Abhidharma: The third division of the canon of the Theravada and Mahayana Schools. It is largely a commentary on the sermons or sutras, subjected to analysis.
Alaya: Syn: eighth consciousness; store consciousness; karma repository. All karma created in the present and previous lifetime is stored in the alaya consciousness.
Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi: Syn: Supreme Bodhi; same as supreme Buddhahood. In Sanskrit, the term means unexcelled perfect enlightenment; i.e., the perfect wisdom which comprehends truth that is attained only by a Buddha, in contrast to the different grades of enlightenment attained by Bodhisattvas and saints.
Buddhadharma: The Dharma, or law, preached by the Buddha. The principle underlying these teachings, the truth attained by him, its embodiment in his being.
Buddhakaya: The Realm of Buddha.
Ch'an Ting: Ch'an: meditative or intuitional; Ting: settled, samadhi, composing the mind, intent contemplation, perfect absorption of thought into the one object of meditation.
Dharma: The word Dharma has several meanings: a) The teachings of the Buddhas (generally capitalized in English); b) law, doctrine; c) things, events, phenomena, everything.
Dharmakaya: Dharma Body, the true nature of Buddhahood.
Enlightenment: A clear distinction should be made between awakening to the Way (Great Awakening) and attaining the Way (attaining Enlightenment). (Note: There are many degrees of Awakening and Enlightenment. Attaining the enlightenments of the Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas, Bodhisattvas, etc., is different from attaining Supreme Enlightenment, i.e., Buddhahood.) To experience a Great Awakening is to achieve (through Zen meditation, Buddha recitation, etc.) a complete and deep realization of what it means to be a Buddha and how to reach Buddhahood. It is to see one's True Nature, comprehend the True Nature of things, the Truth. However, only after becoming a Buddha can one be said to have truly attained Supreme Enlightenment (attained the Way).
Hinayana: Syn: Southern Buddhism; Monastic Buddhism; Hearer Vehicle; Theravada Vehicle. One of two major streams of Buddhism, the other being Mahayana. Southern Buddhism: The general name for the early Buddhism propagated after Asoka in the south of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, etc. The scriptures preserved in these countries are written in the Pali language and belong to Theravada teachings. Practitioners aim at attaining the state of Arhat.
Karma: Action leading to future retribution or reward, in the current or future lifetimes.
Mahayana: Lit., Great Vehicle; the dominant Buddhist tradition of China. Special characteristics of Mahayana are as follows: 1) emphasis on Bodhisattva ideal; 2) the accession of the Buddha to a superhuman status; 3) the development of extensive philosophical inquiry to counter Brahmanical and other scholarly argument; 4) the development of elaborate devotional practice.
Manas: Mind, the (active) mind.
Nirvana: (Skt.) Extinction of craving and attachment; release from the chain of conditions.
Ontology: The branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of being.
Paramita: Perfected virtue, of which there are six, namely: 1) Dana: generosity, charity; 2) Sila: morality, harmony; 3) Ksanti: patience, tolerance of insults; 4) Virya: valor, vigor in practice; 5) Dhyana: contemplation, meditation; 6) Prajna: essential wisdom, awareness, as such, beyond the duality of subject and object.
Phenomena: Conventional truth, everyday reality, the concrete as opposed to the abstract.
Posadha: Fasting, a fast, particularly for the purpose of renewing vows.
Pratyekabuddha: In Buddhism, the term means those who live in a time where there is no Buddha but who awaken to the Truth through their own efforts.
Sambhogakaya: The body of enjoyment or recompense-body of a Buddha.
Sastra: Syn: commentaries; treatises. A type of religious, philosophical, or scientific work whose importance lies not in its scriptural authority but in its systematic study of particular problems or techniques. Usually translated as commentary or treatise.
Sravaka: Lit., hearer; it originally refers to those who paid devoted attention to the spoken words of Buddha; today it is more often applied to practice; an individual still needing guidance in Dharma.
Sutra: A preaching of the Buddha as recorded in documents. In the early stages of Buddhist history, sutras were memorized, and only in later times were they written down.
Tao: Chinese term meaning the Way. In Buddhist terminology, it may be applied to practice, to the Self-Nature or to the Ultimate.
Three Refuges: The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha are the Three Refuges in which Buddhists put their trust and reliance.
Tripitaka: Lit., three baskets; the earliest Buddhist canonical text, consisting of three sections: 1) Buddha's discourses (sutras), 2) Rules of Discipline (Vinaya), 3) Analytical and explanatory texts, or commentaries (sastras); all three of these are referred to as the Pali Canon.
Upanishad: Any of a group of philosophical treatises explicating the theology of the Vedas
(the Hindu sacred texts).
Vinaya: The precepts for monks and nuns, designed to help them eliminate defilements.
Voidness: Syn: Sunyata; Emptiness. A fundamental Buddhist concept, variously translated as non-substantiality, emptiness, etc. The concept that entities have no fixed or independent nature.