Amitabha or Amida Buddha

The Buddha of limitless light, endless life and boundless wisdom. Lord of the Western Paradise or Pure Land (Sukhavati in Sanskrit).



The incomparable, complete and perfect Enlightenment as experienced by the Buddhas.



An individual ennobled by his or her continuing effort on the path to Enlightenment.



One of the four stages of the periodic manifestation of a universe.



"Most virtuous"; honorific title applied to a Buddha.



The true character of reality. The real as thus, always or eternally so. True Suchness.



Perfect knowledge or wisdom by which a person becomes a Buddha. The enlightened intellect.



One who is on the way to the attainment of the six paramitas, the four great vows, the four all-embracing virtues, etc. One who aspires to Supreme Enlightenment and Buddhahood for himself and all beings.



A fully enlightened person who has achieved perfect knowledge of the truth and thereby is liberated from all existence.



Lit., Teaching of Enlightenment. Originally applied to designate the teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha; supplanted by the term "Buddhism" in its later historical development.



The Chinese word for Dhyana (Sanskrit) meaning absorption meditation. A sect of Chinese Buddhism founded by Bodhidharma, a learned monk from India, the 28th Patriarch. The aim of this sect is Sudden Enlightenment and the direct pointing at the mind for the perception of Self-Nature and the attainment of Buddhahood.



Universes multiplied countless times.



Charity or giving, including the bestowing of the truth on others. First of the paramitas.



Denizen of another realm; any personal deity; a heaven-dweller such as Indra, Tara, etc.



Goddess in general attendance on the regents of the sun and moon.



A monosyllabic chant used in devotional practice to support concentration.



Lit., that which upholds. Dharma has no exact equivalent in English. It can mean variously the Buddha's teaching, the law of the universe, the nature of things, any and all phenomena, the real and unreal, etc. Understood as the perfect teaching of the Enlightened One, it constitutes the second of the Three Jewels and the Three Refuges.



Lit., body of the Law. In Mahayana thought, the ultimate body of Buddhahood; absolute being, the ground, absolute knowledge. The ultimate body of Buddha, which is formless and without attributes. The cosmic body of the Buddha; the essence of all beings.



Lit., the Dharma element or realm wherever the principles of the Buddha's teaching are operative; phenomena and noumenon and their underlying nature.



Absorption meditation. In Buddhist practice there are different levels, according to its depth.


Four fruitions

The four levels of attainment on the way to Buddhahood.


Hua T'ou

The reality prior to the arising of thought.



An immeasurably long epoch, including the creation, duration and dissolution of a universe.



Volition, volitional or intentional activity. Always followed by its result or fruit.



An inconceivably short mind-moment.



Lit., Great Vehicle. The special characteristics of Mahayana Buddhism are the emphasis on the Bodhisattva Ideal, the accession of the Buddha to a superhuman status, and the development of extensive philosophical inquiry to counter Brahminic and other scholarly arguments, as well as the development of elaborate devotional practice.



The future Buddha; having completed the Bodhisattva-career, Maitreya is awaiting, in Tushita Heaven, his final manifestation.



The Body of Transformation by which the Buddhas appear in the world of phenomena for the benefit of sentient beings.



The state of emancipation from suffering by means of practice; the goal of all Buddhists; it cannot be described, but has to be experienced.



Transcendental virtue; perfection of virtue. In Bodhisattva practice, the means to traverse Samsara. The practice of perfecting the six virtues ferries the practitioner across the sea of suffering to Enlightenment, or the other shore The paramitas are as follows: charity, moral conduct, patience, energy, contemplation and wisdom.



The Buddha's final Nirvana, entered by him at the time of death.



True or transcendental wisdom. Last of the paramitas. One of the highest attainments of Buddhist practice.


Precious Three

The Three Jewels or the Triple Gem: the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha.



Or Salavana, the grove of sat (teak) trees near Kusinagara, the place of the Buddha's death.



The Body of Bliss, assumed by Buddhas when teaching Mahayana sutras to particular Bodhisattvas. The celestial aspect of the Buddhas.



The ceaseless cycle of birth and death with its concomitant suffering.



Community of Buddhist ordained monks, nuns and novices.



Commentary; the commentaries constitute one of the three parts of the Buddhist canonical scriptures.



Blessed, endowed with supernatural faculties. Hsi-ta Chinese. This same term refers to the Sanskrit alphabet also and is, likewise, transliterated as Hsi-ta in Chinese.



Lit., hearer; vehicle or stage of practice at which the practitioner is dependent on the word of the teacher rather than developing his own practice.



Lit., exalted, excellent; name of a mountain often referred to by the Buddha.



Lit., a thread; that which, like a thread, runs though or connects everything; in the Buddhist context it refers to the Buddha's discourses.



Chinese term meaning the Way. It covers the practice, path, doctrine, truth, self-nature or the ultimate.



"Thus gone" or "the one who has found the truth"; frequently used by the Buddha with reference to himself or other Buddhas.



Contemplation of our original nature, which is Uncreate Mind; concentration in dhyana.



Sanskrit term meaning "Three Baskets". Buddhism consisting of three sections: 1. Buddha's discourses (Sutras), 2. Rules of Discipline (Vinaya), 3. Commentaries (Sastras).



Chinese term for a school or a sect; sometimes used to mean the Ch'an school.



Lay disciple (male), who formally receives the five precepts or rules of conduct for the laity.



True or sacred knowledge or lore; name of celebrated works which constitute the basis of the first period of the Hindu religion.



Rules of discipline for monks, nuns and novices as incorporated in Buddhist canonical scriptures.



One of the five kinds of eyes of a Bodhisattva.



Sanskrit term, commonly translated as vehicle; means spiritual vehicle, path or career.