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All of Us
Ayya Khema, 1987


The following Pali words encompass concepts and levels of ideas for which there are no adequate synonyms in English. The explanations of these terms have been adapted from the //Buddhist Dictionary// by Nyanatiloka Mahathera.

Anagami - the "Non-Returner" is a noble disciple on the 3rd stage of holiness.

Anatta - "No-self," non-ego, egolessness, impersonality; "neither within the bodily and mental phenomena of existence nor outside of them can be found anything that in the ultimate sense could be regarded as a self-existing real ego-identity, soul or any other abiding substance."

Anicca - "Impermanence," a basic feature of all conditional phenomena, be they material or mental, coarse or subtle, one's own or external.

Anusaya - The seven "proclivities," inclinations or tendencies.

Arahat/Arahant - The Holy One. Through the extinction of all cankers he reaches already in this very life the deliverance of mind, the deliverance through wisdom, which is free from cankers and which he himself has understood and realized.

Ariya - Noble Ones. Noble Persons.

Avijja - Ignorance, nescience, unknowing, synonymous with delusion, is the primary root of all evil and suffering in the world, veiling man's mental eyes and preventing him from seeing the true nature of things.

Bhavaraga - Craving for continued existence; one of the seven tendencies.

Citta-viveka - Mental detachment, the inner detachment from sensuous things.

Devas - Heavenly Beings, deities, celestials are beings who live in happy worlds, but are not freed from the cycle of existence.

Dhamma - The liberating law discovered and proclaimed by the Buddha, summed up in the Four Noble Truths.

Ditthi - View, belief, speculative opinion. If not qualified by "right," it mostly refers to wrong and evil view or opinion.

Dukkha -

(1) In common usage: "pain," painful feeling, which may be bodily or mental.

(2) In Buddhist usage as, e.g., in the Four Noble Truths: suffering, ill, the unsatisfactory nature and general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena.

Jhana - Meditative absorptions. Tranquility meditation.

Kalyanamitta - Noble or good friend is called a senior monk who is the mentor and friend of his pupil, wishing for his welfare and concerned with his progress, guiding his meditation; in particular the meditation teacher.

Kamma/Karma - "Action" denotes the wholesome and unwholesome volitions and their concomitant mental factors, causing rebirth and shaping the character of beings and thereby their destiny. The term does not signify the result of actions and most certainly not the deterministic fate of man.

Kaya-viveka - Bodily detachment, i.e., abiding in solitude free from alluring sensuous objects.

Khandha - The five "groups" are called the five aspects in which the Buddha has summed up all the physical and mental phenomena of existence, and which appear to the ordinary man as his ego or personality, to wit: body, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness.

Lokiya - "Mundane," are all those states of consciousness and mental factors arising in the worldling, as well as in the noble one, which are not associated with the supermundane.

Lokuttara - "Supermundane," is a term for the four paths and four fruitions.

Magga-phala - Path and fruit. First arises the path-consciousness, immediately followed by "fruition," a moment of supermundane awareness.

Mana - Conceit, pride, one of the ten fetters binding to existence, also one of the underlying tendencies.

Mara - The Buddhist "tempter" figure, the personification of evil and passions, of the totality of worldly existence and of death.

Metta - Loving-kindness, one of the four sublime emotions (brahma-vihara).

Nibbana - lit. "Extinction," to cease blowing, to become extinguished. Nibbana constitutes the highest and ultimate goal of all Buddhist aspirations, i.e., absolute extinction of that life-affirming will manifested as greed, hate and delusion and clinging to existence, thereby the absolute deliverance from all future rebirth.

Nivarana - "Hindrances," five qualities which are obstacles to the mind and blind our mental vision, and obstruct concentration to wit: sensual desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and sceptical doubt.

Papanca - "Proliferation," lit. expansion, diffuseness, detailed exposition, development, manifoldness, multiplicity, differentiation.

Paticcasamuppada - "Dependent Origination" is the doctrine of the conditionality of all physical and psychical phenomena.

Puthujjana - lit. "one of the many folk," worldling, ordinary man, anyone still possessed of all the ten fetters binding to the round of rebirths.

Sacca - Truth, such as the "Four Noble Truths."

Sakadagamami - The Once-Returner, having shed the lower fetters, reappears in a higher world to reach Nibbana. Sakkaya-ditthi - Personality-belief is the first of the fetters and is abandoned at stream-entry.

Samatha - Tranquility, serenity, is a synonym of //samadhi// (concentration).

Samsara - Round of rebirth, lit. "perpetual wandering," is a name by which is designated the sea of life ever restlessly heaving up and down.

Sangha - lit. Congregation, is the name for the community of monks and nuns. As the third of the Three Gems and the Three Refuges, it applies to the community of the Noble Ones.

Samvega - "The sources of emotion," or a sense of urgency.

Sankhara - Most general usage: formations. Mental formations and kamma formations. Sometimes: bodily functions or mental functions. Also: anything formed.

Silabbata-paramasa - Attachment to mere rules and rituals is the third fetter and one of the four kinds of clinging. It disappears on attaining to stream-entry.

Sotapatti - Stream-entry, the first attainment of becoming a noble one.

Vicikiccha - Sceptical doubt is one of the five mental hindrances and one of the three fetters which disappears forever at stream-entry.

Vipassana - Insight into the truth of the impermanence, suffering and impersonality of all corporeal and mental phenomena of existence.

Yatha-bhuta-nana-dassana - The knowledge and vision according to reality, is one of eighteen chief kinds of insight.


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DharmaNet Edition 1994

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Transcribed for DharmaNet by Maureen Riordan

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