
The cause, but not all the effect (Karma) of reincarnation is cut off and removal of the obstacle of affliction, but not that of what is known (Dharma), thus the body which remains is subject to birth and death. Those beings are Arhats.
Nirvana without residue
Both the cause and effect of reincarnation are extinguished, both afflictions and what is known (Dharma) are extinguished. All kinds of suffering are externally in stillness. There is no further residue. Those beings are Bodhisattva.
Nirvana of no dwelling
With the aid of interactive wisdom and compassion, those who do not dwell in birth and death, nor in Nirvana, but continue to cross living beings over forever.

No Strife Samadhi
Strife means debating and fighting. It is a kind of Samadhi, i.e. right concentration/meditation. To cultivate and attain this Samadhi, one will not argue or angry with others as one has no differentiation between self and others.

The most simple, yet sacred mantra in Buddhism, also used in other Indian religions.

One Buddha Vehicle
Also known as Supreme Vehicle. In Buddhism, the Five Vehicles are established to facilitate us to understand the reality of Buddhahood. The teachings of One Buddha Vehicle is the ultimate, perfect and complete truth of Buddha, which is unconceivable and beyond words, as stated in the Lotus Sutra.

The language of the Theravada (Hinayana) Buddhist Canon, alleged to be the language used by the Buddha.

It means to cross over from this shore of births and deaths to the other shore which is the Nirvana.

The Six Paramita or means of so doings are
(1) dana - charity/giving
(2) sila - moral/conduct/taking precepts
(3) ksanti - patience
(4) virya - vigor/devotion/energy
(5) dhyana - contemplation/meditation
(6) prajna - wisdom.

The Ten Paramita are the above plus
(7) upaya - use of expedient or proper means
(8) pranidhana - vow of bodhi and helpfulness
(9) bala - strength
(10) intelligence

Childers gives the list of ten as the perfect exercise of Each of the ten is divided into ordinary, superior and unlimited perfection, making up to thirty in total.

Not death, but perfect rest, i.e. the perfection of all virtues and the elimination of all evils.. Also a release from the suffering of transmigration and an entry to a state of fullest joy.

Endurance, the third Paramita. There are groups of two, three, four, five, six, ten and fourteen, indicating various forms of patience, equanimity, repression, forbearance, both in mundane and spiritual things. Patience refers to bearing insult and distress without resentment.

The second stage in Hinayana, the first or initial being that of Sravaka. He is enlightened to the conditions, i.e. the Law of Dependent Origination. He seeks enlightenment for himself and understands deeply Nidanas. He attains his enlightenment alone, independently, or a teacher, and with the object of attaining Nirvana and his own salvation rather than that of others.

There are three kinds of Prajna:
(1) Prajna of languages
(2) Prajna of contemplative illumination
(3) prajna of the characteristics of actuality

The last one is the ultimate wisdom, which is the wisdom of Buddha. Also see wisdom.

One of the Hinayana School, a branch of the Mahasanghikah, which held the view that there was a distinction between mere concepts and real entities (referred to in Buddha's teaching) i.e. phenomenality and reality, based on Prajatisastra.

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.

Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss
This is the Buddha Land of Amitabha Buddha. In Amitabha Sutra, there is full description about this Pure Land. This is the world of utmost joy without suffering. With the spiritual power of Amitabha Buddha, all beings in this world will understand Buddhism easily and practise diligently, and attain enlightenment eventually. Therefore by reciting Amitabha Buddha's name, Buddhist followers hope that they will be born in this Pure Land after their lives on earth. See also Nine Stages of Lotus Flowers.

Pure Land of Vairocana
The Lotus world, also the Pure Land of all Buddhas in their Sambhogakaya or Reward Body/Enjoyment Body. Above the wind or air circle is a sea of fragrant water, in which is the thousand-pedal lotus with its infinite variety of worlds. Hence, the meaning is the Lotus which contains a store of myriads of worlds.

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.

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 Bodhi mandala of Buddhism called Bamboo Grove Park was built by the elder Kalanda and King Bimblisara of Magadha in Rajagaha.

Living in the Ghost Path. Like Yaksa, they are evil and violent, but inferior to Yaksa.

Realm of Form
See Three Realms.

Realm of Formlessness
See Three Realms.

Realm of Sensuous Desire
See Three Realms.

Or Conception or Thinking. The Sanskirt word is Sanjna. It is the function of mind. It may lead to desire. One of the Five Skandhas.

One of the Four Unlimited Mind. As one of the chief Buddhist virtues, renunciation leads to a state of "undifferent without pleasure or pain". It is also an equality in mind with no distinction of self and others.

Right Action
The fourth of the Eightfold Path; respect for life (do not kill), property (do not steal) and personal relationship (no sexual misconduct) so as to purify one's mind and body.

Right Concentration
Right abstraction, the eighth of the Eightfold Path; meditation, focusing the mind without distraction, preparing the mind to attain wisdom.

Right Effort
Right zeal or progress, unintermitting perseverance, suppressing the rising of evil states and stimulating good states, and to perfect those which have come to beings.

Right Livelihood
The fifth of the Eightfold Path; right life, abstaining from any of the forbidden modes of living. Five kinds of livelihood are discouraged : trading in animals for slaughter, dealing in weapons, dealing in slaves, dealing in poison and dealing in intoxicants.

Right Remembrance
Right memory, right mindfulness; the seventh of the Eightfold Path, avoiding distracted and clouded state of mind, awareness and self-possessed.

Right Speech
The third of Eightfold Path, abstaining from lying, slander/back biting, abuse/harsh words and idle talk.

Right Thought
Right thought and intent; avoiding desire and ill-will; the second of the Eightfold Path.

Right Understanding
See Right View.

Right View
Understanding the Four Noble Truths; the first of the Eightfold Path.

See Matter or Five Skandhas.

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