T - Z

Taking Precepts
see Morality.

Also called Vajrayana. A school of esoteric Tibetan Buddhism. It emphsizes not only meditation but also the use of symbolic rites, gestures, postures, breathing, incantation, and other secret means.

Ten Dharma Realms
also known as ten states of existence, which are
  1. Hell
  2. Ghost
  3. Animal
  4. Asura
  5. Man
  6. Deva
  7. Sravaka (Sound-Hearer Arhat)
  8. Praetyka-Buddha
  9. Bodhisattva
  10. Buddha

Each Dharma realm has its own characteristics, and its existence is attributed to the retribution of the beings. The lowest six realms (1-6) are known as the Six Paths or Six Realms. These six states of existence are subjected to birth and death, and then rebirth for many lives. The upper four realms are known as the Four Holy Realms. These four states of existence are beyond birth and death and liberated from the Samsara

For details, please refer to Part 2 of Buddhism In A Nutshell, which appeared in Vol. 1 No. 4 of Buddhist Door, March 1996.

Ten Directions
The eight points of the compass, in addition to the nadir and the zenith.

Ten Good Deeds
The Ten Forms of Good Actions for layman, or Ten Wholesomeness.
  1. No killing
  2. No stealing
  3. No adultery
  4. No lying
  5. No slandering
  6. No harsh speech
  7. No idle talks
  8. No greed
  9. No hatred
  10. No illusion
It is essential for the rebirth in Deva realm.

Ten Great Disciples of Skakyamuni Buddha
They are:

  1. Mahakasyapa in Sanskrit, Mahakassapa in Pali.    
    first in ascetism.
  2. Ananda    
    first in having heard the words of Buddha.
  3. Sariputra in Sanskrit, Sariputta in Pali.    
    first in wisdom.
  4. Subhuti    
    first in expressing emptiness.
  5. Purna    
    first in explaining good law.
  6. Maudgalyayana in Sanskrit, Moggallana in Pali.    
    first in supernatural power.
  7. Katyayana    
    first in preaching.
  8. Aniruddha in Sanskrit, Anuruddha in Pali.    
    first in the sharpness of his divine eyes.
  9. Upali    
    first in taking precepts.
  10. Rahula    
    first in esoteric practices and in desire for instruction in the law.

Ten Great King Vows
The vows of Visvabhadra Bodhisattva:
  1. To worship and respect all Buddhas.
  2. To praise the Thus Come One.
  3. To practise offerings.
  4. To repent all karmic hindrance.
  5. To rejoice and follow merits and virtue.
  6. To request that the Dharma wheel be turned.
  7. To request that the Buddha remain in the world.
  8. To follow the Buddha's teachings.
  9. To live in accord with all living beings.
  10. To spread all merits and virtue.

Ten Meritorious Deeds
The Ten Meritorious Deeds allow people to gain a happy and peaceful life as well as to develop knowledge and understanding. They are:
  1. Charity
  2. Morality / Taking Precepts
  3. Mental cultivation / Meditation
  4. Reverence or respect
  5. Services in helping others
  6. Transference of merits
  7. Rejoicing in the merits of others
  8. Preaching and teaching Dharma
  9. Listening the Dharma
  10. Straightening one's own views

Ten Offerings
For the material there are ten kinds of offerings in Buddhism:
  1. incense
  2. flower
  3. lamp
  4. necklace
  5. jeweled parasols
  6. banners and canopies
  7. clothes
  8. fruit and food
  9. music
  10. joined palms

Ten Paramita
see Paramita.

Ten Powers
The Ten Powers of Buddha or Bodhisattva are the complete knowledge of
  1. what is right or wrong in every condition
  2. what is the karma of every being, past, present and future
  3. all stages of dhyana liberation and samadhi
  4. the powers and faculties of all beings
  5. the desires or moral directions of every being
  6. the actual condition of every individual
  7. the direction and consequence of all laws
  8. all causes of mortality and of good and evil in their reality
  9. the end of all beings and Nirvana
  10. the destruction of all illusion of every kind

Ten Schools of Chinese Buddhism
  1. Kosa
  2. Satyasiddhi
  3. Madhyamika
  4. Tien Tai
  5. Hua Yen
  6. Dharmalaksana
  7. Vinaya
  8. Chan
  9. Esoteric
  10. Pure Land

Ten Stages of Bodhisattva
These are the ten stages of development of Bodhisattva depending on their merits and virtues:
  1. Pramudita (joy) - job at having overcome the difficulties and sufferings, now entering on the path to Buddhahood
  2. Vimala (purity) - freedom from all possible defilement
  3. Prabhakari (enlightenment) - stage of further enlightenment
  4. Arcismati (widsom) - stage of glowing wisdom
  5. Sudurjaya (no difficulty) - stage of mastering the utmost difficulties
  6. Abhimukhi (open way) - the open way of wisdom above definitions of impurity and purity
  7. Duramgama (proceeding afar) - getting above ideas of self in order to save others
  8. Acala (unperturbed) - attainment of being unperturbed
  9. Sadhumati (discriminatory wisdom) - the finest discriminatory wisdom, knowing where and how to save, and possessing the Ten Powers
  10. Dharma megha (law cloud) - attainment of the fertilizing powers of law cloud

Ten Titles of Buddha
represent the characteristics of Buddha
  1. Tathagata - the Thus Come Ones
  2. Arhat - worthy of offerings
  3. Samyak-sambuddha - of proper and universal knowledge
  4. Vidyacarna-sampauna - perfect in understanding and conduct
  5. Sugata - skilful in leaving the world through liberation
  6. Lokavid - perfect and complete understanding of all worldly Dharma
  7. Anuttara - unsurpassed knights
  8. Purusa-damya-sarathi - taming heroes
  9. Sasta deramanusyanam - teachers of gods and people
  10. Buddha-lokanatha or Bhagaran - Buddha, the World Honored Ones

Ten Vehicles of Meditation
Vehicles is the means to take living beings across from suffering to Nirvana. Though there are ten vehicles, there is only one teaching (Dharma), i.e., Inconceivable Virtues of the Self-mind, and the other nine are supplementary. According to Tien Tai Sect, the ten vehicles are:
  1. Meditation of Inconceivable Virtue of the Self-mind   -   highest order for superior roots
  2. Meditation of Real Bodhicitta
  3. Meditation of Expedient Dwelling of Mind
  4. Meditation of Breaking Universal Dharma
  5. Meditation of Penetrating through Obstructed Consciousness
  6. Meditation of Commissioning all Chapters of Paths
  7. Meditation of Confronting Delusion and Advocating Enlightenment
  8. Meditation of Understanding the Stages of Fruition
  9. Meditation of Calmness and Endurance
  10. Meditation of Non-attachment of Dharma

Ten Wholesomeness
see Ten Good Deeds.

Thera, an elder; a fully ordained monk who has past ten rainy seasons. Theravada is the doctrine of the Theras, i.e. the teaching of Southern Buddhism. It is one of the traditional 18 sects of Hinayana Buddhism. This form of Buddhism emerged out of Mahinda's mission to Sri Lanka (Ceylon) during Ashoka's region. They are apparently very closely related to the orthodox Vibhajyavada doctrine of Ashoka's time and represent the sole remaining Hinayanist sect today. It is the form of Buddhism prevalent in S.E. Asian countries, e.g. Thailand, Sri Lanka, etc. (see Mahayana).

Thirty-two Forms
These are the physical marks of a Buddha
  1. Level feet
  2. thousand-spoke wheel-sign on feet
  3. long slender fingers
  4. pliant hands and feet
  5. toes and fingers finely webbed
  6. full-sized heels
  7. arched insteps
  8. thigh like a royal stag
  9. hands reaching below the knees
  10. well-retracted male organ
  11. height and stretch of arms equal
  12. every hair-root dark coloured
  13. body hair graceful and curly
  14. golden-hued body
  15. a ten-foot halo around him
  16. soft smooth skin
  17. two soles, two palms, two shoulders and crown well rounded
  18. below the armpits well-filled
  19. lion-shaped body
  20. erect
  21. full shoulders
  22. forty teeth
  23. teeth white even and close
  24. the four canine teeth pure white
  25. lion-jawed
  26. salvia improving the taste of all food
  27. tongue long and broad
  28. voice deep and resonant
  29. eye deep blue
  30. eye lashes like a royal bull
  31. a white urna or curl between the eyebrows emitting light
  32. an usnisa or fleshy protuberance on the crown.

Three Classifications
Buddha shows that a person is nothing more than a combination of various elements which come together under suitable conditions. They are
  1. the Five Skandhas
  2. the Twelve Bases
  3. the Eighteen Fields

Three Delusions
In Tien Tai, three doubts in the mind of Bodhisattva, producing three delusions, i.e.,
  1. through things seen and thought
  2. through the immense variety of duties in saving humans
  3. through ignorance

Three Dogmas
They are the Dogma of Void, Unreal and Mean. See also Three Meditations of One Mind.

Three Enlightenments
the three kinds of Enlightenment:
  1. Enlightenment for self
  2. Enlightenment for others
  3. Perfect enlightenment and accomplishment
The first is Arhat. The second is Bodhisattva. When all the three have been attained, the being becomes a Buddha.

Three Evil Paths
They are the three lowest realms of the Nine Realms: hell, hungry ghost and animal.

Three Good Paths
They are Man, Asura and Deva Paths.

Three Jewels
Or the Three Precious Ones, i.e. the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, which are the three essential components of Buddhism. They are the objects of veneration. Buddhists take refuge in them by pronouncing the threefold refuge formula, thus acknowledging themselves to be Buddhists.

Three Meditations of One Mind
Also known as Three Inconceivable Meditations, which is one of the practices in Tien Tai Sect in China. According to Tien Tai, all existence in the universe consists of Three Dogmas (Truths), namely, Void, Unreal and Mean. These three Dogmas are co-existent and interactive, integrated and interrelated. If one can meditate this concept with the whole mind, it is call Three Meditations of One mind, or Inconceivable Profound Meditation.

Three Obstacles
See Three Obstructions.

Three Obstructions
Also called Three Obstacles. They are the obstructions that hinder the attainment of Buddhahood. When the Three Obstructions are cleared, the Three Virtues will be perfected. The Three Obstructions are:

  1. Affliction obstruction   -   e.g. due to Three Poisons, i.e. greed, hatred and stupidity.
  2. Karma obstruction   -   e.g. due to Five Offenses, and Ten Unwholesome Deeds, i.e. the Karma in the past.
  3. Retribution obstruction   -   e.g. the suffering retribution in Three Evil Paths.

Three Periods of Time
That is the past, the present and the future.

Three Poisons
or Three Roots
  1. Greed or wrong desire
  2. Hatred or anger
  3. Illusion or stupidity or ignorance
These are the source of all the passions and delusions.

Three Realms
Sanskrit word is Triloka. It is Buddhist metaphysical equivalence for the triple world of earth, atmosphere and heaven.
  1. Realm of Sensusous Desire (Sanskrit word is Kamadhatu) of sex and food. It includes the Six Heavens of Desire, the Human World and the Hells.
  2. Realm of Form (Sanskrit word is Rupaadhatu) of matter which is substantial and resistant. It is a semi-material conception. It is above the lust world and contains bodies, places and things, all mystic and wonderful. It consists of 18 heavens, including the Heavens of Four Zen (Sanskrit word is Brahmalokas).
  3. Realm of Formlessness (Sanskrit word is Arupadhatu) of pure spirit, where there are no bodies and matters to which human terms would apply, but where the mind dwells in mystic contemplation; its extent is indefinable, but it is conceived of in Four Stages/Places of Emptiness in the immaterial world. It has four heavens, in which the Sphere/heaven of neither-perception-nor-non-perception is the highest.

Three Roots
The three (evil) roots, i.e. desire, hate and stupidity. Another group is the three grades of good "roots" or abilities, i.e. superior, medium and inferior.

Three Seals
Also known as Three Universal Truths.
  1. All phenomena are impermanent.
  2. All Dharma are not-self.
  3. The eternity is Nirvana.

It is called the seal because it is to certify whether it is the Buddha's teaching or not. Also see Four Seals.

Three Shastra
They are
  1. Madhyamaka Shastra
  2. Dvadashamukha Shastra
  3. Shatika Shastra

All three were translated by Kumarajiva, on which the Three Shastra Sect bases its doctrines.

Three Studies
or Three Vehicles of Learning
  1. Sila, i.e. taking Precepts
  2. Dhyana, i.e. concentration and meditation
  3. Prajna, i.e. wisdom
It is practiced by the Arhats.

Three Sufferings
  1. Feeling of suffering
  2. Feeling of happiness - suffering of decay
  3. Feeling of neither suffering nor happiness - suffering of the activity of the Five Skandhas.

Three Universal Characteristics
The Three Universal Characteristics are connected with the existence. They are:
  1. All phenomena are impermanent.
  2. All Dharma are not-self.
  3. All sensations are suffering.

Three Universal Truths
Also known as the Three Seals. Three Universal Truths are the basic teaching of Buddha, so that they are commonly used to attest Buddhism.

The Three Universal Truths are:

  1. All phenomena are impermanent, (i.e., Anicca in Sanskrit).
  2. All dharmas are non-self, (i.e., Anatta in Sanskrit).
  3. The eternity is Nirvana and stillness.

Three Vehicles
They are the Two Vehicles, plus the Bodhisattva Vehicle, i.e. the Vehicles for Sravaka, Pratyeka Buddha, and the Bodhisattva are called the Three Vehicles.

Three Virtues
The three virtues of power,
  1. the virtue, or potency of the Buddha's eternal, spiritual body, i.e., the Dharmakaya
  2. the virtue of his Prajna, knowing all things in their reality
  3. the virtue of his freedom from all attachments and his sovereign liberty

Three Wisdom
There are three kinds of wisdom:
  1. Sravaka and Praetyka-Buddha knowledge that all the Dharmas or laws are void and unreal
  2. Bodhisattva knowledge of all things in proper discrimination
  3. Buddha knowledge or perfect knowledge of all things in their every aspect and relationship past, present and future.

In Tien Tai Sect, the Three Wisdom is associated with the Three Dogmas of Void, Unreal and Mean.

Threefold Body of a Buddha
They are
  1. Dharma body, i.e. Dharmakaya - its own essential nature, common to all Buddhas.
  2. Retribution body, i.e. Sambhogakaya - a body of bliss, which he receives for his own use and enjoyment.
  3. Response and transformation body, i.e. Nirmanatkaya - he can appear in any form whenever and wherever necessary for the sake of crossing over others.

Tien Tai Sect
One of the Ten Great Sect in Chinese Buddhism. It was initiated by Hui Man in the dynasty of Bei-Chai, and was promoted by Chi-Hai in Tsui Dynasty. Mainly based on Lotus Sutra, Tien Tai Sect explains all universal phenomena with Three Dogmas. For the practices, it emphasizes cutting off Three Delusions, thus establishes the method of Three Meditations of One Mind.

see Three Realms.

Trinity of Western Paradise
They are the Buddhas and the Great Bodhisattvas in Western Paradise (Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss):
  1. Amitabha
  2. Avalokitesvara (Kuan Yin)
  3. Mahasthamaprapta

Tripitaka in Sanskrit, Tipitaka in Pali.   The three parts of Pali canon, consisting of:
  1. Sutra-Pitika (Sanskrit) or Sutta-Pitaka (Pali), or the Sutra Basket - containing the entire , the sermons attributed to the Shakyamuni Buddha.
  2. Vinaya-Pitika (both Sanskrit and Pali), or the Ordinance Basket - containing the rules of monastic life.
  3. Abhidharma-Pitika (Sanskrit) or Abhidhamma-Pitaka (Pali), or Shastras, or the Treatise Basket - containing the doctrinal commentaries, philosophical and technical works, such as discourses, discussions, or treatises on the dogma, doctrines, etc.

True Suchness
Bhutatathata in Sanskrit word. Bhuta means substance that exists; tathata means suchness, thusness, i.e. such is its nature. It is regarded as the absolute, ultimate source and character of all phenomena. It is the eternal, imperson, unchangeable reality behind all phenomena. Simply speaking, it is ALL.

There are many other terms to describe it, e.g. Buddha-nature, Self-nature Pure Mind, Dharmakaya (Dharma Body), Tathagata-garbha (Buddha-treasury), Reality (real mark), Dharma Realm, Dharma Nature, the Complete and Perfect real nature, etc.

Tusita Heaven
The fourth devaloka in the Realm of Desire. Its inner department is the Pure Land of Maitreya who like Shakyamuni and all Buddhas, is reborn there before descending to earth as the next Buddha in our world.

Twelve Bases
The Six Internal Bases and the Six External Bases are together called the Twelve Bases. Base implies the meaning of germinating and nourishing. All mental activities are germinated and nourished from these Twelve Bases.

Twelve Links of Dependent Origination
see the Law of Dependent Origination.

Twelve Nidanas
see the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination.

Twelve Places
see the Twelve Bases.

Twenty Sects of Hinayana
See the Eighteen Sects of Hinayana, plus the two originals, i.e. Mahasanghikah and Sthavirah called the Twenty Sects of Hinayana.

Two Deaths
Two Deaths refer to
  1. share-sectioned birth and death
  2. changed birth and death

Two Forms of Death
  1. Natural death of the life
  2. Death form external cause and conditions

Two Obstacles
Two Obstacles refer to
  1. the obstacle of afflictions
  2. the obstacle of what is known

Two Sects of Hinayana
It refers to the Sthaviravadin and Mahasanghika.

Two Vehicles
Two Vehicles generally refer to Sravaka and Praetykabuddha.

Uddaka-ramaputta in Pali, Udraka-Ramaputra in Sanskrit. A sage under whom Shakyamuni studied meditation. The state reached by Uddaka-Ramaputta was that at which neither thought nor non-thought exists.

Udumbara Flower
Udumbara flower blooms once every three thousand years, so it is rare and wonderful. It is used to describe how rare the occasion is.

Unconditioned dharma
Also known as Asamskrta dharma, which is anything not subject to the principle of cause and effect, nor law of dependent origination, i.e. conditions. It is the dharma beyond the worldly ones.

One of the four types of Vedic literature in ancient India, which are basically Brahmanic philosophical texts. It is a sophisticated exposition of Indian philosophy and metaphysics about man and universe.

A town in Magadha where Shakyamuni attained his enlightenment and Buddhahood in the woods along Nairanjana river.

One of the Hinayana School, a branch of Mahasanghika. It was established in the third century, after the Nirvana, whose seat is described as north of Jetavana.

A Hinayana school of the reality of all phenomena.

It is said that there were four branches of the Vaibhasika school, so called after the Vaibhasika Shastra.

  1. Sthavirah
  2. Sarvastivadah
  3. Vatsiputriyah
  4. Mahasanghika

The school adhered primarily to two Sarvastivadin texts, the Jnanaprasthana and Abhidharmavibbasa-shastra.

Vaisya in Sanskrit, Vaishya in Pali.   The third of the four Indian Castes at the time of Shakyamuni. They were merchant, entrepreneurs, traders, farmers, manufacturers, etc., but not well-educated.

Also called Tantrayana.

Vast and Long Tongue
one of the thirty-two monks of Buddha, big enough to cover his face; it is also one of the "marvels" in the Lotus Sutra.

Buddhist philosopher of 500 A.D. The 21st Buddhist patriach of Mahayana Buddhism. He was great Buddhist commentator in Hinayana, but was converted to Yogacara by his brother Asanga.

Vatsiputriyas in Sanskrit, Vajjiputtakas in Pali.   Hinayanist sect often linked with Sammatiyah, which broke from the orothodox Sarvastivada. The founder was Vatsa. They may be classified as Pudgalavadins, accepting the pudgala transmigrated, and rejecting the theory of the Five Skandhas (the Five Aggregates comprising personality). They were considered schismatics through their insistence on the reality of the self. That individual self is neither the same nor different from the Five Skandhas. The doctrine challenged the Dharma exposition by the Sarvastivadah. The school was later dividied into four:

see Sensation or Five Skandhas.

Literally, it means knowledge. They are basic scriptures of Hinduism in India, composed between 2000 and 500 B.C. They consist of Rg-veda, Sama-veda, Yajur-veda and Atharva-veda. The collection is also known as the Vedic Samhita. Apart from Samhita, the Vedic literature regarded as Sruti were Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanisads.

Literally means Distinctionist or Holders of the Doctrine of Distinctions. A sect of Ashoka's Council at Pataliputra (i.e. the Third Council). They were called as they made a distinction of phenomena in time into two categories; those that exist and those that do no.

The meaning of the term, not necessarily limited to this sect, is the method of particularization in dealing with questions in debate. It is said that this school was established to harmonize the difference between the Sthaviras and Mahasanghikas. The Abhidhamma Pitaka was the definite work of this school, thus they gained supremacy over the Sarvastivadins in the Third Council.

the fourth Paramita, pure and unadulterated progress, i.e. zealous and courageous progressing in the good, and eliminating the evil.

Vimalakirti-Nivdesa Sutra
Vimalakirti, a Sanskrit word, means undefiled and pure reputation. Vimalakirti was said to be a native of Vaisali, and an upasaka (not a monk) to assist Shakyamuni to preach and cross over the human beings. The Sutra is the record of interesting conversation between Vimalakirti and Manjusri Bodhisattva regarding the understanding of One Buddha Vehicle.

Vinaya School
Emphasizes the monastic discipline founded by Tao Hsuan of the Tang Dynasty in China.

Vipasyana Sukhavativyuha Sutra
It is one of the main sutra for Pure Land Sect. The Sutra indicates that the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha is one of the Buddha Lands. It also describes how to be born in the Pure Land through the Sixteen Contemplations. Therefore, the Sutra is also called "Sixteen Contemplations Sutra".

Visvabhadra Bodhisattva
As one of the Four Great Bodhisattva, he is the one with the highest conduct. Visvabhadra, also known as Samantabhadra, means universal worthy. He is the lord of the fundamental law, the dhyana ( taking precepts) and the practice of all Buddhas. Visvabhadra, the guardian of law, is often placed on the right of Shakyamuni, while Manjusri, the guardian of wisdom, is the left. He always rides on a white elephant, is the patron of the Lotus Sutra, and its devotees, and has close connection with Hua-yen Sutra. He has Ten Great King Vows, which give an excellent guideline to all Buddhists to practice and cultivate the Buddha Way.

or mental formation, or action, or conduct, or deed, usually done through the body, mouth or mind. The Sanskrit word is Samskara.

Generally, it refers to the Way of Bodhi or enlightenment leading to Nirvana through spiritual stages, and even to Buddhahood through Bodhisattva's practices. Sometimes, it is also called the Path, the Road, the Truth, the Reason, the Logos, Cosmic Energy, etc., depending on different circumstances.

Wheel of Law
The Buddha-truth which is able to crush all evil, and which rolls on from man to man, place to place and age to age. To turn the wheel means to preach Buddha-truth.

Wheel-rolling King
Cakkavatti-raja in Pali, Cakravarti-raja in Sanskrit.   Also known as Sagely Wheel-turning King. There are four such kings, each with a precious wheel of gold, silver, copper, and iron. The kings reign over the four areas in north, south, east and west. It is believed that the Gold-Wheel King is to come in perfection and unify the world. In Indian mythology, he is the ideal ruler.

the highest of Paramita; the virtue of wisdom as the principal means of attaining Nirvana. It connotes a knowledge of the illusory character of everything earthly, and destroys error, ignorance, prejudice and heresy.

World Honoured One
One of the titles of the Buddha. In Sutras, this is the respected title of Shakyamuni Buddha. See also Ten Titles of Buddha.

The demons in the lower realm, like the Ghost Realm. They are evil, malignant and violent. They live on earth or in air.

a Sanskrit word means vehicle. A term applied to Buddhism as a means by which a practitioner cultivates on the path to enlightenment. The different vehicles correspond to views of spiritual path, that differ as to the basic attitude of the practitioner and the means of making progress on the way. There are categories of one, two, three and five vehicles.

the wife of Siddhartha Goutama. She later became a Bhikhuni.


See Dharmalaksana School.

see Vigor.

also called Chan; see Contemplation and Meditation.

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