Dharma The Dharma means the sum total of Buddhist teachings about how to view the world and how to live properly.
Sangha The Sangha is the community of monks and nuns. More generally, it is all people who are trying to follow the teachings of the Buddha.
Anichcha Anichcha means impermanence and constant change. Nothing we experience in life ever remains the same.
Anatta “No self”; the doctrine that there is no soul or permanent essence in people or things. This could simply mean that our sense of being separate is false, not that there is not “something.”
No Self Ultimately, the Buddha is asking us to question our normal assumptions and not take basic concepts for granted. What do we mean when we say “myself?” Do we mean our body? Our personality? What is our essence?
Dukkha Dukkha is usually translated as :suffering” or “sorrow,” but it also means “dissatisfaction” or “dis-ease.” it refers to the fact that life, when lived conventionally, can never be fully satisfying because of its inescapable change.
Samsara Samsara refers to the everyday world of change, rebirth, and suffering.
The First Noble Truth The First Noble Truth: To Live Is to Suffer. Although the message sounds dark, this truth urges us to be realistic, not depressed; it is also hopeful in the sense that if we recognize why suffering come about then we can lessen it.
The Second Noble Truth The Second Noble Truth: Suffering Comes from Desire. The problem is that we become attached to things as they are and so we resist change. The Buddha says so often we are not satisfied with what we do have and that we want what we don’t have.
The Third Noble Truth The Third Noble Truth:To End Suffering, End Desire. The essence of this truth is this: I cannot change the outside world, but I can change myself and the way I experience the world.
The Fourth Noble Truth The Fourth Noble Truth: Release from Suffering Is Possible and Can Be Attained by Following the Noble Eightfold Path. This is the way of life prescribed for Buddhists who want to enter nirvana.
Nirvana The ultimate goal of Buddhism is nirvana. The term nirvana suggests many things: end of suffering, inner peace, and liberation from the limitations of the world. To reach nirvana, Buddhism suggests the Noble Eightfold Path.
The Noble Eightfold Path 1. Right Understanding: I recognize the impermanence of life, the mechanism of desire, and the cause of suffering. The idea is to have as good a “map” of the journey and of reality as possible.
The Noble Eightfold Path 2. Right Intention: My thoughts and motives are pure, not tainted by my emotions and selfish desires.This can also be described as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement.
The Noble Eightfold Path 3. Right Speech: I speak honestly and kindly, in positive ways, avoiding lies, exaggeration, harsh words. This is the first principle of ethical conduct in the eightfold path. To think carefully about what you are going to say in a mindfulness practice.
The Noble Eightfold Path 4. Right Action: My actions do not hurt any other being that can feel hurt, including animals; I avoid stealing and sexual conduct that would bring hurt. Unwholesome actions lead to unsound states of mind, while wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind.
The Noble Eightfold Path 5. Right Work: My job does no harm to myself or others. Any occupation that would violate the principles of right speech and right action should be avoided. When you consider how much time we spend at work, it is good to have a job that facilitates spiritual practice.
The Noble Eightfold Path 6. Right Effort: With moderation, I consistently try to improve. Right effort also hold out the idea that we can use our energy properly or improperly. The goal is to not waste our precious energy, especially in negative emotions.
The Noble Eightfold Path 7. Right Meditation: I use the disciplines of meditation (dhyana) and focused awareness to contemplate the nature of reality more deeply. This includes the practice of mindfulness, that is, seeing things as they are, with clear awareness.
The Noble Eightfold Path 8. Right Contemplation: I cultivate states of blissful inner peace (samadhi). I do this by cultivating one-pointedness of mind, meaning a state where all mental faculties are united. I concentrate on wholesome thoughts and actions. Meditation is a key tool.
Dhyana Dhyana means “meditation.” Often it refers to the focusing of the mind. Sometimes it refers to stages of trance. Ultimately it is about learning to experience “choiceless awareness,” simple attention, without judgment, to the present moment.
Samadhi Samadhi is a state of deep awareness, the result of intensive meditation.
Theravada The Theravada school takes its name from its goal of passing on the Buddha’s teachings unchanged. Its name means “the way of the elders.”
Arhat In Theravada, a person who has practiced monastic discipline and reached nirvana, the ideal.
Sutra A sutra is a sacred text, especially one said to contain the words of the Buddha.
Tripitaka Tripitaka refers to the three “baskets,” or collections, of Buddhist texts. These are the earliest of the Buddha’s teachings.
Stupa A stupa is a Buddhist shrine, usually in the shape of a dome, used to mark Buddhist relics or sacred sites.
Mahayana Mahayana is the second great branch of Buddhism, a word that is usually translated as “big vehicle.” Mahayana emphasizes that nirvana is not only attainable by monks but is a possibility for everyone.
Compassion In Mahayana, wisdom remained an important goal, but the pairing of wisdom and compassion was central to its teachings. Compassion became an essential virtue and the preeminent expression of wisdom.
Bodhisattva A bodhisattva is an “enlightenment being”; in Mahayana, a person of deep compassion, especially one who does not enter nirvana but is constantly reborn to help others; a heavenly being of compassion.
Shunyata Shunyata is the Mahayana notion of emptiness, meaning that the universe is empty of permanent reality. The notion of emptiness suggests that everything is related. Nothing is independent. There are no barriers between things.It also implies potentiality.
Tathata Tathata means “thatness,” “thusness,” or “suchness.” Tathata represents a view of experience that says that reality is revealed in each moment, as we savor patterns, relationships, and change.
Mandalas Mandalas are geometrical designs that present reality in symbolic form. They often represent totality, the self, or the universe. They are used for meditation as well as decorative art.
Satori In Zen, satori is the enlightened awareness. It brings an awareness of the unity of oneself with the rest of the universe. This experience of ultimate unity brings new insights and emotions to the art of living; less anxiety over attaining goals, less concern about death, and an appreciation for the preciousness of everyday life.
Zazen The most fundamental Zen technique for reaching enlightenment is regular ‘sitting meditation,” called zazen. The mind becomes more peaceful, and ideally, with long practice, a state of simple awareness takes over as one’s “true nature” is revealed.
Koan A koan is a special kind of question used for attaining awareness. It is a question that cannot be answered logically. It frustrates the brain and facilitates an opening to pure awareness, bringing awakening.
Vajrayana Vajrayana means the “vehicle of the diamond” or “vehicle of the lightning bolt. Some consider this school to be a part of Mahayana Buddhism, but many consider it a third major a school of Buddhism. It is the Buddhism of Tibet and the Dalai Lama.
Lama A lama is a Tibetan Buddhist teacher. It is a title of honor given to all Tibetan monks.