The following words are mostly in Pali, the language of the Theravada Buddhist scriptures and chants (if not Pali, the language of the word is noted). They are brief translations for quick reference: these are not exhaustive or refined definitions. Not all the foreign words found in the talks are listed below, as many are defined at the point of use.

Note: most Pali diacritics have been omitted here and within the book, as few people are familiar with the specialised pronunciation conventions.

ajahn (Thai) 'teacher'; often used as the title of the senior monk in a monastery.

anagarika 'homeless one'. A person living in the monastery keeping the eight precepts. Often the first stage of training before 'acceptance' into the bhikkhu-sangha.

anapanasati meditation practice of mindfulness of breathing.

anatta impersonal, 'not-self', without individual essence; one of the three characteristics of all conditioned existence.

anicca impermanent, transient, having the nature to arise and pass away; one of the three characteristics of all conditioned existence.

arahant an enlightened being, free from all delusion.

Asalha Puja celebration taking place on the full-moon of July remembering the time when the Buddha delivered his first Teaching.

ariya sacca Noble Truths. Usually referring to the Four Noble Truths which form the foundation of all Buddhist teachings.

brahmavihara Divine Abidings: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity.

bhikkhu male alms mendicant; the term for a Buddhist monk.

bhikkhuni female alms mendicant; the term for a Buddhist nun.

Dhamma often used to mean the Buddha's teachings. Also refers to Ultimate Truth, towards which the teachings points; and to a discrete 'moment' of life, seen as it really is.

dukkha imperfect, unsatisfying, 'hard to bear', dis-ease; one of the three characteristics of all conditioned existence.

kamma intentional action or cause leading to an effect.

karuna compassion

kalyanamitta wholesome companionship, spiritual friendship.

magga path, way.

metta loving kindness.

mudita empathetic joy. Happiness at witnessing another's good fortune.

Nibbana freedom from attachments. Enlightenment. (Sanskrit: Nirvana)

pañña discriminative wisdom.

samadhi concentration or one-pointedness of mind.

samana one who has entered the renunciant life.

samanera a novice Buddhist monk.

samsara the unenlightened, unsatisfactory experience of life.

sangha the community of those who practice the Buddha's way.

sati mindfulness.

sila moral virtue.

sutta a Buddhist scripture.

siladhara a ten-precept Buddhist nun.

Theravada the southern school of Buddhism.

upasaka/upasika male and female lay Buddhist practitioners.

upasampada ceremony of acceptance into the bhikkhu-sangha.

uppekkha equanimity.

vinaya the Buddhist monastic discipline, or the scriptural collection of its rules and commentaries.

vipassana the penetrative insight of meditation, as distinguished from samatha mental tranquillity.

wat (Thai) Buddhist monastery.

Return to Contents Page