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Straight from the Heart - Glossary & Notes
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Acariya: Teacher; mentor.

Anatta: Not-self; ownerless.

Aniccam: Inconstant; unsteady; impermanent.

Arahant: A person whose heart is free of mental effluents (see asava) and who is thus not destined for future rebirth. An epithet for the Buddha and the highest level of his Noble Disciples.

arammana: Preoccupation; mental object.

Asava: Mental effluent, pollutant, or fermentation — sensuality, states of being, views, and unawareness.

Avijja: Unawareness; ignorance; obscured awareness; delusion about the nature of the mind.

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

Brahma: 'Great One' — an inhabitant of the heavens of form or formlessness.

Brahman: Used in the Buddha sense, this term is synonymous with arahant.

Buddho: Awake; enlightened. An epithet for the Buddha.

Cetasika: Mental concomitant (see vedana, sañña, and sankhara).

Dhamma (dharma): Event; phenomenon; the way things are in and of themselves; their inherent qualities; the basic principles underlying their behavior. Also, principles of behavior that human beings ought to follow so as to fit in with the right natural order of things; qualities of mind they should develop so as to realize the inherent quality of the mind in and of itself. By extension, 'Dhamma' is used also to denote any doctrine that teaches such things. Thus the Dhamma of the Buddha denotes both his teachings and the direct experience of nibbana, the quality at which those teachings are aimed.

Dhatu: Element; property, impersonal condition. The four physical elements or properties are earth (solidity), water (liquidity), wind (motion), and fire (heat). The six elements include the above four plus space and cognizance.

Dukkha(m): Stress; suffering; pain; distress; discontent.

Evam: Thus; in this way. This term is used in Thailand as a formal closing to a sermon.

Kamma (karma): Intentional acts that result in states of being and birth.

Kayagata-sati: Mindfulness immersed in the body. This is a blanket term covering several meditation themes: keeping the breath in mind; being mindful of the body's posture; being mindful of one's activities; analyzing the body into its parts; analyzing the body into its physical properties (see dhatu); contemplating the fact that the body is inevitably subject to death and disintegration.

Khandha: Heap; group; aggregate. Physical and mental components of the personality and of sensory experience in general (see rupa, vedana, sañña, sankhara, and viññana).

Kilesa: Defilement — passion, aversion, and delusion in their various forms, which include such things as greed, malevolence, anger, rancor, hypocrisy, arrogance, envy, miserliness, dishonesty, boastfulness, obstinacy, violence, pride, conceit, intoxication, and complacency.

Loka-dhamma: Worldly phenomenon — fortune, loss of fortune, status, disgrace, praise, censure, pleasure, and pain.

Lokuttara: Transcendent; supramundane (see magga, phala, and nibbana).

Magga: Path. Specifically, the path to the cessation of suffering and stress. The four transcendent paths — or rather, one path with four levels of refinement — are the path to stream-entry (entering the stream to nibbana, which ensures that one will be reborn at most only seven more times), the path to once-returning, the path to nonreturning, and the path to arahantship.

Mara: Temptation; mortality personified.

Nibbana (nirvana): Liberation; the unbinding of the mind from mental effluents, defilements, and the round of rebirth (see asava, kilesa, and vatta). As this term is used to denote also the extinguishing of fire, it carries the connotations of stilling, cooling, and peace. (According to the physics taught at the time of the Buddha, a burning fire seizes or adheres to its fuel; when extinguished, it is unbound.)

Pañña: Discernment; insight; wisdom; intelligence; common sense; ingenuity.

Parami: Perfection of the character — generosity, virtue, renunciation, discernment, persistence, forbearance, truthfulness, determination, good will, and equanimity.

Parisa: Following; assembly. The four groups of the Buddha's following are monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen.

Patimokkha: The basic code of 227 precepts observed by Buddhist monks, chanted every half-month in each assembly of monks numbering four or more.

Phala: Fruition. Specifically, the fruition of any of the four transcendent paths (see magga).

Puñña: Merit; worth; the inner sense of well-being that comes from having acted rightly or well.

Rupa: Body; physical phenomenon; sense datum.

Sabhava-dhamma: Phenomenon; an event, property, or quality as experienced in and of itself.

Sallekha-dhamma: Topics of effacement (effacing defilement) — having few wants, being content with what one has, seclusion, uninvolvement in companionship, persistence, virtue, concentration, discernment, release, and the direct knowing and seeing of release.

Samadhi: Concentration; the practice of centering the mind in a single sensation or preoccupation.

Sammati: Conventional reality; convention; relative truth; supposition; anything conjured into being by the mind.

Sanditthiko: Self-evident, visible here and now.

Sangha: The community of the Buddha's disciples. On the conventional level, this refers to the Buddhist monkhood. On the ideal level, it refers to those of the Buddha's followers, whether lay or ordained, who have attained at least the first of the transcendent paths (see magga) culminating in nibbana.

Sankhara: Formation. This can denote anything formed or fashioned by conditions, or — as one of the five khandhas — specifically thought-formations within the mind.

Sañña: Label; perception; allusion; act of memory or recognition; interpretation.

Sati: Mindfulness; alertness; self-collectedness; powers of reference and retention.

Satipatthana: Foundation of mindfulness; frame of reference — body, feelings, mind, and mental events, viewed in and of themselves as they occur.

Sa-upadisesa-nibbana: Nibbana with fuel remaining (the analogy is to an extinguished fire whose embers are still glowing) — liberation as experienced in this lifetime by an arahant.

Sugato: Well-faring; going (or gone) to a good destination. An epithet for the Buddha.

Tanha: Craving, the cause of stress, which takes three forms — craving for sensuality, for being, and for not-being.

Tathagata: One who has become true. A title for the Buddha.

Tilakkhana: Three characteristics inherent in all conditioned phenomena — being inconstant, stressful, and not-self.

Tipitaka (tripitaka): The Buddhist Cannon; literally, the three 'baskets' — disciplinary rules, discourses, and abstract philosophical treatises.

Uposatha: Observance day, corresponding to the phases of the moon, on which Buddhist lay people gather to listen to the Dhamma and to observe special precepts. Monks assemble to hear the Patimokkha on the new-moon and full-moon uposatha days.

Vassa: Rains Retreat. A period from July to October, corresponding roughly to the rainy season, in which each monk is required to live settled in a single place and not wander freely about.

Vatta: The cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. This denotes both the death and rebirth of living beings and the death and rebirth of defilement within the mind.

Vedana: Feeling — pleasure (ease), pain (stress), or neither pleasure nor pain.

Vijja: Clear knowledge; genuine awareness; science (specifically, the cognitive powers developed through the practice of concentration and discernment).

Vimutti: Release; freedom from the fabrications and conventions of the mind.

Vinaya: The disciplinary rules of the monastic order.

Viññana: Cognizance; consciousness; the act of taking note of sense data and ideas as they occur.



1. This is an indirect reference to a passage in a Thai Dhamma textbook that reads, 'The transcendent Dhammas are nine: the four paths, the four fruitions, and the one nibbana.'

2. A small umbrella-like tent used by meditating monks.

3. A reference to the Dhammapada, verses 153-54:

Through the round of many births
I wandered without finding
The house builder I was seeking:
Painful is birth again and again.

House builder, you are seen!
You will not build a house again.
All your rafters broken,
The ridge pole destroyed,
Gone to the Unformed, the mind
Has attained the end of craving.

4. See the Yamaka Sutta and Anuradha Sutta in Samyutta Nikaya XXII.85-86.


If anything in this translation is inaccurate or misleading, I ask forgiveness of the author and reader for having unwittingly stood in their way. As for whatever may be accurate, I hope the reader will make the best use of it, translating it a few steps further, into the heart, so as to attain the truth to which it points.

The translator


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