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A subdivision of early Sthavirah school. Abhayagiri, the Mountain of Fearlessness in Ceylon, where the disciples dwelled in a monastery.

Agama Sutra
It is one of the oldest Buddhist scriptures. These sutras contain the sermons of Shakyamuni Buddha during the first two to three years after he attained Enlightenment and during the year proceeding his Nirvana. The sutras consists of four collections:

in Pali (P)

in Sanskrit (S)

1.     Digha-nikaya     Dirghagama (Long Sayings)  
2.     Mojjhima-nikaya     Madhyamagama (Middle-length Sayings)  
3.     Samyutta-nikaya     Samyuktagama (Kindred Sayings)  
4.     Anguttara-nikaya     Ekottaragama (Gradual Sayings)  
5.     Khuddaka-nikaya     Ksudrakagama (Minor Saying)  

Khuddaka-nikaya is only included in Pali canon. The five collections is called Sutta-pitaka.

Sanskrit word. It means bad Karma.

Alara-Kalama in Pali, Arada-Kalama in Sanskrit. A sage under whom Shakyamuni studied meditation. The state reached by Alara-Kalama was that of a higher formless world where matter no longer exists.

An abbreviation of Alaya-vijanana. Alaya is a sort of eternal substance or matter, creative and containing all forms; when considered as a whole, it is non-existent, or contains nothing; when considered phenomenal, it fills the universe. It seems to be of the nature of materialism. It is the store or totality of consciousness both absolute and relative. It is described as the fundamental mind-consciousness of conscious beings, which lays hold of all the experience of the individual life, and which stores and holds the germs of all affairs.

It is the last of Eighth Consciousness from which the Wisdom of Great Round Mirror is derived.

See charity.

Sanskrit word, literally means boundless light and boundless life. He is the Buddha in the Land of Ultimate Bliss (Pure Land), in which all beings enjoy unbounded happiness. Amitabha has forty-eight great vows to establish and adorn his Pure Land. People also recite or call upon his name by the time of dying will be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss with the reception by Amitabha. Amitabha is one of the most popular and well-known Buddha in China.

Amitabha Sutra
One of the main sutra in Pure Land Sect. It is said to be the only sutra that Shakyamuni preached without being asked. For the sake of facilitating the living beings to practice and cultivate the Buddha way. Shakyamuni revealed and taught us the simplest way for liberation and enlightenment -- reciting Amitabha Buddha's name. By reciting the name, one can opt to be born in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. It is one of the most popular sutra recited by the Buddhists in China.

A Sanskrit word means one who does not return. It is the certification of the third fruit of Arhatship. After a Sakrdagamin cuts off the last three categories of his delusions in thought in the Desire Realm, he certifies to the third fruit, and never returns. See Four Fruition.

One of the Shakyamuni Buddha's Ten Great Disciples. He was first in hearing the Buddha's words. As he had excellent memory, he memorized the Buddha's sermons, which were later recorded as sutras. He was also the cousin of Shakyamuni Buddha.

A name given to Sudatta, meant one who gives to the needy. He was a wealthy merchant of Savatthi in ancient India who bought the land from Prince Jeta with as much gold as would cover the ground for the construction of Jetavanna Grove - one of the great monastery Bodhimandala of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Sanskrit word meaning unexcelled complete enlightenment, which is an attribute of every Buddha. It is the highest, correct and complete or universal knowledge or awareness, the perfect wisdom of a Buddha.

It means a place of stillness, which is to practice pure conduct and to cultivate without the attachment of self and the Four Marks.

One of the four types of Vedic literature in ancient India, known as the "Forest Treatise", compiled around 600 B.C.

See Arhat and Four Fruition.

Arhat in Sanskrit, Arahat in Pali.   Literally, man of worth, honourable one. There are two kinds of arhats, namely, the Sound-hearing arhat (Sravaka) and the Enlightened-to-condition arhat (Praetyka-Buddha). The former attains the wisdom to understand the Four Noble Truth, while the latter attains the wisdom to understand the Law of Dependent Origination or the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination. They represent two vehicles, who "comprehend for their own sake". As they pay attention to themselves and not to others, they are incapable of genuine and equal enlightenment. There are four noble stages of fruition in the Arhat Path.

See Sthavirah.

A Sanskrit words interpreted as innumerable, and countless. See also kalpas.

Brother of Vasubandhu. Originally trained as a Hinayanist, but converted his brother Vasubandha to become Mahayanist. They both established the Yogacara School of Buddhism.

A Buddhist monarch of 300 B.C., the third emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, who unified most of India under his rule and fostered the dissemination of Buddhism. It is said that the Third Council was held during his reign. Ashoka set the model for many other rulers who sought to govern in accordance with Buddhist philosophy.

Ashura in Sanskrit, Asura in Pali.   It is a peculiar path in the Six Paths. They are the enemies of the devas, and are the mightest of all demons. In terms of material enjoyment and psychic power, it is similar to Deva. However, in some aspects, it is even worse than the Human Path. The male Asura is extremely ugly and furious, and always fight with each other. The female Asura is as beautiful as an angel. They are proud of themselves, thus reluctant to learn and practice Buddhism.

The individual self or the soul in Brahmanic thought.

Sanskrit word for the Bodhisattva who Hears the Sounds of the World. He rescues all beings by hearing their voices of suffering and cries for help. In Chinese, he is called Guan Shr Yin or Guan Yin Bodhisattva. As one of the Four Great Bodhisattva, he is the one with the greatest compassion and mercy, therefore known as God/Goddess of Mercy.

Guan Yin is one of the triad of Amitabha Buddha, represented on his left, and being the future Buddha in the Land of Ultimate Bliss (Pure Land) after Amitabha Buddha.

Guan Yin can transform into many different forms in order to cross over to the beings. Originally represented as a male, the images are now generally those of a female figure. Guan Yin is one of the most popular Bodhisattva in China.

One of the Hinayana School, a sub division of MahasanghikaSchool. The disciples dwelled in the western mountains in Dhanakataka.

Avatamsaka Sutra
Sanskrit words, also known as Flower Adornment Sutra, or Flower Garland Sutra. One of the great sutras in Buddhism. It was sermoned in heaven by Buddha Shakyamuni soon after his attainment of Buddhahood. The sutra reveals different causes and ways of cultivation of many great Bodhisattvas, such as Ten Grades of Faith, Ten Stages of Wisdom, Ten Activities, Ten Transference of Merits, Ten Stages of Bodhisattva, Absolute Universal Enlightenment, Wonderful Enlightenment, etc. It also reveals how to enter Avatamsaka World (Buddha's world) from Saha World (our world).

One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Mahasanghikah. One of their chief doctrines held Buddha's teaching to be twofold: transcedent on one hand and mundane on the other.

Bamboo Grove
Veluvana in Pali, Venuvana in Sanskrit. The first monastery (Bodhi-mandala) in Buddhism located in Rajagaha. It was donated by the elder Kalanda and built by King Bimblisara of Magadha.

One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Sthavirandin, developed from Vatsiputriyah.

Sanskrit word, i.e., the Buddha of Medicine Master, who quells all diseases and lengthens life. He is the Buddha in the Pure Land of the Paradise of the East, i.e., Pure Land of Lapus Lazuli Light.

Bhiksu in Sanskrit, Bhikkhu in Pali.   A monk, who has left home, is fully ordained to follow the way of the Buddha, and depends on alms for a living.

Bhiksuni in Sanskrit, Bhikkhuni in Pali.   A nun observing more strict rules than a Bhiksu. See also Bhiksu.

A term used in both Sanskrit and Pali, meaning perfect wisdom or enlightenment.

The mind of enlightenment. It is with this initiative that a Buddhist begins his path to complete, perfect enlightenment.

An Indian missionary monk who came to China in 600 A.D., regarded as the founder of the Chan (Zen) School of Buddhism in China, i.e. the First Patriarch.

A monastery where Bhiksus (monks) and Bhiksunis (nuns) practise and teach the Buddhist Dharma.

It also generally refers to a holy place of enlightenment; a place for teaching and learning the Dharma; a place where a Bodhisattva appears and where devotees have glimpses of him.

Bodhisattva in Sanskrit, Bodhisatta in Pali. A Future Buddha who is a being destined to Buddhahood. Bodhi means Enlightenment and Sattva means Sentient and Conscious. Therefore Bodhisattva refers to the sentient being of or for the great wisdom and enlightenment. Bodhisattva's vow/aim is the pursuit of Buddhahood and the salvation of others and of all. He seeks enlightenment to enlighten others. He will sacrifice himself to save the others. He is devoid of egoism and devoted to help the others. The way and discipline of Bodhisattva is to benefit the self and the others, leading to Buddhahood.

One of the three major deities of Hinduism, along with Visnu (Vishnu) and Siva (Shiva). Adopted as one of the protective deities of Buddhism.

The highest of the Four Castes in ancient India at the time of Shakyamuni. They served Brahma, with offerings; the keepers of the Vedas, i.e. priestly caste.

One of the four types of Vedic literature in ancient India. The portion of the Veda that deals with ceremony and rituals.

Name used in the present text for the priestly caste of Hindus. See Brahman.

Means "the Enlightened One" or "the Awakened One".

That is, Buddhaland. The term is absent from the Hinayana schools. In Mahayana, it is the spiritual realm acquired by one who reaches perfect enlightenment, where he instructs all beings born there, preparing them for enlightenment, e.g. Amitabha in Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss (Western Paradise), Bhaisajya guru (Medicine Master Buddha) in Pure Land of Lapus Lazuli Light (Eastern Paradise).

Buddha Nature i.e. the potential for attaining Buddhahood, or enlightenment. In the absolute sense, it is unproduced and immortal. Every sentient being possesses the Buddha Nature, but it requires to be cultivated in order to be revealed.

Burning Lamp Buddha
He was the Buddha that bestowed a prediction of Buddhahood on Shakyamuni Buddha. He was the one who gave Shakyamuni a name, saying "In the future, you will become a Buddha named Shakyamuni."

See Jetavaniyah.

See Jetavaniyah.

The four heavens of the four Deva-Kings. It is the lowest of the six heavens of the Realm of Desire.

Causal Ground
Fundamental cause; the state of practising the Buddhism which leads to the resulting Buddhahood.

Cave of the Seven Leaves
Saptaparna-guha in Sanskrit, Sattapanna-guba in Pali.   The site of the First Buddhist Council, near Rajagaha.

A wheel in Yoga, one of the psychic centres of the body.

Also called Zen; see Contemplation and Meditation.

Chan School
The Chan School was established in China by Bodhidharma, the 28th Patriarch who brought the tradition of the Buddha-mind from India. This school, disregarding ritual and sutras, as they believe in sudden enlightenment which is beyond any mark, including speech and writing. They practice meditation with Hua Tou. This school is said to be for those of superior roots.

Or almsgiving, the first Paramita. There are three kinds of charity in terms of goods, doctrines (Dharma) and courage (fearlessness). Out of the three, the merits and virtues of doctrines charity is the most surpassing. Charity done for no reward here and hereafter is called pure or unsullied, while the sullied charity is done for the purpose of personal benefits. In Buddhism, the merits and virtues of pure charity is the best.

Chih Che
Chih Che (A.D. 538-597) was the Third Patriarch of the Tien Tai School. He had a deep understanding and insight on the Lotus Sutra. He wrote many books to explain the doctrines in Lotus Sutra, which established the fundamental structure in the teaching of the Tien Tai School.

A method of cultivation, commonly practised in Tien Tai Sect in China. It is similar to meditation, looking into the mind. There are two processes:

  1. Chih - a Chinese word which means fixing the mind to meditate on the ten Dharma realms
  2. Kuan - a Chinese word which means contemplating and looking into underlying reality of all things.

No priority of cultivation is given to the one or the other, but should be cultivated simultaneously. Its principle and the airm of practice is to realize the Three Dogmas and to attain Sudden Enlightenment.

There is no existing phenomena that is not the effect of dependent origination. All phenomena arise dependent upon a number of casual factors called conditions.

Conditioned Dharma
It refers to all phenomena and law in the world. The worldly dharma is governed by the Law of Cause and Effect and Law of Dependent Origination or conditions. In general, there are three kinds of conditioned dharma, namely

  1. form   -   all material which has form.
  2. mental   -   related to all mental activities.
  3. neither form nor the mental.

Abstract contemplation. There are four levels through which the mind frees itself from all subjects and objective hindrances and reaches a state of absolute indifference and annihilation of thought, perception, and will. See also Meditation.

Deer Park
Migadaya in Pali, Mrgadava in Sanskrit.   Deer Park in Benares, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kasi. It was a place of Shakyamuni's first sermon to the Five Bhikhus after his Enlightenment.

A cousin of Shakyamuni. At first, he was a follower of Shakyamuni, but later left him and even attempted to kill him.

Devine Eye
One of the Six Psychic Power and one of the Five Eyes. Unlimited vision, large and small, distant and near, the destiny of all beings in future rebirth. It may be obtained by human eyes through the practice of meditation/Samadhi.

See Vigor.

Dhammapada in Pali, Dharmapada in Sanskrit. A sutra consisting of two sections and 39 chapters, with 423 short verses of the Buddha, teachings given at various times and places. It is regarded as the "original" teaching of the Buddha, which can be used for reference, moral instruction and inspiration. It was composed by Dharmatrata in 400-300 B.C.

Dharma in Sanskrit, Dhamma in Pali.   The universal norms or laws that govern human existence and is usually regarded as law, truth, anything Buddhist. It is used in the sense of all things, visible or invisible. In Buddhist tradition, it is generally referred to as the teaching of the Buddha.

See Wheel of Law.

He translated the Lotus Sutra in A.D. 601 jointly with Jnanagupta.

One of the Hinayana sect, a subdivision of Sarvastivadah, developed from Mahisasakah and located in northwest India and Central Asia.

Literally means those who protect (or preserve) the Law. They were instrumental informing the cult of the stupa, and were expert in incantation.

Dharmalaksana School
Also known as Yogacara.   It aims at discovery of the ultimate entity of cosmic existence in contemplation through investigation into the specific characteristics of all existence, and through the realization of the fundamental nature of "self" in mystic illumination.

Dharmaraksa (A.D. 223-300) was the Chinese born descendant of Iranian who had settled in West China generations before. He had translated the Lotus Sutra in A.D. 286.

One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Sthavirandin developed from Vatsiputriyah. Dharmottara is the Buddhist logician writing, an important commentary called the Nyayabindu-tika on Dharmakirtis Nyayabindu.

Buddhist word meaning suffering. Broadly speaking, it means not complete and not perfect.

Dvadashamukha Shastra
One of the Three Shastra of Madhyamika School, composed by Nagarjuna, translated by Kumarajiva A.D. 408. There are several works on it.

See Vigor.

Eight Divisions of Gods and Dragons
Devas (gods), Nagas (Dragons) and others of eight divisions (classes): deva, nagas, yakas, ganharvas, asuras, gaudas, kinaras, mahoragas.

Eight Negations
The eight negations of Nagarjuna, founder of Madhyamika, are actually four pairs of neither birth nor death, neither end nor permanence, neither identity nor difference, neither coming nor going. This is one of the important concepts of the Middle Way, the ultimate truth of Buddhism and the reality character of all Dharma.

The Eight Precepts
They are:
  1. no killing
  2. no stealing
  3. no sexual misconduct
  4. no false speech
  5. no alcoholic drink
  6. no cosmetic, personal adnornments, dancing or music
  7. no sleeping on fine beds
  8. no eating after noon

Eight Sufferings
(1) Suffering of Birth
(2) Suffering of Old Age
(3) Suffering of Sickness
(4) Suffering of Death
(5) Suffering of being apart from the loved ones
(6) Suffering being together with the despised ones
(7) Suffering of not getting what one wants
(8) Suffering of the flourishing of the Five Skandhas

Eight Winds
Or the Winds of Eight Directions. Most people are usually moved by the winds of the eight directions:
(1) Praise
(2) Ridicule
(3) Suffering
(4) Happiness
(5) Benefit
(6) Destruction
(7) Gain
(8) Loss

Eighteen Different Characters
There are eighteen different characters of a Buddha as compared with all other beings in the Nine Realms.
  1. His perfection of body (or person)
  2. His perfection of mouth (or speech)
  3. His perfection of memory
  4. His perfection of impartiality to all
  5. Serenity
  6. Self-sacrifice
  7. Unceasing desire to save
  8. Unflagging zeal therein to save
  9. Unfailing thought thereto to save
  10. Unceasing wisdom to save
  11. Powers of deliverance
  12. The principle of the powers of deliverance
  13. Revealing perfect wisdom in deed
  14. Revealing perfect wisdom in word
  15. Revealing perfect wisdom in thought
  16. Perfect knowledge of the past
  17. Perfect knowledge of the future
  18. Perfect knowledge of the present

Eighteen Fields
The Six Consciousness and the Twelve Bases are together called the Eighteen Fields.

Eighteen Sects of Hinayana
  1. Mahasanghikah is divided into eight schools:

    1. Ekavyavaharikah
    2. Lokottaravadinah
    3. Kaukkutikah (Gokulika)
    4. Bahusrutiyah
    5. Prajnativadinah
    6. Jetavaniyah (Caityasailah)
    7. Avarasailah
    8. Uttarasailah

  2. Sthavirah or Aryasthavirah is divided into ten schools:

    1. Haimavatah
    2. Vatsiputriyah (developed from Sarvastivadah)
    3. Dharmottariyah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
    4. Bhadrayaniyah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
    5. Sammatiyah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
    6. Sannagarikah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
    7. Mahisasakah
    8. Dharmaguptah (developed from Mahisasakah)
    9. Kasyapiyah (developed from Sarvastivadah)
    10. Sautrantika (developed from Sarvastivadah)

Under (I), the first five are stated as arising two centuries after the Nirvana of Shakyamuni, and the remaining three a century later, dates which are unreliable.

Under (II), the Haimavatah and the Sarvastivadah are dated some 200 years after Nirvana; from the Sarvastivadah soon arose the Vatsiputriyah, from whom soon arose the third, fourth, fifth and sixth; then from the Sarvastivadah there arose the seventh which gave rise to the eighth, and again, near the 400th year, the Sarvastivadah gave rise to the ninth and soon after the tenth.

In the list of eighteen, the Sarvastivadah was not taken into account, as it split into all the rest.

Eightfold Path
The eight right ways for the Arhat leading to Nirvana. The eight are:
(1) Right View
(2) Right Thought
(3) Right Speech
(4) Right Action
(5) Right Livelihood
(6) Right Effort
(7) Right Remembrance
(8) Right Concentration

Ekavyavaharika in Sanskrit, Ekabyohara in Pali.   One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Mahasanghikah, which considered things as nominal, i.e. just names without any underlying reality. They held that the mind is by its nature pure and radiant, inaccessible to defilement.

The Sanskrit word is Sunya. One of the key concepts in Buddhism. Emptiness is an abstract idea representing impermanence, unreality, instability, transience and relativity in the nature of all existence. The doctrine states that all phenomena and the ego have no reality, but are composed of a certain number of Skandhas or elements, which disintegrate. The doctrine also states that everything is unstable, possessing no self-essence or self-nature, i.e., its own existence dependent or caused by the conditions of others' existence.
Emptiness is not nothing, but it is the condition of existence of everything. It permeates all phenomena making possible their evolution.

See Patience.

See Vigor.

"Enlightenment" sometimes refers to the attainment of Buddhahood, as the "Enlightened One" means Buddha. If one is enlightened, one has a complete and perfect understanding of the reality character of everything.

Evil World of Five Turbidities
It refers to the world on Earth. The Five Turbidities are
  1. the Kalpa Turbidity  
    the age of people decreases and all kinds of diseases afflict people;
  2. the View Turbidity  
    people's views start to degenerate;
  3. the Affliction Turbidity  
    passions, delusions, desire, anger, stupidity, pride and doubt prevail;
  4. the Living Beings Turbidity  
    human miseries increase and happiness decreases;
  5. the Life Turbidity  
    the human lifespan gradually diminishes to ten years.

It means having put the Two Obstacles, i.e. the obstacle of afflictions and the obstacle of what is known, to an end. It also means that the beings have transcended the Two Deaths, i.e. glare-sectioned birth and death and changed birth and death.

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