The following Buddhist terms are mainly based on the Foguang Dacidian (Buddha's light dictionary, 佛光大辭典); A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms (中英佛學辭典), compiled by William Edward Soothill and Lewis Hodous; and the Online Buddhist Dictionary (在線佛學辭典).
ācārya (阿闍梨). A teacher, or an eminent monk who guides his students in conduct and sets an example. To receive the complete monastic precepts, three ācāryas must be present: (1) a preceptor ācārya (得戒和尚), who imparts the precepts; (2) a karma ācārya (羯磨阿闍梨), who directs the precept recipients in the ceremony; (3) an instructor ācārya (教授阿闍梨), who teaches them the right conduct and procedures.
Four Abidings of Mindfulness (四念住, 四念處). One practices śamatha and vipaśyanā with one’s mindfulness abiding in four places: body, sensory experiences, mind, and dharmas.
voice-hearer fruits (聲聞果).
affliction (kleśa, 煩惱). Something that agitates one’s mind, resulting in evil karmas done with one’s body and/or voice. The three root afflictions, called the three poisons, are (1) greed, (2) anger, and (3) delusion. Derived from these three are (4) arrogance, (5) doubt, and (6) wrong views. The list can be extended to ten by distinguishing five kinds of wrong views: (6) the self-view that an embodied self exists in a person composed of the five aggregates and that this self owns the five aggregates and things perceived as external; (7) the diametric view of perpetuity or cessation; (8) the evil view of no causality; (9) the preceding three wrong views, plus certain inferior views; (10) observance of useless precepts, such as staying naked, covering oneself with ashes, imitating cows or dogs, and self-harm, futilely hoping to achieve a better rebirth. These ten afflictions drive sentient beings. The first five are called the chronic drivers (鈍使), which can be removed gradually; they are also called thinking confusions (思惑) because they arise from one’s thinking of self, others, or both. The last five are called the acute drivers (利使), which can be removed quickly; they are also called view confusions (見惑). Ignorance of the truth is the root of all afflictions.
agalloch (沉水). The fragrant, resinous wood of an East Indian tree, aquilaria agallocha, also called agarwood, used as incense in the Orient. It is called in China the sink-in-water fragrant wood.
Akaniṣṭha Heaven (阿迦尼吒天), or Ultimate Form Heaven (色究竟天). It is the top heaven (有頂天) of the eighteen heavens in the form realm.
ālaya-vijñāna (阿賴耶識). The store consciousness (藏識), also known as the eighth consciousness, which stores the pure, impure, and neutral seeds of one’s experience without a beginning. These seeds manifest as causes and conditions that lead to karmic events in one’s life, which in turn become seeds. Maintaining the physical and mental life of a sentient being, ālaya is neither different from nor the same as the physical body. As the base of the other seven consciousnesses (see eighteen spheres), ālaya is the root consciousness (mūla-vijñāna). After one’s death, ālaya may either immediately manifest a rebirth according to karmic forces and conditions or first produce an ethereal interim body, which can last up to forty-nine days, pending the right karmic conditions for a rebirth. Ālaya is also identified with the Tathāgata store (Tathāgata-garbha) as well as Buddha nature (see true suchness). The seeds in a Buddha’s mind are all pure seeds which no longer change, and the name ālaya-vijñāna is then changed to amala-vijñāna, the stainless consciousness.
Anāthapiṇḍika (給孤獨). Provider for the Deprived, a name given to the Elder Sudatta for his generosity to the poor and forlorn. He bought a garden from Prince Jeta as an offering to the Buddha.
anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi (阿耨多羅三藐三菩提). The unsurpassed, equally perfect enlightenment (無上正等正覺). Anuttara means unsurpassed; samyak is derived from the stem samyañc, which means same or identical; saṁbodhi means perfect enlightenment. Equally means that the perfect enlightenment of all Buddhas is the same. The third epithet of a Buddha is Samyak-Saṁbuddha, the Equally, Perfectly Enlightened One.
anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind (阿耨多羅三藐三菩提心). The resolve to attain the unsurpassed, equally perfect enlightenment, to benefit self and others.
apasamāra (阿波悉魔羅). A ghost that scares children.
araṇya (阿蘭若). A forest, or a quiet remote place for spiritual training. One who stays in such a place is called an āraṇyaka (阿蘭若迦). Such a way of life is called the araṇya way, which is one of the twelve dhūta practices. A temple in an area away from urban noise is also called an araṇya.
Arhat (阿羅漢). A voice-hearer who has attained the fourth and highest fruit on the Liberation Way (see voice-hearer fruits) by shattering his fixation on having an autonomous self and eradicating all his afflictions. A Buddha is also an Arhat, but not vice versa (see bodhi). As the second of a Buddha’s ten epithets, Arhat means worthy of offerings.
arrogance (慢). Arrogance has seven types: (1) arrogance (慢) is vaunting one’s superiority over inferiors; (2) over-arrogance (過慢) is asserting one’s superiority over equals; (3) arrogant over-arrogance (慢過慢) is alleging one’s superiority over superiors; (4) self-arrogance (我慢) is the root of all other arrogances, considering oneself by definition to be superior to others; (5) exceeding arrogance (增上慢) is alleging realization of truth one has not realized; (6) humility-camouflaged arrogance (卑慢) is admitting slight inferiority to those who are much superior; and (7) evil arrogance (邪慢) is boasting of virtues one does not have.
asaṁkhyeya (阿僧祇). Innumerable, or an exceedingly large number.
asaṁskṛta (無為). Not formed or made through causes and conditions. Although asaṁskṛta is an antonym of saṁskṛta (有為), the asaṁskṛta dharma is the true reality of saṁskṛta dharmas, not their opposite.
asura (阿修羅). A sub-god or non-god. An asura may assume the form of god, human, animal, or hungry ghost. Given to anger and jealousy, an asura is considered more an evil life-journey than a good one.
attuning thought (一念相應). Actually not a thought. In a flash of attunement, one enters a non-dual state, realizing one’s true mind and/or seeing one’s Buddha nature. In Chán Buddhism, experiencing an attuning thought means breaking through the first or the second gateless gate.
Avīci Hell (阿鼻地獄). The last of the eight hot hells. It is a hell of uninterrupted suffering for those who have committed grave sins, such as the five rebellious sins.
avinivartanīya (阿鞞跋致). The spiritual level from which a Bodhisattva will never regress (不退). Bodhisattvas with the first six or more of the ten faithful minds will never regress from faith; Bodhisattvas at the seventh and higher levels of abiding will never abandon the Mahāyāna; Bodhisattvas on the first and higher grounds will never lose their spiritual realization; Bodhisattvas on the eighth and higher grounds will never lose their mindfulness, and their progress will be effortless (see stages of the Bodhisattva Way).
Bhagavān (薄伽梵). The tenth epithet of a Buddha is Buddha-Bhagavān, or Buddha the World-Honored One.
bhikṣu (比丘). A fully ordained monk in the Buddha’s Order, who observes, in the Mahāyāna tradition, 250 monastic precepts.
bhikṣuṇī (比丘尼). A fully ordained nun in the Buddha’s Order, who observes, in the Mahāyāna tradition, 500 monastic precepts.
birth-death (jāti-maraṇa, 生死). See saṁsāra.
bloom of requital (花報). Preliminary requital for a grave sin. It will be followed in another life by the main requital called the fruition of requital (果報). For example, the death penalty for a murderer is the bloom of requital, and his next life in hell is the fruition of requital. His following unfortunate rebirths as hungry ghosts, animals, and wretched humans can be described as the residue requital (餘報). On the positive side, through the good karma of spiritual training, one’s rebirth in the Pure Land is the bloom of requital, and one’s eventual attainment of Buddhahood is the fruition of requital.
bodhi (菩提). Enlightenment or unsurpassed wisdom. There are three kinds of bodhi, corresponding to the enlightenment of holy beings who ride the Three Vehicles: (1) the bodhi of a voice-hearer who has attained Arhatship; (2) the greater bodhi of a Pratyekabuddha; (3) the greatest bodhi of a Buddha. In old translations, bodhi is translated into Chinese as the Way (道), which should be distinguished from the path (mārga).
bodhi mind (bodhi-citta, 菩提心). See anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind.
bodhimaṇḍa (道場). The bodhi place, which refers to the vajra seat of a Buddha sitting under the bodhi tree where He attains Buddhahood. In a general sense, it is a place for spiritual learning and practice, such as a temple or one’s home. In a profound sense, since the Way to Buddhahood is one’s mind, all sentient beings are bodhi places.
Bodhisattva (菩薩). A bodhi being who is resolved to attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi, to benefit himself and others. Riding the Great Vehicle (Mahāyāna) on the Bodhisattva Way, he accumulates merits by helping and teaching others and develops wisdom by hearing and pondering the Dharma, and carrying it out.
Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva (菩薩摩訶薩). A holy Bodhisattva who is a mahāsattva (great being) because of his great vows, great actions, and the great number of sentient beings he delivers.
Bodhisattva precepts (菩薩戒). Precepts for both lay and monastic Buddhists who ride the Mahāyāna. They are called the three clusters of pure precepts (tri-vidhāni śīlāni, 三聚淨戒), consisting of (1) restraining precepts, (2) precepts for doing good dharmas, and (3) precepts for benefiting sentient beings. The first cluster is to prevent negative actions, and the other two are to cultivate the positive qualities essential to the development of a Bodhisattva. Bodhisattva precepts vary with their sources. In the Brahma Net Sūtra (T24n1484), there are ten major and forty-eight minor precepts; in the Sūtra of the Upāsaka Precepts (T24n1488), there are six major and twenty-eight minor precepts. Chinese monastic Buddhists observe the former set of Bodhisattva precepts. Lay Buddhists may choose to accept either set of Bodhisattva precepts.
Brahmā (梵). Purity, or freedom from desire. It is deified in Hinduism as the Creator. The Brahma way of life in the desire realm is celibacy.
Brahma gods (梵天). Gods who have only pure desires reside in the Brahma World (brahma-loka), i.e., all heavens in the form realm or the first of its four dhyāna heavens. The first dhyāna heaven comprises three heavens: Brahma Multitude (Brahma-pāriṣadya), Brahma Minister (Brahma-purohita), and Great Brahmā (Mahābrahmā). The Brahma-king Śikhin, assisted by his ministers, rules all Brahma gods in these three heavens (see eighteen heavens in the form realm).
Brahmin (婆羅門). A member of the highest of the four Indian castes. As a priest, a Brahmin officiates at religious rites and teaches Vedic literature.
Buddha (佛). The Enlightened One. According to the Mahāyāna tradition, Śākyamuni Buddha (circa 563–483 BCE) is the present one in a line of past and future Buddhas. Each Buddha has a particular name, such as Śākyamuni, to suit the needs of sentient beings of His time. The ten epithets common to all Buddhas are (1) Tathāgata (Thus-Come One or Thus-Gone One), (2) Arhat (Worthy of Offerings), (3) Samyak-Saṁbuddha (Equally, Perfectly Enlightened One), (4) Vidyācaraṇa-Sampanna (Knowledge and Conduct Perfected), (5) Sugata (Well-Arrived One or Well-Gone One), (6) Lokavid (Understanding the World), (7) Anuttara (Unsurpassed One), (8) Puruṣa-Damya-Sārathi (Tamer of Men), (9) Śāstā Deva-Manuṣyāṇām (Teacher of Gods and Humans), and (10) Buddha-Bhagavān (Buddha the World-Honored One).
Buddha-crown (buddhoṣṇīṣa, 佛頂), or Tathāgata-crown (tathāgatoṣṇīṣa). A fleshy mound on the crown of a Buddha’s head, which is one of the thirty-two physical marks of a Buddha, a sign resulting from countless lives of doing good dharmas and teaching others to do so. The same term also refers to the invisible top of a Buddha’s head, which is one of the eighty excellent characteristics of a Buddha, a sign resulting from countless lives of venerating, praising, and making obeisance to innumerable holy beings, teachers, and parents. The invisible Buddha-crown signifies one’s true mind, which is free from causes and conditions.
Buddha Vehicle (Buddha-yāna, 佛乘). The destination of the Great Vehicle (Mahāyāna) is Buddhahood, so it is also called the Buddha Vehicle. In the Lotus Sūtra (T09n0262), the Buddha introduces the One Vehicle (eka-yāna, 一乘), declaring that not only riders of the Two Vehicles but all sentient beings will eventually attain Buddhahood.
bhūta (部多). A living being or the ghost of a deceased person.
Cause Ground (因地). It means the training ground of a Bodhisattva before attaining Buddhahood, the Fruit (Result) Ground, or the Buddha Ground. It may also refer to the training ground of a Bodhisattva before ascending to the first ground (see stages of the Bodhisattva Way).
chamber of great compassion (大悲精室). One’s own mind of great compassion. In the Lotus Sūtra (T09n0262), chapter 10, it is called the Tathāgata’s chamber.
character-type (gotra, 種性). The Sanskrit word gotra means family. According to the Sūtra of the Garland of a Bodhisattva’s Primary Karmas (T24n1485), Bodhisattvas are classified into five character-types, corresponding to the middle five of the seven stages of the Bodhisattva Way: (1) the learning character-type (習種性) is developed through the ten levels of abiding; (2) the nature character-type (性種性) is developed through the ten levels of action; (3) the bodhi character-type (道種性) is developed through the ten levels of transference of merit; (4) the holy character-type (聖種性) is developed through the Ten Grounds; (5) the virtually perfect enlightenment nature (等覺性) is developed when a Bodhisattva attains enlightenment that nearly equals a Buddha’s. At the seventh stage, a Bodhisattva becomes a Buddha, whose perfect enlightenment nature (妙覺性) is fully revealed. Besides, those with affinity for the Voice-Hearer Vehicle are called the voice-hearer character-type; those with affinity for the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle are called the Pratyekabuddha character-type (see Two Vehicles).
Command of the Eight Great Displays (八大自在). According to the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (T12n0375), fascicle 23, the true self of a Buddha has total command of the eight great displays: (1) one physical body can manifest many copies; (2) one physical body can fill a Large Thousandfold World; (3) this vast body can lift off and travel far; (4) it can remain in one land and manifest innumerable varieties of forms in response to sentient beings; (5) the functions of its five faculties can be interchangeable; (6) He can attain all dharmas with no attachment to any attainment; (7) He can expound the meaning of one stanza for innumerable kalpas; (8) His body can pervade everywhere, like space.
cow dung (gomaya, 瞿摩夷). It is considered a pure substance.
Cundī Bodhisattva (准提菩薩). One of the six special forms of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva (Guanyin in Chinese), who is forever active in delivering sentient beings that transmigrate through the six life-journeys. Hailed as mother of seven koṭi Buddhas, Cundī is portrayed in female form with three eyes and eighteen arms, adorned with a white conch shell on her wrist. In text 1076 (T20n1076), the Buddha states that cun means the unsurpassed enlightenment; di means that all phenomena are illusions, irrelevant to being accepted or rejected; Cundī means the inherent purity of the nature of one’s true mind.
deliverance (度). Liberation achieved by crossing over to that shore of nirvāṇa from this shore of saṁsāra. Those who have achieved deliverance are Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas, and Buddhas. The first two have achieved the liberation fruit and the bodhi fruit for themselves. Buddhas have achieved not only the liberation fruit for themselves but also the great bodhi fruit of omniscience, for delivering sentient beings.
dhāraṇī (陀羅尼). Usually in the form of a long mantra, it means total retention (總持). With excellent memory, samādhi, and wisdom, A Bodhisattva has the inconceivable power to unite all dharmas and hold all meanings. He can not only retain all good dharmas but also stop the rise of evil dharmas.
dharma (法). (1) The teachings of a Buddha (the word dharma in this meaning is capitalized in English); (2) law; (3) anything (mental, physical, event); (4) a mental object of consciousness, such as a thought.
dharma eye (法眼). The spiritual eye that not only penetrates the true reality of all things but also discriminates all things. Bodhisattvas who have realized that dharmas have no birth ascend to the first ground and acquire the pure dharma eye, with which they continue to help sentient beings according to their natures and preferences (see five eyes).
dharma realm (dharma-dhātu, 法界). It includes all saṁskṛta and asaṁskṛta dharmas. The Huayan School of China classifies the dharma realm into five dharma realms: (1) saṁskṛta, (2) asaṁskṛta, (3) both saṁskṛta and asaṁskṛta, (4) neither saṁskṛta nor asaṁskṛta, and (5) hindrance free. The Tiantai School of China, basing on different minds, recognizes ten dharma realms: (1) hell-dwellers, (2) hungry ghosts, (3) animals, (4) humans, (5) asuras, (6) gods, (7) voice-hearers, (8) Pratyekabuddhas, (9) Bodhisattvas, and (10) Buddhas. All dharma realms are encompassed in the one true dharma realm, one’s true mind, which is hindrance free and beyond purity and impurity.
Dharma Seal (dharma-mudrā, 法印). Buddhist teachings are summarized in Dharma Seals, against which other doctrines should be measured. The Four Dharma Seals are as follows: (1) processes are impermanent; (2) experiences boil down to suffering; (3) dharmas have no self; (4) nirvāṇa is silence and stillness. Because suffering is the consequence of the impermanence of a sentient being and everything in its life, including itself, the second Dharma Seal can be omitted from the list to make the Three Dharma Seals. Five Dharma Seals can be established by adding a fifth Dharma Seal: (5) dharmas are empty. In the Mahāyāna doctrine, all these seals are integrated into one, the one true reality.
Dharma vessel (法器). (1) A person capable of accepting and learning the Buddha Dharma. (2) A Buddhist ritual object, such a drum, a bell, or a wooden fish.
dhūta (頭陀). Shaken off. To shake off one’s desire for creature comfort in food, clothing, and shelter, one follows these twelve rules as a way of life: (1) beg for food; (2) beg for food from one door to the next without discrimination; (3) eat only one meal a day, at noon; (4) eat with moderation in quantity; (5) do not drink liquids after lunch; (6) wear clothes made of cast-away rags; (7) keep only three garments; (8) live in a quiet remote area; (9) live among graves; (10) live under a tree; (11) sit on open ground under the open sky; (12) sit, without reclining.
dhyāna (禪). Meditation. Meditation above the desire-realm level is generally classified into four levels, called the four dhyānas (四禪) of the form realm. In the first dhyāna, one’s mind is undisturbed by the pleasures of the desire realm, but it has coarse and subtle perception. In the second dhyāna, there is bliss in meditation. In the third dhyāna, there is subtle joy after abandoning the bliss of the second dhyāna. In the fourth dhyāna, one’s mind is in pure meditation, free from any subtle feelings or movements. Each level of dhyāna is also called the Root Samādhi, from which will grow virtues, such as the Four Immeasurable Minds and the eight liberations (see the four samādhis of the formless realm).
dhyāna with appearance (有相禪). Meditation supported by the appearance of a mental object. One can focus one’s attention on a point of the body, count the breaths, recite mantra syllables silently, gaze at an object, or visualize an object.
dhyāna without appearance (無相禪). Meditation unsupported by the appearance of any mental object. One can ponder true suchness without thoughts or think of a Buddha without saying His name or visualizing His body.
discharge (āsrava, 漏). Outflow of afflictions, characteristic of sentient beings engaged in their cycle of birth and death. For example, anger is an affliction in one’s mind, which is discharged through one’s body and voice. Any discharge is a display of one’s affliction, and it does not decrease affliction.
dragon (nāga, 龍). (1) A serpent-like sea creature, which can take a little water and pour down rains. (2) A symbol of one’s true mind in the statement that the great nāga is always in samādhi, never moving. An Arhat is likened to the great dragon.
duṣkṛta (突吉羅). A wrongdoing, considered a minor sin. If one commits a duṣkṛta intentionally, one must repent to only one person in private. If unintentional, one needs only to repent to oneself.
eight classes of Dharma protectors (八部護法). The nonhuman protectors of the Dharma are gods, dragons, gandharvas, asuras, yakṣas, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, and mahoragas.
eight difficulties (八難). One has either no opportunity or no motivation to see a Buddha or hear His Dharma, while in any of the eight difficulties: (1) as a hell-dweller; (2) as a hungry ghost; (3) as an animal; (4) as an inhabitant of Uttarakuru, the northern continent, where life is too pleasant; (5) in deep meditation in a formless heaven; (6) being blind, deaf, or mute; (7) as a worldly eloquent intellectual; (8) in the period between the presence of one Buddha and that of the next.
eight evil ways (八邪行). The opposite of the Eightfold Right Path. They are (1) evil views, (2) evil thinking, (3) evil speech, (4) evil action, (5) evil livelihood, (6) evil endeavor, (7) evil mindfulness, and (8) evil samādhi.
eight holy ranks (八聖). See voice-hearer fruits.
eight liberations (aṣṭa-vimokṣa, 八解脫, 八背捨). Through samādhi power, one successively achieves eight liberations from one’s greed for rebirth in the form and formless realms: (1) liberation from perceptible desires for form by visualizing the impurity of external objects; (2) liberation from imperceptible desires for form by visualizing the impurity of external objects; (3) liberation from all desires for form by visualizing the purity of external objects; (4) liberation from visualization of the purity of external objects through the mental state of boundless space; (5) liberation from the state of boundless space through the mental state of boundless consciousness; (6) liberation from the state of boundless consciousness through the mental state of nothingness; (7) liberation from the state of nothingness through the mental state of neither with nor without perception; and (8) liberation from the state of neither with nor without perception through the mental state of total suspension of sensory reception and perception. Liberations 1 and 2 correspond to the first two dhyānas, and liberation 3 corresponds to the fourth dhyāna. The third dhyāna is not used because one’s mind is not vigilant in a subtle joyful state. Liberations 4–7 correspond to the four samādhis in the formless realm (see samādhi), and liberation 8 is the liberation samādhi attained by an Arhat.
eight precepts (aṣṭa-śīla, 八關齋戒). Besides the five precepts, which are observed for life at all times, lay Buddhists may accept the eight precepts. They should observe them regularly each lunar month on the six purification days. The eight precepts are (1) no killing; (2) no stealing; (3) no sex; (4) no lying; (5) no drinking alcohol; (6) no wearing perfumes or adornments, and no singing, dancing, or watching song-dance entertainments; (7) no sleeping on a luxurious bed; and (8) no eating after lunch, until morning. Note that the third of the eight precepts is no sex whereas the third of the five precepts is no sexual misconduct. Observing these eight prohibitions (關) for 24 hours at a time, one abstains (齋) not only from sins prohibited by the five precepts but also from sensory gratification.
eight tones (八音). The Tathāgata’s Brahma tone has eight qualities: (1) fine, (2) gentle, (3) harmonious, (4) awe-inspiring, (5) manly, (6) error-free, (7) far-reaching, and (8) carrying immeasurable meaning.
eight winds (八風). One’s love or hate is fanned by the eight winds: (1) advantage, (2) disadvantage, (3) fame, (4) infamy, (5) praise, (6) scorn, (7) pleasure, and (8) pain.
eighteen emptinesses (十八空). Given in the Mahā-prajñā-pāramitā Sūtra (T08n0223, 0218c17) is the emptiness of (1) the insides of the body; (2) anything outside of the body; (3) the appearance of inside or outside; (4) the preceding three emptinesses; (5) the four domains; (6) the highest truth [nirvāṇa]; (7) that which is saṁskṛta; (8) that which is asaṁskṛta; (9) the preceding eight emptinesses; (10) sentient beings without a beginning; (11) a composite thing disassembled; (12) self-essence of anything; (13) general and particular appearances of anything; (14) dharmas that make up a sentient being, such as the five aggregates, the twelve fields, and the eighteen spheres; (15) dharmas, which can never be captured; (16) existence; (17) nonexistence; and (18) the appearance of existence or nonexistence (see two emptinesses).
Eighteen Exclusive Dharmas (aṣṭādaśa-āveṇika-dharma, 十八不共法). Only Buddhas have these eighteen attainments, which Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas, and Bodhisattvas do not have. They include (1–3) perfection in conduct, speech, and mindfulness; (4) impartiality to all; (5) constant serenity; (6) equability toward sensory experiences; (7) unceasing desire to deliver sentient beings; (8) inexhaustible energy for helping sentient beings; (9) unfailing memory of the Buddha Dharma; (10) perfect wisdom in everything; (11) total liberation from afflictions and habits; (12) perfect knowledge and views of liberation; (13–15) perfect body karmas, voice karmas, and mind karmas, led by wisdom; (16–18) perfect knowledge of the past, present, and future. Another set of eighteen includes the Ten Powers, the Four Fearlessnesses, the Threefold Mindfulness of Equality, and the Great Compassion. The Threefold Mindfulness of Equality means that a Buddha’s mind abides in equality toward (1) those who listen to the Dharma reverently, (2) those who listen to the Dharma irreverently, and (3) these two groups.
eighteen heavens in the form realm (色界十八天), or eighteen Brahma heavens. Gods with pure desires reside in the form realm, in eighteen heavens, classified into four dhyāna heavens (四禪天), or four levels of meditation. The first dhyāna heaven comprises three heavens: Brahma Multitude (Brahma-pāriṣadya), Brahma Minister (Brahma-purohita), and Great Brahmā (Mahābrahmā). The second dhyāna heaven comprises three heavens: Limited Light (Parīttābha), Infinite Light (Apramāṇābha), and Pure Radiance (Ābhāsvara). The third dhyāna heaven comprises three heavens: Limited Splendor (Parīttaśubha), Infinite Splendor (Apramāṇaśubha), and Pervasive Splendor (Śubhakṛtsna). The fourth dhyāna heaven comprises nine heavens: Cloudless (Anabhraka), Merit Arising (Puṇyaprasava), Massive Fruition (Bṛhatphala), No Perception (Asaṁjña), No Vexation (Avṛha), No Heat (Atapa), Good Appearance (Sudṛśa), Good Vision (Sudarśana), Ultimate (Akaniṣṭha). The top five are the five pure-abode heavens (see Three Realms of Existence).
eighteen spheres (aṣṭādaśa-dhātu, 十八界). A sentient being is composed of the eighteen spheres: the six faculties (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mental faculty [manas]), the six sense objects (sights, sounds, scents, flavors, tactile sensations, and mental objects), and the six consciousnesses (eye consciousness, ear consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness, body consciousness, and mental consciousness). Mental consciousness, the sixth consciousness, functions by itself as well as together with the first five consciousnesses. As the eye is the physical base from which eye consciousness arises, likewise manas (mental faculty) is the mental base from which mental consciousness arises. In the Mahāyāna doctrine, manas is also designated as the seventh consciousness, which has four inborn defilements: (1) self-delusion (我癡), (2) self-love (我愛), (3) self-view (我見), and (4) self-arrogance (我慢). Ālaya, the eighth consciousness, though not explicitly included in the eighteen spheres, is the root of them all.
Eightfold Right Path (八正道). The right path to one’s liberation from one’s cycle of birth and death includes (1) right views, (2) right thinking, (3) right speech, (4) right actions, (5) right livelihood, (6) right effort, (7) right mindfulness, and (8) right meditative absorption (samādhi). Paths 1–2 educate one with understanding, paths 3–5 establish one on the ground of morality, paths 7–8 develop one’s mental power and wisdom through meditation, and path 6 is applied to the other seven paths of training.
emptiness (śūnyatā, 空). The lack of self-essence (independent inherent existence) of any dharma that arises and perishes through causes and conditions. Emptiness is not nothingness because it does not deny the illusory existence of all things. The non-duality of emptiness and manifestations, and of nirvāṇa and saṁsāra, is the Middle View of the Mahāyāna doctrine (see two emptinesses).
endurance of dharmas (法忍). It includes endurance of persecution and suffering, and continued acceptance of the truth that dharmas are never born.
Endurance in the Realization That Dharmas Have No Birth (無生法忍). The lasting realization of the truth that dharmas have neither birth nor death as they appear and disappear through causes and conditions (see Three Endurances in the Dharma).
Five Āgamas (五阿含). An Āgama is a collection of early Buddhist scriptures. The Five Āgamas in the Chinese Canon are the Dīrgha Āgama (long discourses), the Madhyama Āgama (middle-length discourses), the Saṁyukta Āgama (connected discourses), the Ekottarika Āgama (discourses ordered by the number of dharmas in each discourse), and the Kṣudraka Āgama (minor discourses). They are parallel but not identical to the Five Nikāyas in the Pāli Canon, which are the Dīgha Nikāya, the Majjhima Nikāya, the Saṁyutta Nikāya, the Aṅguttara Nikāya, and the Khuddaka Nikāya.
five aggregates (pañca-skandha, 五蘊, 五陰). A sentient being is composed of the five aggregates: rūpa (form), vedanā (sensory reception), saṁjñā (perception), saṁskāra (mental processing), and vijñāna (consciousness). The first one is material and the other four are mental. Since these four are non-form (非色), thus present in name only, the five aggregates are summarized as name and form (名色). Skandha (蘊) in Sanskrit also means that which covers or conceals (陰), and the regular working of the five skandhas conceals true reality from a sentient being.
five coverings (pañca-āvaraṇa, 五蓋). One’s true mind is covered up by (1) greed, (2) anger, (3) stupor, (4) restlessness, and (5) doubt.
five desires (五欲). One’s desires for pleasures in the five sense objects are (1) sights, (2) sounds, (3) scents, (4) flavors, and (5) tactile sensations. One also has the desire for pleasure in (6) mental objects, verbal or nonverbal, coarse or fine. Humans are driven especially by their desires for (1) riches, (2) sex, (3) reputation, (4) food and drink, and (5) sleep. These are impure desires in the desire realm, and there are pure desires in the form and formless realms.
five eyes (pañca-cakṣu, 五眼). These are (1) the physical eye, which a sentient being is born with; (2) the god eye, which can see anything anywhere; (3) the wisdom eye, which can see the emptiness of dharmas; (4) the dharma eye, which can discriminate all dharmas; and (5) the Buddha eye of omniscience, which includes the preceding four at the highest level (see three kinds of wisdom-knowledge).
five faculties (pañca-indrya, 五根). The first five of the six faculties.
five kinds of wisdom-knowledge (pañca-jñāna, 五智). According to esoteric teachings, a Buddha has acquired (1) the nature-of-the-dharma-realm wisdom-knowledge [dharma-dhātu-svabhāva-jñāna], (2) the mirror-like wisdom-knowledge [ādarśa-jñāna], (3) the equality wisdom-knowledge [samatā-jñāna], (4) the discernment wisdom-knowledge [pratyavekṣaṇā-jñāna], and (5) the accomplishment wisdom-knowledge [kṛtyānuṣṭhāna-jñāna]. According to the Consciousness-Only School, the last four kinds of wisdom-knowledge (catvāri-jñāna) are respectively transformed from the eighth, seventh, sixth, and the first five consciousnesses.
five precepts (pañca-śīla, 五戒). For lay Buddhists, the five precepts are (1) no killing, (2) no stealing, (3) no sexual misconduct, (4) no lying, and (5) no drinking alcohol.
five rebellious acts or sins (五逆). These are (1) patricide, (2) matricide, (3) killing an Arhat, (4) shedding the blood of a Buddha (including maligning His Dharma), and (5) destroying the harmony of a Saṅgha. They are also called the karma of the five no interruptions because any of them drives one into Avīci Hell, the hell of the five no interruptions.
five studies (pañca-vidyā, 五明). These are (1) language and composition, (2) science and technology, (3) medical arts, (4) logic, and (5) inner knowledge in a certain discipline.
five sūtras and one treatise (五經一論). The Pure Land School follows (1) the Sūtra of Amitāyus Buddha (T12n0360); (2) the Sūtra of Amitābha Buddha (T12n0366); (3) the Sūtra of Visualization of Amitāyus Buddha (T12n0365); (4) “Great Might Arrived Bodhisattva’s Thinking-of-Buddhas as the Perfect Passage” (a subsection in fascicle 5 of the Śūraṅgama Sūtra [T19n0945]); (5) “The Universally Worthy Action Vow” (fascicle 40 of the 40-fascicle version of the Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of Buddha Adornment [T10n0293]); and (6) the Upadeśa on the Sūtra of Amitāyus Buddha (T26n1524). English translations of these six texts are in Thinking of Amitābha Buddha (Rulu 2012b, 35–130).
five tones (五音). The five pitches on the pentatonic scale. This scale is used all over the world. In Chinese music, the five tones on the major pentatonic scale are called gong (宮), shang (商), jue (角), zhi (徵), yu (羽), approximately C, D, E, G, A on the heptatonic scale.
five transcendental powers (五通). Through meditation, one can develop these powers: (1) the god eye to see anything anywhere; (2) the god ear to hear any sound anywhere; (3) the ability to know the past lives of self and others; (4) the ability to know the thoughts of others; (5) the ability to transform one’s body and to travel instantly to any place.
five turbidities (pañca-kaṣāya, 五濁). The five kinds of degeneracy which begin, in a decreasing kalpa, when human lifespan has decreased from 80,000 years to 20,000 years, and become more severe as human lifespan decreases to 10 years. They are (1) the turbidity of a kalpa in decay, which is characterized by the next four turbidities; (2) the turbidity of views, such as the five wrong views; (3) the turbidity of afflictions, including greed, anger, delusion, arrogance, and doubt; (4) the turbidity of sentient beings that live a wicked life and are in increasing suffering; (5) the turbidity of human lifespan as it decreases to 10 years. The wrong views in (2) and the afflictions in (3) are turbidity itself, which leads to the results in (4) and (5).
Flowers mentioned in the sūtras are listed below. A question mark next to the Chinese name of a plant indicates the failure to find its corresponding Sanskrit name. Then a Sanskrit name is constructed phonetically from Chinese.
utpala (優波羅)—blue lotus
padma (波頭摩)—red lotus
kumuda (拘物頭)—white lotus
puṇḍarīka (分陀利華)—large white lotus
atimuktaka (阿提目多花)—an herbaceous plant which has fragrant red or white blooms
campaka (瞻蔔)—the champaka (玉蘭) tree which has fragrant golden or white flowers
caṇa (栴那花)—the chickpea plant
kiṁśuka (甄叔迦)—the tree butea frondosa, or its bright orange-red flowers
locana (盧遮那花)—a certain plant
māndarāva (曼陀羅花)—the red blooms of the coral tree, considered as celestial flowers
mañjūṣaka (曼殊沙花)—the white blooms of an herbaceous plant, considered as celestial flowers
palāśa (波樓沙花)—the flaming orange blooms of a tree called butea monosperma, native to India and Southeast Asia
pāṭali (波羅羅花)—a tree which has fragrant purple flowers
sumana (須曼那華)—the jasmine plant, which has fragrant white, yellow, or red blooms
tāla (他邏)—the fan palm tree
udumbara (烏曇跋羅)—the ficus glomerata, a tree that produces fruit with hidden flowers. Hence the appearance of its bloom is likened to the rare appearance of a Buddha.
A. According to the Pāli Canon of the Theravāda School, one practices (1) mindfulness of one’s body in stillness and in motion; (2) mindfulness of one’s sensory experiences as pleasant, unpleasant, or neither; (3) mindfulness of one’s mind, from which arises greed, anger, and delusion; (4) mindfulness of one’s mental objects, including the teachings of the Buddha. Through vigilant mindfulness, one realizes that all dharmas are impermanent and that there is no self in command.
B. According to the Mahāyāna doctrine, one needs to observe that (1) the body is impure, (2) all experiences boil down to suffering, (3) the mind is constantly changing, and (4) all dharmas have no self (see right mindfulness).
four appearances (四相).
A. The four appearances of any saṁskṛta dharma are the four stages of a process: (1) arising, (2) continuing, (3) changing, and (4) ending. In the case of a sentient being, these four are (1) birth, (2) aging, (3) illness, and (4) death (see ten appearances). In the case of a world, these four are (1) formation, (2) continuation, (3) destruction, and (4) void.
B. The four appearances in the Diamond Sūtra are the four false self-images: (1) an autonomous self, (2) a person, (3) a sentient being, and (4) an everlasting soul (T080235, 0749a10–11). An autonomous self relates to everything conceived or perceived as non-self; a person has something in common with or different from other people; a sentient being has something in common with or different from other sentient beings; an everlasting soul remains the same as it assumes different bodies for different lives. The last three self-images are derived from the first. The four appearances are also called the four views (四見). In the Buddha Store Sūtra, a fifth self-image is given: (5) a living being with a lifespan (T15n0653, 0799b22–23) to terminate, preserve, or prolong.
four conditions (catuḥ-pratyaya, 四緣). A mental event requires (1) a causal condition 因緣, (2) uninterrupted continuity in the mind stream 等無間緣 (3) an object of the mind 所緣緣, and (4) contributing conditions 增上緣. A physical event requires only the first and fourth conditions. For example, for a seed to grow, the seed is the causal condition, while soil, sunlight, and water are the contributing conditions.
four continents (catur-dvīpa, 四洲). In the center of a small world in the Three Realms of Existence is Mount Sumeru. It is encircled by eight concentric mountain ranges, and these nine mountains are separated by eight oceans. Rising above the salty ocean between the outermost mountain range and the seventh inner mountain range are four large continents aligned with the four sides of Mount Sumeru. In the east is Pūrvavideha; in the south is Jambudvīpa; in the west is Aparagodānīya; in the north is Uttarakuru, where life is too pleasant for its inhabitants to seek the Dharma. Between every two large continents are two medium-sized continents and five hundred uninhabited small continents.
Four Dharmas to Rely Upon (四依法). In the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (T12n0375 [different from the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta in the Pāli Canon]), fascicle 6, the Buddha teaches us to rely upon (1) the Dharma, not an individual; (2) sūtras of definitive meaning, not those of provisional meaning; (3) the true meaning, not just the words; (4) one’s wisdom-knowledge, not consciousness. In summary, dharma means dharma nature; definitive meaning refers to Mahāyāna sūtras; true meaning refers to the eternal abiding and changelessness of the Tathāgata; wisdom-knowledge means the understanding that all sentient beings have Buddha nature.
four domains (catur-dhātu, 四界). According to ancient Indian philosophy, matter is made of the four domains—earth, water, fire, and wind—which have four corresponding appearances: solid, liquid, heat, and mobility. Hence they are also called the great seeds (mahābhūta, 大種) with the four appearances as their self-essence, or changeless qualities. In fact, these appearances are the states of matter under prevailing conditions (see six domains).
Four Drawing-in Dharmas (四攝法). To draw sentient beings into the Dharma, one should use these four skillful ways: (1) almsgiving, (2) loving words, (3) beneficial actions, and (4) collaborative work.
Four Fearlessnesses (四無畏). Only a Buddha has (1) fearlessness because knowledge of all wisdom-knowledge has been acquired; (2) fearlessness because all afflictions have been eradicated; (3) fearlessness in explaining hindrances that obstruct one’s realization of bodhi; and (4) fearlessness in explaining the right path to end one’s suffering.
four god-kings (四天王). They reside halfway up Mount Sumeru, in the first of the six desire heavens. As protectors of the world, they ward off the attacks of asuras. On the east side is Dhṛtarsaṣtra, the god-king Upholding the Kingdom; on the south side is Virūḍhaka, the god-king Increase and Growth; on the west side is Virūpākṣa, the god-king Broad Eye; and on the north side is Vaiśravaṇa, the god-king Hearing Much.
four grave prohibitions (四重禁). These are the prohibitions against committing the four grave root sins: (1) killing, (2) stealing, (3) sexual misconduct, and (4) lying, especially alleging spiritual attainment one does not have. The third root sin for monastic Buddhists is having sex.
four groups of disciples (四眾). See Saṅgha.
Four Immeasurable Minds (四無量心). These are (1) lovingkindness, (2) compassion, (3) sympathetic joy, and (4) equability.
four indestructible faiths (四不壞信). Listed in a separate translation of the Saṁyukta Āgama, one of the Five Āgamas, are the four indestructible faiths: (1) faith in the Buddha, (2) faith in the Dharma, (3) faith in the Saṅgha, and (4) faith in the precepts (T02n0100, 0434b7–9). According to the Sūtra of the Garland of a Bodhisattva’s Primary Karmas, with the four indestructible faiths one should take the Four Refuges: the Buddha, the Dharma, the Saṅgha, and the precepts (T24n1485, 1020c22–24).
four Indian castes (四姓). These are (1) Brahmin (priest), (2) kṣatriya (royalty and warrior), (3) vaiśya (farmer and merchant), and (4) śūdra (serf). The Buddha ruled that all from the four castes would be allowed to become Buddhist śramaṇas as the fifth caste, the highest of all castes.
four kinds of unimpeded wisdom-knowledge (catur-pratisaṁvid, 四無礙智, 四無礙解, 四無礙辯), also called four kinds of unimpeded understanding, and four kinds of unimpeded eloquence. A Bodhisattva has unimpeded wisdom-knowledge of (1) all dharmas; (2) their meanings; (3) all forms of expression, e.g., sounds, gestures, and words, in any language; (4) eloquent teaching of dharmas and their meanings, using apt expressions, according to sentient beings’ capacities and preferences.
four kinds of wisdom-knowledge (catvāri-jñāna, 四智). A Buddha has the virtue of complete wisdom-knowledge, which includes (1) teacher-free or innate wisdom-knowledge [svayambhū-jñāna], (2) overall wisdom-knowledge [sarvajña], (3) knowledge of all wisdom-knowledge [sarvajña-jñāna], and (4) effortless wisdom-knowledge. Also, the last four of the “five kinds of wisdom-knowledge” are also called “four kinds of wisdom-knowledge.”
four modes of birth (四生). Sentient beings are born through (1) the womb, such as humans and other mammals; (2) the egg, such as birds and reptiles; (3) moisture, such as fishes and insects; (4) miraculous formation, such as gods, ghosts, and hell-dwellers.
four necessities (四事供養). Offerings to a monk, usually including (1) food and drink, (2) clothing, (3) bedding, and (4) medicine.
Four Noble Truths (四聖諦). In His first turning of the Dharma wheel, the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths: (1) suffering (duḥkha), (2) accumulation (samudaya), (3) cessation (nirodha), and (4) the path (mārga). Suffering is the essence of repeated birth and death through the six life-journeys; accumulation of afflictions, especially thirsty love (tṛṣṇā), is the cause of suffering; cessation of suffering reveals nirvāṇa; and the Eightfold Right Path is the path to nirvāṇa. As a condensed version of the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising, the first two truths reveal that, for continuing the flow of saṁsāra, the cause is accumulation of afflictions and the effect is suffering; the last two truths reveal that, for terminating the flow of saṁsāra, the cause is taking the Eightfold Right Path and the effect is cessation of suffering, realizing nirvāṇa.
Four Preparatory Trainings (四加行), or Four Roots of Goodness (四善根位). According to the Consciousness-Only School, after the stage of Gathering Provisions is completed, one embarks upon the stage of Preparatory Trainings by investigating the four aspects of dharmas: name, meaning, self-essence, and differentiation, to successively develop the four roots of goodness: (1) Warmth—one realizes in the Illumination Samādhi that objects are empty; (2) Pinnacle—one affirms the same realization through the Enhanced Illumination Samādhi; (3) Endurance—one realizes in the Sealing-in-Accord Samādhi that consciousness as the agent of differentiation is empty; (4) Foremost in the World—one ascertains in the Uninterrupted Samādhi that both the object perceived and the agent that perceives are empty. With this realization, one ascends to the First Bodhisattva Ground (see stages of the Bodhisattva Way), beginning the holy stage toward Buddhahood.
four torrential flows (catur-ogha, 四暴流). One’s afflictions that can wash away one’s goodness. They are also called the four yokes (catur-yoga, 四軛) because sentient beings live under these yokes. They are (1) twenty-nine afflictions in the desire realm; (2) twenty-eight afflictions, such as greed, arrogance, and doubt, in the form realm and the formless realm; (3) thirty-six wrong views, such as permanence or impermanence of the world, existence or nonexistence of a Tathāgata after His parinirvāṇa, etc., in the Three Realms of Existence; (4) ignorance of the truth, of which there are five kinds in each of the three realms, totaling fifteen. They total 108 afflictions (Buddha’s Light Dictionary 1988, 1831).
four types of troops (四種兵). They are (1) cavalry, (2) elephants, (3) chariots, and (4) infantry.
fourfold kindness (四重恩). Kindness comes from (1) parents and teachers, (2) the Three Jewels, (3) country, and (4) sentient beings.
gandharva (乾闥婆). A fragrance eater who is also a celestial musician playing in the court of gods.
garuḍa (迦樓羅). A large bird-like being that eats dragons.
general appearance and particular appearance (總相別相). A general appearance, such as impermanence or no self, is common to all saṁskṛta dharmas. A particular appearance is a distinctive feature of a dharma; for example, earth has the appearance of solidity, and fire has the appearance of heat. A horse as a whole is the general appearance of all horses, while the black mane and white legs are the particular appearances of a particular horse.
god (deva, 天). The highest life form in the Three Realms of Existence. According to their merits and mental states, gods reside in six desire heavens, eighteen form heavens, and four formless heavens.
Gṛdhrakūṭa Mountain (耆闍崛山). The Vulture Peak Mountain (靈鷲山), northeast of the city of Rājagṛha. There the Buddha pronounced the Lotus Sūtra (T09n0262) and many other sūtras.
hell of the five no interruptions (五無間獄). In Avīci Hell, sentient beings undergo suffering with no interruption in five aspects: (1) no interruption in time; (2) no unoccupied space because one or many hell-dwellers fill up the hell; (3) no interruption in torture; (4) no exception for any sentient being; and (5) no interruption from life to life until the requital is done.
Hīnayāna (小乘). The Small Vehicle (see Two Vehicles).
icchantika (一闡提迦). One who has cut off one’s roots of goodness and has no desire for Buddhahood. However, Buddhas do not abandon any sentient being and, through their spiritual power, an icchantika may replant his roots of goodness through causes and conditions in a future life and eventually attain Buddhahood. A Bodhisattva who has made a vow not to become a Buddha until all sentient beings have been delivered is called an icchantika of great compassion.
Illumination Door of One Hundred Dharmas (百法明門).
A. According to the Sūtra of the Garland of a Bodhisattva’s Primary Karmas, the one hundred dharmas are the one hundred minds extended from the ten faithful minds, because each of the ten has its own ten levels. On the Bodhisattva Way, a Bodhisattva sage at the first level of abiding goes through this Dharma Door before ascending to next level (T24n1485, 1011c6–8). In addition, a holy Bodhisattva on the First Ground also goes through this Dharma Door before ascending to the next ground (Ibid., 1014c24–25).
B. According to the Sūtra of Visualization of Amitāyus Buddha (T12n0365), one goes through this Dharma Door to ascend to the First Ground. The one hundred dharmas, though not explained in this sūtra, are likely to be the same as those in the Garland Sūtra.
C. Asaṅga (無著, circa 4th century), in his Treatise on the Yoga Teacher Ground (Yogācārya-bhūmi-śāstra, T30n1579), classifies all dharmas, saṁskṛta and asaṁskṛta, into a total of 660. His younger brother Vasubandhu (世親, circa 320–80), in his Mahāyāna Treatise on the Illumination Door of One Hundred Dharmas (T31n1614), condenses them into 100.
inversion (顛倒). The seven inversions are (1) taking the impermanence of dharmas as permanence; (2) taking misery as happiness; (3) taking impurity as purity; (4) a nonexistent self as a self; (5) inverted perceptions, which refer to the inverted differentiations in the first four inversions; (6) inverted views, which refer to the establishment of, attachment to, and delight in the first four inversions; and (7) inverted mind, which refers to afflictions arising from the first four inversions. According to the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (T12n0375), fascicle 7, the first four inversions also include (1) taking the eternity of a Tathāgata as impermanence, (2) taking the bliss of a Tathāgata as suffering, (3) taking the purity of a Tathāgata as impurity, and (4) taking the true self as no self.
Jambudvīpa (贍部洲). One of the four continents surrounding Mount Sumeru in a small world. Located south of Mount Sumeru and identified by the huge jambū (rose apple) tree, Jambudvīpa, the southern continent, is where humans and animals reside.
Jetavana (衹樹園). The Jeta Grove, a garden near Śrāvastī, presented to the Buddha by the Elder Sudatta, who purchased it from Prince Jeta, with gold covering its ground. In honor of the two benefactors, the estate was henceforth known as the Garden of Jeta and Anāthapiṇḍika (衹樹給孤獨園). The Buddha spent nineteen rainy seasons with His 1,250 monks in the monastery built in this garden. There he gave many of His teachings.
jīvajīva (耆婆耆婆). A legendary two-headed bird (命命鳥) with a beautiful call.
kalā (歌羅). A minute length, one hundredth or one sixteenth the length of a human body hair.
kalaviṅka (迦陵頻伽). A bird with a melodious voice, found in the Himalayas. It has beautiful black plumage and a red beak. It starts singing in the eggshell before it is hatched. Its beautiful voice surpasses that of humans, gods, kiṁnaras, and other birds, and is likened to the wondrous tones of Buddhas and holy Bodhisattvas.
kalpa (劫). An eon. A large kalpa is the long period of formation, continuation, destruction, and void of a world. It is divided into eighty small kalpas, each lasting 16,800,000 years.
A. An action, a work, or a deed done with one’s body, voice, or mind. Good and evil karmas bring corresponding requitals in one’s present and/or future lives. Neutral karmas (無記業) are actions that cannot be accounted as good or evil.
B. Karma (羯磨) is also the work in a ceremony for imparting Buddhist precepts or for repentance. It includes four requirements: (1) the dharma, i.e., the procedure; (2) the purpose; (3) people meeting the quorum; (4) the designated place.
kaṭa-pūtana (迦吒富單那). A stinking hungry ghost that stays at cremation grounds.
Kauśala (憍薩羅國), or Kośala. Situated in central India, it is one of the sixteen ancient kingdoms of India.
kiṁnara (緊那羅). A celestial musician that resembles human, but with horns on his head.
koṭi (俱胝). The edge, the highest point. As a numeral, koṭi means one hundred thousand, one million, or ten million.
kṣaṇa (剎那). The smallest unit of time, something like a nanosecond. According to Buddhist doctrine, a thought lasts 60 kṣaṇas. In each kṣaṇa 900 sets of arising and ceasing of mental processing take place.
kumbhāṇḍa (鳩槃荼). A ghost, shaped like a pot, which feeds on the vitality of humans.
Kuśinagara (拘尸那竭). A city named after the sacred kuśa grass, the capital city of the ancient kingdom of Malla. It was the place where Śākyamuni Buddha entered parinirvāṇa. It is identified by Professor Vogel with Kasia, 180 miles northwest of Patna.
Laṅkā (楞迦). Present-day Sri Lanka or the name of a mountain of gemstones in Sri Lanka.
li (里). A traditional Chinese unit of distance, a Chinese mile. A li now has a standardized length of 500 meters, or half a kilometer.
Licchavi (離車). An Indian clan in the kṣatriya caste, which was a ruling dynasty of the ancient kingdom of Vaiśālī in central India. After the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, the Licchavi people received one eighth of His relics.
life-journey (gati, 趣), or life-path (道). The life experience of a life form in its cycle of birth and death. According to past karmas, a sentient being continues to transmigrate through the six life-journeys in corresponding life forms: god, asura, human, animal, hungry ghost, and hell-dweller. The first three life-journeys are considered the good (fortunate) ones; the last three, the evil (unfortunate) ones. Given to anger and jealousy, asuras may be considered the fourth evil life-journey. Sometimes, only five life-journeys are mentioned in the sūtras because asuras may assume any of the first four life forms and live among sentient beings in these forms. In comparison with life in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, all life-journeys in this world are evil.
ludicrous statement (prapañca, 戲論). All wrong views are ludicrous statements. Furthermore, any statement is composed of words, which are empty names and appearances employed to make differentiations. It is ludicrous because in true reality it is empty.
Magadha (摩竭陀). A kingdom in central India, the headquarters of Buddhism up to year 400.
mahāvaipulya sūtras (大方廣經). Extensive Mahāyāna sūtras that are great in explaining the right principles and great in their vast scope.
Mahāyāna (大乘). The Great Vehicle that can carry many people to Buddhahood. It is also called the Bodhisattva Vehicle because its riders are Bodhisattvas, who are resolved to attain Buddhahood, to benefit themselves and others (see Buddha Vehicle). The Mahāyāna doctrine, widely followed in Northeast Asia (China, Korea, and Japan), refers to the Theravāda School in Southeast Asia (Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia) as the Small Vehicle (Hīnayāna, 小乘), which can be either or both of the Two Vehicles (二乘).
Maheśvara (大自在天). In Hinduism, Maheśvara evolved from Śiva, his predecessor, into the highest god, creator and ruler of the universe. He is later admitted into Buddhism. According to fascicle 39 of text 279 (T10n0279), the 80-fascicle Chinese version of the Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of Buddha Adornment (Buddhāvataṁsaka-mahāvaipulya-sūtra), Maheśvara is the Brahma-king of the fourth dhyāna heaven, and rules a small world’s Three Realms of Existence. The English translation of this statement is in Rulu’s The Bodhisattva Way (Rulu 2013, 237).
mahoraga (摩呼洛迦). A serpent or land dragon.
maṇḍala (壇). A circle or any geometric representation drawn on the ground or visualized, for meditation practice.
mantra (咒). An esoteric incantation. Buddhist mantras are imparted by Buddhas, sometimes through holy Bodhisattvas or Dharma protectors.
māra (魔). Killer, destroyer, evil one, or devil. The four kinds of māras are (1) the celestial māra, a god named Pāpīyān, residing with legions of subordinates in Paranirmita-vaśa-vartin Heaven, the sixth desire heaven; (2) māra of the five aggregates, which conceals one’s Buddha mind; (3) māra of afflictions, which drives one to do evil karma; and (4) māra of death, which ends one’s life.
mātṛkā (摩得勒伽). The Sanskrit word mātṛkā means divine mother. It refers to all the treatises in the Abhidharma-piṭaka, and those in the upadeśa, which is the twelfth of the twelve categories of the Buddha’s teachings.
mudrā (印). A seal, symbolized by positions of the hands and intertwinings of the fingers, used in ritual practices. A seal possesses secret meanings and magical efficacy (see Dharma Seal).
namo (南無). Reverential homage, salutation, adoration, or obeisance. Based on the Sanskrit rule of pronunciation, this word may be spelled as namo, nama, namaḥ, namas, or namaś, according to the initial letter of the next word.
Nārāyaṇa (那羅延天). A Hindu god who has great strength. He is identified as Viṣṇu in the desire realm, and is included in the trinity of Brahmā, Nārāyaṇa, and Maheśvara (Śiva, in Hinduism).
nayuta (那由他), or niyuta. A numeral, meaning one hundred thousand, one million, or ten million.
nine unpleasant events (九惱). During His life the Buddha endured nine unpleasant events: (1) did ascetic practices for six years; (2) was slandered by a woman called Sundarī; (3) was pierced in the foot by a wooden lance; (4) ate horse’s wheat together with five hundred Arhats during their three months’ stay in Vairañjā, a city in the kingdom of Kauśala, at the invitation of a Brahmin called Agnidatta; (5) suffered headaches when the Śākya clan was annihilated by King Virūḍhaka’s army; (6) begged for food in a Brahmin village and returned empty-handed; (7) was slandered by a woman called Ciñcā-Mānavika; (8) was hit in the toe by a sliver of the rock pushed down at Him by Devadatta; (9) asked for more clothing while in the woods for eight nights in freezing cold. Though beyond karma and its requital, to teach sentient beings cause and effect, the Buddha reveals the causes of these nine events by telling stories of His past lives.
Nirgranthaputra (尼乾子). One of the six non-Buddhist groups in ancient India. Nirgrantha means untied, which is the former name of the devotees of Jainism, who wander naked, untied to possessions. Nirgrantha-Jñātaputra (尼乾陀若提子), named after his mother, Jñātī, was the 24th and last patriarch of the Jain School, and he is now revered as the Mahāvīra (great hero). Their doctrine is fatalistic, stating that no spiritual practice can change one’s good or evil karma and that all sentient beings would be automatically liberated after 80,000 kalpas of birth and death.
nirvāṇa (涅槃). By taking the Eightfold Right Path, one eradicates one’s afflictions and realizes nirvāṇa, liberating oneself from one’s cycle of birth and death. The four nirvāṇas are (1) the inherent nirvāṇa (自性涅槃), which means the true reality that all dharmas have neither birth nor death; (2) the nirvāṇa with remnant (有餘依涅槃), which means the enlightenment of an Arhat or a Pratyekabuddha who is still living; (3) the nirvāṇa without remnant (無餘依涅槃), which means the death of an Arhat or a Pratyekabuddha, who has abandoned his body, the remnant of his karmic existence; and (4) the nirvāṇa that abides nowhere (無住處涅槃), which means the supreme enlightenment of a Buddha. The great nirvāṇa of a Buddha includes the realization of the eternity, bliss, true self, and purity of the Tathāgata, and the attainment of powers unavailable to an Arhat or a Pratyekabuddha. Beyond the duality of existence and nonexistence, saṁsāra and nirvāṇa, a Buddha continues to manifest in most suitable ways in response to the needs of sentient beings, thus abiding nowhere.
no regress. See avinivartanīya.
nourishment (食). Provided by (1) ingestion of food; (2) contact with enjoyable sense objects, such as sights, sounds, scents, flavors, and tactile sensations; (3) formation of mental food, such as ideas, expectations, and recollections; and (4) ālaya consciousness that maintains one’s physiological and mental processes as well as carries karmic seeds, which will lead to future rebirths. An ordinary being in the desire realm requires these four kinds of nourishment to survive.
one appearance (eka-lakṣaṇa, 一相). All dharmas are in the one appearance of true suchness, which is beyond differentiation of appearances and beyond differentiation between appearance and no appearance. However, the one appearance is often referred to as the one appearance of no appearance.
one flavor (eka-rasa, 一味). (1) All dharmas are in the one flavor of true suchness. (2) The Buddha’s teachings of the Three Vehicles are all in the one flavor of the One Vehicle. As the one appearance of dharmas is likened to the earth, the one flavor of the Buddha’s teachings is likened to the rain nourishing all the plants on earth.
parājika (波羅夷). The Sanskrit word parāji means succumb to or overcome by. Because one succumbs to one’s afflictions, one commits a grave sin. A parājika is an extreme evil, the consequence of which is likened to having one’s head severed, never to be recovered. The four parājikas a Buddhist monk should not commit are the four root sins: killing, stealing, having sex, and lying about his spiritual attainment. Because of any of these four, he will be expelled from the Saṅgha and, after death, will fall into hell. A Buddhist nun should not commit any of the eight parājikas: the listed four for monks and four more.
parinirvāṇa (般涅槃). It means beyond nirvāṇa, the death of an Arhat or a Buddha by entering profound samādhi. Whether or not He has abandoned His body in demonstrating parinirvāṇa, a Buddha is in the nirvāṇa that abides nowhere, beyond the duality of existence and nonexistence. A Buddha’s parinirvāṇa is called mahāparinirvāṇa.
past seven Buddhas (過去七佛). The last three of the 1,000 Buddhas of the preceding Majestic Kalpa are Vipaśyin, Śikhin, and Viśvabhū; the first four of the 1,000 Buddhas of the present Worthy Kalpa are Krakucchanda, Kanakamuni, Kāśyapa, and Śākyamuni.
Pāṭaliputra (巴連弗 or 波吒釐子). A city in the kingdom of Magadha in central India, the present-day city of Patna. It was named after the many pāṭali trees in the city.
perfect passage (圓通). A Dharma Door, the perfect practice of meditation, through which one can pass from ignorance to significant realizations. In the Śūraṅgama Sūtra (T19n0945), at the Buddha’s command, twenty-five Arhats and holy Bodhisattvas reveal their perfect passages.
piśāca (畢舍遮). A demonic ghost that eats human flesh and sucks human vitality.
pippala (畢鉢羅). The fig (ficus religiosa) tree, a species of banyan fig, native to India. This sacred tree is renamed the bodhi tree because Śākyamuni Buddha was enlightened sitting under it.
poṣadha (布薩). Nurturing purity, a mandatory system for monastic Buddhists to convene twice each lunar month on poṣadha days (布薩日), new-moon and full-moon days, in designated places for different groups, to disclose their transgressions, repent of them, and listen to a qualified member recite the precepts. When lay Buddhists choose to accept and observe the eight precepts on one or more of the six purification days during a lunar month, it is also called poṣadha.
prātimokṣa (波羅提木叉). The Sanskrit word prati means toward or severally, and mokṣa means liberation. The term prātimokṣa is translated into Chinese as “liberation achieved severally” (別解脫). It is also referred to as prātimokṣa-saṁvara, where saṁvara means restraint (律儀), or more commonly as prātimokṣa-śīla, where śīla means precept (戒), because observance of different precepts leads to liberation severally from corresponding evils of one’s body, voice, and mind. Moreover, prātimokṣa precepts instituted by the Buddha for His seven groups of disciples in the desire realm are separate from meditation precepts (定共戒) that naturally arise in one’s mind from one’s meditation at the form-realm level, and separate from affliction-free precepts (無漏戒) that naturally arise in one’s mind from one’s realization of bodhi.
Pratyekabuddha (緣覺佛). One who is enlightened through pondering the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising. He is also called a solitary Buddha (獨覺佛) because, living in solitude, he has realized the truth without receiving teachings from a Buddha.
preceptor (upādhyāya, 和尚). A monk qualified to teach other monks. However, the Chinese title heshang was phonetically translated from khosha, a word used in the kingdom of Yütian (于闐), or Khotan, present-day Hetian (和田), in Xinjiang, China. It has become an honorific address to an exalted monk.
preceptor (upādhyāya, 和尚). A monk qualified to teach other monks. However, the Chinese title heshang was phonetically translated from khosha, a word used in the kingdom of Yütian (于闐), or Khotan, present-day Hetian (和田), in Xinjiang, China. It has become an honorific address to an exalted monk.
pure-abode heavens (淨居天). The top five of the nine heavens that constitute the fourth dhyāna heaven in the form realm (see Three Realms of Existence and “eighteen heavens in the form realm”).
pūtana (富單那). A stinking hungry ghost that is shaped like a hog and scares children.
Rājagṛha (王舍城). The capital city of Magadha in central India, near the Vulture Peak Mountain.
rākṣasa (羅剎). A demonic ghost that eats human flesh. Rākṣasas are said to be the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka.
right mindfulness (samyak-smṛti, 正念). The seventh in the Eightfold Right Path. A few examples of right mindfulness include (1) practice of the Four Abidings of Mindfulness; (2) memory of the Dharma, such as right mindfulness (samyak-smṛti, 正念). The seventh in the Eightfold Right Path. A few examples of right mindfulness include (1) practice of the Four Abidings of Mindfulness; (2) memory of the Dharma, such as the teaching that all dharmas have no birth; (3) memory of a Buddha; and (4) the inconceivable mindfulness of a Buddha.
roots of goodness (kuśala-mūla, 善根). These are (1) no greed, (2) no anger, and (3) no delusion. The Five Roots included in Thirty-seven Elements of Bodhi are goodness in themselves and can grow other good dharmas (see Four Preparatory Trainings).
ṛṣi (仙人). An ascetic hermit considered to be an immortal or a godlike human. Śākyamuni Buddha is also revered as the Great Ṛṣi. In the Śūraṅgama Sūtra (T19n0945), the Buddha describes ten kinds of ṛṣis, who live thousands or tens of thousands of years, with the five transcendental powers, such as traveling across the sky, changing themselves into any form, etc.
Sahā World (sahā-lokadhātu, 娑婆世界). The endurance world. It refers to Jambudvīpa or the Three-Thousand Large Thousandfold World, where sentient beings are able to endure their suffering and may even find their lives enjoyable.
śakrābhi-lagna-ratna (釋迦毘楞伽寶). The precious jewel worn on the neck of the god-king Śakra, which illuminates all of the Thirty-three Heavens (Trayastriṁśa Heaven) constituting the second desire heaven under his rule. It is likened to the wisdom of Bodhisattvas, which can manifest myriad things.
Śakro-Devānām-Indra (釋提桓因). The title of the god-king of Trayastriṁśa Heaven, often abbreviated as Śakra or Indra. The Buddha calls the incumbent Śakra by his family name, Kauśika.
samādhi (定). A state of mental absorption in meditation. Above the level of the desire realm, there are eight levels of worldly samādhi (八定). The first four levels are the four dhyānas (四禪) of the form realm. The next four levels are the four samādhis of the formless realm (四空定): Boundless Space (空無邊), Boundless Consciousness (識無邊), Nothingness (無所有), and Neither with Nor without Perception (非有想非無想). A Buddhist or non-Buddhist who has attained any of the eight levels of meditation can be reborn in a corresponding heaven in the form or formless realm. Only an Arhat can attain the ninth level called the Samādhi of Total Halt (滅盡定), also more appropriately called the Samādhi of Total Suspension of Sensory Reception and Perception (滅受想定). To enter the Samādhi Door of Buddhas is to attain innumerable samādhis.
samāpatti (三摩鉢底). The right experience in equilibrium (正受), which is samāldhi in a balanced and stable state.
śamatha (奢摩他). It means stillness, a mental state in which one’s mind is in single-minded concentration (see vipaśyanā).
saṁsāra (輪迴), or jāti-maraṇa (生死). The cycle of birth and death, in which every sentient being transmigrates through the six life-journeys in the Three Realms of Existence. This endless cycle is called the hard-to-cross ocean, also called the ocean of suffering (see two types of birth and death).
saṁskṛta (有為). Formed or made through causes and conditions. Each saṁskṛta dharma is a process with the four appearances. Sentient beings and all the things they perceive or conceive are saṁskṛta dharmas (see asaṁskṛta).
Saṅgha (僧伽). A community comprising a Buddha’s four groups of disciples (四眾): monks (bhikṣu), nuns (bhikṣuṇī), laymen (upāsaka), and laywomen (upāsikā).
śārī (舍利). A mynah bird. Śārikā was the name of Śāriputra’s mother because her eyes were bright and clever like those of a mynah.
sarvajña. See three kinds of wisdom-knowledge.
sarvajña-jñāna. See three kinds of wisdom-knowledge.
self-essence (svabhāva, 自性). An inherent state of being, self-made, self-determined, and changeless. This is a false reality that sentient beings attach to their perceptions. In truth, nothing has self-essence because everything is constantly changing through causes and conditions. That all dharmas are without self-essence is the true reality defined as emptiness.
Seven Bodhi Factors (七覺分). These are (1) critical examination of theories, (2) energetic progress, (3) joyful mentality, (4) lightness and peacefulness in body and mind, (5) mindfulness in all activities and memory of the Dharma, (6) samādhi, and (7) equability under favorable or unfavorable circumstances.
seven groups of disciples (七眾). The five monastic groups are bhikṣus (monks), bhikṣuṇīs (nuns), śrāmaṇeras (novice monks), śrāmaṇerikās (novice nuns), śikṣamāṇās (novice nuns in their last two years before ordination). The two lay groups are upāsakas (laymen) and upāsikās (laywomen).
seven noble treasures (七聖財). They are (1) faith, (2) almsgiving, (3) observing the precepts, (4) having a sense of shame, (5) having a sense of dishonor, (6) hearing the Dharma, and (7) wisdom.
seven rebellious acts or sins (七逆). Added to the five rebellious acts are (6) killing one’s preceptor, and (7) killing one’s ācārya.
seven treasures (七寶). These are (1) suvarṇa (金, gold); (2) rūpya (銀, silver); (3) vaiḍūrya (琉璃, aquamarine); (4) sphaṭika (頗梨, crystal); (5) musāragalva (硨磲, conch shell or white coral); (6) lohita-muktikā (赤珠, ruby); and (7) aśmagarbha (瑪瑙, emerald). Sometimes coral and amber are included in place of crystal and ruby. F. Max Müller cites a reference in Buddhist Mahāyāna Texts (Cowell et al.  1969, part 2, 92), in which vaiḍūrya is matched with lapis lazuli, and aśmagarbha with diamond. While lapis lazuli is an opaque intense blue stone, indications in the sūtras are that vaiḍūrya should be a transparent blue beryl, such as aquamarine. According to the Monier-Williams Online Dictionary, aśmagarbha is emerald; vajra (伐折羅) is diamond, an adamantine mineral (金剛).
siddhi (悉地). Achievement through spiritual training using one’s body, voice, and mind. The ultimate siddhi is Buddhahood.
six appearances (六相). A dharma with its components has six appearances: (1) general, (2) particular, (3) same, (4) different, (5) completed, and (6) undone (see general appearance and particular appearance).
six branches of family (六親). They include father, mother, wife, sons, elder brothers, and younger brothers. Sisters and daughters are not mentioned because they will be included in their husbands’ families as wives and mothers.
six causes (ṣad-hetu, 六因). A saṁskṛta dharma may be one of the six causes: (1) a working cause 能作因, e.g., empty space can accommodate objects and the earth can support life; (2) a concurrent cause 倶有因, e.g., three sticks together support something; (3) a corresponding-effect cause 同類因, e.g., a good thought leads to a corresponding good action; (4) an interactive cause 相應因, e.g., mental functions interact with one another; (5) an all-affecting cause 遍行因, e.g., a wrong view affects all one’s actions; (6) a ripening cause 異熟因, or requital cause, e.g., the karma of killing a sentient being brings the killer a requital, his rebirth in hell, like a ripened fruit.
six desire heavens (六欲天). (1) Heaven of the Four God-Kings (Cātur-mahārāja-kāyika-deva, 四天王天); (2) Trayastriṁśa Heaven (忉利天), or Thirty-three Heavens (三十三天), ruled by Śakra-Devānām-Indra; (3) Yāma Heaven (夜摩天), ruled by Suyāma-devarāja; (4) Tuṣita Heaven (兜率天), ruled by Saṁtuṣita-devarāja; (5) Nirmāṇa-rati Heaven (化自在天), ruled by Sunirmita-devarāja; (6) Paranirmita-vaśa-vartin Heaven (他化自在天), ruled by Vaśavartti-devarāja. The first two heavens are earth-abode heavens; all other heavens are sky-abode heavens.
six domains (ṣad-dhātu, 六界, 六大). A sentient being is made of the six domains—earth, water, fire, wind, space, and consciousness—and appears to have these features: solid substance, fluid, heat, motion, space within the body, and consciousness. A non-sentient thing (plant or nonliving thing) is made of the first five domains (see four domains).
six elements of harmony and respect (六和敬). Members of a Saṅgha need to have accord among their body, voice, mind, precepts, almsgiving, and views, in order to have harmony with and respect for one another.
six faculties (ṣaḍ-indriya, 六根, 六入). These are eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mental faculty (manas). The first five are sense organs, which function as sensory entrances (see twelve fields).
six pāramitās (六度, 六波羅蜜). The Sanskrit word pāramita means gone across to the opposite shore. To succeed in crossing over to that shore of nirvāṇa, opposite this shore of saṁsāra, a Bodhisattva needs to achieve the six pāramitās: (1) dāna (almsgiving), (2) śīla (observance of precepts), (3) kṣānti (endurance of adversity), (4) vīrya (energetic progress), (5) dhyāna (meditation), and (6) prajñā (development of wisdom). See ten pāramitās.
six periods (六時). The day is divided into morning (6–10 a.m.), midday (10 a.m.–2 p.m.), and afternoon (2–6 p.m.); the night into evening (6–10 p.m.), midnight (10 p.m.–2 a.m.), and post-midnight (2–6 a.m.). Each period has four hours.
six purification days (六齋日). On the 8th, 14th, 15th, 23rd, 29th, and 30th day of each lunar month, lay Buddhists can accept and observe the eight precepts, abstaining from committing sins that are evil by nature and from sensory gratification. The Sanskrit word word poṣadha (齋) means fasting for purification. However, not knowing the meaning of poṣadha, some lay Buddhists assign these six days for eating vegetarian meals.
six memories (六念). Memories of (1) the Buddha, (2) the Dharma, (3) the Saṅgha, (4) the precepts, (5) almsgiving, and (6) heaven: ordinary beings should remember that rebirth in a heaven is acquired by purifying one’s mind, observing one’s precepts, and almsgiving, and that they can strive to qualify. Riders of the Mahāyāna should remember the heaven of the highest meaning (第一義天), the ultimate nirvāṇa.
six transcendental powers (六通). With no more afflictions to discharge, an Arhat has liberated himself from his cycle of birth and death. Hence, eradication of afflictions, which ends their discharges (漏盡通), is called the sixth transcendental power of an Arhat, which is unavailable to those who have not attained Arhatship. It also makes his achievement in the first five transcendental powers superior to that of those others.
sixty-two views (六十二見). The wrong views held by ancient Indian philosophers. One set of 62 views argues about each of the five aggregates of a sentient being: in the past it is permanent, impermanent, both, or neither; in the present it is with boundary, without boundary, both, or neither; in the future it is going, not going, both, or neither. To these 60 views, two polar opposites, perpetuity and cessation of existence, are added to make a total of 62. Another set of 62 views includes 56 views of self and 6 views of existence. They hold that each of the five aggregates of a sentient being in the desire realm and the form realm, and each of the four aggregates of a god in the formless realm is a self, not a self, both, or neither, totaling 56 views. In addition, one’s perpetuity and cessation of existence in the Three Realms come to 6 views.
śramaṇa (沙門). An ascetic or a monk, one who has renounced family life and lives a life of purity, poverty, and diligent training, seeking the truth.
śrāmaṇera (沙彌). A novice Buddhist monk, usually seven to twenty years old.
Śrāvastī (舍衛國). The capital city of the ancient kingdom of Kauśala.
stages of the Bodhisattva Way (菩薩階位). The spiritual levels of a Bodhisattva on the Way to Buddhahood. According to the 80-fascicle version of the Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of Buddha Adornment (T10n0279), a Bodhisattva progresses through fifty-two levels, which are classified into seven stages: (1) ten faithful minds, (2) ten levels of abiding, (3) ten levels of action, (4) ten levels of transference of merit, (5) Ten Grounds, (6) virtually perfect enlightenment, and (7) perfect enlightenment. A Bodhisattva will continue to be an ordinary being as he cultivates the ten faithful minds; he will be a sage as he practices the ten pāramitās, progressing through the ten levels of abiding, ten levels of action, and ten levels of transference of merit; and he will be a holy being as he progresses through the Ten Grounds. A Bodhisattva will ascend to the first ground when he realizes that all dharmas have no birth. As he progresses on the first through tenth grounds, he will achieve the ten pāramitās one after another, in one-to-one correspondence with the Ten Grounds. At the fifty-first level, his enlightenment being virtually perfect, he will be in the holy position of waiting to become a Buddha in his next life. At the fifty-second level, he attains the perfect enlightenment, achieving the ultimate fruit of the aspiration and training of a Bodhisattva.
store (藏). A paraphrase of the Sanskrit word garbha, which means the womb or the child in the womb. Then the Tathāgata store (Tathāgata-garbha) is one’s true mind, also called the vajra (indestructible) store. One’s true mind is likened to the space store in its vastness, and to the earth store in its supportiveness and hidden treasures. The realm of all dharmas is the dharma store. The aggregate of all Dharmas (Buddhas’ teachings) is the Dharma store; the collection of all precepts is the precept store.
stūpa (窣堵婆). A memorial tower for the remains of a holy being, whether scriptures or relics of bones.
suffering (duḥkha, 苦). The first of the Four Noble Truths.
A. The eight kinds of suffering are (1) birth, (2) old age, (3) illness, (4) death, (5) inability to get what one wants, (6) loss of what one loves, (7) encounter with what one hates, and (8) the driving force of the five aggregates. Driven by the five aggregates, one experiences impermanence, pain, and sorrow in the preceding seven situations.
B. The three kinds of suffering are (1) pain brought by a cause (苦苦), (2) deterioration of pleasure (壞苦), and (3) continuous change in every process (行苦).
sūtras in the twelve categories (十二部經). The teachings of the Buddha are classified by content and form into the twelve categories: (1) sūtra, discourses in prose; (2) geya, songs that repeat the teachings; (3) vyākaraṇa, prophecies; (4) gāthā, stanzas; (5) udāna, self-initiated utterances; (6) nidāna, causes of the discourses; (7) avadāna, parables; (8) itivṛttaka, sūtras that begin with “so it has been said”; (9) jātaka, past lives of the Buddha; (10) vaipulya, extensive teachings; (11) adbhuta-dharma, marvelous events; and (12) upadeśa, pointing-out instructions.
swastika (svastika, 萬). The auspicious symbol on the chest of a Buddha, one of His thirty-two major physical marks. This symbol (卍) initially describes His hair turning to the right, like an ocean of clouds, bringing joy to viewers. The flip side (卐) of this symbol is also used in different editions of the Chinese Buddhist Canon. However, it was adopted by Nazi Germany in the twentieth century and became stigmatized.
Tathāgata (如來). The Thus-Come One, the first of the ten epithets of a Buddha, which signifies true suchness. Although the Tathāgata never moves, a Buddha appears to have come and gone in the same way as have past Buddhas.
ten appearances (十相). As stated in the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (T12n0375), a sentient being perceives a dharma according to its ten appearances: (1) sights, (2) sounds, (3) scents, (4) flavors, (5) tactile sensations, (6) birth, (7) existence, (8) death, (9) maleness, and (10) femaleness (see four appearances).
ten directions (十方). The spatial directions of east, southeast, south, southwest, west, northwest, north, northeast, the nadir, and the zenith.
ten evil karmas (十惡). These are (1) killing, (2) stealing, (3) sexual misconduct, (4) false speech, (5) divisive speech, (6) abusive speech, (7) suggestive speech, (8) greed, (9) anger, and (10) the wrong views.
ten fetters (十纏). These are (1) no sense of shame, (2) no sense of dishonor, (3) jealousy, (4) stinginess, (5) remorse, (6) torpor, (7) restlessness, (8) stupor, (9) rage, and (10) concealing one’s wrongdoings.
ten good karmas (十善). The opposites of the ten evil karmas are (1) no killing, (2) no stealing, (3) no sexual misconduct, (4) no false speech, (5) no divisive speech, (6) no abusive speech, (7) no suggestive speech, (8) no greed, (9) no anger, and (10) no wrong views.
ten pāramitās (十度, 十波羅蜜). In parallel with the Ten Grounds for Bodhisattva development (see stages of the Bodhisattva Way), added to the list of six pāramitās are four more pāramitās: (7) upāya (skillful means), (8) praṇidhāna (earnest wishing), (9) bala (power), and (10) jñāna (wisdom-knowledge).
ten kinds of wisdom-knowledge (daśa-jñāna, 十智). Three sets are given below.
A. An Arhat has acquired ten kinds of wisdom-knowledge: (1) worldly wisdom-knowledge, (2) dharma wisdom-knowledge, (3) ensuing wisdom-knowledge, (4) wisdom-knowledge of suffering, (5) wisdom-knowledge of accumulation of afflictions, (6) wisdom-knowledge of cessation of suffering, (7) wisdom-knowledge of the path, (8) wisdom-knowledge of others’ minds, (9) wisdom-knowledge that his afflictions have ended forever, (10) wisdom-knowledge that dharmas have no birth.
B. Text 279 is the 80-fascicle Chinese version of the Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of Buddha Adornment. In its fascicle 16, chapter 15, Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva states that a Bodhisattva at the tenth level of abiding on the Bodhisattva has acquired ten kinds of wisdom-knowledge. They are the wisdom-knowledge (1) to shake countless worlds, (2) to illuminate countless worlds, (3) to govern countless worlds, (4) to go to countless worlds, (5) to purify countless worlds, (6) to enlighten innumerable sentient beings, (7) to observe innumerable sentient beings, (8) to know innumerable sentient beings’ capacities, (9) to enable innumerable sentient beings to enter [the right path], and (10) to tame innumerable sentient beings (T10n0279, 0085b26–c2).
C. In the same chapter, Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva states that a Bodhisattva at the tenth level of abiding on the Bodhisattva Way should train to acquire a Buddhas’ ten kinds of wisdom-knowledge: (1) the wisdom-knowledge of the three time frames [past, present, and future], (2) the wisdom-knowledge of the Buddha Dharma, (3) the wisdom-knowledge that the dharma realm is hindrance free, (4) the wisdom-knowledge that dharma realm is boundless, (5) the wisdom-knowledge that pervades all worlds, (6) the wisdom-knowledge that illuminates all worlds, (7) the wisdom-knowledge that governs all worlds, (8) the wisdom-knowledge of all sentient beings, (9) the wisdom-knowledge of all dharmas, and (10) the wisdom-knowledge of innumerable Buddhas (T10n0279, 0085c5–11).
Ten Powers (daśa-bala, 十力). Because a Buddha’s wisdom-knowledge is indestructible and unsurpassed, it is called powers. He has perfect wisdom-knowledge of (1) the right or wrong in every situation and its corresponding karmic consequences; (2) the karmic requitals of every sentient being in the past, present, and future; (3) all stages of dhyāna and samādhi; (4) the capacity and future attainment of every sentient being; (5) the desires and preferences of every sentient being; (6) the nature and condition of every sentient being; (7) the consequences of all actions with or without afflictions; (8) all past lives of every sentient being and their karmic reasons; (9) all future rebirths of every sentient being and their karmic reasons; (10) the permanent ending of all his afflictions and habits upon attainment of Buddhahood.
ten precepts (daśa-śīla, 十戒). Observed by novice monks and nuns, the ten precepts include the eight precepts, but precepts 7 and 8 are renumbered 8 and 9, because precept 6 is divided into two: (6) no wearing perfumes or adornments, and (7) no singing, dancing, or watching song-dance entertainments. A tenth precept is added: (10) no touching or hoarding money or treasures.
Thirty-seven Elements of Bodhi (三十七道品). Also called Thirty-seven Aids to Attain Bodhi, these trainings are classified into seven categories:
A. Four Abidings of Mindfulness;
B. Four Right Endeavors: (1) end forever the existing evil, (2) do not allow new evil to arise, (3) cause new goodness to arise, and (4) expand existing goodness;
C. Four Ways to Attain Samādhi: (1) aspiration, (2) energetic progress, (3) memory, and (4) contemplation;
D. Five Roots: (1) root of faith, (2) root of energetic progress, (3) roof of memory, (4) root of samādhi, and (5) root of wisdom;
E. Five Powers: (1) power of faith, (2) power of energetic progress, (3) power of memory, (4) power of samādhi, and (5) power of wisdom;
F. Seven Bodhi Factors;
G. Eightfold Right Path.
three ages of the Dharma (正像末期). The Dharma of Śākyamuni Buddha will end after these three ages: (1) The true Dharma age (正法) lasted 500 to 1,000 years after His passing. During this age, there were teachings, carrying out of the teachings, and attaining of fruits. (2) The Dharma-likeness age (像法) lasted 500 to 1,000 years. During this age, there were teachings and carrying out of the teachings, but no attaining of fruits. (3) The Dharma-ending age (末法) will last 10,000 years. During this age, the teachings will gradually vanish, and there will be neither carrying out of the teachings nor attaining of fruits. Because people will no longer be receptive, the Dharma will be gone for a long time until the advent of the next Buddha. In the Bodhisattva in the Womb Sūtra (T12n384, 1025c15–19), fascicle 2, the Buddha prophesies that, after 56 koṭi and 70 million years, which means 630 million years (if a koṭi is 10 million), Maitreya Bodhisattva will descend from Tuṣita Heaven and become the next Buddha, bringing the Dharma to a renewed world.
three asaṁskṛta dharmas (三無為). They are (1) the asaṁskṛta of open sky [ākāśāsaṁskṛta], which does not pose any hindrance; (2) the asaṁskṛta of voluntary cessation [pratisaṁkhyā-nirodhāsaṁskṛta], i.e., cessation of suffering upon attaining nirvāṇa through one’s voluntary training; (3) the asaṁskṛta of involuntary cessation [apratisaṁkhyā-nirodhāsaṁskṛta], i.e., the nonoccurrence of anything because some required conditions are missing. However, according to the Consciousness-Only School, the asaṁskṛta of involuntary cessation is true suchness.
three bodies of a Buddha (三身). These are (1) dharmakāya (dharma body or truth body), which is emptiness, the true reality of all dharmas; (2) saṁbhogakāya (reward body or enjoyment body) in a sublime ethereal form, which a Buddha’s immeasurable merit; (3) nirmāṇakāya (a response body through birth or a miraculously manifested body), which is a Buddha’s response to sentient beings ready to accept the Dharma. The reward body and the response body are the appearances of the dharma body, and these three bodies are inseparable. According to the Tiantai School of China, of the latest Buddha, Vairocana is the dharmakāya, Rocana is the saṁbhogakāya, and Śākyamuni is the nirmāṇakāya.
three Buddha natures (三佛性). These are (1) Buddha nature inherent in all sentient beings but unknown to them, (2) Buddha nature gradually revealed through one’s spiritual training, and (3) Buddha nature fully revealed in a Buddha.
Three Clarities (三明). An Arhat has achieved (1) clear knowledge of the past lives of self and others and their causes and conditions, (2) clarity of his god eye that sees others’ future lives and their causes and conditions, and (3) clear knowledge that his afflictions have ceased and will never arise again. The Three Clarities of a Buddha are supreme and are called the Three Supreme Clarities (三達).
three dharmas (三法). Teachings, practices, and realization of holy fruit.
Three Endurances in the Dharma (三法忍). According to the Sūtra of Amitāyus Buddha (T12n0360), these are (1) Endurance in Hearing the Sounds (音響忍), which means acceptance of the Dharma through hearing it; (2) Endurance in Accord (柔順忍), which means agreement with the Dharma through pondering in accord with the truth; (3) Endurance in the Realization That Dharmas Have No Birth (無生法忍), which is the lasting realization of the truth that dharmas have neither birth nor death.
three fortune fields (三福田). These are (1) the reverence field (敬田), which means the Three Jewels; (2) the kindness field (恩田), which means one’s parents and teachers; and (3) the compassion field (悲田), which means the poor, the sick, and animals. By making offerings to any of these three fortune fields, one plants seeds that will yield harvests of fortune in one’s present and future lives.
three groups (三聚). Sentient beings are divided into three groups: (1) the group that definitely progresses on the right path to bodhi (正定聚); (2) the group that definitely is on the wrong path (邪定聚); (3) the group that is indecisive about its path (不定聚). Some members of the third group, through causes and conditions, may come to join one of the other two groups.
Three Illuminations (三明). In the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (T12n0375, 0675b7–9), the three illuminations are (1) illumination of Bodhisattvas, which is prajñā-pāramitā; (2) illumination of Buddhas, which is the Buddha eye; (3) illumination that ends one’s ignorance, which is ultimate emptiness (compare with Three Clarities).
Three Jewels (三寶). These are (1) the Buddha, the unsurpassed perfectly enlightened teacher; (2) the Dharma, His teachings; and (3) the Saṅgha, the Buddhist community.
three kinds of hindrances (三障). Hindrances to realization of one’s true mind are (1) afflictions, such as greed, anger, and delusion, which agitate one’s mind and lead to negative karmas; (2) karmas, done with one’s body, voice, and mind, which lead to requitals; and (3) requitals, such as an unfortunate rebirth in human form with incomplete faculties, or in the form of animal, hungry ghost, or hell-dweller.
three kinds of wisdom-knowledge (三智). These are (1) the overall wisdom-knowledge (sarvajña, 一切智), which is the emptiness of everything, realized by an Arhat, a Pratyekabuddha, and a holy Bodhisattva; (2) discriminatory wisdom-knowledge (道種智), which is developed in a holy Bodhisattva, who differentiates all displays of illusory existence in order to deliver sentient beings; and (3) knowledge of all wisdom-knowledge (sarvajña-jñāna, 一切種智), or omniscience, which is a Buddha’s perfect wisdom-knowledge of all beings and all things in their general and particular aspects, and of the non-duality of emptiness and myriad displays.
Three Liberation Doors (trīṇi vimokṣa-mokha, 三解脫門), or Three Samādhis. These are (1) emptiness, (2) no appearance, and (3) no wish or no action. Through samādhi, one realizes emptiness, confirming that all dharmas have no birth. One also realizes that the illusory appearances of dharmas conceived or perceived are no appearance. One makes no wish and does nothing for future rebirths in the Three Realms of Existence.
Three Realms of Existence (trayo-dhātu, 三界, 三有). The world of illusory existence, in which sentient beings transmigrate, comprises (1) the desire realm (欲界), where reside sentient beings with the full range of afflictions, such as hell-dwellers, ghosts, animals, humans, asuras, and some gods; (2) the form realm (色界), where Brahma gods, who have only pure desires, reside in eighteen form heavens classified into the four dhyāna heavens (四禪天), or four levels of meditation; and (3) the formless realm (無色界), where formless gods are in mental existence in four formless heavens, or at four levels of long, deep meditative absorption (see samādhi).
Three Refuges (三皈依). One becomes a Buddhist by taking refuge, for protection and guidance, in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Saṅgha. According to the Sūtra of the Garland of a Bodhisattva’s Primary Karmas, with the four indestructible faiths, one should take the Four Refuges, and the fourth refuge is the precepts (T24n1485, 1020c22–24).
Three Samādhis (三三昧). See Three Liberation Doors.
three turnings of the Dharma wheel in the twelve appearances (三轉法輪十二行相). Three times the Buddha turned the Dharma wheel of the Four Noble Truths. During the first turning for indication, the Buddha reveals, “This is suffering; this is accumulation of afflictions; this is cessation of suffering; this is the path.” During the second turning for persuasion, He advises, “This is the suffering you should know; this is the accumulation of afflictions you should destroy; this is the cessation of suffering you should achieve; this is the path you should take.” During the third turning for confirmation, He testifies, “This is the suffering I have known; this is the accumulation of afflictions I have destroyed; this is the cessation of suffering I have achieved; this is the path I have completed.”
Three Vehicles (三乘). The Great Vehicle (Mahāyāna) and the Two Vehicles.
three white foods (三白食). Milk, cream or curd, and white rice.
Three-Thousand Large Thousandfold World (三千大千世界). A galaxy, the educational district of a Buddha. It consists of a billion small worlds, each including a Mount Sumeru surrounded by four continents and interlaying circles of eight oceans and eight mountain ranges. One thousand such small worlds constitute a Small Thousandfold World. One thousand Small Thousandfold Worlds constitute a Medium Thousandfold World. Finally, one thousand Medium Thousandfold Worlds constitute a Large Thousandfold World. Therefore, Three-Thousand does not mean 3,000, but 1,000 raised to the power of 3, as described above. It can also mean that there are three kinds of Thousandfold World: small, medium, and large.
total retention (總持). See dhāraṇī.
Trayastriṁśa Heaven (忉利天). The second of the six desire heavens. It is on the top of Mount Sumeru, and the first desire heaven is halfway up Mount Sumeru, while all other heavens are up in the sky. Trayastriṁśa Heaven means Thirty-three Heavens, all ruled by the god-king Śakro-Devānām-Indra, who is commonly called Śakra or Indra.
Tripiṭaka (三藏). The three collections of texts of the Buddhist canon: (1) the Sūtra-piṭaka, discourses of the Buddha; (2) the Vinaya-piṭaka, rules of conduct; and (3) the Abhidharma-piṭaka, treatises on the Dharma. A Tripiṭaka master is accomplished in all three areas.
true suchness (bhūta-tathātā, 真如). The changeless true reality of all dharmas, the absolute truth that dharmas have neither birth nor death. It has other names, including emptiness, true emptiness, ultimate emptiness, one appearance, one flavor, ultimate reality (bhūta-koṭi), true reality, true state, primal state, Buddha mind, true mind, inherent pure mind, the Thus-Come One (Tathāgata), the Tathāgata store (Tathāgata-garbha), vajra store, Buddha nature, dharma nature, dharma body (dharmakāya), dharma realm, the one true dharma realm, the highest truth (paramārtha), the great seal, and the great perfection. One’s body and mental states, and objects perceived as external, are all manifestations of one’s true mind, projected through causes and conditions from the pure, impure, and neutral seeds stored in ālaya consciousness.
twelve fields (dvādaśa-āyatana, 十二處, 十二入), or twelve places. A sentient being is composed of the twelve fields: the six faculties (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mental faculty [manas]) and their six objects (sights, sounds, scents, flavors, tactile sensations, and mental objects). The six faculties are also called the six internal fields, and their objects are called the six external fields. The Consciousness-Only School calls the latter “projected appearances” (影像相分). And modern neurologists recognize that percepts are “brain representations” (see eighteen spheres).
Twelve Links of Dependent Arising (十二因緣法). The principle that explains why and how a sentient being continues to be reborn according to karma. Each link is the main condition for the next one to arise. These twelve links are (1) ignorance, (2) karmic actions, (3) consciousness, (4) name and form, (5) six faculties, (6) contact with sense objects, (7) sensory reception, (8) love, (9) grasping, (10) karmic force for being, (11) birth, and (12) old age and death. Links 1–2 refer to the afflictions and karmic seeds from previous lives, links 3–7 refer to the karmic fruit in the present life, links 8–10 refer to karmas in the present life, and links 11–12 refer to the karmic fruit in the next life. In this sequence, the twelve links connect one’s lives from the past to the present, continuing to the future. With ignorance, one goes from affliction to karma to suffering, continuing the endless spiral of birth and death. By ending ignorance one will disengage the remaining eleven links and end one’s cycle of birth and death.
twenty-five forms of existence (二十五有). There are fourteen in the desire realm (欲界), seven in the form realm (色界), and four in the formless realm (無色界).
two classes of sin (二罪). (1) Sin by nature (性罪) comes from doing evil, such as any of the four evil acts: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, and lying, whether or not it is prohibited by the Buddha. Doing any such evil is a grave sin (parājika). (2) Sin by decree (制罪) comes from an act decreed by the Buddha as a sin, e.g., drinking alcohol, which may not be an evil in itself but can lead to grave sins or public criticism or resentment. Performing such an act is a wrongdoing (duṣkṛta), a minor sin.
two emptinesses (二空). (1) The emptiness of a sentient being (人空) composed of dharmas, such as the five aggregates, and dependent on causes and conditions; (2) the emptiness of a dharma (法空) dependent on causes and conditions (see eighteen emptinesses).
two kinds of hindrances (二障).
A. (1) Affliction hindrances (煩惱障), which lead to another two kinds of hindrances: evil karmas and corresponding requitals (see three kinds of hindrances); (2) hindrances to wisdom-knowledge (jñeyāvaraṇa, 智障), which are one’s ground-abiding ignorance (住地無明), the root ignorance (根本無明).
B. (1) Affliction hindrances as in A (1); (2) hindrances to liberation, which prevent one from attaining the Samādhi of Total Suspension of Sensory Reception and Perception.
two kinds of wisdom-knowledge (二智). There are several pairs, such as true wisdom-knowledge (實智) and applied wisdom-knowledge (權智); root wisdom-knowledge (根本智) and consequent wisdom-knowledge (後得智); overall wisdom-knowledge (一切智) and knowledge of all wisdom-knowledge (一切種智). True wisdom-knowledge, root wisdom-knowledge, and overall wisdom-knowledge are synonyms, all pertaining to knowledge of the true reality of dharmas, which is emptiness. Applied wisdom-knowledge, also called facilitation wisdom-knowledge (方便智), pertains to knowledge of skillful means to train oneself and deliver sentient beings. True wisdom-knowledge is the essence, and applied wisdom-knowledge is its usage. Consequent wisdom-knowledge pertains to knowledge of all varieties of dharmas, consequent to acquiring the root wisdom-knowledge (see “knowledge of all wisdom-knowledge” in “three kinds of wisdom-knowledge”).
Two Paths (二道).
A. (1) The Path with Discharges (有漏道) is the worldly path taken by those with afflictions as they follow the first two of the Four Noble Truths and transmigrate in the Three Realms of Existence; (2) the Path without Discharges (無漏道) is the holy path taken by those who follow the last two of the Four Noble Truths, in order to eradicate their afflictions and transcend the Three Realms (see discharge).
B. (1) The Difficult Path (難行道) to Buddhahood is through repeated birth and death in the Three Realms of Existence; (2) the Easy Path (易行道) to Buddhahood is through rebirth in a Pure Buddha Land to train there.
two types of birth and death (二種生死). (1) An ordinary being, whose lifespan and life form are governed by the law of karma, repeatedly undergoes karmic birth and death (分段生死). (2) A holy Bodhisattva on any of the Ten Grounds, whose lifespan and mind-created body (意生身) are changeable at will, undergoes changeable birth and death (變易生死). Only a Buddha has ended both types of birth and death.
Two Vehicles (二乘). The Voice-Hearer Vehicle that leads to Arhatship and the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle that leads to Pratyekabuddhahood, for one’s own liberation only. The Mahāyāna doctrine refers to the Theravāda School in Southeast Asia (Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia) as the Small Vehicle (Hīnayāna), which can be either or both of these Two Vehicles.
Two-Footed Honored One (dvipadottama, 兩足尊). A Buddha is the most honored one among sentient beings standing on two feet, i.e., gods and humans. Moreover, the two feet of a Buddha are compared to meditation and moral conduct, merit and wisdom, knowledge in the relative and absolute truth, knowledge and action, or vow and action. A Buddha has perfected both.
unimpeded eloquence (無礙辯). This term can mean a Bodhisattva’s four kinds of unimpeded wisdom-knowledge or only the fourth kind (see four kinds of unimpeded wisdom-knowledge).
upadeśa (優波提舍). A pointing-out instruction, usually interpreted as a treatise (see sūtras in the twelve categories).
upaniṣad (優波尼薩曇). Sitting down at the feet of another to listen to his words. It suggests secret knowledge given in this manner. It may be an esoteric unit of measure.
upāsaka (優婆塞). A Buddhist layman (see Saṅgha).
upāsikā (優婆夷). A Buddhist laywoman. (see Saṅgha).
Vairocana (毘盧遮那). The name of the dharmakāya or saṁbhogakāya of a Buddha (see three bodies of a Buddha). Vairocana means pervasive radiance, and signifies the universal equality of everything in true suchness as well as the all-encompassing wisdom of a Buddha. According to the Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of Buddha Adornment (T09n278) in 60 fascicles, Vairocana is the name for a Buddha’s dharmakāya. According to the Brahma Net Sūtra (T24n1484), Rocana is the name for a Buddha’s saṁbhogakāya. Śākyamuni Buddha, in his nirmāṇakāya, is sometimes referred to as Vairocana Buddha or Rocana Buddha.
Vaiśālī (毘舍離). The domicile of the Licchavi clan, one of the sixteen great city kingdoms of ancient India. One hundred years after the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, in this city, 700 sages gathered in the second assembly for the compilation and revision of the Buddhist Canon.
vajra (伐折羅, 金剛). (1) Adamantine and indestructible, a description of the true suchness of all dharmas. (2) Diamond, considered to be as hard as the thunderbolt. (3) A ritual object, as a symbol of skillful means to deliver oneself and others from the cycle of birth and death.
Vārāṇasī (波羅奈國). An ancient city state on the Ganges, the present-day city of Benares. Nearby is Deer Park, where the Buddha gave His first teachings to five monks.
Veda (吠陀). Sacred knowledge, the general name of the Hindu canonical sacred texts. The four Vedas are the Ṛg-veda, Sāma-veda, Yajur-veda, and Athara-veda. They include mantras, prayers, hymns, and rituals. The Ṛg-veda is the only original work of the first three Vedas. Its texts are assigned to a period between 1400 and 1000 BCE. The fourth Veda, Athara-veda, emerged later.
vessel world (器世間). The living environment of a sentient being, e.g., a birdcage holding a bird. For this sentient being, assuming the life form of a bird is the main requital (正報), and living in a birdcage, its vessel world, is the reliance requital (依報). Although the main requital does not change during the life of a sentient being, its reliance requital may change, e.g., the bird may be released from its cage.
view of void (空見). The wrong view that the emptiness of dharmas means nothingness and that therefore causality can be ignored.
vipaśyanā (毗婆舍那). Correct observation or clear seeing, which leads to insight. Śamatha-vipaśyanā has been translated as stillness and observation (止觀), or as silent illumination (默照). When śamatha and vipaśyanā are balanced in power, one may realize the non-dual state of one’s mind.
voice-hearer (śrāvaka, 聲聞). One who has received oral teachings from the Buddha. Those who follow only His teachings preserved in the Hīnayāna Canon recognized by the Theravāda School are present-day voice-hearers. Listed below are a few disciples of the Buddha:
Ājñātakauṇḍinya (阿若憍陳如) was one of the first five disciples of the Buddha. He is well regarded as an Elder.
Ānanda (阿難) was the younger brother of Devadatta. As the Buddha’s attendant, he is noted for hearing and remembering all the teachings of the Buddha. Ānanda became an Arhat after the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa. In the first assembly of Arhats, he recited from memory all the teachings for the compilation of the sūtras. Succeeding Mahākāśyapa, he is reckoned as the second patriarch of the Buddhist lineage.
Aniruddha (阿那律) became a disciple soon after the Buddha’s enlightenment. He used to fall asleep when the Buddha was teaching and was reproved by the Buddha. Ashamed, he practiced day and night without sleep and lost his eyesight. However, he was able to see with his god eye.
Aśvajit (阿說示) was one of the first five disciples of the Buddha. He had comely features and majestic deportment. Śāriputra was impressed and asked him about his teacher. Aśvajit explained to Śāriputra the dependent arising of dharmas. Then Śāriputra joined the Buddha’s order.
Cullapatka (周梨槃陀迦), also called Śuddhipanthaka, and his twin brother, Patka (Panthaka), were born on a roadside while their parents were traveling. He was forgetful of the Buddha’s teachings. Then the Buddha told him to remember the short phrase “remove the dust and filth” as he did cleaning work in his daily life. He then attained Arhatship and transcendental powers.
Devadatta (提婆達多) was a cousin of the Buddha, with whom he had competed since childhood. He became a disciple after the Buddha had attained perfect enlightenment. He trained hard for twelve years but did not attain Arhatship. Disgusted, he studied magic and formed his own group. Devadatta beat a nun to death and made several attempts to murder the Buddha and destroy the Saṅgha. He fell into hell after his death. However, in a previous life he had given the Buddha Mahāyāna teachings. Despite the wicked deeds in his life, the Buddha prophesies in the Lotus Sūtra (T09n0262) that Devadatta will become a Buddha called Devarāja.
Gavāṁpati (憍梵波提) had been a cow for 500 lives because of his past karma. As a disciple of the Buddha, he still ruminated like a cow, and he was mocked by people as the cow-faced bhikṣu. Out of compassion, the Buddha sent him to a garden in Trayastriṁśa Heaven to train in meditation. He returned to Earth after the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, and he too entered parinirvāṇa soon afterward.
Kālodāyin (迦留陀夷) was a disciple whose skin was very black. He used to beg for food at night. A pregnant woman miscarried when she saw him in a flash of lightning in the dark of the night. Then the Buddha stipulated that no one should beg for food after noontime.
Kapphiṇa (劫賓那) was born under the constellation Scorpio. He is said to have understood astronomy, been the king of Southern Kauśala, and then become a disciple of the Buddha, receiving his monastic name Mahākapphiṇa. In the Lotus Sūtra (T09n0262), the Buddha prophesies that Kapphiṇa will become a Buddha called Samanta-prabhāsa.
Kāśyapa brothers (三迦葉) were Uruvilvākāśyapa (優樓頻螺迦葉), Nadīkāśyapa (那提迦葉), and Gayākāśyapa (伽耶迦葉). Initially fire-worshippers, they joined the Buddha’s Order together with their 1,000 followers.
Mahāculla (摩訶周那), also called Patka, Panthaka, or Mahāpanthaka, was the elder twin brother of Cullapatka. More intelligent than his twin, he soon attained Arhatship after joining the Buddha’s Order.
Mahākāśyapa (摩訶迦葉) was initially a Brahmin in Magadha. He became a disciple three years after the Buddha had attained enlightenment. In eight days, Mahākāśyapa attained Arhatship. He is considered foremost in ascetic practices. When the Buddha held up a flower, only Mahākāśyapa in the huge assembly understood the meaning and responded with a smile (X01n0027, 0442c16–21). Then the Buddha entrusted him with the continuation of the lineage, and he became the first patriarch after the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa. After entrusting the lineage to Ānanda, Mahākāśyapa went to the Vulture Peak (Gṛdhrakūṭa) Mountain. There he has remained in samādhi. He will enter parinirvāṇa after the advent the next Buddha, Maitreya.
Mahākātyāyana (摩訶迦旃延) was born into the Brahmin caste in the kingdom of Avanti in western India. He studied the Vedas under his uncle Asita, a ṛṣi, who foresaw that Prince Siddhārtha would attain Buddhahood. Mahākātyāyana then followed the Buddha in honor of Asita’s death wish. Through diligent training under the Buddha, Mahākātyāyana attained Arhatship. After the parinirvāṇa of the Buddha, he often debated with non-Buddhists, and is considered foremost in polemic.
Mahākauṣṭhila (摩訶拘絺羅) joined the Buddha’s Order after his nephew Śāriputra did. He soon attained Arhatship and acquired unimpeded eloquence. The Buddha praised him as foremost in eloquence.
Mahāmaudgalyāyana (大目揵連), together with his own disciples, following his good friend Śāriputra, became a disciple of the Buddha and attained Arhatship in a month. Śāriputra is portrayed as standing on the Buddha’s right, with Maudgalyāyana on His left. Maudgalyāyana was stoned to death by Brahmins shortly before the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa. He is considered foremost in transcendental powers.
Nanda (難陀). (1) Nanda was the half brother of the Buddha. He was also called Sundara-Nanda (孫陀羅難陀), with his wife’s name Sundarī added to differentiate him from Nanda the Cattle Herder. He was tall and handsome, with thirty marks of a great man. After becoming a monk under the Buddha, he was still attached to his wife. Through the Buddha’s skillful teachings, he ended his love and desire and attained Arhatship. (2) Nanda was the Cattle Herder who offered milk every day to the Buddha and His disciples during their three-month summer retreat. Assuming that the Buddha knew nothing about cattle herding, he asked Him questions. After the Buddha told him eleven things about cattle herding, Nanda was deeply moved and joined the Buddha’s Order.
Patka (半託迦), also called Panthaka or Mahāpanthaka, was the elder twin brother of Cullapatka. More intelligent than his twin, he was accomplished in the five studies. He attained Arhatship soon after joining the Buddha’s Order.
Piṇḍola-Bharadvāja (賓頭盧頗羅墮) is also called the Long-Eyebrowed Arhat, and Bharadvāja is one of the six famous family names of Brahmins. He is one of the sixteen great Arhats who remain in the world for various reasons. Piṇḍola was the son of a state minister and attained Arhatship at a young age. However, after he flaunted his transcendental powers, the Buddha rebuked him and forbade him to enter parinirvāṇa. So he is still in the world, delivering sentient beings.
Pūrṇa (富樓那) is also called Pūrṇa-Maitrāyaṇīputra, under his mother’s family name Maitrāyaṇī. He was the son of a minister of King Śuddhodana of the kingdom of Kapilavastu. He was very intelligent, and studied the Vedas at a young age. On the night Prince Siddhārtha left the palace to seek the truth, he too left with thirty friends to practice asceticism in the snow mountain. He attained the four dhyānas and the five transcendental powers. After Siddhārtha attained Buddhahood and did the first turning of the Dharma wheel in Deer Park, he became a monk in the Buddha’s Order and soon attained Arhatship. He is considered foremost in expounding the Dharma because some 99,000 people were delivered through his teachings.
Rāhula (羅睺羅) was the only son of Śākyamuni Buddha and Yaśodharā. He had been in gestation for six years and was born on the lunar eclipse after the Buddha had attained perfect enlightenment. Rāhula was six years old when the Buddha returned to the city kingdom of Kapilavastu, and he became a novice monk at the command of the Buddha. Foremost in secret training, he is to be reborn as the eldest son of every future Buddha.
Revata (離婆多) is the younger brother of Śāriputra. In his meditation at a temple, he saw two ghosts fighting to eat a corpse. Realizing the illusoriness of the body, he renounced family life and became a disciple of the Buddha. Traveling barefoot in a snow country, his feet were frostbitten. The Buddha praised him for his contentment with few material things and allowed him to wear shoes.
Śāriputra (舍利弗), together with his own disciples, joined the Buddha’s Order soon after the Buddha’s enlightenment. After being a principal disciple for forty-four years, to avoid his grief over the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, he requested and received the Buddha’s permission to enter parinirvāṇa sooner than the Buddha. He is considered foremost in wisdom among the disciples.
Subhūti (須菩提) is the foremost among the disciples in understanding the meaning of emptiness. He is the principal interlocutor in the Prajñā-Pāramitā Sūtra.
Svāgata (莎伽陀). In the Buddha Pronounces the Sūtra of the Bhikṣu Svāgata’s Merit (T14n0501), this bhikṣu named Svāgata lay drunk under a tree. The Buddha praised his merit for subjugating a vengeful dragon and explained that Svāgata was not really drunk but pretended drunkenness for a purpose.
Upāli (優波離) had been a barber in the royal court. He became a disciple, together with Ānanda, six years after the Buddha had attained perfect enlightenment. Foremost in observing the precepts, he contributed to the compilation of the Vinaya in the first assembly of the Arhats after the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa.
Upananda (跋難陀) and his brother Nanda (難陀) often caused disciplinary problems. Because of their misconduct, the Buddha had to add a few more precepts to the collection. Upananda rejoiced over the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa because in his opinion it freed the disciples from restraint.
Vakkula (薄拘羅), or Vakula, was a disciple who lived to age 160 without a moment’s illness or pain.
A. The four holy fruits achieved by voice-hearers on the Liberation Way are (1) Srotāpanna, the Stream Enterer, who will attain Arhatship after at most seven times being reborn as a god then a human; (2) Sakṛdāgāmin, the Once Returner, who will be reborn as a human only once more before attaining Arhatship; (3) Anāgāmin, the Never Returner, who will not be reborn as a human but will attain Arhatship in a pure-abode heaven in the form realm; and (4) Arhat, the Foe Destroyer, who has attained the nirvāṇa with remnant by annihilating his fixation on having an autonomous self and eradicating all his afflictions.
B. These four holy fruits and the corresponding nearness to them are called the eight holy ranks (八聖). Actually, one who is in the first rank, nearing the first holy fruit, is only a sage, and those in the higher seven ranks are holy beings. Those who are still learning (śaikṣa, 有學) are in the first seven ranks. Only Arhats, in the eight rank, are those who have nothing more to learn (aśaikṣa, 無學).
Vulture Peak Mountain. See Gṛdhrakūṭa Mountain.
water with the eight virtues (八功德水). According to the Praising the Pure Land Sūtra (T12n0367), these eight virtues are (1) purity and clarity, (2) coolness, (3) sweetness, (4) lightness and softness, (5) soothing, (6) peace and harmony, (7) quenching of thirst, and (8) nourishing and vitalizing.
Way (道). The Way in the Mahāyāna doctrine is to find the ultimate truth within one’s own mind. Those who see objects as existing outside their minds are considered not on the Way. The word Way (Dao or Tao) in Chinese Daoism means the natural order of things in the world, contrary to its meaning in Buddhist doctrine.
Wheel-Turning King (cakra-vartī-rāja, 轉輪王). A ruler, the wheels of whose chariot roll everywhere unimpeded. The wheel (cakra), one of the seven precious things he owns, comes in four ranks: iron, copper, silver, and gold. The iron wheel king rules one continent, the south; the copper wheel king rules two, east and south; the silver wheel king rules three: east, west, and south; the gold wheel king rules all four continents. A Buddha, the universal Dharma King, turns the Dharma wheel, giving teachings to sentient beings.
Wolf Track Mountain (狼跡山). Identified with the Cock’s Foot Mountain (Kukkuṭapāda), northeast of Buddhagayā, in central India. It has three spires, like the upturned foot of a cock. Mahākāśyapa is now in samādhi in this mountain, waiting for the advent of Maitreya Bodhisattva.
yakṣa (夜叉). A demonic ghost that eats human flesh.
Yama (夜摩). The king of the underworld and superintendent of the karmic punishment of hell-dwellers.
yojana (由旬). The distance covered by one day’s march of an army or by one day’s walk of a yoked bull. One yojana may equal 4 or 8 krośas, each krośa being the distance at which a bull’s bellow can be heard. The estimated distance of a yojana varies from 8 to 19 kilometers.
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ācārya (阿闍梨). A teacher, or an eminent monk who guides his students in conduct and sets an example. To receive the complete monastic precepts, three ācāryas must be present: (1) a preceptor ācārya (得戒和尚), who imparts the precepts; (2) a karma ācārya (羯磨阿闍梨), who directs the precept recipients in the ceremony; (3) an instructor ācārya (教授阿闍梨), who teaches them the right conduct and procedures.
Four Abidings of Mindfulness (四念住, 四念處). One practices śamatha and vipaśyanā with one’s mindfulness abiding in four places: body, sensory experiences, mind, and dharmas.
voice-hearer fruits (聲聞果).