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 preceding his Nirvana. The sutras consists of four collections:

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. 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.


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 Section. 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. 


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.


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.


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 Mahasanghika School.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).


One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Mahasanghikah. One of their chief doctrines held Buddha's teaching to be twofold: transcedent on one hand and mundane on the other.

Bamboo Grove

Veluvana in Pali, Venuvana in Sanskrit. The first monastery (Bodhi-mandala) in Buddhism located in Rajagaha. It was donated by the elder Kalanda and built by King Bimblisara of Magadha.


One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Sthavirandin, developed from Vatsiputriyah.


Sanskrit word, i.e., the Buddha of Medicine Master, who quells all diseases and lengthens life. He is the Buddha in the Pure Land of the Paradise of the East, i.e., Pure Land of Lapus Lazuli Light.


Bhiksu in Sanskrit, Bhikkhu in Pali.   A monk, who has left home, is fully ordained to follow the way of the Buddha, and depends on alms for a living.


Bhiksuni in Sanskrit, Bhikkhuni in Pali.   A nun observing more strict rules than a Bhiksu. See also Bhiksu.


A term used in both Sanskrit and Pali, meaning perfect wisdom or enlightenment.


The mind of enlightenment. It is with this initiative that a Buddhist begins his path to complete, perfect enlightenment.


An Indian missionary monk who came to China in 600 A.D., regarded as the founder of the Chan (Zen) School of Buddhism in China, i.e. the First Patriarch.


A monastery where Bhiksus (monks) and Bhiksunis (nuns) practise and teach the Buddhist Dharma.

It also generally refers to a holy place of enlightenment; a place for teaching and learning the Dharma; a place where a Bodhisattva appears and where devotees have glimpses of him.


Bodhisattva in Sanskrit, Bodhisatta in Pali. A Future Buddha who is a being destined to Buddhahood. Bodhi means Enlightenment and Sattva means Sentient and Conscious. Therefore Bodhisattva refers to the sentient being of or for the great wisdom and enlightenment. Bodhisattva's vow/aim is the pursuit of Buddhahood and the salvation of others and of all. He seeks enlightenment to enlighten others. He will sacrifice himself to save the others. He is devoid of egoism and devoted to help the others. The way and discipline of Bodhisattva is to benefit the self and the others, leading to Buddhahood.


One of the three major deities of Hinduism, along with Visnu (Vishnu) and Siva (Shiva). Adopted as one of the protective deities of Buddhism.


The highest of the Four Castes in ancient India at the time of Shakyamuni. They served Brahma, with offerings; the keepers of the Vedas, i.e. priestly caste.


One of the four types of Vedic literature in ancient India. The portion of the Veda that deals with ceremony and rituals.


Name used in the present text for the priestly caste of Hindus. See Brahman.


Means "the Enlightened One" or "the Awakened One".


That is, Buddhaland. The term is absent from the Hinayana schools. In Mahayana, it is the spiritual realm acquired by one who reaches perfect enlightenment, where he instructs all beings born there, preparing them for enlightenment, e.g. Amitabha in Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss (Western Paradise), Bhaisajya guru (Medicine Master Buddha) in Pure Land of Lapus Lazuli Light (Eastern Paradise).


Buddha Nature i.e. the potential for attaining Buddhahood, or enlightenment. In the absolute sense, it is unproduced and immortal. Every sentient being possesses the Buddha Nature, but it requires to be cultivated in order to be revealed.

Burning Lamp Buddha

He was the Buddha that bestowed a prediction of Buddhahood on Shakyamuni Buddha. He was the one who gave Shakyamuni a name, saying "In the future, you will become a Buddha named Shakyamuni."


The four heavens of the four Deva-Kings. It is the lowest of the six heavens of the Realm of Desire.

Causal Ground

Fundamental cause; the state of practising the Buddhism which leads to the resulting Buddhahood.

Cave of the Seven Leaves

Saptaparna-guha in Sanskrit, Sattapanna-guba in Pali.   The site of the First Buddhist Council, near Rajagaha.


A wheel in Yoga, one of the psychic centres of the body.


Also called Zen; see Contemplation and Meditation.

Chan School

The Chan School was established in China by Bodhidharma, the 28th Patriarch who brought the tradition of the Buddha-mind from India. This school, disregarding ritual and sutras, as they believe in sudden enlightenment which is beyond any mark, including speech and writing. They practice meditation with Hua Tou. This school is said to be for those of superior roots.


Or almsgiving, the first Paramita. There are three kinds of charity in terms of goods, doctrines (Dharma) and courage (fearlessness). Out of the three, the merits and virtues of doctrines charity is the most surpassing. Charity done for no reward here and hereafter is called pure or unsullied, while the sullied charity is done for the purpose of personal benefits. In Buddhism, the merits and virtues of pure charity is the best.

Chih Che

Chih Che (A.D. 538-597) was the Third Patriarch of the Tien Tai School. He had a deep understanding and insight on the Lotus Sutra. He wrote many books to explain the doctrines in Lotus Sutra, which established the fundamental structure in the teaching of the Tien Tai School.


A method of cultivation, commonly practised in Tien Tai Sect in China. It is similar to meditation, looking into the mind. There are two processes:


1.        Kuan - a Chinese word which means contemplating and looking into underlying reality of all things.

2.        Chih - a Chinese word which means fixing the mind to meditate on the ten Dharma realms

No priority of cultivation is given to the one or the other, but should be cultivated simultaneously. Its principle and the airm of practice is to realize the Three Dogmas and to attain Sudden Enlightenment.


There is no existing phenomenon that is not the effect of dependent origination. All phenomena arise dependent upon a number of casual factors called conditions.

Conditioned Dharma

It refers to all phenomena and law in the world. The Law of Cause and Effect and Law of Dependent Origination or conditions govern the worldly dharma. In general, there are three kinds of conditioned dharma, namely

1.        form   -   all material which has form.

2.        mental   -   related to all mental activities.

3.        neither form nor the mental.


Abstract contemplation. There are four levels through which the mind frees itself from all subjects and objective hindrances and reaches a state of absolute indifference and annihilation of thought, perception, and will. See also Meditation.

Deer Park

Migadaya in Pali, Mrgadava in Sanskrit.   Deer Park is in Benares, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kasi. It was a place of Shakyamuni's first sermon to the Five Bhikhus after his Enlightenment.


A cousin of Shakyamuni. At first, he was a follower of Shakyamuni, but later left him and even attempted to kill him.

Devine Eye

One of the Six Psychic Power and one of the Five Eyes. Unlimited vision, large and small, distant and near, the destiny of all beings in future rebirth. Human eyes through the practice of meditation/Samadhi may obtain it.


See Vigor.


Dhammapada in Pali, Dharmapada in Sanskrit. A sutra consisting of two sections and 39 chapters, with 423 short verses of the Buddha, teachings given at various times and places. It is regarded as the "original" teaching of the Buddha, which can be used for reference, moral instruction and inspiration. It was composed by Dharmatrata in 400-300 B.C.


Dharma in Sanskrit, Dhamma in Pali.   The universal norms or laws that govern human existence and are usually regarded as law, truth, anything related to Buddhist. It is used in the sense of all things, visible or invisible. In Buddhist tradition, it is generally referred to as the teaching of the Buddha.


See Wheel of Law.


He translated the Lotus Sutra in A.D. 601 jointly with Jnanagupta.


One of the Hinayana sect, a subdivision of Sarvastivadah, developed from Mahisasakah and located in northwest India and Central Asia.  

Literally means those who protect (or preserve) the Law. They were instrumental informing the cult of the stupa, and were expert in incantation.

Dharmalaksana School

Also known as Yogacara.   It aims at discovery of the ultimate entity of cosmic existence in contemplation through investigation into the specific characteristics of all existence, and through the realization of the fundamental nature of "self" in mystic illumination.


Dharmaraksa (A.D. 223-300) was the Chinese born descendant of Iranian who had settled in West China generations before. He had translated the Lotus Sutra in A.D. 286.


One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Sthavirandin developed from Vatsiputriyah. Dharmottara is the Buddhist logician writing, an important commentary called the Nyayabindu-tika on Dharmakirtis Nyayabindu.


Buddhist word means, suffering. Broadly speaking, it means not complete and not perfect.

Dvadashamukha Shastra

One of the Three Shastra of Madhyamika School, composed by Nagarjuna, & translated by Kumarajiva A.D. 408. There are several works on it.


See Vigor.

Eight Divisions of Gods and Dragons

Devas (gods), Nagas (Dragons) and others of eight divisions (classes): deva, nagas, yakas, ganharvas, asuras, gaudas, kinaras, mahoragas.

Eight Negations

The eight negations of Nagarjuna, founder of Madhyamika, are actually four pairs of neither birth nor death, neither end nor permanence & neither identity nor difference, neither coming nor going. This is one of the important concepts of the Middle Way, the ultimate truth of Buddhism and the reality character of all Dharma.

The Eight Precepts

They are:

1.        No killing

2.        No stealing

3.        No sexual misconduct

4.        No false speech

5.        No alcoholic drink

6.        No cosmetic, personal adnornments, dancing or music

7.        No sleeping on fine beds

8.        No eating after noon

Eight Sufferings

(1) Suffering of Birth
(2) Suffering of Old Age
(3) Suffering of Sickness
(4) Suffering of Death
(5) Suffering of being apart from the loved ones
(6) Suffering being together with the despised ones
(7) Suffering of not getting what one wants
(8) Suffering of the flourishing of the Five Skandhas

Eight Winds

Or the Winds of Eight Directions. Most people are usually moved by the winds of the eight directions:
(1) Praise
(2) Ridicule
(3) Suffering
(4) Happiness
(5) Benefit
(6) Destruction
(7) Gain
(8) Loss

Eighteen Different Characters

There are eighteen different characters of a Buddha as compared with all other beings in the Nine Realms

1.        His perfection of body (or person)

2.        His perfection of mouth (or speech)

3.        His perfection of memory

4.        His perfection of impartiality to all

5.        Serenity

6.        Self-sacrifice

7.        Unceasing desire to save

8.        Unflagging zeal therein to save

9.        Unfailing thought thereto to save

10.     Unceasing wisdom to save

11.     Powers of deliverance

12.     The principle of the powers of deliverance

13.     Revealing perfect wisdom in deed

14.     Revealing perfect wisdom in word

15.     Revealing perfect wisdom in thought

16.     Perfect knowledge of the past

17.     Perfect knowledge of the future

18.     Perfect knowledge of the present

Eighteen Fields

The Six Consciousness and the Twelve Bases are together called the Eighteen Fields.

Eighteen Sects of Hinayana

  1. Mahasanghikah is divided into eight schools:
    1. Ekavyavaharikah
    2. Lokottaravadinah
    3. Kaukkutikah (Gokulika)
    4. Bahusrutiyah
    5. Prajnativadinah
    6. Jetavaniyah (Caityasailah)
    7. Avarasailah
    8. Uttarasailah
  2. Sthavirah or Aryasthavirah is divided into ten schools:
    1. Haimavatah
    2. Vatsiputriyah (developed from Sarvastivadah)
    3. Dharmottariyah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
    4. Bhadrayaniyah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
    5. Sammatiyah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
    6. Sannagarikah (developed from Vatsiputriyah)
    7. Mahisasakah
    8. Dharmaguptah (developed from Mahisasakah)
    9. Kasyapiyah (developed from Sarvastivadah)
    10. Sautrantika (developed from Sarvastivadah)

Under (I), the first five are stated as arising two centuries after the Nirvana of Shakyamuni, and the remaining three a century later, dates which are unreliable. 

Under (II), the Haimavatah and the Sarvastivadah are dated some 200 years after Nirvana; from the Sarvastivadah soon arose the Vatsiputriyah, from whom soon arose the third, fourth, fifth and sixth; then from the Sarvastivadah there arose the seventh which gave rise to the eighth, and again, near the 400th year, the Sarvastivadah gave rise to the ninth and soon after the tenth. 

In the list of eighteen, the Sarvastivadah was not taken into account, as it split into all the rest.

Eightfold Path

The eight right ways for the Arhat leading to Nirvana. The eight are:
(1) Right View
(2) Right Thought
(3) Right Speech
(4) Right Action
(5) Right Livelihood
(6) Right Effort
(7) Right Remembrance
(8) Right Concentration


Ekavyavaharika in Sanskrit, Ekabyohara in Pali.   One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Mahasanghikah, which considered things as nominal, i.e. just names without any underlying reality. They held that the mind is by its nature pure and radiant, inaccessible to defilement.


The Sanskrit word is Sunya. One of the key-concepts, in Buddhism. Emptiness is an abstract idea representing impermanence, unreality, instability, transience and relativity in the nature of all existence. The doctrine states that all phenomena and the ego have no reality, but are composed of a certain number of Skandhas or elements, which disintegrate. The doctrine also states that everything is unstable, possessing no self-essence or self-nature, i.e., its own existence dependent or caused by the conditions of others' existence.
Emptiness is not anything, but it is the condition of existence of everything. It permeates all phenomena making possible their evolution.


See Patience.


See Vigor.


"Enlightenment" sometimes refers to the attainment of Buddhahood, as the "Enlightened One" means Buddha. If one is enlightened, one has a complete and perfect understanding of the reality character of everything.

Evil World of Five Turbidities

It refers to the world on Earth. The Five Turbidities are

1.        the Kalpa Turbidity
the age of people decreases and all kinds of diseases afflict people;

2.        the View Turbidity
people's views start to degenerate;

3.        the Affliction Turbidity
passions, delusions, desire, anger, stupidity, pride and doubt prevail;

4.        the Living Beings Turbidity
human miseries increase and happiness decreases;

5.        the Life Turbidity
the human lifespan gradually diminishes to ten years.


It means having put the Two Obstacles, i.e. the obstacle of afflictions and the obstacle of what is known, to an end. It also means that the beings have transcended the Two Deaths, i.e. glare-sectioned birth and death and changed birth and death


First Council

Also known as 500 Council, Theravada Council", The First Compilation, etc. The assembly of 500 leading Bhikhus gathered for 3 months after the Buddha's death to compile the Buddhist sutras. It was held at <a href="glossa-e.htm#caveseve"


Ruling principle, universal basis, essential element, i.e. fundamental law.

Law of Causal Condition

The fundamental doctrine of Buddhism that all phenomena in the universe are produced by causation. Since all phenomena result from the complicated causes and effects, all existing things in the universe are inter-dependent, i.e., no self nature or existence on its own. Moreover, all phenomena and things are impermanent (i.e. changing constantly). It was to this law that Shakyamuni was awakened when he attained enlightenment.

Law of Cause and Effect

The Law of Cause and Effect treats of the Law of Causal condition as it relates to an individual.

Law of Dependent Origisation

It states that all phenomenon arise depending upon a number of casual factors. In other word, it exists in condition that the other exist; it has in condition that others have; it extinguishes in condition that others extinguish; it has not in condition that others have not. For existence, there are twelve links in the chain:

         Ignorance is the condition for karmic activity;

         Karmic activity is the condition for consciousness;

         Consciousness is the condition for the name and form;

         Name and form is the condition for the six sense organs;

         Six sense organs are the condition for contact;

         Contact is the condition for feeling;

         Feeling is the condition for emotional love/craving;

         Emotional love/craving is the condition for grasping;

         Grasping is the condition for existing;

         Existing is the condition for birth;

         Birth is the condition for old age and death;

         Old age and death is the condition for ignorance; and so on.

Law of Karma

The results of actions, which produce effect that may be either good or bad. It is derived from the Law of Causal Condition (Law of Cause and Effect).


One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Mahasanghikah, which held the view that all in the world is merely phenomenal and that reality exists outside it. They held that the body of the Buddha was transcendental from the time of his birth to the time of his death. Consequently, his behaviour as a human was merely a convention.

Lotus Sutra

Short name of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law, or Saddharma-pundarik-sutra in Sanskrit. It consists of a series of sermons delivered by Shakyamuni towards the end of his preaching ministry. It is one of the most important sutras of Manayana Buddhism. Basically, it states that all sentient beings can attain Buddhahood, and nothing less than this is the appropriate final goal of all Buddhists. It also states that the Buddha is eternal, and the supreme form of Buddhist practice is the way of the Bodhisattva. Lotus flower is used to describe the brightness and pureness of the One Buddha Vehicle.

Lumbini Park

The birthplace of Shakyamuni Buddha, which lay between the state of the Shakyas and the Koliyas.


One of the four great kingdoms (i.e. Magadha, Kosala, Vansa, and Avanti) in ancient India. The capital of Magadha was Rajagaha. The king of Magadha, Bimblisara, became the follower of Shakyamuni.


Mahakassapa in Pali, Mahakasyapa in Sanskrit.   He was a Brahman in Magadha, who became one of the Ten Great Disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha. He was the foremost in ascetism. He is regarded as the First Patriarch because he responded with a smile when Shakyamuni Buddha held up a golden flower in a sermon. This is known to be the transmission of heart-seal. After the death of Shakyamuni, he was the leader of the disciples. He convened the First Council to compile the Buddhist canon, i.e. Tripitika. Mahakassapa is supposed to be living in Kukkutapada (Cock Foot Mountain) in Magadha, on which he enters into Nirvana.


The mother of Shakyamuni. She was the Koliyan Princess and married to Suddhodana. She died seven days after giving birth to Shakyamuni.


She was the sister of Mahamaya, the mother of Shakyamuni. They both married King Suddhodana. Maya died seven days after the birth of Shakyamuni. Mahapajapati then became the step/foster mother of Shakyamuni, and treated Shakyamuni so kind as her son, Nanda. Nanda was one of the Ten Great Disciples of Shakyamuni. After the death of King Suddhodana, Mahapajapati was ordained to be the first woman admitted in Buddhist order.


Maha-Parinibbana-Sutta in Pali and Maha-Parinirvana-Sutra in Sanskrit.   Also known as the Sutra of the Great Nirvana/Decease, recording the final sermon, the death and the funeral of Shakyamuni.


The Sutra was delivered by Shakyamuni in four places at sixteen assemblies. It consists of 600 volumes as translated by Hsuan-tsang. It is the fundamental philosophical work of the Mahayana Buddhism, the formulation of wisdom, which is the sixth paramita.


Literally means the Member of the Great Order, majority, community.
During the First Council, when the Sthavira or elder disciples assembled in the cave after the Buddha's death, and the other disciples (called to be Mahasanghika) assembled outside the cave. Both compiled the Tripitaka. However, the former emphasized on the rules of disciplines in the monastic community, while the latter concerned the spread of the spirit of Buddhism in lay community. As sects, the principal division took place in the Second Council. 

Mahasanghika and Sthavira are known as two earliest sects in Hinayana. Mahasanghika is said to be the basis of the development of the Mahayana Buddhism, while Sthavira of the Theravada Buddhism. 

For the sub division of Mahasanghika, please refer to the Eighteen Sects of Hinayana.


There are seven meanings of Mahasattva:

1.        He has perfected great roots.

2.        He has great wisdom.

3.        He believes the great Dharma.

4.        He understands the great principle.

5.        He cultivates the great conduct.

6.        He passes through great kalpas.

7.        He seeks the great fruit.


A subdivision of the Sthavirah school, which opposed to the Mahayana system.


Also called Great Vehicle or Bodhisattva Vehicle. It is a school of Buddhism prevalent in China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Tibet and other places in the Far East. It is also called Northern Buddhism.

Mahayana is described as seeking Buddhahood and transforming beings, thus self-benefiting for the benefits of the others. See also Hinayana.


One of the Hinayana school, a branch of Sarvastivadah founded 300 years after the Nirvana, but the doctrines of the school are said to be similar to those of the Mahasanghika. Literally means a ruler who converted or rectified his land or people. The school denied reality to past and future, but maintained the reality of the present. Similarly, the school rejected the doctrine of the void and the non-ego, the production of taint by the Five consciousness, the theory of nine kinds of non-activity, and so on. They held that enlightenment came suddenly rathern than gradually.



Sanskrit word, literally means friendly and benevolent. He will be the next Buddha in our world. He is now preaching in Tusita Heaven. He is usually represented as the fat laughing Buddha.



A diagrammatic circular picture used as an aid in meditation or ritual, sometimes a symbol of the universe, or a representation of a deed of merit. Sometimes, it represents a place of enlightenment, where Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are existent. Mandalas also reveal the direct retribution of each of the ten worlds of beings (see Ten Realms). Each world has its mandala, which represents the originating principle that brings it to completion. It is one of the three mystics in Tantric Buddhism.


Manjusri Bodhisattva

As one of the Four Great Bodhisattva, he is the one with the greatest wisdom. Manjusri is said to have: wonderful head, universal head, glossy head, revered head, wonderful virtue and wonderfully auspicious. Manjusri, the guardian of wisdom, is often placed on the left of Shakyamuni, while Visvabhadra, the guardian of law, is on the right. Manjusri always rides on a lion. He is described as the ninth predecessor or Buddha-ancestor of Shakyamuni. In the past lives, he is also described as being the parent of many Buddhas and has assisted the Buddha into existence. He is the Chief of the Bodhisattva, and the chief disciple of the Buddha. He is the object for the pilgrimages visiting the Wu Tai Shan of Shansi Province in China.



Sanskrit words signifying a sacred word, verse or syllable that embodies in sound of some specific deity or supernatural power. It is one of the three mystics in Tantric Buddhism.


Literally "murderer". The Evil One who "takes" away the wisdom-life of all living beings.



Lakana, in Sanskrit word. It is a notion of form. In Diamond Sutra, it says "All with marks is empty and false. If you can see all marks as no marks then you see the Tathagata." See also Four Marks.



Or Form or Thing. The Sanskrit word is Rupa. It is defined as that which has resistence, or which changes and disappear, i.e., the phenomenal. There are inner and outer forms representing the organs and objects of sense respectively.
Rupa is one of the Six Bahya-ayatanna or Six Gunas and also one of the Five Skandhas.



See Ten Great Disciples of Shakyamuni.



The fifth Paramita. There are numerous methods and subjects of meditation. See also Contemplation.


Middle Path

See Middle Way.


Middle Way

It denotes the mean between two extremes, particularly between realism and nihilism, eternal substantial existence and annihilation. This doctrine opposes the rigid categories of existence and non-existence in the interest of a middle way. This is the utlimate truth of Buddhism, and the reality character of all Buddha. See also Eight Negations.



See Deer Park.



The second Paramita, to take precepts and to keep the moral laws.



See Deer Park.



One of the three mystics in Tantric Buddhism, which is the symbolic gesture of hand fingers.



It was a branch of the Sarvastivadin sect, which asserted the doctrine of the reality of things. It held that all is produced by causative action, and everything is dynamic, not static. Mulasavastivada is a school of reality of all phenomena, one of the early Hinayana sects, said to have been formed, about 300 years after the Nirvana of Shakyamuni. Later it subdivided into five:





         Vatsiputriyah (most influential)


A Bodhisattva in South India, born into a Brahman family about 800 years after the Nirvana of Shakyamuni, i.e., 200 AD. He was the founder of Madhyamika (Middle Way) and Sunya (emptiness). He had plenty of writings in Buddhism. He was one of the chief philosophers of Mahayana Buddhism.



The founder of Jain religion, i.e. Jainism.



A Sanskrit word interpreted as a numeral, 100,000 or one million or ten million.


Nine Realms

The nine realms of error, or subjection to passions, i.e. all the realms of the living except the tenth and highest, the Buddha-realm. The nine realms are

         the hell,

         the hungry ghost,

         the animal,

         the man,

         the Asura,

         the gods,

         the Arhat (sound hearer),

         the Arhat (enlightened to condition), and

         the Bodhisattra.

Nine Stages of Lotus Flowers

Or Nine Grades, Classes of Lotus Flowers, i.e. upper superior, middle superior, lower superior, upper medium, middle medium, lower medium, upper inferior, middle inferior and lower inferior, which represent ninefold future life into Pure Land. The nine grades, or rewards, of the Pure Land, corresponding to the nine grades of development in the previous life, upon which depends, in the next life, one's distance from Amitabha, the consequent aeons that are required to approach Amitabha, and whether one's lotus will open early or late.



Nirvana is a Sanskrit word which is originally translated as "perfect stillness". It has many other meanings, such as liberation, eternal bliss, tranquil extinction, extinction of individual existence, unconditioned, no rebirth, calm joy, etc. It is usually described as transmigration to "extinction", but the meaning given to "extinction" varies.

There are four kinds of Nirvana:

1.        Nirvana of pure, clear self-nature

2.        Nirvana with residue

3.        Nirvana without residue

4.        Nirvana of no dwelling

Nirvana of pure, clear self-nature

It is commonly possessed by all individual sentient beings. It is not subject to birth and death, nor increase and decrease.

Nirvana with residue

The cause, but not all the effect (Karma) of reincarnation is cut off and removal of the obstacle of affliction, but not that of what is known (Dharma), thus the body which remains is subject to birth and death. Those beings are Arhats.

Nirvana without residue

Both the cause and effect of reincarnation are extinguished, both afflictions and what is known (Dharma) are extinguished. All kinds of suffering are externally in stillness. There is no further residue. Those beings are Bodhisattva.

Nirvana of no dwelling

With the aid of interactive wisdom and compassion, those who do not dwell in birth and death, nor in Nirvana, but continue to cross living beings over forever.

No Strife Samadhi

Strife means debating and fighting. It is a kind of Samadhi, i.e. right concentration/meditation. To cultivate and attain this Samadhi, one will not argue or angry with others as one has no differentiation between self and others.


The most simple, yet sacred mantra in Buddhism, also used in other Indian religions.

One Buddha Vehicle

Also known as Supreme Vehicle. In Buddhism, the Five Vehicles are established to facilitate us to understand the reality of Buddhahood. The teachings of One Buddha Vehicle is the ultimate, perfect and complete truth of Buddha, which is unconceivable and beyond words, as stated in the Lotus Sutra.


The language of the Theravada (Hinayana) Buddhist Canon, alleged to be the language used by the Buddha.


It means to cross over from this shore of births and deaths to the other shore which is the Nirvana.
The Six Paramita or means of so doings are
(1) dana - charity/giving
(2) sila - moral/conduct/taking precepts
(3) ksanti - patience
(4) virya - vigor/devotion/energy
(5) dhyana - contemplation/meditation
(6) prajna - wisdom. 

The Ten Paramita are the above plus
(7) upaya - use of expedient or proper means
(8) pranidhana - vow of bodhi and helpfulness
(9) bala - strength
(10) intelligence 

Childers gives the list of ten as the perfect exercise of









         kindness/universal love and


Each of the ten is divided into ordinary, superior and unlimited perfection, making up to thirty in total. 


Not death, but perfect rest, i.e. the perfection of all virtues and the elimination of all evils.. Also a release from the suffering of transmigration and an entry to a state of fullest joy.


Endurance, the third Paramita. There are groups of two, three, four, five, six, ten and fourteen, indicating various forms of patience, equanimity, repression, forbearance, both in mundane and spiritual things. Patience refers to bearing insult and distress without resentment.


The second stage in Hinayana, the first or initial being that of Sravaka. He is enlightened to the conditions, i.e. the Law of Dependent Origination. He seeks enlightenment for himself and understands deeply Nidanas. He attains his enlightenment alone, independently, or a teacher, and with the object of attaining Nirvana and his own salvation rather than that of others.


There are three kinds of Prajna:
(1) Prajna of languages
(2) Prajna of contemplative illumination
(3) prajna of the characteristics of actuality 

The last one is the ultimate wisdom, which is the wisdom of Buddha. Also see wisdom.


One of the Hinayana School, a branch of the Mahasanghikah, which held the view that there was a distinction between mere concepts and real entities (referred to in Buddha's teaching) i.e. phenomenality and reality, based on Prajatisastra.

Pure Land

Generally refers to the Paradise of the West, presided over by Amitabha. Also known as the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Other Buddhas have their own Pure Lands, all of which are the adornment of merits and virtues in moral or spiritual cultivation. The Pure-Land Sect whose chief tenet is salvation by faith in Amitabha; it is the popular cult in China and Japan.

Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss

This is the Buddha Land of Amitabha Buddha. In Amitabha Sutra, there is full description about this Pure Land. This is the world of utmost joy without suffering. With the spiritual power of Amitabha Buddha, all beings in this world will understand Buddhism easily and practise diligently, and attain enlightenment eventually. Therefore by reciting Amitabha Buddha's name, Buddhist followers hope that they will be born in this Pure Land after their lives on earth. See also Nine Stages of Lotus Flowers.

Pure Land of Vairocana

The Lotus world, also the Pure Land of all Buddhas in their Sambhogakaya or Reward Body/Enjoyment Body. Above the wind or air circle is a sea of fragrant water, in which is the thousand-pedal lotus with its infinite variety of worlds. Hence, the meaning is the Lotus which contains a store of myriads of worlds.


He was one of the Ten Great Disciples of Shakyamuni. He was the first in esoteric practices and in desire for instruction in the Law. He was also the son of Shakyamuni.


Rajagaha in Pali, Rajagrha in Sanskrit. The capital of the ancient kingdom of Magadha in India, which was the centres of culture at the time of Shakyamuni. The first Bodhi mandala of Buddhism called Bamboo Grove Park was built by the elder Kalanda and King Bimblisara of Magadha in Rajagaha.


Living in the Ghost Path. Like Yaksa, they are evil and violent, but inferior to Yaksa.

Realm of Form

See Three Realms.

Realm of Formlessness

See Three Realms.

Realm of Sensuous Desire

See Three Realms.


Or Conception or Thinking. The Sanskirt word is Sanjna. It is the function of mind. It may lead to desire. One of the Five Skandhas.


One of the Four Unlimited Mind. As one of the chief Buddhist virtues, renunciation leads to a state of "undifferent without pleasure or pain". It is also an equality in mind with no distinction of self and others.

Right Action

The fourth of the Eightfold Path; respect for life (do not kill), property (do not steal) and personal relationship (no sexual misconduct) so as to purify one's mind and body.

Right Concentration Right abstraction, the eighth of the Eightfold Path; meditation, focusing the mind without distraction, preparing the mind to attain wisdom.

Right Effort

Right zeal or progress, unintermitting perseverance, suppressing the rising of evil states and stimulating good states, and to perfect those which have come to beings.

Right Livelihood

The fifth of the Eightfold Path; right life, abstaining from any of the forbidden modes of living. Five kinds of livelihood are discouraged : trading in animals for slaughter, dealing in weapons, dealing in slaves, dealing in poison and dealing in intoxicants.

Right Remembrance

Right memory, right mindfulness; the seventh of the Eightfold Path, avoiding distracted and clouded state of mind, awareness and self-possessed.

Right Speech

The third of Eightfold Path, abstaining from lying, slander/back biting, abuse/harsh words and idle talk.

Right Thought

Right thought and intent; avoiding desire and ill-will; the second of the Eightfold Path.

Right Understanding

See Right View.

Right View

Understanding the Four Noble Truths; the first of the Eightfold Path.


See Matter or Five Skandhas.

Saddharmapundarika Sutra 

The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra in Sanskrit. "Sad" means wonderful, and "Pundarika" means white lotus flower.

Sagely Wheel-turning King 

He is referred to a Buddha as universal spiritual king with all kinds of good marks and appearance, or a god over a universe, or a preacher of the supreme doctrine. The wheel is probably a symbol of the sun with its myraid rays.

Saha Land 

Also called the Saha World. It refers to the land on Earth. Saha interprets as bearing and enduring. Saha Land is contrary to Pure Land. It is a place of good and evil. A universe where all are subjected to transmigration and in which a Buddha transforms.


A Sanskrit word means one who returns once. It is the certification of the second fruit of Arhatship. Being a Sakrdagamin, he returns once - once to heaven and once among men before he cuts off the last three categories of his delusions in thought in the Desire Realm.


Sanskrit word for meditation. See Meditation and Contemplation.


A Pali word, Sramana in Sanskrit. One who practices austerities; an ascetic.

Samantabhadra Bodhisattva 

Also called Visvabhadra Bodhisattva, Universally Worthy Bodhisattva. Being one of the Four Great Bodhisattvas, he is the Bodhisattva of Great Conduct, representing the Law. He has Ten Great King Vows, which are the guidelines in practising Buddhism, and cultivating the Buddhist Way.


One of four types of Vedic literature in ancient India. It consists of four sections, including poems, songs, rituals, mandra, etc.

1.        Rg-veda    -   life & health;

2.        Sama-veda    -   ritual & worship;

3.        Yajur-veda    -   war study;

4.        Atharva-veda    -   mandra & poems.

The four is know as Four Vedas.


One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Sthavirandin, developed from Vatsiputriyah. It is a school of correct measures, or correct evaluation, formed about 300 years after the Nirvana of Shakyamuni. It was classified in the Pudgalavadin category, thus often linked with Vatsiputriyah.


Sanskrit word means, turning of the wheel or revolving. It refers to the transmigration in the Six Directions of Reincarnation, the realm of birth and death.


See Volition or Five Skandhas.


The Buddhist monastic order. The corporate assembly of at least 3 monks under a chairman, empowered to hear confession, grant absolution and ordain. In general terms, it refers to any community practising the Buddhist Way.


See Recognition or Five Skandhas.


See Sautrantika.


One of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Sthavirandin, developed from Vatsiputriyah.


Brahma letters. The classical Aryan language of ancient India, systematized by scholars. With the exception of a few ancient translations probably from Pali versions, most of the original texts in Buddhism used in China were Sanskrit.


Sariputra in Sanskrit, Sariputta in Pali.   He was born in a Brahman family near Rajagaha. At the age of 17, he mastered all Vedic doctrines. In seeking a good teacher, he studied under one of the six great non-Buddhist teachers called Sanjaya. He met Shakyamuni with the aid of Assaji, one of the Five Bhiksus. He then became one of the Ten Great Disciples of Shakyamuni, noted for his wisdom and learning. He was also the right-hand attendant on Shakyamuni. He died before Shakyamuni entered Nirvana. He figures prominently in certain sutras. He is represented as standing with Maudgalyayana by the Buddha when entering Nirvana. He is to reappear as Padmaprabha Buddha.


One of the early Hinayana sects, said to be formed about 200-300 years after the Nirvana of Shakyamuni. A branch of the Vaibhasika claiming Rahula as founder. A school of reality of all phenomena asserting the doctrine that all things are real. The subdivision of Sarvastivadah was complicated and doubtful. In the list of the Eighteen Sects of Hinayana, the Sarvastivadah was not taken into account to be one sect, as it split into all the remaining sects. 

Also known as Hetavadinah.

Satyasiddhi School 

One of the Ten Schools of Chinese Buddhism. Founded on the Satyasiddhi Shastra by Harivarman.

Satyasiddhi Shastra 

Written by Harivarman and translated by Kumarajiva, on which the Satyasiddhi Sect bases its doctrine. It was a Hinayana variation of the Sunya (emptiness) doctrine. The term is defined as perfectly establishing the real meaning of the Sutras.


Sutravada in Sanskrit, Suttavada in Pali.   Libereally means reliance upon sutras, the original Buddhist texts, therefore emphasized the efficacy and authority of the sutras. Also called Sankrantivada as it held the view that the Skandhas transmigrate from the former world to the later world. It is one of the Hinayana sect, a branch of Sthaviradin developed from Sarvastivadah. Vasubandhu's arguments in the Abhidharmakosa criticize the Vaibhasikas from a Sautrantika viewpoint. The ideas influenced Mahayana doctrines to form Yogacara school.


Savatthi in Pali, Sravasti in Sanskrit.   The capital of the ancient Kingdom of Kosala, where the famous monastery (Bodhimandala) Jetavanna Grove was located.


Or Feeling. The Sanskrit word is Vedana. One of the Five Skandhas. See Five Skandhas.

Seven Gems 

They are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother-of-pearl, red pearls and carnelian.

Seven Title Classification 

Sutra titles fall into seven classes accordingly to their reference to person, Dharma and analogy.

A.      Three Single

1.        Solely by reference to people
e.g. the Amitabha Sutra

2.        Solely by reference to Dharma
e.g. the Mahaparinirvana Sutra

3.        Solely by analogy
e.g. The Brahma Net Sutra

B.       Three Paired

4.        By reference to a person and a Dharma
e.g. The Sutra of the Questions of Manjushri

5.        By reference to a person and an analogy
e.g. The Sutra of the Lion's Roar of the Thus Come One

6.        By reference to a Dharma and an analogy.
e.g. The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra.

C.       Three-in-one

7.        By reference to person, Dharma and analogy together
e.g. The Great Universal Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra


Sakiya in Pali and Sakya in Sanskrit. The tribe to which Shakyamuni belonged.


Sakayamuni in Sanskrit, Shakyamuni in Pali.   The founder of Buddhism. He was born as the Prince of Sakyans, and was called Siddhartha Goutama. At the age of 35, he attained the supreme Enlightenment and became the Buddha and was the called Shakyamuni. The word means "capability and kindness".

Shatika Shastra 

One of the Three Shastra of Madhyamika School, so called because of its 100 verses, each of 32 words. It was written in Sanskrit by Vasubandhu and translated by Kumarajiva, but the versions differ.


Siddhartha in Sanskrit, Siddhattha in Pali.   The given name of Shakyamuni when he was born to the Prince Suddhodana. The name means "wish fulfilled".

Singalovada Sutra 

A short sutra about ethics and morality.

Six Consciousness 

They are the perceptions and the discriminative ability of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind.

Six Directions of Reincarnation 

(1) Naraka, i.e. Hell
(2) Presta, i.e. Hungry Ghost
(3) Tiryagyoni, i.e. Animal
(4) Asura, i.e. Malevolent nature spirits
(5) Manusya, i.e. Human Existence
(6) Deva, i.e. Heavenly Existence

Six Dusts 

See Six Gunas.

Six Entrances 

See Six Places and Six Indriyas.

Six External Bases 

See Six Gunas.

Six Fields of Senses 

See Six Gunas.

Six Fulfilment 

The six requirements indicating that the Sutra is a true record of teachings given directly by the Buddha. They are the fulfilment of meeting the requirement

1.        on belief

2.        on hearing

3.        on time

4.        on of the host

5.        on place

6.        on audiences

Six Gunas 

Or Six External Bases, or Six Dusts. They are sight, sound, scent/smell, taste, tangibles/touch and dharma/idea. They are the qualities produced by the objects and organs of sense.

Six Heavens of Desire 

See Three Realms.

Six Indriyas 

Or Six Internal Bases, or Six Sense-organs, or Six Places. They are eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind.

Six Internal Bases 

See Six Indriyas.

Six Paramita 

See Paramita.

Six Paths 

See Six Directions of Reincarnation.

Six Periods of Day and Night 

Six periods in a day, three for day and three for night, i.e. morning, noon, evening, night, midnight, dawn.

Six Places 

Sanskrit word is Sadayatana. See Six Indriyas.

Six Psychic Power 

(1) the phychic power of the heavenly eye
(2) the psychic power of the heavenly ear
(3) phychic power with regard to post lives
(4) phychic power with regard to the minds
(5) the spiritually based psychic powers
(6) the psychic power of the extinction of outflows

Six Roots 

Or Six Sense-organs, see Six Indriyas.

Six Sense-organs 

See Six Indriyas.

Six States of Existence

See Six Directions of Reincarnation.

Sixteen Contemplations 

See Vipasyana Sukhavativyha Sutra.

Sixteen Hearts 

There are eight hearts within the Desire Realm:

1.        Patience regarding the Dharma involved in Suffering

2.        Wisdom regarding the Dharma involved in Suffering

3.        Patience regarding the Dharma involving in Acculumation

4.        Wisdom regarding the Dharma involved in Acculumation

5.        Patience regarding the Dharma involved in Extinction

6.        Wisdom regarding the Dharma involved in Extinction

7.        Patience regarding the Dharma involved in Way

8.        Wisdom regarding the Dharma involved in Way

Note that the Truths of Suffering, Acculumation, Extinction and Way are the Four Noble Truths, which is the fundamental doctrine in Buddhism, particularly Hinayana. 

There are the other eight hearts within the Form Realm and the Formless Realm:

1.        Subsequent Patience regarding Suffering

2.        Subsequent Wisdom regarding Suffering

3.        Subsequent Patience regarding Acculumation

4.        Subsequent Wisdom regarding Acculumation

5.        Subsequent Patience regarding Extinction

6.        Subsequent Wisdom regarding Extinction

7.        Subsequent Patience regarding Way

8.        Subsequent Wisdom regarding Way

Sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception 

The highest of the four heavens in the Realm of Formlessness, or called the sphere of no-thing.

Sphere of no-thing 

The heavens without form, immaterial, consisting only of the mind in contemplation, being four in number of which the "sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception" is the highest.

Spiritual Ghost 

Living in the Ghost Path. They are kind dwelling in the nature, e.g. trees, mountain and sea protecting the creatures.


Literally, it means the one who ceases from evil and does works of mercy or lives altruistically. He is a devoted and zealous man who has taken a vow to obey the ten commandments in Buddhist orders:

1.        not to lie or speak evil

2.        not to have sexual misconduct.

3.        not to steal.

4.        not to kill.

5.        not to use perfumes or decorate oneself with flowers.

6.        not to occupy high beds.

7.        not to sing or dance.

8.        not to possess wealth.

9.        not to eat out of regulation hours.

10.     not to drink wine.


Sramenera in female gender obeying the ten commandments of Sramanera too.


The first or initial stage in Hinayana, the second being that of Praetyka-Buddha. Sravaka, a Sanskrit word, means a hearer. It generally relates to Hinayana disciple who understands the Four Noble Truth in entering Nirvana.


A Sanskrit word means one who has entered the flow, Sota-panna in Pali. He opposes the flow of common people's six dusts and enters the flow of the Sage's Dharma-nature.

It is the certification of the first fruit of Arhatship, which is within the Hinayana (small vehicle). It comes when the eighty-eight categories of delusions of view are smashed and cut off by means of sixteen hearts. It is called a Way of Liberation, for at that point, delusion is completely severed and liberation is obtained. One who has certified to Srotaapanna has seven more births and deaths to undergo. He will be born seven times in the heavens and seven times among men. 


The bibles of Brahmans, which are absolute truths originated from holy gods. They dictated the philosophical and religious thoughts in ancient India.


Also known as Sthaviranikaya or Aryasthavirah.   Sthavirah and Mahasanghikah are the two earliest sects in Buddhism. At first, they were not considered to be different. Sthavirah merely represented the intimate and older disciples of Shakyamuni, while Mahasanghika being the rest. It is said that a century later, a difference of opinion arose on certain doctrines. Three divisions were named as a result (all in Ceylon):

1.        Mahaviharavasinah

2.        Jetavaniyah

3.        Abhayagiri-vasinah

In the course, the eighteen Hinayana sects were developed. 

From the time of Ashoka, four principal school are regarded as prevailing:

1.        Mahasanghika

2.        Sthavira

3.        Mulasarvastivada

4.        Sammatiyah

As far as Sthavira is concerned, there are eleven sects reckoned. 

The Sthaviravadins were reputed as nearest to early Buddhism in its tenets, though it is said to have changed the basis of Buddhism from an agonostic system to a realist philosophy.


See Sthavirah.


Sanskrit word means burial mound, which contains the ashes or relics of an enlightened being. In China, it appears as pagoda, representing the place where Buddha "lives".


Subhadra in Sanskrit, Subhadda in Pali.   A Brahman of age 120, who became Shakyamuni's disciple shortly before Shakyamuni's death and is therefore known as the last disciple.


See Anathapindika.

Sudden Enlightenment 

Enlightened all of a sudden by hearing or studying Dharma, usually for those who practices Ch'an.


Pure Rice Prince, the father of Shakyamuni, ruled over the Sakyans at Kapilaratthu on the Nepalese border.


Sudra in Sanskrit, Sudda in Pali. The lowest of the four Indian Castes at the time of Shakyamuni. They were peasants, slaves and serfs.

Sukhavativyuha Sutra 

It is one of the main Sutras for Pure Land Sect. It stipulates the Forty-eight Vows of Amitabha Buddha, which give rise to the characteristic of the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss in the West.


Sanskrit words. It means wonderful high mountain. It is composed of gold. silver, lapis lazuli and crystal, therefore it is so wonderful. It is eighty four thousand Yugamdhara high and eighty found thousand Yugamdhara wide, which is the greatest mountain amongst all.


Sutra in Sanskrit, Sutta in Pali.   It is a "path" necessarily passed through in the cultivation of the Way.

Taking Precepts 

See Morality.


Also called Vajrayana. A school of esoteric Tibetan Buddhism. It emphsizes not only meditation but also the use of symbolic rites, gestures, postures, breathing, incantation, and other secret means.

Ten Dharma Realms 

Also known as ten states of existence, which are

1.        Hell

2.        Ghost

3.        Animal

4.        Asura

5.        Man

6.        Deva

7.        Sravaka (Sound-Hearer Arhat)

8.        Praetyka-Buddha

9.        Bodhisattva

10.     Buddha

Each Dharma realm has its own characteristics, and its existence is attributed to the retribution of the beings. The lowest six realms (1-6) are known as the Six Paths or Six Realms. These six states of existence are subjected to birth and death, and then rebirth for many lives. The upper four realms are known as the Four Holy Realms. These four states of existence are beyond birth and death and liberated from the Samsara

For details, please refer to Part 2 of Buddhism In A Nutshell, which appeared in Vol. 1 No. 4 of Buddhist Door, March 1996.

Ten Directions 

The eight points of the compass, in addition to the nadir and the zenith.

Ten Good Deeds 

The Ten Forms of Good Actions for layman, or Ten Wholesomeness.

1.        No killing

2.        No stealing

3.        No adultery

4.        No lying

5.        No slandering

6.        No harsh speech

7.        No idle talks

8.        No greed

9.        No hatred

10.     No illusion

It is essential for the rebirth in Deva realm.

Ten Great Disciples of Skakyamuni Buddha 

They are:

1.        Mahakasyapa in Sanskrit, Mahakassapa in Pali. 
first in ascetism.

2.        Ananda 
first in having heard the words of Buddha.

3.        Sariputra in Sanskrit, Sariputta in Pali. 
first in wisdom.

4.        Subhuti 
first in expressing emptiness.

5.        Purna 
first in explaining good law.

6.        Maudgalyayana in Sanskrit, Moggallana in Pali. 
first in supernatural power.

7.        Katyayana 
first in preaching.

8.        Aniruddha in Sanskrit, Anuruddha in Pali. 
first in the sharpness of his divine eyes.

9.        Upali 
first in taking precepts.

10.     Rahula 
first in esoteric practices and in desire for instruction in the law.

Ten Great King Vows 

The vows of Visvabhadra Bodhisattva:

1.        To worship and respect all Buddhas.

2.        To praise the Thus Come One.

3.        To practise offerings.

4.        To repent all karmic hindrance.

5.        To rejoice and follow merits and virtue.

6.        To request that the Dharma wheel be turned.

7.        To request that the Buddha remain in the world.

8.        To follow the Buddha's teachings.

9.        To live in accord with all living beings.

10.     To spread all merits and virtue.

Ten Meritorious Deeds 

The Ten Meritorious Deeds allow people to gain a happy and peaceful life as well as to develop knowledge and understanding. They are:

1.        Charity

2.        Morality / Taking Precepts

3.        Mental cultivation / Meditation

4.        Reverence or respect

5.        Services in helping others

6.        Transference of merits

7.        Rejoicing in the merits of others

8.        Preaching and teaching Dharma

9.        Listening the Dharma

10.     Straightening one's own views

Ten Offerings 

For the material there are ten kinds of offerings in Buddhism:

1.        incense

2.        flower

3.        lamp

4.        necklace

5.        jeweled parasols

6.        banners and canopies

7.        clothes

8.        fruit and food

9.        music

10.     joined palms

Ten Paramita 

See Paramita.

Ten Powers 

The Ten Powers of Buddha or Bodhisattva are the complete knowledge of

1.        what is right or wrong in every condition

2.        what is the karma of every being, past, present and future

3.        all stages of dhyana liberation and samadhi

4.        the powers and faculties of all beings

5.        the desires or moral directions of every being

6.        the actual condition of every individual

7.        the direction and consequence of all laws

8.        all causes of mortality and of good and evil in their reality

9.        the end of all beings and Nirvana

10.     the destruction of all illusion of every kind

Ten Schools of Chinese Buddhism  Satyasiddhi

  1. Madhyamika
  2. Tien Tai
  3. Kosa 
  4. Hua Yen
  5. Dharmalaksana
  6. Vinaya
  7. Chan
  8. Esoteric
  9. Pure Land

Ten Stages of Bodhisattva 

These are the ten stages of development of Bodhisattva depending on their merits and virtues:

1.        Pramudita (joy) - job at having overcome the difficulties and sufferings, now entering on the path to Buddhahood

2.        Vimala (purity) - freedom from all possible defilement

3.        Prabhakari (enlightenment) - stage of further enlightenment

4.        Arcismati (widsom) - stage of glowing wisdom

5.        Sudurjaya (no difficulty) - stage of mastering the utmost difficulties

6.        Abhimukhi (open way) - the open way of wisdom above definitions of impurity and purity

7.        Duramgama (proceeding afar) - getting above ideas of self in order to save others

8.        Acala (unperturbed) - attainment of being unperturbed

9.        Sadhumati (discriminatory wisdom) - the finest discriminatory wisdom, knowing where and how to save, and possessing the Ten Powers

10.     Dharma megha (law cloud) - attainment of the fertilizing powers of law cloud

Ten Titles of Buddha 

Represent the characteristics of Buddha

1.        Tathagata - the Thus Come Ones

2.        Arhat - worthy of offerings

3.        Samyak-sambuddha - of proper and universal knowledge

4.        Vidyacarna-sampauna - perfect in understanding and conduct

5.        Sugata - skilful in leaving the world through liberation

6.        Lokavid - perfect and complete understanding of all worldly Dharma

7.        Anuttara - unsurpassed knights

8.        Purusa-damya-sarathi - taming heroes

9.        Sasta deramanusyanam - teachers of gods and people

10.     Buddha-lokanatha or Bhagaran - Buddha, the World Honored Ones


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