Buddhists believe that one day, seated beneath the Bodhi tree (the tree of awakening), Siddhartha became deeply absorbed in meditation and reflected on his experience of life until he became enlightened.
By finding the path to enlightenment, Siddhartha was led from the pain of suffering and rebirth towards the path of enlightenment and became known as the Buddha or ‘awakened one’.
Test your knowledge of a few basic Buddhist terms: Buddhism Glossary Quiz
Some Buddhist terms and concepts lack direct translations into English that cover the breadth of the original term. Below are given a number of important Buddhist terms, short definitions, and the languages in which they appear. In this list, an attempt has been made to organize terms by their original form and give translations and synonyms in other languages along with the definition.
Some languages and traditions dealt with here: Buddhism Glossary Quiz
- Abhidhamma A category of scriptures that attempts to use Buddhist teachings to create a systematic, abstract description of all worldly phenomena
- Abhidhamma Pitaka The third basket of the Tripitaka canon, the reorganization of all doctrines in a systematic way
- Acariya, lit. “teacher”, One of the two teachers of a novice monk – the other one is called upādhyāya
- Ahimsa The devotion to non-violence and respect for all forms of life. Practicers of ahimsa are often vegetarians or vegans
- Amitabha Lit. “The Buddha of Infinite Light”. The main buddha of the Pure Land school, but is popular in other Mahayana sects as well. The image is of light as the form of wisdom, which has no form. Also interpreted as the Tathagata of Unhindered Light that Penetrates the Ten Quarters by Tan Luan, Shinran and others
- Anagarika A white-robed student in the Theravada tradition who, for a few months, awaits being considered for Samaneras ordination
- Anapanasati Mindfulness of the breath meditation