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Glossary of Buddhism

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Six Principles of Harmony Share the same viewpoints or goals Observe the same precepts Live and practice together in harmoniously Not quarrel Experience the inner peace and happiness from practicing together harmoniousness To share benefits equally.
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1,334,000,000 (1.3 billion) years. Often expressed as the time it would take for a mountain of solid rock of ten cubic leagues to wear down if the tip of a heavenly maiden’s delicate tunic brushed against it every hundred years. A fantastically long period of time.


Condition or cause of pain, distress and suffering which disturbs the body and mind.

Amitabha (Sanskrit)

The name if the Buddha of the Western Pure Land, primary meaning Infinite Life and Light.

Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi (Sanskrit)

Highest, proper and complete enlightenment.

Arhat (Sanskrit)

One who has reached self-realization, a state in which one possesses no erroneous perceptions, views, speech or behavior.


Fixed to certain ideas or objects.

Bodhi Mind (Sanskrit)

The great compassionate and sincere mind, with every thought to attain complete self-realization for self and other.

Bodhisattva (Sanskrit)

One who helps others to reach realization after achieving their own. One who delays achieving Buddhahood in order to help sentient beings. An example is Guanyin Bodhisattva, vowing to never rest until she had freed all sentient beings from saṃsāra.

Buddha (Sanskrit)

One who has reached perfection in both self-realization and helping others to reach realization.


False beliefs, wrong views.

Dharma (Sanskrit)

  1. The teachings of the Buddha (generally capitalized in English).
  2. Things, events, phenomena, everything.
  3. Duty, law, doctrine.

Dharma-ending Age

The Dharma Perfect Age began with Buddha Shakyamuni’s demise and lasted five hundred years, during which Enlightenment was often attained. The Dharama Semblance Age began after that and lasted one thousand years, during which Enlightenment was seldom attained. The Daharma Ending Age that we are now in began after that and will last for ten thousand years during which Enlightenment will rarely be attained.


Metaphor for all the mundane things that can cloud our self-nature.

Eight Afflictions

Absence of embarrassment and shamefulness, and the presence of jealously, stinginess, misdeeds, drowsiness, sleep and agitation.

Eighth Ground Bodhisattva

There are ten levels of grounds of a Bodhisattva‘s enlightenment which summarize the most important steps in a Bodhisattva’s path right before attaining Buddhahood. Some say it is at this level that Bodhisattvas reach the stage of non-regression: the level at which they will never retreat from the Bodhisattva path.

Four Universal Vows of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas

  1. Sentient beings are innumerable, I vow to help them all.
  2. Afflictions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them all.
  3. Ways to practice are boundless, I vow to master them all.
  4. Enlightenment is unsurpassable, I vow to attain it.

Five Desires

  1. Wealth
  2. Lust
  3. Food, drink
  4. Fame
  5. Sleep

Five Guidelines

  1. Following the Three Conditions
  2. Following the Six Principles of Harmony
  3. Following the Three Learnings
  4. Following the Six Paramitas or Principles
  5. Following Samantabhadra Bodhisattva’s Ten Great Vows

Good Fortune

Happiness, intelligence, well-being, prosperity etc.

Good Roots

Good qualities or seeds sown by a good life to be reaped later.

Hungry Ghost

One of the three lower realms. Hungry ghosts wander in a limbo-like state in which they can find no satisfaction for their desires, especially but not exclusively, for their hunger or thirst. One is reborn here if he or she has extreme greed.

Karma (Sanskrit)

Law of Cause and Effect, results from thought, speech and behavior.

Karma Result

The natural reward or retribution brought about by the Law of Cause and Effect (Karma).


One of the two major branches of Buddhism. Bodhisattva path of helping all sentient beings to attain universal liberation.


The great benefits (wealth, intelligence, etc.) of the human and celestial realms; therefore, they are temporary and subject to birth and death.


Are attained from one’s pure mind and enable one to transcend birth and death and lead to Buddhahood. An identical action, e.g. charity, can lead either to merit or virtue, depending on the mind of the practitioner, whether he or she is seeking ordinary rewards (merits) or transcendence (virtue)

Mindfulness of Buddha

Initially the mind remembers the Buddha and does not forget. After further cultivation, one constantly contemplates the Buddha.

Nine Realms

All ten realms minus the Buddha realm.


One who will never retreat from the Bodhisattva path, some say it is not reached until the eighth of the ten grounds of a Bodhisattva.


Things, events, happenings, everything.

Prajna-Wisdom (Sanskrit)

Intuitive wisdom.

Pratyekabuddha (Sanskrit)

One who attains his enlightenment alone, independent of a teacher, with the objective of attaining Nirvana for him/herself.


Rules set up by the Buddha Shakyamuni to guide his students from erroneous thoughts, speech and behavior.

Pure Mind or Purity of Mind

The mind without discrimination or attachments.


Karmic punishment from erroneous thought, speech or action.

Saha World (Sanskrit)

Refers to our solar system, filled with suffering and afflictions, yet gladly endured by its inhabitants.

Samadhi (Sanskrit)

Meditative absorption. Usually denotes the particular final stage of pure concentration and contemplation. There are many degrees and types of Samadhi.

Samsara (Sanskrit)

The continual repetitive cycle of birth and death that arises from ordinary beings.

Sangha (Sanskrit)

Group of four or more people who properly practice the Buddha’s teachings together, especially the Six Principles of Harmony.


Language of ancient India.

Sastra (Sanskrit)

Commentary on sutras primarily by Bodhisattvas.


Our original, true self that we still have, but it is currently covered by deluded thoughts.


No wandering thoughts. A Bodhi Mind. Be considerate of others. Discard or lessen desires and attachments.

Sentient Being

A living being that is aware of itself and can experience feeling or sensation.

Six Paramitas or Principles

  1. Giving
  2. Precept observation
  3. Patience
  4. Diligence
  5. Concentration
  6. Wisdom

Six Principles of Harmony

  1. Share the same viewpoints or goals
  2. Observe the same precepts
  3. Live and practice together in harmoniously
  4. Not quarrel
  5. Experience the inner peace and happiness from practicing together harmoniousness
  6. To share benefits equally.

Six Realms

Three upper realms are heavens, asuras and humans. Three lower realms are animals, hungry ghosts and hells.

Six Senses

Sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and mind object.

Six Senses Objects

Form, sound, scent, taste, texture and mind object.

Six Senses Organs

Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, body and mind.


Teaching by the Buddha, initially given verbally, later compiled and written down by the Buddha’s students.


A title of the Buddha, used by his followers, and also by himself when speaking of himself. Its derivation is doubtful, but usually derived from tatha-agata (thus come), or tatha-gata (thus gone), and given the meaning “He who has come and gone as former Buddhas”

Ten Directions

North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South, Southwest, West, Northwest, above and below.

Ten Good Conducts

  1. No killing
  2. No stealing
  3. No sexual misconduct
  4. No lying
  5. No abusive language
  6. No backbiting
  7. No seductive words
  8. No greed
  9. No anger
  10. No ignorance

Ten Great Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva

  1. Pay respect to all Buddhas
  2. Praise “Thus Come One”
  3. Make offerings extensively
  4. Repent of Karmic obstacles
  5. Be joyful over others meritorious deeds
  6. Appeal to the Buddha to turn the Dharma Wheel
  7. Request the Buddha to reside in this world
  8. Constantly be a diligent follower of the Buddha’s teachings
  9. According with all sentient beings
  10. Dedicate all merits.

Three Conditions

  1. The first includes being filial and respectful to one’s parents and teachers, being compassionate and not killing any living beings, and the Ten Good Conducts.
  2. The second is following the Three Refugesprecepts, laws and customs, and conducting oneself in a proper and dignified manner.
  3. Third is generating the Bodi Mind, deeply believing in the Law of Cause and Effect, reciting and upholding Mahayana sutras, and encouraging others to advance on the path of Enlightenment.

Three Learnings

  1. Self-discipline
  2. Concentration
  3. Wisdom

Three Refuges

We take refuge in the BuddhaDharma and Sangha.

When we take refuge in the Buddha, we are returning from our deluded state of mind and relying upon an awakened understanding mind.

When we take refuge in the Dharma, we are returning from deviant views and relying upon proper views and understanding.

When we take refuge in the Sangha, we are returning from pollution and disharmony and relying upon purity of mind and the Six Principles of Harmony.

Western Pure Land

World created by Buddha Amitabha. An ideal place of cultivation, those who are born the are no longer subject to reincarnation.