The Buddha of the Western Paradise, a bliss-body Buddha in Mahayana.
“No self”; the doctrine that there is no soul or permanent essence in people and things.
Impermanence, constant change.
In Theravada, a person who has practiced monastic disciplines and reached nirvana, the ideal.
“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.
The totality of Buddhist teaching.
“Meditation”; focusing of the mind; sometimes, stages of trance.
A popular bodhisattva of compassion in Mahayana.
In Chan and Zen Buddhism, a question that cannot be answered logically; a technique used to test consciousness and bring awakening.
A Tibetan Buddhist teacher; a title of honor often given to all Tibetan monks.
A Buddha (or bodhisattva) expected to appear on earth in the future.
A geometrical design containing deities, circles, squares, symbols, and so on that represents totality, the self, or the universe.
A symbolic hand gesture.
The release from suffering and rebirth that brings inner peace.
A state of deep awareness, the result of intensive meditation.
Constant rebirth and the attendant suffering; the everyday world of change.
The community of monks and nuns; lowercased, sangha refers to an individual monastic community.
In Zen, the enlightened awareness.
The Mahayana notion of emptiness, meaning that the universe is empty of permanent reality.
A shrine, usually in the shape of a dome, used to mark Buddhist relics or sacred sites.
A sacred text, especially one said to record the words of the Buddha.
“Thatness,” “thusness,” “suchness”; the uniqueness of each changing moment of reality.
The three “bodies” of the Buddha (The Dharmakaya (cosmic Buddha nature), the Nirmanakaya (historical Buddhas), and the Sambhogakaya (celestial Buddhas)).
The three “basket,” or collections, of Buddhist texts.
The “diamond” scepter used in Tibetan and other types of Buddhist ritual, symbolizing compassion.