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Buddhism Glossary

Buddhism GlossaryArhat or Arahat
Someone who has achieved enlightenment.

Ascetic
A term for any person who lives without material luxuries, often for religious reasons.

Bhikkhu
Fully ordained Buddhist monk.

Bhikkhuni
Fully ordained Buddhist nun.

Bodhi
A Sanskrit word meaning enlightenment. The Bodhi tree is a species of fig said to be the tree under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment.

Bodhisattva
An enlightened person who has chosen to postpone nirvana in order to help others become enlightened.

Buddha
A title meaning Awakened or Enlightened One.

Dalai Lama (Tibetan)
Spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people.

Dharma
Universal law; ultimate truth, the teachings of the Buddha.

Eightfold Path
The Noble Eightfold Path; the way of life taught by the Buddha.

Enlightenment
A goal of Buddhism: a state in which the practitioner has no desire or suffering.

Four Noble Truths
The four principles encapsulating Buddha's teachings.

Karma
The sum of a person's actions in all their lifetimes (see Reincarnation): positive or negative actions are believed to affect the person's future in a positive or negative way.

Mandala
A circular design representing the universe, sometimes used in meditation.

Meditation
It is a Buddhist practice that involves emptying the mind, used for relaxation or religious contemplation.

Middle Way
A philosophy of moderation taught by the Buddha, avoiding excessive luxury and extreme asceticism; another name for the Eightfold Path.

Nirvana
The state of enlightenment; the term is also used outside Buddhism to mean a state of harmony and blessedness.

Reincarnation
Some forms of Buddhism believe that after death a person's soul is reborn on earth in a different body, which may be human or another creature depending on the person's karma (see Karma).

Samanera
Trainee Buddhist monk.

Samatha
A type of meditation used to make the mind calmer.

Sangha
The worldwide community of Buddhist monks or nuns; can be used generally to mean any group of Buddhists.

Siddhartha Gautama
The personal name of the historical Buddha.

Stupa
A dome-shaped monument that contains relics of the Buddha. It has been named after a Sanskrit word for the crown of the head.

Trikaya
Three aspects of Buddhahood as taught by the Mahayana School.

Vipassana
A type of meditation used to achieve insight.

Zen
A Buddhist tradition of searching for inner truth.

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