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 collections:

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 called Sutta-pitaka.

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 longer exists.

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 affairs.

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 Fruition.

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 Shakyamuni Buddha.

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 Shakyamuni Buddha.

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 Fruition.

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 Enlightened-to-condition arhat (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 equal enlightenment.
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 of Buddhism.

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).

Acariya, teacher (Thai: Ajahn)
Adhitthana, decision, resolution, self determination, will
Akusala, unwholesome, demerit, wrong, bad, evil
Anagami, a Non-returner, the third stage in the realization of Nibbana
Anapanasati, mindfulness of in and out breathing
Anatta, not self, Egolessness
Anicca, Impermanence
Arammana, sense objects, and object of consciousness (in Thai: mood, temper, emotion)
Arahant/Arahat, The worthy one
Ariya, Noble: 1. The Sublime Path of the Hole life. 2. Ariya atthaangika magga, The Noble Eightfold Path
Ariya Dana, (Thai: Ariyasab) the sublime or noble treasure
Ariya Phala, fruition: 1. Sota patti phala, fruition of stream entry
2 Sakadagamiphala, fruition of once returning
3, Anagami phala, fruition of non returning
4 Arahatta phala, fruition of the worthy one or perfected one
Ariya Sacca, Noble Truth
Asava, mental intoxication, defilememt
Atta, Self, Ego
Avijja Ignorance, nescience, not knowing better, delusion

Abhidhamma: (1) In the discourses of the Pali Canon, this term simply means "higher Dhamma," and a systematic attempt to define the Buddha's teachings and understand their interrelationships. (2) A later collection of analytical treatises based on lists of categories drawn from the teachings in the discourses, added to the Canon several centuries after the Buddha's life.

abhiñña: Intuitive powers that come from the practice of concentration: the ability to display psychic powers, clairvoyance, clairaudience, the ability to know the thoughts of others, recollection of past lifetimes, and the knowledge which does away with mental effluents (see asava).

acariya: Teacher; mentor. See kalyanamitta.

adhitthana: Determination; resolution. One of the ten perfections (paramis).

ajaan: (Thai; also "Ajarn", "Ajahn", etc.). Teacher; mentor. Equivalent to the Pali acariya.
akaliko: Timeless; unconditioned by time or season.

akusala: Unwholesome, unskillful, demeritorious. See its opposite, kusala.

anagami: Non-returner. A person who has abandoned the five lower fetters that bind the mind to the cycle of rebirth (see samyojana), and who after death will appear in one of the Brahma worlds called the Pure Abodes, there to attain nibbana, never again to return to this world.

anapanasati: Mindfulness of breathing. A meditation practice in which one maintains one's attention and mindfulness on the sensations of breathing.

anatta: Not-self; ownerless.

anicca: Inconstant; unsteady; impermanent.

anupadisesa-nibbana: Nibbana with no fuel remaining (the analogy is to an extinguished fire whose embers are cold) -- the nibbana of the arahant after his passing away.

anupubbi-katha: Gradual instruction. The Buddha's method of teaching Dhamma that guides his listeners progressively through increasingly advanced topics: generosity (see dana), virtue (see sila), heavens, drawbacks, renunciation, and the four noble truths.

apaya-bhumi: State of deprivation; the four lower levels of existence into which one might be reborn as a result of past unskillful actions (see kamma): rebirth in hell, as a hungry ghost, as an angry demon (see Asura), or as a common animal. None of these states is permanent. Compare sugati.

apaya-mukha: Way to deprivation -- extra-marital sexual relations; indulgence in intoxicants; indulgence in gambling; associating with bad people. Performance of these acts paves the way for rebirth in one of the lower realms (see apaya-bhumi).

arahant: A "worthy one" or "pure one"; a person whose mind is free of defilement (see kilesa), who has abandoned all ten of the fetters that bind the mind to the cycle of rebirth (see samyojana), whose heart is free of mental effluents (see asava), and who is thus not destined for further rebirth. A title for the Buddha and the highest level of his Noble Disciples.

arammana: Preoccupation; mental object.

ariya: Noble, ideal. Also, a "Noble One" (see ariya-puggala).

ariyadhana: Noble Wealth; qualities that serve as 'capital' in the quest for liberation: conviction (see saddha), virtue (see sila), conscience, fear of evil, erudition, generosity (see dana), and discernment (see pañña),.

ariya-puggala: Noble person; enlightened individual. An individual who has realized at least one of the four noble paths (see magga) or their fruitions (see phala). Compare puthujjana (worldling).

ariya-sacca: Noble Truth. The word "ariya" (noble) can also mean ideal or standard, and in this context means "objective" or "universal" truth. There are four: stress, the origin of stress, the disbanding of stress, and the path of practice leading to the disbanding of stress.

asava: Mental effluent, pollutant, or fermentation. Four qualities -- sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance -- that "flow out" of the mind and create the flood of the round of death and rebirth.

asubha: Unattractiveness, loathsomeness, foulness. The Buddha recommends contemplation of this aspect of the body as an antidote to lust and complacency. See also kayagata-sati.

Asura: A race of heavenly beings who, like the Titans of Greek mythology, fought the devas for sovereignty over the heavens and lost. See apaya-bhumi.

avijja: Unawareness; ignorance; obscured awareness; delusion about the nature of the mind. See also moha.

ayatana: Sense medium. The inner sense media are the sense organs -- eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. The outer sense media are their respective objects.

An age (Sanskrit: kalpa), too long to be reckoned by any ordinary calendar, during which the evolution of a physical universe takes place. This evolution occurs in four stages: (1) The antara-kalpa, in which the universe is formed; (2) the vivartta-siddha-kalpa, in which the universe possesses continued stability; (3) the samvartta-kalpa , in which the universe is gradually destroyed; and (4) the sunyakalpa, in which the universe disappears. After the sunyakalpa, the process of cosmic activity begins again in a cyclic evolution. There are three kinds of kalpas: (1)A great kalpa of 1,344,000,000 years, (2) a medium kalpa of 336,000,000 years, and (3) a small kalpa of 1 6, 800,000 years.

See "five skandas."

Amitabha Buddha
The most commonly used name for the Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life. Amitabha is a transhistorical Buddha who created and presides over the Pure Land(Land of Ultimate Bliss), where anyone can be reborn through completely sincere recitation of His name, particularly at the time of death. Amitabha is venerated by all Mahayana schools (T'ien T'ai, Esoteric, Zen, etc .) and, particularly, Pure Land. At the highest level, Amitabha Buddha at the highest or noumenon level represents the True Mind, the Self-Nature common to the Buddhas and sentient beings -- all-encompassing and all-inclusive. This deeper understanding provides the rationale for the harmonization of Zen and Pure Land, two of the most popular schools of Mahayana Buddhism. See also "Mind."

Amitabha Buddhist Society
The Amitabha Buddhist Society (http://www.amtb-usa.org) is the original publisher of many of the texts presented on this Web site. For more information on how to contact the Society, see the page titled "Amitabha Buddhist Society of U.S.A."

Amitabha Sutra
A Sutra that describes the wonders and adornments of Amitabha Buddha's Western Pure Land and explains why we should seek rebirth there. It also tells us how we can attain rebirth in the Pure Land, and describes the appearance, characteristics, and natures of the the hosts of Buddhas who dwell in the Pure Land and in other Buddha-lands. One of the five Pure Land Texts that are considered of paramount importance to Pure Land students. The entire Sutra is presented on the "Amitabha Sutra" page.

Amitayur Dhyana Sutra
See "Contemplation Sutra."

One of "four grades of disciples" in the Small Vehicle school of Buddhism. Anagamin have reached a level at which they will they will never retrogress to rebirth in this saha world.

Aparimitayur Sutra
See "Infinite Life Sutra."

A Buddhist saint who has attained liberation from the cycle of Birth and Death, generally through living a monastic life in accordance with the Buddhas' teachings.

Arhatship is the goal of Small Vehicle practice, as contrasted with Bodhisattvahood or Buddhahood in Mahayana practice. Persons in the first three stages of Arhatship are called "learners." Those in the fourth and final stage of Arhatship are referred to as "those who are beyond study" or "thoroughly learned ones." See also "four grades of disciples."

Beings that are just above humans in the six states of existence. Asuras are demigods, or semi-blessed beings, who are powerful but are also fierce and quarrelsome. Like humans, they are partly good and partly evil.

See Guan Yin .

Avatamsaka Sutra
See Flower Adornment Sutra.

The awakening to the realization of the true nature of oneself and the true ature of the universe and everyone in it.

Six supernatural occult powers
Divyacaksus – Clairvoyance
Paracittajnana – Thought reading
Divyasrota – Clairaudience
Riddhi Sakchatkriya – Divine Speed
Purvanivasanu Smritidjana – Knowledge of previous existence
Asravakchaya – Exhaustive knowledge appertaining to the life stream of all sentient beings

Deed performed without leakage, i.e., an altruistic act done without considering returns or retribution for benefit of oneself

Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi
Trancendental knowledge and wisdom of Buddhas

A Boddhisattva who has special affinity with sentient beings of this world (Sara World)