- 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
||in Pali (P)
||in Sanskrit (S)
||Dirghagama (Long Sayings)
||Madhyamagama (Middle-length Sayings)
||Samyuktagama (Kindred Sayings)
||Ekottaragama (Gradual Sayings)
||Ksudrakagama (Minor Saying)
Khuddaka-nikaya is only included in Pali canon. The five collections is
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
(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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- The mind of enlightenment. It is with
this initiative that a Buddhist begins his path to complete, perfect
- 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
- 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
- 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:
- Chih - a Chinese word which means fixing the mind to meditate on the ten Dharma realms
- 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
- 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
- form - all material which has form.
- mental - related to all mental activities.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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:
- no killing
- no stealing
- no sexual misconduct
- no false speech
- no alcoholic drink
- no cosmetic, personal adnornments, dancing or music
- no sleeping on fine beds
- 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:
- Eighteen Different Characters
- There are eighteen different characters of a Buddha as compared with all
other beings in the Nine Realms.
- His perfection of body (or person)
- His perfection of mouth (or speech)
- His perfection of memory
- His perfection of impartiality to all
- Unceasing desire to save
- Unflagging zeal therein to save
- Unfailing thought thereto to save
- Unceasing wisdom to save
- Powers of deliverance
- The principle of the powers of deliverance
- Revealing perfect wisdom in deed
- Revealing perfect wisdom in word
- Revealing perfect wisdom in thought
- Perfect knowledge of the past
- Perfect knowledge of the future
- Perfect knowledge of the present
- Eighteen Fields
- The Six Consciousness and the Twelve Bases are together called the Eighteen
- Eighteen Sects of Hinayana
- Mahasanghikah is divided into
- Kaukkutikah (Gokulika)
- Jetavaniyah (Caityasailah)
- Sthavirah or Aryasthavirah is
divided into ten schools:
- Vatsiputriyah (developed from Sarvastivadah)
- Dharmottariyah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
- Bhadrayaniyah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
- Sammatiyah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
- Sannagarikah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
- Dharmaguptah (developed from Mahisasakah)
- Kasyapiyah (developed from Sarvastivadah)
- 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
- the Kalpa Turbidity
the age of people decreases and all kinds of diseases afflict people;
- the View Turbidity
people's views start to degenerate;
- the Affliction Turbidity
passions, delusions, desire, anger, stupidity, pride and doubt prevail;
- the Living Beings Turbidity
human miseries increase and happiness decreases;
- 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.