buddhist vocabulary

By August 12, 2012Uncategorized

here on this pages, we are not trying to teach you any of religions, nor to advertise them, but just to point to some interesting and important knowledge, to give you and ourselves the will to learn and explore more about life. 
here below is a list of some most used words from buddhism. some of them are used often in modern life (nirvana, tantra, buddha, zen) , some are not. please have a look and enjoy the wisdom of buddha teachings
abhidharma pitaka — higher teachings, philosophy 
alaya-vijñana — “store” consciousness (similar to collective unconscious?) 
amitabha — the buddha of the western “pure land.”  also known as amida. 
ananda — buddha’s friend, cousin, and favorite disciple, and the monk who remembered the sutras. 
anatman (anatta) — not-self, self or ego not ultimately real. 
annitya (anicca) — change, impermanence of all things, including us. 
arahant — worthy one, a name for the buddha. 
arhat — a monk who has achieved nirvana. 
asanga — one of two brothers who lived in india in the 300’s ad who developed yogachara. 
asita — the astrologer who predicts buddha’s fate 
asuras — titans or demigods. 
avalokiteshwara  — boddhisattva of compassion 
avidya (avijja) — ignorance, delusion. 
bardo — (tibet) the period between death and rebirth. 
bhagava — the blessed one, a name for the buddha. 
bhikshu — monk. 
bhikshuni — nun. 
bodh-gaya — a town in bihar where buddha was enlightened at 35. 
bodhi — enlightenment, awakening. 
bodhi tree — the fig tree under which buddha gained enlightenment. 
bodhicitta — sanskrit word for ‘mind of enlightenment’ 
bodhidharma — monk who brought buddhism to china. 
bodhisattva — enlightened being who remains in this existence to help others, a saint. 
brahma — the supreme deva, who convinced buddha to teach. 
brahma vihara — four “sublime states” of the boddhisattva: maitri, karuna, mudita, upeksa. 
buddha — the awakened one, the enlightened one. 
ch’an — chinese for zen buddhism. 
chandaka — buddha’s squire, who helped him leave his princely life. 
ching-t’u — chinese for pure land. 
citta — basic mind or consciousness 
citta-matra — mind only, idealism 
dalai lama — the leader of tibetan buddhists. 
deer park — where buddha gave his first sermon, in sarnath, near benares, to the five sadhus. 
dependent origination — “one thing leads to another,”  all is connected. 
devadatta —  buddha’s “evil” cousin. “theodore.” 
devas — gods. 
dhamma — pali for dharma. 
dharma (dhamma) —  the teachings of the buddha. 
dharmakaya — buddha-mind, the pervasive essence 
dharmas — ultimate elements of the universe (not dharma as in teachings!) 
dhyana (ch’an, zen) — meditation. 
dogen (1200-1253) — monk who brought soto zen to japan. 
duhkha (dukkha) — suffering, distress, lack of peace.  first noble truth. 
dzogchen — tibetan tantric techniques for rapid enlightenment. 
dvesha (dosha) — hatred, anger, avoidance. 
eightfold path — right view, aspiration, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, concentration. 
five sadhus — the five ascetics who practiced self-mortification with the buddha. 
flower adornment school — a sect which attempted to consolidate all forms of buddhism.  also known as hua-yen or kegon. 
gandharvas — angelic beings who provide the gods with music. 
gati — realm.  used to refer to the six realms (gods, titans, humans, animals, ghosts, and demons) 
gautama (gotama) — buddha’s family name. 
hinayana — southern buddhism (“small or lesser vehicle or journey”). 
ho-tei — japanese name for pu-tai 
indra — a major deva, originally the hindu sky god. 
jodo, jodoshin — japanese for pure land. 
kalpa — millions of years, an eternity. 
kamma — pali for karma. 
kanthaka — buddha’s horse. 
kapilavastu — shakyan capital, where buddha grew up. 
karma (kamma) —  intentional or willed act. 
karuna — compassion or mercy, the special kindness shown to those who suffer.  one of the four brahma vihara. 
kashinagara — were buddha died (near lumbini), in a grove of sala trees. 
koan — a very brief story demonstrating the paradoxical nature of dualistic thinking.  used in zen meditation. 
kwan yin , kwannon — chinese and japanese names for avalokiteswara. 
lama — tibetan tantric master, now often used to refer to any respected monk. 
lumbini grove — where buddha was born, during his mother’s trip to her parents home. 
madhyamaka — middle way, negative logic, not this — not that 
mahakyashapa — the monk who understood the silent sermon and led the first council. 
mahamaya, or mayadevi — buddha’s mother, who died seven days after his birth 
mahaprajapati — buddha’s aunt and stepmother, founder of buddhist nuns. 
mahayana — northern buddhism (“large or greater vehicle or journey”). 
maitreya — the future buddha, who will be born 30,000 years from now. 
maitri — caring, loving kindness displayed to all you meet.  one of the four brahma   vihara. 
manas — i-consciousness, mind, intelligence 
mandala — a complex, circular, symmetrical image used in meditation 
mantra — a phrase or syllable repeated during meditation 
mara — a deva associated with death and hindrances to enlightenment. it was mara who tempted buddha under the bodhi tree. 
marga — the path, track.  the eightfold noble path.  fourth noble truth. 
metta — pali for maitri. 
mudita — sympathetic joy, being happy for others, without a trace of envy.  one of the four brahma vihara. 
mudra — symbolic hand positions 
nagarjuna — monk who developed madhyamaka in india about 150 ad. 
nagas — great serpents (or dragons, or water creatures). the king of the nagas protected buddha from a storm. 
narakas — demons (hell beings) 
nibbana — pali for nirvana. 
nichiren —  japanese school popular in west, and the name of its founder.  emphasizes chanting. 
nirmankaya — gotama, the historical buddha. 
nirodha — containment of suffering.  third noble truth. 
nirvana (nibbana) — liberation, enlightenment, release from samsara. 
pali — a language related to sanskrit in which the earliest scriptures were recorded in sri lanka. 
pali canon — see the tripitaka. 
pancha shila — five moral precepts:  avoid killing, or harming any living thing;  avoid stealing; avoid sexual irresponsibility;  avoid lying, or any hurtful speech;  avoid alcohol and drugs which diminish clarity of consciousness. 
pañña — pali for prajña 
pitaka — basket, referring to the tripitaka or scriptures. 
prajña (pañña) — wisdom. 
prajña — goddess of knowledge.  buddha’s mother was considered an incarnation. 
prajñaparamita — a massive collection of mahayana texts, including the heart and diamond sutras. 
prateyaka-buddha — solitary realizer. 
pretas — hungry ghosts. 
puja — ceremony in which offerings and other acts of devotion are performed. 
pu-tai — the laughing buddha, chinese monk, incarnation of maitreya 
pure land — chinese/japanese sect, emphasizing worship of amitabha buddha.  ching- t’u, jodo and jodoshin. 
rahula — buddha’s son. 
rinzai zen — a zen sect that makes extensive use of koans. 
rupa — form, the physical body and senses 
samadhi — meditation. 
samatha — pali for shamatha. 
sambhogakaya — buddha as a deva or god. 
samjña — perception 
samsara — the wheel of cyclic existence, birth-life-suffering-death-rebirth… 
samskara — mental formations (emotions and impulses) 
samudaya — arising or root of suffering.  second noble truth. 
sangha — the community of monks and nuns. 
sanskrit — an early language of northern india, modified and used as a religious language by some buddhists. 
sanzen — interview with a master in zen buddhism 
sati — pali for smrti. 
satori — zen term for enlightenment. 
shakyamuni — sage of the sakyas, a name for the buddha. 
shakyas — a noble clan, ruled an area of southern nepal. 
shamatha (samatha) — “calm abiding,” peacefulness. 
shikantaza — mindfulness meditation in zen buddhism. 
shila (sila) — morality. 
shravaka — “hearer,” one who needs the help of others to become enlightened. 
shrota-appana — “stream-winner” (only seven more rebirths!). 
shuddodana — buddha’s father. 
shunyata — emptiness, lack of inherent existence of “own nature.” 
siddhartha gautama — “he who has reached his goal.” 
sila — pali for shila. 
six realms — realms of the gods, asuras, humans, animals, pretas, narakas. 
skandhas — parts of the self. 
smrti (sati) — mindfulness, meditation. 
son — korean for zen buddhism. 
soto zen — a zen sect emphasizing shikantaza meditation 
sthaviravada — sanskrit for theravada, “way of the elders” 
sujata — the village girl who gave buddha milk-rice. 
sukhavati — sanskrit for blissful land, the “pure land” of amitabha. 
sutra (sutta) pitaka — sacred texts, sayings of the buddha. 
tantra — yogic, magico-ritual form. 
taras — a set of 21 female saviors, born from avalokiteshwara’s tears.  green tara and   white tara are the best known. 
tathagata — “thus gone,” a name for the buddha. 
tendai — see white lotus school. 
thangka — a traditional tibetan painting of a holy being. 
the four noble truths:  duhkha, samudaya, nirodha, marga. 
theravada — “way of the elders,” only surviving form of southern buddhism. 
three bodies — nirmankaya, sambhogakaya, dharmakaya.  three meanings of    “buddha.” 
three fires (or poisons) — the causes of suffering. 
tipitaka — pali for tripitaka. 
tripitaka (three baskets) — earliest buddhist scriptures:  vinaya pitaka, sutra pitaka,   abhidarma pitaka. 
trishna (tanha) — thirst, craving, desire. 
upali — the first person ordained as a monk by the buddha, a barber, and the monk who  remembered the vinaya or code of the monks. 
upeksa (upekkha) is equanimity, levelness, or grace.  one of the four brahma vihara. 
vajrayana — tantric buddhism (“thunderbolt vehicle”), esp. tibetan buddhism. 
vasubandhu — one of two brothers who lived in india in the 300’s ad who developed   yogachara. 
vedana — sensation, feeling. 
vijñana — consciousness or mind. 
vinaya pitaka — discipline basket (code of behavior for monks). 
vipaka — “fruit” of willed act, the consequences. 
vipashyana (vipassana) — insight, mindfulness. 
white lotus school — sect focusing on the lotus sutra.  also known as t’ien t’ai or tendai. 
yama — the king of the 21 hells. 
yashodhara — buddha’s wife, whom he married when they were both 16 
yidam —  mental image of a god or other entity used for meditation 
yogacara (or vijñañavada) — school emphasizing primacy of consciousness 
zazen — sitting meditation in zen buddhism 
zen — a group of buddhist sects that focus on meditation.  also known as ch’an, son, or dhyana.

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