Glossary of Buddhist Terms

Full multilingual glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V Y Z

  1. Amitabha

    The Buddha of Infinite Light; the focus for Pure Land Buddhist practice in East Asia.


  2. Avalokiteshvara

    A bodhisattva, or sometimes a Buddha-figure (yidam), embodying and representing the compassion of all the Buddhas.


  3. abhidharma

    Special topics of knowledge, studied in Buddhism to develop discriminating awareness and understanding of all that exists.


  4. aggregates

    The five networks of ever-changing objects and mental factors that make up each moment of someone's experience.


  5. ahimsa

    The mental factor of not wishing to cause harm to others, combined with the wish for them to be free of whatever sufferings they may have.


  6. alayavijnana

    An individual consciousness that underlies all cognition and carries a person's karmic tendencies and habits as well as the mental impressions of memories, in the sense that they are imputed on it.


  7. alertness

    The mental factor that checks the condition of mindfulness's mental hold on the object of focus. It sees if the mental hold has been lost or is too weak or too tight due to flightiness of mind or mental dullness.


  8. all-encompassing foundation consciousness

    An individual consciousness that underlies all cognition and carries a person's karmic tendencies and habits as well as the mental impressions of memories, in the sense that they are imputed on it.


  9. analytical meditation

    A method for habituating oneself to an understanding by focusing on an object and generating the understanding by investigating it roughly, scrutinizing it in detail and applying a line reasoning that one has already understood and become convinced of its validity.


  10. anatman

    The total absence of a "soul" inside a person's body and mind or inside any validly knowable phenomenon that establishes its existence in some impossible way.


  11. anger

    A root disturbing emotion, aimed at another limited being, one's own suffering, or situations entailing suffering, and which is impatient with them and wishes to get rid of them, such as by damaging or hurting them, or by striking out against them. It is based on regarding its object as unattractive or repulsive by its very nature.


  12. antigod

    A class of beings that fight continually with the gods.


  13. anuttarayoga

    The fourth or highest class of Buddhist tantra practice.


  14. anuyoga

    In the Nyingma system, the second of the three inner classes of tantra.


  15. appearance

    The nonstatic, everchanging content that arises each moment in mental activity.


  16. apprehend

    To cognitively take an object of cognition both correctly and decisively.


  17. arhat

    Someone who has attained liberation (nirvana) from uncomtrollably recurring rebirth (samsara).


  18. arya

    Someone who has attained nonconceptual cognition of the four noble truths.


  19. arya bodhisattva

    A bodhisattva that has attained nonconceptual cognition of the four noble truths and their voidness (emptiness).


  20. ascertainment

    A decisive cognition of a cognitive object.


  21. atiyoga

    In the Nyingma system, the third of the three classes of inner tantras, equivalent to dzogchen.


  22. atman

    A static, partless, independent self or soul of a person.


  23. attachment

    The disturbing emotion that exaggerates the good qualities of an object that one possesses and does not wish to let go of it.


  24. attention

    The ever-functioning mental factor that engages mental activity with a specific cognitive object. The cognitive engagement may be merely to pay some level of attention to the object (strong or weak), or to focus on the object in a certain way (painstakingly, effortlessly, etc.), or to consider the object in a certain way (concordantly or discordantly). Also called: paying attention, consideration, take to mind, taking to mind.


  25. audio category

    The conceptual category of the sound of a word or name, in which the sound of all individual pronunciations of the word or name fit.


  26. awakened state

    The state of a fully enlightened Buddha.


  27. awareness

    The most general, all-inclusive term for cognizing an object.


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