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Buddhist Dictionary

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Much joy with good deeds.
Anumodanā puñña kusala!


The source of this edition is originated from the book “Buddhist Dictionary”, by late Ven. Nyanatiloka Maha Thera, generously given by Upasika Binh Anson and based on the goodnesd of many. For more details see here.


Abbreviations have been - as far as possible - replaced. (1) To avoid mistakes and to follow the tradition in not short-cutting everthing for productivity and gain. (2) It makes it easier for the reader to access every meaning without the need of learning to much codes and requirement to address this list here. (3) To avoid mistakes from different use of codes. (4) To try to give general known and more accessible references (for example is there no real reason why to use latin numbers), and to bring traditional ways of order and differen modern ways more closer. The original list is enlarged by a third column containing notes to each. Links to resources are refering to Ven. Thanissaros translations and the link-extention .than can be replaced as soon as the implementation of the Tipitaka & Commentary section has proper progressed. Appendix-notes have been put into the single word-articles in ways of foot-notes.

Samana Johann, 27. August 2018, Aural, Kampuchea

Abbre. Explaining of the Author Edit-Notes by the editor (replacments in addition to links to single dictionary pages).
A. Aṅguttara Nikāya (figures refer to number of book (nipāta) and Sutta) “A.” has been changed to AN, Roman numbers have been replaced. Usual pattern: AN_{Vagga}.{Sutta No.}.
Abh. Abhidhamma Piṭaka (Canon) replaced with Abhidhamma_…“
Abh. S. Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha replaced with “Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha
Abh. St. Abhidhamma Studies, by Nyanaponika Thera (BPS) replaced with ”Abhidhamma Studies
App. Appendix at the end of this book. replaced with “App., Appendix has been added by foot-notes in the single word-articles.
Aṭṭhasālinī (Commentary to Dhammasaṅgaṇi) — ; ? Atthakatha, Tika or Anya ?
Aṭṭhasālinī Tr. The Expositor, tr. by Maung Tin. PTS Tr. Series replaced with “Aṭṭhasālinī Translation
Boehtl. Otto Boehtlingk, Sanskrit-Wörterbuch ? replaced with “Otto Boehtlingk
BPS Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy
CNid. Cūḷa Niddesa replaced with “Cūḷa Niddesa
Com. Commentary replaced with “Commentary
D. Dīgha Nikāya (figures: number of Sutta) replaced with “DN_{Sutta number}”
Dhp. Dhammapada replaced latin no. and link-reference “Dhp_{no.}”
Dhs. Dhammasaṅgaṇi replaced with “Dhammasaṅgaṇi
Fund. Fundamentals of Buddhism, Nyanatiloka (BPS), Guide through the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, Nyanatiloka, 3rd ed. 1971 (BPS) replaced with “F. Guide
It. Itivuttaka replaced with “Iti_{vagga}.{no.}”, numbers romanized
Kath. Kathāvatthu replaced with “Kathāvatthu
Khp. Khuddakapātha replaced with “Khp_{number}”
Khp. Tr. Minor Readings & Illustrator, tr. (of Khp. & Com) by Ñāṇamoli Thera. replaced with “Khp Translation
PTS Tr. Series replaced with “PTS Translations
M. Majjhima Nikāya (figures: number of Sutta) replaced with “MN_{number}
MNid. Mahā Niddesa replaced with “Mahā Niddesa_{number}”
Mil. Milindapañhā replaced with “Milindapañhā_…”
Path Path to Deliverance, Nyanatiloka (BPS) (figures: paragraphs)replaced with “Path to Deliverance
Patth. Paṭṭhāna replaced with “Paṭṭhāna
Pts.M. Patisambhidā Magga replaced with “Paṭisambhidāmagga_…”
PTS Pāḷi Text Society's editions
Pug. Puggala-Paññatti (figures: paragraphs) replaced with “Puggalapaññatti_…”
R. Und. Right Understanding, tr. (of MN 9 & Commentary) by Soma Thera (BPS) replaced with “Right Understanding
S. Saṁyutta Nikāya (figures: numbers of Saṁyutta and Sutta) replaced with “SN_{vagga}.{number}”, Roman Numbers into latin, Saṁyuttā
Sn. Sutta Nipāta (figures numbers of verses) replaced with “Snp_{number}”
Tab. Table at the end of the book — Link added, in cases given to add
Therag. Theragāthā replaced with “Theragāthā_{number}”
Tr. Translation replaced with “Translation/translation
Vibh. Vibhaṅga replaced with “Vibhaṅga…”
Vis.M. Visuddhi Magga (figures numbers of chapter & the paragraphing in Path of Purification, translated by Ñāṇamoli Thera, 3rd ed., BPS) replaced with “Visuddhi Magga_{number}
WHEEL THE WHEEL publ. by BPSreplaced with “Wheel” otherwise, if given, link to the document
W.of B. The Word of the Buddha, Nyanatiloka (BPS) replaced with “W.of Buddha
Yam. Yamaka replaced with “Yamaka
am replaced by “ṁ”
Note: Books and publications for sale are not cross-linked to do not suggesting that such ways are appreciated indirectly. One may find ways by oneself if thinking that is of longlasting benefit for one.
Abbre. Replacement
q.v. quod vide see… or removed if clear
(q.v.) frequently suffix removed
s. see
foll. 'following', and/or word(link)
prec. 'preceded…' and/or word(link)
a., b., ..z. repeated word written fully
3 dot … (one character)
… and many other small stylings, typos, Pāḷi-spelling…
Splitted multi-word-topics into single and ordered alphabetical
ang/am into ṁ, Saṃyuttā → Saṁyuttā, ṅ. → Saṅgha
vatta “round” into vaṭṭa, vatta=custom (Wat)

Anumodana puñña kusala.


Buddhist dictionary

Buddhist Dictionary Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, by late Ven. Nyanatiloka Mahathera, (Fourth Revised Edition, edited by late Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera)

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | XYZ

Preface Book

From The Preface To The First Edition

As a first attempt of an authentic dictionary of Buddhist doctrinal terms, used in the Pāḷi Canon and its Commentaries, this present manual will fill a real gap felt by many students of Buddhism. It provides the reader not with a mere superficial enumeration of important Pāḷi terms and their English equivalents, but offers him precise and authentic definitions and explanations of canonical and post-canonical terms and doctrines, based on Sutta, Abhidhamma and Commentaries, and illustrated by numerous quotations taken from these sources, so that, if anyone wishes, he could, by intelligently joining together the different articles, produce without difficulty a complete exposition of the entire teachings of Buddhism.

As already pointed out by the author in the preface to his Guide through the Abhidhamma Piṭaka (Colombo 1938), there are found in the Abhidhamma Canon numerous technical terms not met with in the Sutta Canon; and again other terms are found only in the Commentaries and not in Sutta and Abhidhamma. The author therefore has made a first attempt - without, however, laying any claim to absolute reliability or completeness in this by no means easy undertaking - to indicate in the Appendix all the terms that in the oldest Sutta texts are either not found at all, or at least not in the same form or meaning, and to set forth how far these are deviations from the older texts, or further developments.

In this connection, the author wishes to state that the often quoted Paṭisambhidāmagga, as well as Niddesa, Buddhavaṁsa and Cariyapiṭaka, though included in the Khuddaka Nikāya of the Sutta Piṭaka, nevertheless bear throughout the character of Commentaries, and though apparently older than the Sutta Commentaries handed down to us in Buddhaghosa's version, must doubtless belong to a later period of origin than the Abhidhamma Canon.

In rendering the terms into English, I often had to differ considerably from the interpretation of Western scholars, and to introduce quite new words. A great number of such earlier translations must be considered partly as totally incorrect, partly as misleading, or at the very least ambiguous. Incorrect are, for instance, the English renderings of nāma-rūpa by 'name and form'; javana (impulsion, i.e. the karmic impulsive moments) by 'apperception', etc.

The expositions concerning the true nature of the 8-fold Path, the 4 Noble Truths, the paṭicca-samuppāda and the 5 groups of existence - doctrines which, with regard to their true nature, have been often misunderstood by Western authors - are sure to come to many as a revelation.

On the doctrine of anattā, or 'egolessness', i.e. the impersonality and emptiness of all phenomena of existence, the author repeatedly felt the necessity of throwing light from every possible point of view, for it is exactly this doctrine which, together with the doctrine of the conditionality of all phenomena of existence, constitutes the very essence of the whole Teaching of the Buddha without which it will be by no means possible to understand it in its true light. Thus the doctrine of impersonality runs like a red thread right through the whole book.

May this little manual provide an ever-helpful companion and vade mecuṁ to all earnest students in their study of the original Buddhist scriptures, and also give to Buddhist authors and lecturers the opportunity of supplementing and deepening their knowledge of the profound teachings of the Buddha!

Should it, for a better understanding, prove necessary to give to certain subjects a more detailed treatment, the carrying out of this task may be reserved for a later edition of this work.

Central Internment Camp
Dehra-Dun, India

Editor's Preface To The Third Edition

The present revised and enlarged Third Edition was intended to be issued in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the venerable author's passing away on 28th May 1957. But due to unavoidable circumstances the publication had to be delayed.

It was the venerable author's wish to enlarge the first edition of this work, but when a second edition became necessary, he was prevented from expanding it by the illness to which he later succumbed. It rested, therefore, with his pupil, the present editor, to make, within the original scope and character of the work, such additions and revisions as seemed useful.

Over seventy articles have been expanded and partly rewritten; others were slightly revised; more source references were included, and information on literature for further study of the respective subjects was added to some of the articles. But only very few new words have been added (e.g. anupassanā, ānupubbi-kathā, etc.). This restriction was observed because the venerable author himself thought only of 'a more detailed treatment' of existing articles (see Preface to the 1st ed.) as he obviously wished to preserve the original form and character of the book. It was also considered that the adding of more words such as those coined in later commentarial and Abhidhammic literature, would be superfluous as in the English language such terms will generally be found only in a few scholarly books and translations which themselves give the explanations needed.

This book is chiefly intended for those who study the Buddhist teachings through the medium of the English language, but wish to familiarize themselves with some of the original Pāḷi terms of doctrinal import. They are in the same position as a student of philosophy or science who has to know the terminology of his field, which for common parlance is mostly not less 'unfamiliar' than are the words of the Pāḷi language found in the Dictionary.

Such acquaintance with the Pāḷi terms of the original texts will also be useful to the student for the purpose of identifying the various renderings of them favored by different translators. It is deplorable that there is a considerable multiplication of new English coining for the same doctrinal term. This great variety of renderings has proved to be confusing to those students of Buddhism who are not familiar with the Pāḷi language. Even at this late stage when many translations of Pāḷi texts are in print, it will be desirable if, for the sake of uniformity, translators forgo their preference for their own coining, even if they think them better than others. In any case, doctrinal terms have to be known by definition, just as in the case of philosophical and technical terms in a Western language.

As a small help in the situation described, a number of alternative renderings used by other translators have been included in some articles of this edition. In a very few cases, unacceptable though familiar renderings have been bracketed. The Venerable Nyanatiloka's own preferences have been placed in inverted commas. Generally it may be said that his renderings, based on his comprehensive knowledge of texts and doctrine, are very sound and adequate. Only in a very few cases has the editor changed the author's preferred rendering e.g. 'canker' for āsava (instead of 'bias'), 'right view' for sammā-diṭṭhi (instead of 'right understanding'). The latter change was made for the sake of economizing with the few English equivalents for the numerous Pāḷi synonyms for 'knowing', etc.; and also to avoid having to render the opposite term, micchā-diṭṭhi, by 'wrong understanding'.

This Dictionary appeared also in the author's own German version (published by Verlag Christiani, Konstanz, Germany) and in a French translation made by the late Mme Suzanne Karpeles (published by 'Adyar', Paris, 1961).

Kandy, Ceylon
February 1970

Only few and minor revisions have been made to the text of the Fourth Edition which is now issued by the Buddhist Publication Society.

Kandy, Sri Lanka
March 1980



abandonmet, contemplation of; paṭinissaggānupassanā, is one of the 18 chief kinds of insight; see vipassanā, further ānāpānasati (16).


abbhokāsikaṅga: 'living in the open air', is one of the ascetic means to purification (see dhutaṅga).


aberration (in morality and understanding): see vipatti.


abhabbāgamana: 'incapable of progressing'.

“Those beings who are obstructed by their evil actions (kamma, see kamma), by their defilements (see kilesa), by the result of their evil actions (see vipāka), or who are devoid of faith, energy and knowledge, and unable to enter the right path and reach perfection in wholesome things, all those are said to be incapable of progressing” Puggalapaññatti 13

According to Commentary the 'evil actions' denote the 5 heinous deeds with immediate result (see ānantarika-kamma), whilst the 'defilements' refer to the 'evil views with fixed destiny' (niyata-micchā-diṭṭhi; see diṭṭhi).


ābhassara: The 'Radiant Ones', are a class of heavenly beings of the fine-material world (rūpa-loka); cf. deva.


abhibhāyatana: the 8 'stages of mastery', are powers to be obtained by means of the kasiṇa-exercises (see kasiṇa). In the Commentary to MN 77, where āyatana is explained by 'means' (kāraṇa) it is said:

“The abhibhāyatana through their counteracting may master (suppress) the adverse states, and by means of higher knowledge they may master the objects of mind.”

They are means for transcending the Sensuous Sphere.

The stereotype text often met with in the Suttas (e.g. DN 11, DN 33; MN 77; AN 8.65; AN 10.29) is as follows:

(1) “Perceiving (blue…, red…, yellow…, white) forms on one's own body, one sees forms externally small ones, beautiful or ugly; and in mastering these one understands: 'I know, I understand.' This is the first stage of mastery.

(2) “Perceiving forms on one's own body, one sees forms externally, large ones …. This is the second stage of mastery.

(3) “Not perceiving forms on one's own body, one sees forms externally, small ones …. This is the third stage of mastery.

(4) “Not perceiving forms on one's own body, one sees forms externally, large ones …. This is the fourth stage of mastery.

(5) “Not perceiving forms on one's own body, one sees forms externally, blue forms, forms of blue color, blue appearance, blue lustre, and mastering these one understands: 'I know, I understand. This is the fifth stage of mastery.”

(6-8) The same is repeated with yellow, red and white forms. As preparatory kasiṇa-object for the 1st and 2nd exercise one should choose on one's own body a small or a large spot, beautiful or ugly, and thereon one should concentrate one's full undivided attention, so that this object after a while reappears as mental reflex or image (see nimitta) and, as it were, as something external. Such an exercise, though appearing quite mechanical, if properly carried out will bring about a high degree of mental concentration and entrance into the 4 absorptions (see jhāna). In the 3rd and 4th exercises the monk by an external kasiṇa-object gains the mental reflexes and absorptions. As objects of the remaining exercises, perfectly clear and radiant colors should be chosen, flowers, cloth, etc.

A kasiṇa-object of small size is said to be suitable for a mentally unsteady nature, one of a large size for a dull nature, a beautiful object for an angry nature, an ugly one for a lustful nature.

In Visuddhi Magga V it is said: “By means of the earth-kasiṇa one succeeds in reaching the stage of mastery with regard to small and large objects …. By means of the blue-kasiṇa one succeeds in causing blue forms to appear, in producing darkness, in reaching the stage of mastery with regard to beautiful and ugly colours, in reaching 'deliverance through the beautiful', etc.” (cf. vimokkha II, 3). The same is also said with regard to the other colour kasiṇas.


abhijjhā: 'covetousness' is a synonym of lobha (see mūla and taṇhā) and is the 8th link of the unwholesome courses of action (see kamma-patha, I).


abhinibbatti: a Sutta term for rebirth; see punabbhava.


abhiññā: The 6 'higher powers', or supernormal knowledge's, consist of 5 mundane (see lokiya) powers attainable through the utmost perfection in mental concentration (see samādhi) and one supermundane (see lokuttara) power attainable through penetrating insight (see vipassanā), i.e. extinction of all cankers (āsavakkhaya; see āsava), in other words, realization of Arahatship or Holiness. They are: (1) magical powers (iddhi-vidha), (2) divine ear (dibba-sota), (3) penetration of the minds of others (ceto-pariya-ñāṇa), (4) remembrance of former existences (pubbe-nivāsānussati), (5) divine eye (dibba-cakkhu), (6) extinction of all cankers (āsavakkhaya).

The stereotype text met with in all the 4 Sutta-collections (e.g. DN 34; MN 4, MN 6, MN 77; AN 3.99; AN 5.23; SN 15.9 and Puggalapaññatti 271, 239) is as follows:

(1) “Now, O Bhikkhus, the monk enjoys the various magical powers (iddhi-vidha), such as being one he becomes manifold, and having become manifold he again becomes one. He appears and disappears. Without being obstructed he passes through walls and mountains, just as if through the air. In the earth he dives and rises up again, just as if in the water. He walks on water without sinking, just as if on the earth. Cross-legged he floats through the air, just like a winged bird.

With his hand he touches the sun and moon, these so mighty ones, so powerful ones. Even up to the Brahma-world he has mastery over his body.

(2) “With the divine ear (dibba-sota) he hears sounds both heavenly and human, far and near.

(3) “He knows the minds of other beings (parassa-ceto-pariya-ñāṇa), of other persons, by penetrating them with his own mind. He knows the greedy mind as greedy and the not-greedy one as not greedy; knows the hating mind as hating and the not-hating one as not hating; knows the deluded mind as deluded and the not-deluded one as not deluded; knows the shrunken mind and the distracted one, the developed mind and the undeveloped one, the surpassable mind and the unsurpassable one, the concentrated mind and the unconcentrated one, the freed mind and the unfreed one.

(4) “He remembers manifold former existences (pubbe-nivāsānussati), such as one birth, two, three, four and five births …. hundred thousand births; remembers many formations and dissolutions of worlds: 'There I was, such name I had …. and vanishing from there I entered into existence somewhere else …. and vanishing from there I again reappeared here.' Thus he remembers, always together with the marks and peculiarities, many a former existence.

(5) “With the divine eye (dibba-cakkhu = yathā-kammūpaga-ñāṇa or cutūpapāta-ñāṇa), the pure one, he sees beings vanishing and reappearing, low and noble ones, beautiful and ugly ones, sees how beings are reappearing according to their deeds (see kamma): 'These beings, indeed, followed evil ways in bodily actions, words and thoughts, insulted the noble ones, held evil views, and according to their evil views they acted. At the dissolution of their body, after death, they have appeared in lower worlds, in painful states of existence, in the world of suffering, in hell. Those other beings, however, are endowed with good action …. have appeared in happy state of existence, in a heavenly world.

(6) “Through the extinction of all cankers (āsavakkhaya) even in this very life he enters into the possession of deliverance of mind, deliverance through wisdom, after having himself understood and realized it.”

4-6 appear frequently under the name of the 'threefold (Higher) Knowledge' (see te-vijjā). They are, however, not a necessary condition for the attainment of sainthood (Arahatta), i.e. of the sixth abhiññā.

Visuddhi Magga XI-XIII gives a detailed explanation of the 5 mundane higher powers, together with the method of attaining them.

In connection with the 4 kinds of progress (see paṭipadā), abhiññā means the 'comprehension' achieved on attainment of the Paths and Fruitions.


abhisamācārika-sīla: 'morality consisting in good behaviour', relates to the external duties of a monk such as towards his superior, etc. ”abhisamācārika-sīla” is a name for those moral rules other than the 8 ending with right livelihood (i.e. 4-fold right speech, 3-fold right action and right livelihood, as in the Eightfold Path) (Visuddhi Magga I; see sacca IV, 3-5).

“Impossible is it, o monks, that without having fulfilled the law of good behaviour, a monk could fulfil the law of genuine pure conduct” AN 5.21

Cf. ādibrahmacariyakasīla.


abhisamaya: 'Truth-realization', is the full and direct grasp of the Four Noble Truths by the Stream-winner (Sotāpanna; see ariya-puggala). In the Commentary the term is represented by 'penetration' (see paṭivedha). Frequently occurring as dhammābhisamaya, 'realization of the doctrine' Cf. SN 13 (Abhisamaya Saṁyuttā) and Paṭisambhidāmagga (Abhisamaya Kathā).


abhisaṅkhāra: identical with the 2nd link of the paṭiccasamuppāda (see also saṅkhāra; under I, 1 or kammaformations).

ability to acquire insight


abodes: vihāra. The 4 Divine abodes: brahma-vihāra. The 9 abodes of beings: sattāvāsa.


absence: natthi-paccaya, is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya).




access, Moment of: see javana.



accumulation (of Kamma): āyūhana.


āciṇṇaka-kamma: habitual kamma; see kamma.


acinteyya: lit. 'That which cannot or should not be thought, the unthinkable, incomprehensible, impenetrable, that which transcends the limits of thinking and over which therefore one should not ponder. These 4 unthinkables are: the sphere of a Buddha (buddha-visaya), of the meditative absorptions (jhāna-visaya), of kamma-result (kamma-vipāka), and brooding over the world (loka-cintā), especially over an absolute first beginning of it (see AN 4.77).

“Therefore, o monks, do not brood over the world as to whether it is eternal or temporal, limited or endless ….

Such brooding, O monks, is senseless, has nothing to do with genuine pure conduct (see ādibrahmacariyaka-sīla), does not lead to aversion, detachment, extinction, nor to peace, to full comprehension, enlightenment and Nibbāna, etc.” SN 56.41

acquired image

acquired image (during concentration): see nimitta, samādhi, kasiṇa.


action: kamma - Right bodily action: sammā-kammanta; see sacca (IV.4)


adaptability (of body, mental factors and consciousness): kammaññatā; cf. khandha (corporeality) and Table II.





adhicitta-sikkhā 'training in higher mentality'; see sikkhā.


adhimokkha: 'determination', decision, resolve: is one of the mental concomitants (cetasika) and belongs to the group of mental formations (saṅkhārakkhandha). In MN 111, it is mentioned together with other mental concomitants. See Table II, Table III.


adhipaññā-dhamma-vipassanā: 'insight into things based on higher wisdom', is one of the 18 chief kinds of insight (see vipassanā).


adhipati-paccaya: 'predominance-condition' is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya); if developed, it is considered as the fourfold road to power (see iddhi-pāda).


adhisīla-sikkhā: 'training in higher morality': see sikkhā.


adhiṭṭhāna, as a doctrinal term, occurs chiefly in two meanings:

1. 'Foundation': four 'foundations' of an Arahat's mentality, mentioned and explained in MN 140: the foundation of wisdom (paññā), of truthfulness (sacca) of liberality (cāga) and of peace (upasama). See also DN 33 and Commentary.

2. 'Determination', resolution, in: adhiṭṭhāna-iddhi, 'magical power of determination' (see iddhi); adhiṭṭhāna-pāramī, 'perfection of resolution' (see pāramī).


ādibrahmacariyaka-sīla: 'morality of genuine pure conduct', consists in right speech, right bodily action and right livelihood, forming the 3rd, 4th and 5th links of the Eightfold Path (see sacca, IV. 3, 4, 5); cf. Visuddhi Magga I. In AN 2.86, it is said:

“With regard to those moral states connected with and corresponding to the genuine pure conduct, he is morally strong, morally firm and trains himself in the moral rules taken upon himself.”

After overcoming the 3 fetters (ego-belief. skeptic doubt and attachment to mere rules and ritual; see saṅyojana) he becomes one who will be 'reborn seven times at the utmost' (see Sotāpanna) and after only seven times more wandering through this round of rebirths amongst men and heavenly beings, he will put an end to suffering.”


ādīnavānupassanā-ñāṇa: 'knowledge consisting in contemplation of misery', is one of the 8 kinds of insight (vipassanā) that form the 'purification of the knowledge and vision of the path-progress' (see visuddhi, VI. 4). It is further one of the 18 chief kinds of insight (see vipassanā).


adosa: 'hatelessness, is one of the 3 wholesome roots (see mūla).


adukkha-m-asukhā-vedanā: 'feeling which is neither painful nor joyful', i.e. indifferent feeling; see khandha, vedanā.


advertence (of mind to the object): āvajjana, is one of the functions of consciousness (see viññāṇa-kicca). Cf. manasikāra.



agati: the 4 'wrong paths' are: the path of greed (chanda), of hate, of delusion, of cowardice (bhaya).

“One who is freed from evil impulses is no longer liable to take the wrong path of greed, etc.” AN 4.17; AN 9.7


age, Old: jarā.




āhāra: 'nutriment', 'food', is used in the concrete sense as material food and as such it belongs to derived corporeality (see khandha, Summary I.) In the figurative sense, as 'foundation' or condition, it is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya) and is used to denote 4 kinds of nutriment, which are material and mental:

1. Material food feeds the eightfold corporeality having nutrient essence as its 8th factor (i.e. the solid, liquid, heat, motion, color, odour, the tastable and nutrient essence; see rūpa-kalāpa).

2. Sensorial and mental impression is a condition for the 3 kinds of feeling (agreeable, disagreeable and indifferent); see paṭiccasamuppāda (6).

3. Mental volition (see = kamma) feeds rebirth; see paṭiccasamuppāda (2).

4. Consciousness feeds mind and corporeality; nāma-rūpa; ib., 2) at the moment of conception” (Visuddhi Magga XI).

Literature (on the 4 Nutriments): MN 9 & Commentary (translation in 'Right Understanding'), MN 38; SN 12.11, SN 12.63, SN 12.64 - The Four Nutriments of Life, Selected texts & Commentary (Wheel 105/106).


āhāra-ja-rūpa: 'Food-produced corporeality'; see samuṭṭhāna.



āhāre-paṭikkūla-saññā: 'reflection on the loathsomeness of food', fully described in Visuddhi Magga XI, l.



ahetuka-diṭṭhi: 'view of uncausedness' (of existence); see diṭṭhi.




ahirika-anottappa: 'lack of moral shame and dread', are two of the 4 unwholesome factors associated with all kammically unwholesome states of consciousness, the two others being restlessness (uddhacca) and delusion (moha). Cf. Table II.

“There are two sinister things, namely, lack of moral shame and dread, etc.” AN 2.6

“Not to be ashamed of what one should be ashamed of; not to be ashamed of evil, unwholesome things: this is called lack of moral shame” Puggalapaññatti 59

“Not to dread what one should dread … this is called lack of moral dread” Puggalapaññatti 60


ahosi-kamma: 'ineffective kamma'; p. kamma and ahosi.


ājīva: 'livelihood'. About right and wrong livelihood., see sacca (IV. 5) and micchā-magga (5).


ājīva-pārisuddhi-sīla: 'morality consisting in purification of livelihood', is one of the 4 kinds of perfect morality; see sīla.


akaniṭṭha: the 'Great Ones', i.e. 'Highest Gods', are the inhabitants of the 5th and highest heaven of the Pure Abodes (see Suddhāvāsa ); cf. avacara, deva (II) Anāgāmī.


ākāsa: 'space', is, according to Commentary, of two kinds:

1. Limited space, under the name of ākāsa-dhātu (space element), belongs to derived corporeality (see khandha, Summary I; Dhs 638) and to a sixfold classification of elements (see dhātu; MN 112, MN 115, MN 140). It is also an object of kasiṇa meditation. It is defined as follows:

“The space element has the characteristic of delimiting matter. Its function is to indicate the boundaries of matter. It is manifested as the confines of matter; or its manifestation consists in being untouched (by the 4 great elements), and in holes and apertures. Its proximate cause is the matter delimited. It is on account of the space element that one can say of material things delimited that 'this is above. below, around that' ” Visuddhi Magga XIV, 63

2. Endless space is called in Aṭṭhasālinī, ajatākāsa, 'unentangled', i.e. unobstructed or empty space. It is the object of the first immaterial absorption (see jhāna), the sphere of boundless space (ākāsānañcāyatana).

According to Abhidhamma philosophy, endless space has no objective reality (being purely conceptual), which is indicated by the fact that it is not included in the triad of the wholesome (kusala-tika), which comprises the entire reality. Later Buddhist schools have regarded it as one of several unconditioned or uncreated states (asaṅkhatadhamma) - a view that is rejected in Kathāvatthu (see F. Guide. p. 70). Theravāda Buddhism recognizes only Nibbāna as an unconditioned element (asaṅkhata-dhātu: see Dhammasaṅgaṇi 1084).


ākāsa-dhātu: 'space element'; see above and dhātu.


ākāsa-kasiṇa: 'space-kasiṇa exercise'; see kasiṇa.


ākāsānañcāyatana: 'sphere of boundless space', is identical with the 1st absorption in the immaterial sphere; see jhāna (6).




akiriyadiṭṭhi: view of the inefficacy of action'; see diṭṭhi.



akuppa-dhamma: 'unshakable', is one who has attained full mastery over the absorptions (see jhāna). In Puggalapaññatti 4 it is said:

“What person is unshakable? If a person gains the meditative attainments of the fine-material and immaterial sphere (rūpāvacara-arūpāvacara); and he gains them at his wish, without toil and exertion; and according to his wish, as regards place, object and duration, enters them or arises from them, then it is impossible that in such a person the attainments may become shaken through negligence. This person is unshakable.”


akusala: 'unwholesome', are all those karmic volitions (kamma-cetanā; see cetanā) and the consciousness and mental concomitants associated therewith, which are accompanied either by greed (lobha) or hate (dosa) or merely delusion (moha); and all these phenomena are causes of unfavourable kamma-results and contain the seeds of unhappy destiny or rebirth. Cf. kamma, paṭiccasamuppāda (1), Table II.


akusala-sādhāraṇa-cetasika:2) 'general unwholesome mental factors associated with all unwholesome actions' (volitions), are four:

For (1) and (2) see ahirika-anottappa, for (3) see nīvaraṇa, for (4) mūla.

The corresponding term in the field of wholesome consciousness is Sobhana-sādhāraṇa-cetasika (see Sobhana).


akusala-vitakka: 'unwholesome thoughts' as defined under akusala. In MN 20, five methods of overcoming them are given: by changing the object, thinking of the evil results, paying no attention, analyzing, suppressing.

Translation in The Removal of Distracting Thoughts (Wheel 21).

alcohol prohibition


alms, vow of going for; or to do so without omitting any house: see dhutaṅga, 3, 4.

alms-bowl eater

alms-bowl eater, the practice of the: see dhutaṅga.



alms-goer, the practice of the; see dhutaṅga.


alobha: 'greedlessness', is one of the 3 kammically wholesome roots (see mūla).


āloka-kasiṇa: 'light-kasiṇa-exercise'; see kasiṇa.


āloka-saññā: 'perception of light'. The recurring canonical passage reads:

“Here the monk contemplates the perception of light. He fixes his-mind to the perception of the day; as at day-time so at night, and as at night, so in the day. In this way, with a mind clear and unclouded, he develops a stage of mind that is full of brightness.”

It is one of the methods of overcoming drowsiness, recommended by the Buddha to Mahā-Moggallāna (AN 7.58).

According to DN 33, it is conducive to the development of 'knowledge and vision' (see visuddhi), and it is said to be helpful to the attainment of the 'divine eye' (see abhiññā).

altruistic joy

altruistic joy: muditā, is one of the 4 sublime abodes (see brahmavihāra).


amata: (Sanskrit amṛta; Pāḷi root mar to die; = Gr. ambrosia): 'Deathlessness' according to popular belief also the gods' drink conferring immortality, is a name for Nibbāna (see Nibbāna), the final liberation from the wheel of rebirths, and therefore also from the ever-repeated deaths.


amoha: 'non-delusion', wisdom, is one of the 3 kammically wholesome roots (see mūla).


anabhijjhā: 'freedom from covetousness', unselfishness; see kammapatha (II. 8).



Anāgāmī: the 'Non-Returner', is a noble disciple (see ariya-puggala) on the 3rd stage of holiness. There are 5 classes of Non-returners, as it is said (e.g. Puggalapaññatti 42-46):

“A being, through the disappearing of the 5 lower fetters (see saṅyojana), reappears in a higher world (see amongst the devas of the Pure Abodes, Suddhāvāsa ), and without returning from that world (into the Sensuous Sphere) he there reaches Nibbāna.

(1) “He may, immediately after appearing there (in the Pure Abodes) or without having gone beyond half of the life-time, attain the holy path for the overcoming of the higher fetters. Such a being is called 'one who reaches Nibbāna within the first half of the life' (antarā-parinibbāyī).

(2) “Or, whilst living beyond half of the lifetime, or at the moment of death, he attains the holy path for the overcoming of the higher fetters. Such a being is called 'one who reaches Nibbāna after crossing half the life-time' (upahacca-parinibbāyī).

(3) “Or, with exertion he attains the holy path for the overcoming of the higher fetters. Such a being is called 'one who reaches Nibbāna with exertion' (sasaṅkhāra-parinibbāyī).

(4) “Or, without exertion he attains the holy path for the overcoming of the higher fetters. Such a being is called 'one who reaches Nibbāna without exertion' (asaṅkhāra-parinibbāyī).

(5) “Or, after vanishing from the heaven of the Aviha-gods (see Suddhāvāsa), he appears in the heaven of the unworried (atappa) gods. After vanishing from there he appears in the heaven of the clearly-visible (Sudassa)-gods, from there in the heaven of the clear-visioned (Sudassī) gods, from there in the heaven of the highest (akaniṭṭha) gods. There he attains the holy path for the overcoming of the higher fetters.

Such a being is called 'one who passes up-stream to the highest gods' (uddhamsota-akaniṭṭha-gāmī).”

analysis of the 4 elements

analytical doctrine

analytical knowledge


anaññātañ-ñassāmītindriya: is one of the 3 supermundane senses or faculties; see indriya (20).


anantara-paccaya: 'proximity', is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).


ānantarika-kamma:3) the 5 heinous 'actions with immediate destiny' are: parricide, matricide, killing an Arahat (Saint), wounding a Buddha, creating schism in the monks' Order.

In AN 5.129 it is said: “There are 5 irascible and incurable men destined to the lower world and to hell, namely: the parricide,” etc. About the 5th see AN 10.35, AN 10.38. With regard to the first crime, it is said in DN 2 that if King Ajātasattu had not deprived his father of life, he would have reached entrance into the path of Stream-entry.


ānantariya: the 'Immediacy', is a name for that concentration of mind which is associated with such insight (see vipassanā) as is present in any one of the 4 kinds of supermundane path consciousness (see ariya-puggala), and which therefore is the cause of the immediately following consciousness as its result or 'fruition' (see phala). According to the Abhidhamma, the path (of the Sotāpanna, etc.) is generated by the insight into the impermanence, misery and impersonality of existence, flashing up at that very moment and transforming and ennobling one's nature forever.

It is mentioned under the name of ānantarika-samādhi in the Ratana Sutta (Snp 1.2, v. 22) and in Paṭisambhidāmagga 1, Ñāṇakathā.


ānāpāna-sati: 'mindfulness on in-and-out-breathing', is one of the most important exercises for reaching mental concentration and the 4 absorptions (see jhāna).

In the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (MN 10, DN 22) and elsewhere, 4 methods of practice are given, which may also serve as basis for insight meditation. The 'Discourse on Mindfulness of Breathing' (Ānāpānasati Sutta, MN 118) and other texts have 16 methods of practice, which divide into 4 groups of four. The first three apply to both tranquillity (see samatha) and insight-meditation, while the fourth refers to pure insight practice only. The second and the third group require the attainment of the absorptions.

“With attentive mind he breathes in, with attentive mind he breathes out.

I. (1) “When making a long inhalation he knows: 'I make a long inhalation'; when making a long exhalation he knows: 'I make a long exhalation.'

(2) “When making a short inhalation he knows: 'I make a short inhalation'; when making a short exhalation he knows: 'I make a short exhalation.'

(3) ” 'Clearly perceiving the entire (breath-) body I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'clearly perceiving the entire (breath-) body I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

(4) ” 'Calming this bodily function I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'calming this bodily function I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

II. (5) ” 'Feeling rapture (pīti) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'feeling rapture I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

(6) ” 'Feeling joy I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'feeling joy I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

(7) ” 'Feeling the mental formation (citta-saṅkhāra) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself, 'feeling the mental formation I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

(8) ” 'Calming the mental formation I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'calming the mental formation I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

III. (9) ” 'Clearly perceiving the mind (citta) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'clearly perceiving the mind I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

(10) ” 'Gladdening the mind I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'gladdening the mind I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

(11) ” 'Concentrating the mind I will breathe in, thus he trains himself; 'concentrating the mind I will breathe out', thus he trains himself.

(12) ” 'Freeing the mind I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'freeing the mind I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself

IV. (13) ” 'Reflecting on impermanence (anicca) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'reflecting on impermanence I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

(14) ” 'Reflecting on detachment (virāga) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'reflecting on detachment I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

(15) ” 'Reflecting on extinction (nirodha) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'reflecting on extinction I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.

(16) ” 'Reflecting on abandonment (paṭinissaggānupassanā) I will breathe in, thus he trains himself; 'reflecting on abandonment I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”

In MN 118 it is further shown how these 16 exercises bring about the 4 foundations of mindfulness (see Satipaṭṭhāna), namely: 1-4 contemplation of the body, 5-8 contemplation of feeling, 9-12 contemplation of mind (consciousness), 13-16 contemplation of mind-objects. Then it is shown how these 4 foundations of mindfulness bring about the 7 factors of enlightenment (see bojjhaṅga); then these again deliverance of mind (see ceto-vimutti) and deliverance through wisdom (see paññā-vimutti).

Literature: Ānāpānasati Saṁyuttā (SN 54). - Paṭisambhidāmagga Ānāpānakathā - Full explanation of practice in Visuddhi Magga VIII, 145ff. - For a comprehensive anthology of canonical and commentarial texts, see Mindfulness of Breathing, Ñāṇamoli Thera (Kandy: BPS, 1964).


anattā: 'not-self', non-ego, egolessness, impersonality, is the last of the three characteristics of existence (see ti-lakkhaṇa) The anattā -doctrine teaches that neither within the bodily and mental phenomena of existence, nor outside of them, can be found anything that in the ultimate sense could be regarded as a self-existing real ego-entity, soul or any other abiding substance. This is the central doctrine of Buddhism, without understanding which a real knowledge of Buddhism is altogether impossible. It is the only really specific Buddhist doctrine, with which the entire Structure of the Buddhist teaching stands or falls. All the remaining Buddhist doctrines may, more or less, be found in other philosophic systems and religions, but the anattā-doctrine has been clearly and unreservedly taught only by the Buddha, wherefore the Buddha is known as the anattā-vādi, or 'Teacher of Impersonality'. Whosoever has not penetrated this impersonality of all existence, and does not comprehend that in reality there exists only this continually self-consuming process of arising and passing bodily and mental phenomena, and that there is no separate ego-entity within or without this process, he will not be able to understand Buddhism, i.e. the teaching of the 4 Noble Truths (see sacca), in the right light. He will think that it is his ego, his personality, that experiences suffering, his personality that performs good and evil actions and will be reborn according to these actions, his personality that will enter into Nibbāna, his personality that walks on the Eightfold Path.

Thus it is said in Visuddhi Magga XVI:

“Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there;
Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen.”

“Whosoever is not clear with regard to the conditionally arisen phenomena, and does not comprehend that all the actions are conditioned through ignorance, etc., he thinks that it is an ego that understands or does not understand, that acts or causes to act, that comes to existence at rebirth …. that has the sense-impression, that feels, desires, becomes attached, continues and at rebirth again enters a new existence” Visuddhi Magga XVII, 117

While in the case of the first two characteristics it is stated that all formations (sabbe saṅkhārā) are impermanent and subject to suffering, the corresponding text for the third characteristic states that “all things are not-self” (sabbe dhammā anattā; MN 35, Dhp. 279). This is for emphasizing that the false view of an abiding self or substance is neither applicable to any 'formation' or conditioned phenomenon, nor to Nibbāna, the Unconditioned Element (asaṅkhatā dhātu).

The Anattā-lakkhaṇa Sutta, the 'Discourse on the Characteristic of Not-self', was the second discourse after Enlightenment, preached by the Buddha to his first five disciples, who after hearing it attained to perfect Holiness (Arahatta).

The contemplation of not-self (anattānupassanā) leads to the emptiness liberation (suññatā-vimokkha, see vimokkha). Herein the faculty of wisdom (paññindriya) is outstanding, and one who attains in that way the path of Stream-entry is called a Dhamma-devotee (dhammānusāri; see ariya-puggala); at the next two stages of sainthood he becomes a vision-attainer (diṭṭhippatta); and at the highest stage, i.e. Holiness, he is called 'liberated by wisdom' (paññā-vimutta).

For further details, see paramattha-sacca, paṭiccasamuppāda, khandha, ti-lakkhaṇa, nāma-rūpa, paṭisandhi.

Literature: Anattā-lakkhaṇa Sutta, Vinaya I, 13-14; SN 22.59; translation in Three Cardinal Discourses of the Buddha (Wheel 17). - Another important text on Anattā is the Discourse on the Snake Simile (Alagaddūpama Sutta, MN 22; translation in Wheel 48/49). Other texts in “Path”. - Further: Anattā and Nibbāna, by Ñāṇaponika Thera (Wheel 11); The Truth of Anattā, by Dr. G. P. Malalasekera (Wheel 94); The Three Basic Facts of Existence III: Egolessness (Wheel 202/204)


anatta-anupassanā (anattānupassanā): 'contemplation of not-self' is one of the 18 chief kinds of insight (see vipassanā). See also above.


anattā-saññā: 'perception of not-self'; see AN 6.104; AN 7.48; AN 10.60; Uda 4.1. I


anattā-vāda: the 'doctrine of impersonality'; see anattā.


āneñja: 'imperturbability', denotes the immaterial sphere (arūpāvacara; see avacara); see saṅkhāra. cf. MN 106.


anger: see mūla.


anicca: 'impermanent' (or, as abstract noun, aniccatā, 'impermanence') is the first of the three characteristics of existence (see tilakkhaṇa). It is from the fact of impermanence that, in most texts, the other two characteristics, suffering (dukkha) and not-self (anattā), are derived (SN 22.15; Uda 4.1)

“Impermanence of things is the rising, passing and changing of things, or the disappearance of things that have become or arisen. The meaning is that these things never persist in the same way, but that they are vanishing dissolving from moment to moment” Visuddhi Magga VII, 3

Impermanence is a basic feature of all conditioned phenomena, be they material or mental, coarse or subtle, one's own or external: “All formations are impermanent” (sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā; MN 35, Dhp. 277). That the totality of existence is impermanent is also often stated in terms of the five aggregates (see khandha), the twelve personal and external sense bases (āyatana), etc. Only Nibbāna, which is unconditioned and not a formation (asaṅkhata), is permanent (nicca, dhuva).

The insight leading to the first stage of deliverance, Stream-entry (Sotāpatti; see ariya-puggala), is often expressed in terms of impermanence:

“Whatever is subject to origination, is subject to cessation” see Dhammacakkappavaṭṭana Sutta, SN 46.11

In his last exhortation, before his Parinibbāna, the Buddha reminded his monks of the impermanence of existence as a spur to earnest effort:

“Behold now, Bhikkhus, I exhort you: Formations are bound to vanish. Strive earnestly!” vayadhammā saṅkhārā, appamādena sampādetha; DN 16

Without the deep insight into the impermanence and insubstantiality of all phenomena of existence there is no attainment of deliverance. Hence comprehension of impermanence gained by direct meditative experience heads two lists of insight knowledge: (a) contemplation of impermanence (aniccānupassanā) is the first of the 18 chief kinds of insight; (b) the contemplation of arising and vanishing (udayabbayānupassanā-ñāṇa) is the first of 9 kinds of knowledge which lead to the 'purification by knowledge and vision of the path-progress' (see visuddhi, VI). - Contemplation of impermanence leads to the conditionless deliverance (animitta-vimokkha; see vimokkha). As herein the faculty of confidence (saddhindriya) is outstanding, he who attains in that way the path of Stream-entry is called a faith-devotee (saddhānusārī; see ariya-puggala) and at the seven higher stages he is called faith-liberated (saddhā-vimutta), - See also anicca-saññā.

See The Three Basic Facts of Existence I: Impermanence (Wheel 186/187)


anicca-anupassanā, aniccānupassanā: 'contemplation of impermanence', is one of the 18 chief kinds of insight (see vipassanā).


anicca-saññā: 'perception of impermanence', is defined in the Girimānanda Sutta (AN 10.60) as meditation on the impermanence of the five groups of existence.

“Though, with a faithful heart, one takes refuge in the Buddha, his Teaching and the Community of Monks; or with a faithful heart observes the rules of morality, or develops a mind full of loving-kindness, far more meritorious it is if one cultivates the perception of impermanence, be it only for a moment” AN 10.20

See AN 6.102; AN 7.48; Uda 4.1; SN 22.102.





añña: 'other', being of the opposite category.


aññā: 'highest knowledge', gnosis, refers to the perfect knowledge of the Saint (Arahat; see ariya-puggala).

The following passage occurs frequently in the Suttas, when a monk indicates his attainment of Holiness (Arahatta):

“He makes known highest knowledge (aññaṁ byākaroti), thus: 'Rebirth has ceased, fulfilled is the holy life, the task is accomplished, and there is no more of this to come.' ”

The 'faculty of highest knowledge' (aññindriya = aññā-indriya; see indriya), however, is present in six of the eight stages of holiness, that is, beginning with the fruition of Stream-Winning (Sotāpatti-phala) up to the path of Holiness (Arahatta-magga). See Dhammasaṅgaṇi (PTS) 362-364, 505, 553; Indriya Vibhaṅga; “Path” 162.


aññāmañña-paccaya: 'mutuality-condition,' is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).


aññātāvindriya: 'the faculty of one who knows'; see indriya, 22.


aññindriya: 'the faculty of highest knowledge'; see aññā and indriya, 21.


answering questions


antarā-parinibbāyī: is one of the 5 kinds of Non-Returners or Anāgāmī.



anuloma-citta: 'adaptation-moment of consciousness', denotes the third of the 4 moments of impulsion (see javana) flashing up immediately before either reaching the absorptions (see jhāna) or the supermundane paths (see ariya-puggala). These 4 moments of impulsion are: the preparation (parikamma), access (upacāra), adaptation (anuloma) and maturity (gotrabhū) moments. For further details, see javana, gotrabhū.


anuloma-ñāṇa: 'adaptation-knowledge' or conformity-knowledge, is identical with the 'adaptation-to-truth knowledge', the last of 9 insight-knowledges (vipassanā-ñāṇa) which constitute the purification of knowledge and vision of the path-progress' (see Cf. Visuddhi Magga VI, 9). Cf. Visuddhi Magga XXI.



anupassanā: 'contemplation' - 4 fold: see Satipaṭṭhāna- 18 fold: see vipassanā. - 7 fold:

“The seven contemplation's:

  • (1) Contemplating (formations) as impermanent, one abandons the perception of permanence.
  • (2) Contemplating (them) as painful, one abandons the perception of happiness (to be found in them).
  • (3) Contemplating (them) as not self, one abandons the perception of self.
  • (4) Becoming dispassionate, one abandons delighting.
  • (5) Causing fading away, one abandons greed.
  • (6) Causing cessation, one abandons originating.
  • (7) Relinquishing, one abandons grasping”

Paṭisambhidāmagga I, p. 58

- See also Visuddhi Magga XXI, 43; XXII, 114.


anupubba-nirodha: The 9 'successive extinctions', are the 8 extinctions reached through the 8 absorptions (see jhāna) and the extinction of feeling and perception' (see nirodha-samāpatti), as it is said in AN 9.31 and DN 33:

“In him who has entered the 1st absorption, the sensuous perceptions (kāma-saññā) are extinguished. Having entered the 2nd absorption, thought-conception and discursive thinking (see vitakkavicāra) are extinguished.

Having entered the 3rd absorption, rapture (see pīti) is extinguished. Having entered the 4th absorption, in-and-out breathing (see assāsa-passāsa) are extinguished. Having entered the sphere of boundless space (ākāsānañcāyatana), the corporeality perceptions (rūpa-saññā) are extinguished. Having entered the sphere of boundless consciousness (viññāṇañcāyatana), the perception of the sphere of boundless space is extinguished. Having entered the sphere of nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatana), the perception of the sphere of boundless consciousness is extinguished. Having entered the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (neva-saññā-nāsaññāyatana) the perception of the sphere of nothingness is extinguished. Having entered the extinction of perception and feeling (saññāvedayitanirodha) perception and feeling are extinguished.”

For further details, see jhāna, nirodha-samāpatti.


anupubba-vihāra: the 9 'successive abodes', are identical with the 9 anupubba-nirodha (see above). In AN 9.33 they are called successive attainments (anupubba-samāpatti).


ānupubbī-kathā: 'gradual instruction', progressive sermon; given by the Buddha when it was necessary to prepare first the listener's mind before speaking to him on the advanced teaching of the Four Noble Truths. The stock passage (e.g. DN 3; DN 14; MN 56) runs as follows:

“Then the Blessed One gave him a gradual instruction - that is to say, he spoke on liberality (see 'giving', dāna), on moral conduct (sīla) and on the heaven (sagga); he explained the peril, the vanity and the depravity of sensual pleasures, and the advantage of renunciation. When the Blessed One perceived that the listener's mind was prepared, pliant, free from obstacles, elevated and lucid; then he explained to him that exalted teaching particular to the Buddhas (buddhānaṁ sāmukkaṅsikadesanā), that is: suffering, its cause, its ceasing, and the path.”


anurakkhaṇa-padhāna: the 'effort to maintain' wholesome states; see padhāna.


anusaya: the 7 'proclivities', inclinations, or tendencies are: sensuous greed (kāma-rāga, see saṅyojana), grudge (paṭigha), speculative opinion (see diṭṭhi), skeptical doubt (see vicikicchā ), conceit (see māna), craving for continued existence (bhavarāga), ignorance (see avijjā) (DN 33; AN 7.11, AN 7.12).

“These things are called 'proclivities' since, in consequence of their pertinacity, they ever and again tend to become the conditions for the arising of ever new sensuous greed, etc.” Visuddhi Magga XXII, 60

Yamaka VII, first determines in which beings such and such proclivities exist, and which proclivities, and with regard to what, and in which sphere of existence. Thereafter it gives an explanation concerning their overcoming, their penetration, etc. Cf. F. Guide VI (vii). According to Kathāvatthu several ancient Buddhist schools erroneously held the opinion that the anusayas, as such, meant merely latent, hence kammically neutral qualities, which however Contradicts the Theravāda conception. Cf. F. Guide V, 88, 108, 139.


anussati: 'recollection', meditation, contemplation. The six recollections often described in the Suttas (e.g. AN 6.10, AN 6.25; DN 33) are: (1) recollection of the Buddha, (2) his Doctrine, (3) his Community of noble disciples, (4) of morality, (5) liberality, (6) heavenly beings (buddhānussati, dhammānussati, saṅghānussati, sīlānussati, cāgānussati, devatānussati).

(1) “The noble disciple, Mahānāma, recollects thus: 'This Blessed One is holy, a fully Enlightened One, perfected in wisdom and conduct, faring happily, knower of the worlds, unsurpassed leader of men to be trained, teacher of heavenly beings and men, a Buddha, a Blessed One.'

(2) 'Well proclaimed by the Blessed One is the Doctrine (Dhamma), directly visible, with immediate fruit, inviting investigation, leading on to Nibbāna, to be comprehended by the wise, each by himself.'

(3) 'Of good conduct is the Community (Saṅgha) of the Blessed One's disciples, of upright conduct, living on the right path, performing their duties, to wit: the 4 pairs of men or 8 individuals (see ariya puggala). This Community of the Blessed One's disciples is worthy of offerings, worthy of hospitality, worthy of gifts, worthy of reverence with raised hands, the unsurpassed field for doing meritorious deeds.'

(4) “The noble disciple further recollects his own morality (sīla) which is unbroken, without any breach, undefiled, untarnished, conducive to liberation, praised by the wise, not dependent (on craving or opinions), leading to concentration.

(5) “The noble disciple further recollects his own liberality (cāga) thus: 'Blessed truly am I, highly blessed am I who, amongst beings defiled with the filth of stinginess, live with heart free from stinginess, liberal, open-handed, rejoicing in giving, ready to give anything asked for, glad to give and share with others.'

(6) “The noble disciple further recollects the heavenly beings (devatā): 'There are the heavenly beings of the retinue of the Four Great Kings, the heavenly beings of the World of the Thirty-Three, the Yāmadevas … and there are heavenly beings besides (see deva). Such faith, such morality, such knowledge, such liberality, such insight, possessed of which those heavenly beings, after vanishing from here, are reborn in those worlds, such things are also found in me.' ” AN 3.70; AN 6.10; AN 11.12

“At the time when the noble disciple recollects the Perfect One … at such a time his mind is neither possessed of greed, nor of hate, nor of delusion. Quite upright at such a time is his mind owing to the Perfect One … With upright mind the noble disciple attains understanding of the sense, understanding of the law, attains joy through the law. In the joyous one rapture arises. With heart enraptured, his whole being becomes stilled. Stilled within his being, he feels happiness; and the mind of the happy one becomes firm. Of this noble disciple it is said that amongst those gone astray, he walks on the right path, among those suffering he abides free from suffering. Thus having reached the stream of the law, he develops the recollection of the Enlightened One….” AN 6.10

In AN 1.21 (PTS: I, xvi) and AN 1.27 (PTS: xx. 2) another 4 Recollections are added: Mindfulness on Death (see maraṇa-sati), on the Body (see kāyagatā-sati), on Breathing (see ānāpāna-sati), and the Recollection of Peace (see upasamānussati).

The first six recollections are fully explained in Visuddhi Magga VII, the latter four in Visuddhi Magga VIII.


aparāpariya-vedanīya-kamma, 'kamma bearing fruits in later births'; see kamma


aparihāna-dhamma: 'incapable of relapse', or 'of falling away', namely, with regard to deliverance from some or all fetters of existence (see saṅyojana). Thus all Noble Disciples are called, i.e. all those who have attained any of the 4 Noble Paths to holiness (see ariyapuggala).

With regard to the absorptions (see jhāna), anyone is called 'unrelapsable' who has attained full mastery over the absorptions. See AN 6.62; Puggalapaññatti 6. Cf. akuppa-dhamma.


aparihāniya-dhamma: 'Conditions of Welfare' (lit. of non-decline), for a nation. Seven such conditions are mentioned in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta (DN 16). They are followed by five sets of 7, and one set of 6 conditions, conducive to the welfare of the Community of Monks, the Saṅgha. Identical texts at AN 7.20-25. To be distinguished from the preceding term, aparihāna-dhamma.


apāya: The 4 'lower worlds'. are: the animal world, ghost world, demon-world, hell. See Visuddhi Magga XIII, 92f.


āpo-dhātu: 'water-element'; see dhātu.


appamāda: 'zeal', non-laxity, earnestness, diligence, is considered as the foundation of all progress.

“Just as all the footprints of living beings are surpassed by the footprint of the elephant, and the footprint of the elephant is considered as the mightiest amongst them, just so have all the meritorious qualities zeal as their foundation, and zeal is considered as the mightiest of these qualities” AN 10.15

Cf. the Chapter on Zeal (Appamāda Vagga) in Dhp., and the Buddha's last exhortation: “Transient are all formations. Strive zealously!” (appamādena sampādetha: DN 16) - In the commentaries, it is often explained as the presence (lit. 'non-absence') of mindfulness (satiyā avippavāsa).


appamānābha: a kind of heavenly being; see deva, (II).



appamāna-subha: a kind of heavenly being: see deva (II).


appamaññā: The 4 'Boundless States', identical with brahma-vihāra.


appanā-samādhi: 'attainment concentration' or 'full concentration' (from appeti, to fix), is the concentration existing during absorption (see jhāna), whilst the neighbourhood or access-concentration (upacāra-samādhi) only approaches the 1st absorption without attaining it; see samādhi.




appicchatā: 'having only few wishes', contentedness, is one of the indispensable virtues of the monk; cf. AN 10.181 - AN 10.190, and ariyavaṅsa.






ārammaṇa:4) 'object'. There are six: visible object, sound, odor, taste, body-impression, mind-object. The mind-object (dhammārammaṇa) may be physical or mental, past, present or future, real or imaginary. The 5 sense-objects belong to the corporeality-group (rūpakkhandha, see khandha).

They form the external foundations for the sense-perceptions, and without them no sense-perception or sense-consciousness (seeing, hearing, etc.) can arise.

Cf. āyatana, paccaya.




āraññikaṅga: The 'exercise of the forest-dweller', is one of the ascetic purification-exercises (see dhutaṅga).

arising and vanishing

arising and vanishing (of things). The knowledge consisting in the contemplation of; see visuddhi (VI. 1.).




ariya-puggala: or simply ariya: 'Noble Ones', 'noble persons'.

(A) The 8, ariya-puggala are those who have realized one of the 8 stages of holiness, i.e. the 4 supermundane Paths (magga) and the 4 supermundane Fruitions (phala) of these paths. There are 4 pairs:

Summed up, there are 4 noble individuals (ariya-puggala): the Stream-Winner (Sotāpanna), the Once-Returner (Sakadāgāmi), the Non-Returner (Anāgāmī), the Holy One (Arahat).

In AN 8.10 and AN 9.16 the gotrabhū is listed as the 9th noble individual.

According to the Abhidhamma, 'supermundane path', or simply 'path' (magga), is a designation of the moment of entering into one of the 4 stages of holiness - Nibbāna being the object - produced by intuitional insight (vipassanā) into the impermanence, misery and impersonality of existence, flashing forth and forever transforming one's life and nature. By 'fruition' (phala) is meant those moments of consciousness which follow immediately thereafter as the result of the path, and which in certain circumstances may repeat for innumerable times during the life-time.

(I) Through the path of Stream-winning (Sotāpatti-magga) one 'becomes' free (whereas in realizing the fruition, one 'is' free) from the first 3 fetters (see saṅyojana) which bind beings to existence in the sensuous sphere, to wit: (1) personality-belief (sakkāya-diṭṭhi; see diṭṭhi), (2) skeptical doubt (see vicikicchā), (3) attachment to mere rules and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāsa; see upādāna).

(II) Through the path of Once-Return (Sakadāgāmi-magga) one becomes nearly free from the 4th and 5th fetters, to wit: (4) sensuous craving (kāma-cchanda = kāma-rāga; see rāga), (5) ill-will (byāpāda = dosa, see mūla).

(III) Through the path of Non-Return (Anāgāmi-magga) one becomes fully free from the above-mentioned 5 lower fetters.

(IV) Through the path of Holiness (Arahatta-magga) one further becomes free from the 5 higher fetters, to wit: (6) craving for fine material existence (rūpa-rāga), (7) craving for immaterial existence. (arūpa-rāga), (8) conceit (see māna), (9) restlessness (see uddhacca), (10) ignorance (see avijjā).

The stereotype Sutta text runs as follows:

(I) “After the disappearance of the three fetters, the monk has won the stream (to Nibbāna) and is no more subject to rebirth in lower worlds, is firmly established, destined for full enlightenment.

(II) “After the disappearance of the three fetters and reduction of greed, hatred and delusion, he will return only once more; and having once more returned to this world, he will put an end to suffering.

(III) “After the disappearance of the five fetters he appears in a higher world, and there he reaches Nibbāna without ever returning from that world (to the sensuous sphere).

(IV) “Through the extinction of all cankers (āsava-kkhaya) he reaches already in this very life the deliverance of mind, the deliverance through wisdom, which is free from cankers, and which he himself has understood and realized.”

For the various classes of Stream-winners and Non-Returners, see Sotāpanna, Anāgāmī.

(B) The sevenfold grouping of the noble disciples is as follows:

(1) the faith-devotee (saddhānusārī), (2) the faith-liberated one (saddhāvimutta), (3) the body-witness (kāya-sakkhī), (4) the both-ways-liberated one (ubhato-bhāga-vimutta), (5) the Dhamma-devotee (dhammānusārī), (6) the vision-attainer (diṭṭhippatta), (7) the wisdom-liberated one (paññā-vimutta). This group of seven noble disciples is thus explained in Visuddhi Magga XXI, 73:

(1) “He who is filled with resolution (adhimokkha) and, in considering the formations as impermanent (anicca), gains the faculty of faith, he, at the moment of the path to Stream-winning (ariya-puggala 1) is called a faith-devotee (saddhānusārī); (2) at the seven higher stages (ariya-puggala 2-8) he is called a faith-liberated one (saddhā-vimutta).

(3) He who is filled with tranquility and, in considering the formations as miserable (dukkha), gains the faculty of concentration, he in every respect is considered as a body-witness (kāya-sakkhī).

(4) He, however, who after reaching the absorptions of the immaterial sphere has attained the highest fruition (of Holiness), he is a both-ways-liberated one (ubhato-bhāga-vimutta).

(5) He who is filled with wisdom and, in considering the formations as not-self (anattā), gains the faculty of wisdom, he is at the moment of Stream-winning a Dhamma-devotee (dhammānusārī), (6) at the later stages (ariya-puggala 2-7) a vision-attainer (diṭṭhippatta), (7) at the highest stage (ariya-puggala 8) a wisdom-liberated one (paññāvimutta).”

- Further details about the body-witness, the both-ways-liberated one and the wisdom-liberated one, see under the three Pāḷi terms. Cf. also MN 70; AN 9.44; SN 12.70; Paṭisambhidāmagga II, p. 33, PTS.


ariya-sacca: The Four 'Noble Truths'; see sacca.


ariya-vaṅsa: The four 'noble usage's', are: contentedness (of the monk) with any robe, contentedness with any alms-food, contentedness with any dwelling, and delight in meditation and detachment. In the Ariya-vaṅsa Sutta, (AN 4.28) and similarly in DN 33, it is said:

“Now the monk is contented with any robe, with any alms-food, with any dwelling, finds pleasure and enjoyment in mental training and detachment. But neither is he haughty on that account, nor does he look down upon others. Now, of a monk who herein is fit and indefatigable, who remains clearly conscious and mindful, of such a monk it is said that he is firmly established in the ancient, noble usage's known as the most lofty ones.”

Full translation of Ariya-vaṅsa Sutta in Wheel 83/84.





arūpa-kkhandha: The four 'immaterial groups' of existence are: feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness; see khandha.




asaṅkhāra-parinibbāyī: The 'one reaching Nibbāna without exertion', is one of the five classes of Non-Returners (see Anāgāmī).


asaṅkhārika-citta: an Abhidhamma term signifying a 'state of consciousness arisen spontaneously', i. e. without previous deliberation, preparation, or prompting by others; hence: 'unprepared, unprompted'. This term and its counterpart (see sasaṅkhārikacitta), probably go back to a similar distinction made in the Suttas (AN 4.171; “Path” 184). See Table I; examples in Visuddhi Magga XIV, 84f.


asaṅkhata: The 'Unformed, Unoriginated, Unconditioned' is a name for Nibbāna, the beyond of all becoming and conditionality.


asañña-satta: The 'unconscious beings', are a class of heavenly beings in the fine-material world; see deva (II). “There are, o monks, heavenly beings known as the unconscious ones. As soon, however, as in those beings consciousness arises, those beings will vanish from that world. Now, o monks, it may happen that one of those beings after vanishing from that world, may reappear in this world….” (DN 24). Further details, see Kathāvatthu, Yamaka (F. Guide, pp. 68, 79, 96 ff.).


āsava: (lit: influxes), 'cankers', taints, corruption's, intoxicant biases. There is a list of four (as in DN 16, Paṭisambhidāmagga, Vibhaṅga): the canker of sense-desire (kāmāsava), of (desiring eternal) existence (bhavāsava), of (wrong) views (diṭṭhāsava), and of ignorance (avijjāsava).

A list of three, omitting the canker of views, is possibly older and is more frequent in the Suttas, e.g. in MN 2, MN 9, DN 33; AN 3.59, AN 3.67; AN 6.63. - In Vibhaṅga (Khuddakavatthu Vibhanga) both the 3-fold and 4-fold division are mentioned. The fourfold division also occurs under the name of 'floods' (ogha) and 'yokes' (yoga).

Through the path of Stream-Entry, the canker of views is destroyed; through the path of Non-Returning, the canker of sense-desire; through the path of Arahatship, the cankers of existence and ignorance. MN 2 shows how to overcome the cankers, namely, through insight, sense-control, avoidance, wise use of the necessities of life, etc. For a commentarial exposition, see Aṭṭhasālinī Translation I, p. 63f: II, pp. 475ff.

Khīṇāsava, 'one whose cankers are destroyed', or 'one who is canker-free', is a name for the Arahat or Holy One. The state of Arahatship is frequently called āsavakkhaya, 'the destruction of the cankers'. Suttas concluding with the attainment of Arahatship by the listeners, often end with the words: “During this utterance, the hearts of the Bhikkhus were freed from the cankers through clinging no more” (anupādāya āsavehi cittāni vimucciṅsūti).


āsavakkhaya: see above.

ascending insight

ascetic purification practices


asekha: (lit.: 'not-learner'; see sekha), a disciple 'perfected in training', one beyond training, an adept. This is a name for the Arahat, the Holy One (see ariya-puggala), since he has reached the perfection in higher moral training, higher mind training and higher wisdom training (see sikkhā) and needs no longer to train himself therein.


āsevana-paccaya: 'repetition', is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).


asmi-māna: (lit.: 'I am'-conceit), 'ego-conceit', may range from the coarsest pride and self-assertion to a subtle feeling of one's distinctiveness or superiority that persists, as the 8th fetter (see saṅyojana), until the attainment of Arahatship or Holiness. It is based upon the comparison of oneself with others, and may, therefore, manifest itself also as a feeling of inferiority or the claim to be equal (see māna). It has to be distinguished from 'ego-belief' (see sakkāya-diṭṭhi) which implies a definite belief or view (diṭṭhi) concerning the assumption of a self or soul, and, being the 1st of the fetters, disappears at attainment of Stream-Entry (Sotāpatti; see ariya-puggala).

“Even when the five lower fetters have vanished in a noble disciple, there is still in him, with regard to the five groups of clinging, a slight undiscarded measure of the conceit 'I am', of the will 'I am', of the proclivity 'I am' ” SN 22.89, - see māna


assāsa-passāsa: 'in-and-out-breathing', are corporeal or physical functions or 'formations' (kāya-saṅkhāra), whilst thought-conception and discursive thinking (vitakka and vicāra) are called verbal functions (vacī-saṅkhāra), see saṅkhāra (2). In-and-out-breathing forms one of the 6 aspects of the wind-element (see dhātu). Cf. MN 62.


association: sampayutta-paccaya, is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).


asubha: 'impurity', loathsomeness, foulness. - In Visuddhi Magga VI, it is the cemetery contemplations (see sīvathika) that are called 'meditation-subjects of impurity' (asubha-kammaṭṭhāna; see bhāvanā).

In the Girimānanda Sutta (AN 10.50), however, the perception of impurity (asubha-saññā) refers to the contemplation of the 32 parts of the body (see kāya-gatā-sati). The contemplation of the body's impurity is an antidote against the hindrance of sense-desire (see nīvaraṇa) and the mental perversion (see vipallāsa) which sees what is truly impure as pure and beautiful. See SN 46.51; AN 5.36, Dhp. 7, Dhp. 8; Snp 1.11ff. - The Five Mental Hindrances (Wheel 26), pp. 5ff.


asura: 'demons', titans, evil ghosts, inhabiting one of the lower worlds (see apāya).


atappa: 'the unworried', is the name of a class of deities (see deva,) inhabiting the first of the five Pure Abodes (see Suddhāvāsa ), in which the Anāgāmī has his last rebirth.


atimāna: 'superiority-conceit'; see māna.


attā: 'self, ego, personality, is in Buddhism a mere conventional expression (vohāradesanā), and no designation for anything really existing; see paramattha-desanā, anattā, puggala, satta, jīva.



atta-diṭṭhi (-vāda): 'ego-belief', 'personality-belief', see diṭṭhi.



attainments, 'The 8 attainments'; see samāpatti.


atta-kilamatha: 'self-mortification', is one of the two extremes to be avoided, the other extreme being addiction to sensual pleasures (kāma-sukha), whilst the Noble 8-fold Path constitutes the Middle Path (see majjhima-paṭipadā).

See the Buddha's first sermon, “The Establishment of the Realm of Dhamma” (Dhamma-cakkappavaṭṭana-Sutta).


atta-saññā (atta-citta, atta-diṭṭhi): 'perception (consciousness, view) of an ego', is one of the 4 perversions (see vipallāsa).


atta-vādupādāna: 'attachment to the ego-belief', is one of the 4 kinds of clinging (see upādāna).



attentiveness, attention, mindfulness; see sati, Satipaṭṭhāna.


aṭṭhaṅgika-magga: The 'Eightfold Path'; see magga.


attha-paṭisambhidā: The 'analytical knowledge of meaning', is one of the 4 kinds of analytical knowledge (see paṭisambhidā).


atthi-paccaya: 'presence', is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).

auditory organ


avacara:5) 'sphere', realm. The 3 spheres of existence are: the sensuous sphere (kāmāvacara ), the fine-material sphere (rūpāvacara), the immaterial sphere (arūpāvacara).

“Which things are of the sensuous sphere (kāmāvacara )? Whatever things exist within the interval bounded beneath by the Avīci-hell and above by the Paranimmitavasavatti-heaven (see deva), having therein their sphere, and being therein included, to wit: the groups of existence, the elements, bases (see khandha, dhātu, āyatana), corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness, all these things are of the sensuous sphere.

- But which things are of the fine material sphere (rūpāvacara)? Whatever things exist within the interval bounded beneath by the Brahma-world and above by the Akaṇiṭṭha-world (see deva), having therein their sphere, and being therein included … and also consciousness and mental factors in one who has entered the (fine-material) absorptions, or who has been reborn in that sphere, or who already during his life-time is living in happiness (of the absorptions), all these things are of the fine-material sphere.

- Which things are of the immaterial sphere (arūpāvacara)? Consciousness and mental factors arising within the interval bounded beneath by the beings reborn in the sphere of unbounded space and above by the beings reborn in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (see jhāna 5-8), and consciousness and mental factors in one who has entered the (immaterial absorptions), or who has been reborn in that sphere, or who already during his lifetime is living in happiness (of the immaterial absorptions), all these things are of the immaterial sphere.” Cf. Dhammasaṅgaṇi 1280, 1282, 1284; Vibhaṅga XVIII


āvajjana:6) 'advertence' of the mind towards the object, forms the first stage in the process of consciousness (see viññāṇa-kicca).

If an object of the 5 physical senses is concerned, it is called 'five-door advertence' (pañca dvārāvajjana); in the case of a mental object, 'mind-door advertence' (mano-dvārāvajjana).


aversion (from existence), contemplation of: see vipassanā (VI. 5)


Avīci is the name of one of the most frightful hells (see niraya).


avigata-paccaya: 'non-disappearance', is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).


aviha (derivation uncertain; Sanskrit avrha) is one of the five Pure Abodes (see Suddhāvāsa ) in the fine-material sphere. For details, see under Anāgāmī.


avihiṁsā (equivalents: ahiṅsā; Skr. avihesā, ahiṃsā):7) 'harmlessness', nonviolence, absence of cruelty. The 'thought of harmlessness' (or: 'non-cruelty'; avihiṁsā-vitakka) is one of the three constituents of right thought (sammā-saṅkappa), i.e. the 2nd factor of the Eightfold Path (see magga). In the several lists of 'elements' (dhātu) appears also an 'element of harmlessness' (avihesā-dhātu), in the sense of an elementary quality of noble thought. See Dhp. 225, Dhp. 261, Dhp. 270, Dhp. 300.


avijjā: 'ignorance,' nescience, unknowing; synonymous with delusion (moha, see mūla), is the primary root of all evil and suffering in the world, veiling man's mental eyes and preventing him from seeing the true nature of things. It is the delusion tricking beings by making life appear to them as permanent, happy, substantial and beautiful and preventing them from seeing that everything in reality is impermanent, liable to suffering, void of 'I' and 'mine', and basically impure (see vipallāsa). Ignorance is defined as 'not knowing the four truths, namely, suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the way to its cessation' (SN 12.4).

As ignorance is the foundation of all life-affirming actions, of all evil and suffering, therefore it stands first in the formula of Dependent Origination (see paṭiccasamuppāda). But for that reason, says Visuddhi Magga (XVII, 36f) ignorance should not be regarded as “the causeless root-cause of the world … It is not causeless. For a cause of it is stated thus 'With the arising of cankers (see āsava) there is the arising of ignorance' (MN 9). But there is a figurative way in which it can be treated as a root-cause; namely, when it is made to serve as a starting point in an exposition of the Round of Existence … As it is said: 'No first beginning of ignorance can be perceived, Bhikkhus, before which ignorance was not, and after which it came to be. But it can be perceived that ignorance has its specific condition (idappaccaya)” (AN 10.61). The same statement is made (AN 10.62) about the craving for existence (bhava-taṇhā; see taṇhā). The latter and ignorance are called “the outstanding causes of kamma that lead to unhappy and happy destinies” (Visuddhi Magga XVII, 38).

As ignorance still exists - though in a very refined way until the attainment of Arahatship or Holiness, it is counted as the last of the 10 fetters (see saṅyojana) which bind beings to the cycle of rebirths. As the first two roots of evil, greed and hate (see mūla), are on their part rooted in ignorance, consequently all unwholesome states of mind are inseparably bound up with it.

Ignorance (or delusion) is the most obstinate of the three roots of evil.

Ignorance is one of the cankers (see āsava) and proclivities (see anusaya). It is often called a hindrance (nīvaraṇa; e.g. in SN 15; AN 10.61) but does not appear together with the usual list of five hindrances.


avikkhepa: 'undistractedness', is a synonym of concentration (see samādhi), one-pointedness of mind (cittekaggatā) and tranquillity (see samatha; further see samatha-vipassanā).


avoidance and performance: see cāritta, etc. - The effort to avoid, see padhāna.


avyākata:8) lit. 'indeterminate' - i.e. neither determined as kammically 'wholesome' nor as 'unwholesome' - are the kammically neutral, i.e. amoral, states of consciousness and mental factors. They are either mere kamma-results (see vipāka), as e.g. all the sense perceptions and the mental factors associated therewith, or they are kammically independent functions (see kiriya-citta), i.e. neither karmic nor kamma-resultant. See Table I.


abyāpāda: 'hatelessness', non-ill-will, goodness; is one of the three kinds of right thought (see sacca, IV. 2), or wholesome thoughts (see vitakka) and is the 9th of the 10 wholesome courses of actions (kammapatha II.). The most frequently used synonyms are adosa (see mūla) and mettā (see brahma-vihāra).



āyatana: 1. 'spheres', is a name for the four immaterial absorptions; see jhāna (5-8). 2. The 12 'bases' or 'sources' on which depend the mental processes, consist of five physical sense-organs and consciousness, being the six personal (ajjhattika) bases; and the six objects, the so-called external (bāhira) bases - namely:

  • eye, or visual organ visible object
  • ear, or auditory organ sound, or audible object
  • nose, or olfactory organ odour, or olfactive object
  • tongue, or gustatory organ taste, or gustative object
  • body, or tactile organ body-impression, or tactile object
  • mind-base, or consciousness mind-object (manāyatana, dhammāyatana)

“By the visual organ (cakkhāyatana) is meant the sensitive part of the eye (cakkhu-pasāda) built up of the four elements … responding to sense-stimuli” sa-ppaṭigha)… Vibhaṅga II

Similar is the explanation of the four remaining physical sense-organs.

Mind-base (manāyatana) is a collective term for all consciousness whatever, and should therefore not be confounded with the mind-element (mano-dhātu; see dhātu II, 16), which latter performs only the functions of adverting (āvajjana) to the sense-object, and of receiving (sampaṭicchana) the sense-object. On the functions of the mind, see viññāṇa-kicca.

The visible object (rūpāyatana) is described in Vibhaṅga II as “that phenomenon which is built up of the four physical elements and appears as color, etc.” What is' seen by-visual perception, i.e. by eye-consciousness (cakkhu-viññāṇa) are colors and differences of light, but not three dimensional bodily things.

'Mind-object-base' (dhammāyatana) is identical with 'mind-object-element' (dhamma-dhātu; see dhātu II) and dhammārammaṇa (see ārammaṇa).

It may be physical or mental, past, present or future, real or imaginary.

The 5 physical sense-organs are also called faculties (see indriya), and of these faculties it is said in MN 43:

“Each of the five faculties owns a different sphere, and none of them partakes of the sphere of another one; … they have mind as their support… are conditioned by vitality, … but vitality again is conditioned by heat, heat again by vitality, just as the light and flame of a burning lamp are mutually conditioned.”

The 12 bases are fully discussed in Visuddhi Magga XV. In Yam III (s F. Guide, p 98f) the 12 terms are subjected to a logical investigation The six personal bases form the 5th link of dependent origination (see paṭiccasamuppāda 5).


āyūhana:9) (kammic) 'accumulation', is a name used in the commentarial literature for the wholesome and unwholesome volitional activities (see kamma) or kamma-formations (saṅkhāra; see paṭiccasamuppāda), being the bases of future rebirth. ” 'Accumulation', is a name for the kamma-formations, and signifies those volitions (cetanā) which arise at the performance of a kamma, first while thinking 'I will give alms', and then while actually giving alms (e.g.) for one month or a year. The volition, however, at the time when one is handing the alms over to the recipient; is called kamma-process (kamma-bhava, see Visuddhi Magga XVII, IX, X). Or, the volitions during the first six impulsive-moments (see javana) depending on one and the same state of advertence (āvajjana, see viññāṇa-kicca), these are called the kamma-formations, whilst the 7th impulsive moment is called the kamma-process (kamma-bhava)….

Or, each volition is called 'kamma-process' and the accumulation connected with it, 'kamma-formation'. ” (Visuddhi Magga XVII). Cf. paṭiccasamuppāda (2, 10).



bahula-kamma: 'habitual kamma': see kamma.


bala: 'powers'. Among various groups of powers the following five are most frequently met with in the texts:

Their particular aspect, distinguishing them from the corresponding 5 spiritual faculties (see indriya), is that they are unshakable by their opposites: (1) the power of faith is unshakable by faithlessness (unbelief); (2) energy, by laziness; (3) mindfulness, by forgetfulness; (4) concentration, by distractedness; (5) wisdom, by ignorance (see Paṭisambhidāmagga, Ñāṇa Kathā). They represent, therefore, the aspect of firmness in the spiritual faculties.

According to AN 5.15, the power (1) becomes manifest in the 4 qualities of the Stream-winner (see Sotāpannassa aṅgāni), (2) in the 4 right efforts (see padhāna), (3) in the 4 foundations of mindfulness (see Satipaṭṭhāna), (4) in the 4 absorptions (see jhāna), (5) in the (full comprehension of the) 4 Noble Truths (see sacca).

Cf. SN 48.43; SN 50 (Bala Saṁyuttā).

In AN 7.3, the powers of moral shame (see hiri) and moral dread (ottappa ) are added to the afore mentioned five Several other groups of 2 (see paṭisaṅkhāna-bala), 4, 5 and more powers are mentioned in the texts. - About the 10 powers of a Buddha, see dasa-bala.


balance of mental faculties: indriya samatta.


bases: The 12 of the perceptual process: āyatana.



beauty, deliverance through the perception of: cf. vimokkha (II. 3) To hold for beautiful or pure (subha) what is impure (asubha), is one of the 4 perversions (see vipallāsa).


behaviour, morality consisting in good: abhisamācārikasīla.


being, living: satta; further see puggala. - Belief in eternal personality: bhava-diṭṭhi (see diṭṭhi), sassata-diṭṭhi.


beings, The 9 worlds of: sattāvāsa.


belief, blind: see indriya-samatta.


bhangānupassanā-ñāṇa: 'knowledge consisting in contemplation of dissolution' (of all forms of existence), is one kind of insight: see visuddhi (VI, 2).


bhava:10) 'becoming', 'process of existence', consists of 3 planes: sensuous existence (kāma-bhava), fine-material existence (rūpa-bhava), immaterial existence (arūpa-bhava). Cf. loka.

The whole process of existence may be divided into two aspects:

(1) Kamma-process (kamma-bhava), i.e. the kammically active side of existence, being the cause of rebirth and consisting in wholesome and unwholesome volitional actions. See Kamma, paṭiccasamuppāda (IX).

(2) Kamma-produced rebirth, or regenerating process (uppattibhava), i.e. the kammically passive side of existence consisting in the arising and developing of the kamma-produced and therefore morally neutral mental and bodily phenomena of existence. Cf. Table I, Table II


bhāva:11) (feminine and masculine) 'nature', refers to the sexual characteristics of the body, and belongs to the group of corporeality (see khandha). It is a commentarial term for the faculties of femininity and masculinity (see indriya 7, 8).


Bhava-cakka, 'wheel of existence', or of life, is a name for 'dependent origination' (see paṭiccasamuppāda).

See The Buddhist Wheel Symbol, by T. B. Karuṇaratane (Wheel 137/138); The Wheel of Birth and Death, by Bhikkhu Khantipālo (Wheel 147/149)


bhava-diṭṭhi: 'belief in being' (eternal personality); see sassatadiṭṭhi, diṭṭhi.


bhāvanā: 'mental development' (lit. 'calling into existence, producing') is what in English is generally but rather vaguely called 'meditation'. One has to distinguish 2 kinds: development of tranquillity (samatha-bhāvanā), i.e. concentration (samādhi), and development of insight (vipassanā-bhāvanā), i.e. wisdom (paññā).

These two important terms, tranquillity and insight (see samatha-vipassanā), are very often met with and explained in the Sutta, as well as in the Abhidhamma.

Tranquillity (samatha) is the concentrated, unshaken, peaceful, and therefore undefiled state of mind, whilst insight (vipassanā) is the intuitive insight into the impermanence, misery and impersonality (anicca, dukkha, anattā; see tilakkhaṇa) of all bodily and mental phenomena of existence, included in the 5 groups of existence, namely, corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness; see khandha.

Tranquillity, or concentration of mind, according to Saṅkhepavaṇṇana (Commentary to Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha), bestows a threefold blessing: favourable rebirth, present happy life, and purity of mind which is the condition of insight. Concentration (samādhi) is the indispensable foundation and precondition of insight by purifying the mind from the 5 mental defilements or hindrances (see nīvaraṇa), whilst insight (vipassanā) produces the 4 supra mundane stages of holiness and deliverance of mind. The Buddha therefore says: ”May you develop mental concentration, o monks; for who is mentally concentrated, sees things according to reality” (SN 22.5). And in Milindapañhā it is said: ”Just as when a lighted lamp is brought into a dark chamber, the lamp-light Will destroy the darkness and produce and spread the light, just so will insight, once arisen, destroy the darkness of ignorance and produce the light of knowledge.

Visuddhi Magga III-XI gives full directions how to attain full concentration and the absorptions (see jhāna) by means of the following 40 meditation subjects (kammaṭṭhāna):

10 kasiṇa-exercises (see kasiṇa). These produce the 4 absorptions

10 loathsome subjects (see asubha). These produce the 1st absorption.

10 Recollections (see anussati): of the Buddha (buddhānussati), the Doctrine (dhammānussati), the Brotherhood of the Noble Ones (saṅghānus-sati), morality, liberality, the heavenly beings, death (see maraṇasati ), the body (see kāyagatāsati), in-and-outbreathing (see ānāpāna-sati) and peace (see upasamānussati). Among these, the recollection (or mindfulness) of in-and-out breathing may produce all the 4 absorptions, that of the body the 1st absorption, the rest only neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi, see samādhi).

4 Sublime Abodes (see brahma-vihāra): loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, equanimity (mettā, karuṇā, muditā, upekkhā). Of these, the first 3 exercises may produce 3 absorptions, the last one the 4th absorption only.

4 Immaterial Spheres (arūpāyatana, see jhāna): of unbounded space, unbounded consciousness, nothingness, neither-perception-nor-non-perception. These are based upon the 4th absorption.

1 Perception of the Loathsomeness of Food (āhāre paṭikkūla-saññā), which may produce neighbourhood-concentration.

1 Analysis of the 4 elements (catudhātu-vavatthāna, see dhātu-vavatthāna), which may produce neighbourhood-concentration.

Mental development forms one of the 3 kinds of meritorious action (see puñña-kiriya-vatthu).

'Delight in meditation' (bhāvanā-rāmatā) is one of the noble usages (see ariya-vaṅsa).



bhāvanā-maya-paññā: wisdom based on mental development'; see paññā.


bhavaṅga-santāna: 'continuity of subconsciousness'; see santāna.


bhavaṅga-sota and bhavaṅga-citta:12) The first term may tentatively be rendered as the 'undercurrent forming the condition of being, or existence', and the second as 'subconsciousness', though, as will be evident from the following, it differs in several respects from the usage of that term in Western psychology. bhavaṅga (bhava-aṅga), which, in the canonical works, is mentioned twice or thrice in the Paṭṭhāna, is explained in the Abhidhamma commentaries as the foundation or condition (kāraṇa) of existence (bhava), as the sine qua non of life, having the nature of a process, lit. a flux or stream (sota). Herein, since time immemorial, all impressions and experiences are, as it were, stored up, or better said, are functioning, but concealed as such to- full consciousness, from where however they occasionally emerge as subconscious phenomena and approach the threshold of full consciousness, or crossing it become fully conscious. This so-called 'subconscious life-stream' or undercurrent of life is that by which might be explained the faculty of memory, paranormal psychic phenomena, mental and physical growth, kamma and rebirth. etc. An alternative rendering is 'life-continuum'.

It should be noted that bhavaṅga-citta is a kamma-resultant state of consciousness (see vipāka), and that, in birth as a human or in higher forms of existence, it is always the result of good, or wholesome kamma (kusala-kamma-vipāka), though in varying degrees of strength (see paṭisandhi, end of the article). The same holds true for rebirth consciousness (paṭisandhi) and death consciousness (cuti), which are only particular manifestations of subconsciousness. In Visuddhi Magga XIV it is said:

“As soon as rebirth-consciousness (in the embryo at the time of conception) has ceased, there arises a similar subconsciousness with exactly the same object, following immediately upon rebirth-consciousness and being the result of this or that kamma (volitional action done in a former birth and remembered there at the moment before death).

“And again a further similar state of subconsciousness arises. Now, as long as no other consciousness arises to interrupt the continuity of the life-stream, so long the life-stream, like the flow of a river, rises in the same way again and again, even during dreamless sleep and at other times. In this way one has to understand the continuous arising of those states of consciousness in the life-stream.”

Cf. viññāṇa-kicca. For more details, see F. Guide 11.



bhava-taṇhā: 'craving for (eternal) existence'; see taṇhā.


bhavāsava: 'canker of existence'; see āsava.


bhayatu paṭṭhāna-ñāṇa: 'knowledge consisting in the awareness of terror', is one of those kinds of insight-knowledge that form the 'purification by knowledge and vision of the path-progress' (see visuddhi, VI.).


bhikkhu: A fully ordained disciple of the Buddha is called a bhikkhu. “Mendicant monk” may be suggested as the closest equivalent for “Bhikkhu”, literally it means ”he who begs” but bhikkhus do not beg. They silently stand at the door for alms. They live on what is spontaneously given by the supporters. He is not a priest as he is no mediator between God and man. He has no vows for life, but he is bound by his rules which he takes of his own accord. He leads a life of voluntary poverty and celibacy. If he is unable to live the Holy Life, he can discard the robe at any time.

bhojane mattaññutā

bhojane mattaññutā: 'knowing the measure in eating'.

“Now, o monks, the monk wisely reflecting partakes of his almsfood, neither for pastime, nor for indulgence, nor to become beautiful or handsome, but only to maintain and support this body, to avoid harm and to assist the holy life, knowing: 'In this way I shall dispel the former pain (of hunger, etc.) and no new pain shall I let arise, and long life, blamelessness and ease will be my share ' This, o monks, is knowing the measure in eating.” AN 3.16

“How o monks, would it be possible for Nanda to lead the absolutely pure life of holiness, if he did not watch over his senses and did not know the measure in eating?” AN 7.9


bias: see āsava.

birth process


bodhi (from verbal root budhi, to awaken, to understand): awakenment, enlightenment, supreme knowledge.

”(Through Bodhi) one awakens from the slumber or stupor (inflicted upon the mind) by the defilements (see kilesa) and comprehends the Four Noble Truths (see sacca)“ Commentary to MN 10

The enlightenment of a Buddha is called sammā-sambodhi 'perfect enlightenment'. The faith (see saddhā) of a lay follower of the Buddha is described as “he believes in the enlightenment of the Perfect One” (saddahati Tathāgatassa bodhim: MN 53, AN 3.2).

As components of the state of enlightenment and contributory factors to its achievement, are mentioned in the texts: the 7 factors of enlightenment (bojjhaṅga = bodhi-aṅga) and the 37 'things pertaining to enlightenment' (see bodhipakkhiya-dhammā). In one of the later books of the Sutta Piṭaka, the Buddhavaṅsa, 10 bodhipācana-dhammā are mentioned, i.e. qualities that lead to the ripening of perfect enlightenment; these are the 10 perfections (see pāramī).

There is a threefold classification of enlightenment: 1. that of a noble disciple (see sāvaka-bodhi). i.e. of an Arahat, 2. of an Independently Enlightened One (see pacceka-bodhi), and 3. of a Perfect Enlightened One (sammā-sambodhi). This 3-fold division, however, is of later origin, and in this form it neither occurs in the canonical texts nor in the older Sutta commentaries. The closest approximation to it is found in a verse Sutta which is probably of a comparatively later period, the Treasure Store Sutta (Nidhikkanda Sutta) of the Khuddakapāṭha, where the following 3 terms are mentioned in stanza 15: sāvaka-pāramī, pacceka-bodhi, buddha-bhūmi (see Khp Translation, pp. 247f.).

The commentaries (e.g. to M., Buddhavaṅsa, Cariya-piṭaka) generally give a 4-fold explanation of the word bodhi: 1. the tree of enlightenment, 2. the holy path (ariya-magga), 3. Nibbāna, 4 omniscience (of the Buddha: sabbaññutā-ñāṇa). As to (2), the commentaries quote Cūḷa Niddesa where bodhi is defined as the knowledge relating to the 4 paths (of Stream-entry, etc.; catūsu maggesu ñāṇa).

Neither in the canonical texts nor in the old commentaries is it stated that a follower of the Buddha may choose between the three kinds of enlightenment and aspire either to become a Buddha, a Pacceka-Buddha, or an Arahat-disciple. This conception of a choice between three aspirations is, however, frequently found in present-day Theravāda countries, e.g. in Sri Lanka.


bodhipakkhiya-dhammā: The 37 'Things pertaining to Enlightenment', or 'requisites of enlightenment' comprise the entire doctrines of the Buddha. They are:

* the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness (see Satipaṭṭhāna), * the 4 Right Efforts (see padhāna), * the 4 Roads to Power (see iddhi-pāda), * the 5 Spiritual Faculties (indriya; see bala), * the 5 Spiritual Powers (see bala), * the 7 Factors of Enlightenment (see bojjhaṅga), * the Noble 8-fold Path (see magga).

In MN 77 all the 37 bodhipakkhiya-dhammā are enumerated and explained though not called by that name. A detailed explanation of them is given in Visuddhi Magga XXII. In SN 47.51, SN 47.67, only the five spiritual faculties (indriya) are called bodhipakkhiya-dhammā; and in the Jhāna Vibhaṅga, only the 7 factors of enlightenment (bojjhaṅga).

See The Requisites of Enlightenment, by Ledi Sayadaw (Wheel 169/172).


Bodhisatta: 'Enlightenment Being', is a being destined to Buddhahood, a future Buddha. According to the traditional belief a Bodhisatta, before reaching his last birth as a Buddha on this earth, is living in the Tusita-heaven (see deva), the heaven of bliss. Cf. AN 4.127; VIII, 70.

In the Pāḷi Canon and commentaries, the designation 'Bodhisatta' is given only to Prince Siddhattha before his enlightenment and to his former existences. The Buddha himself uses this term when speaking of his life prior to enlightenment (e.g. MN 4, MN 26). Bodhisattahood is neither mentioned nor recommended as an ideal higher than or alternative to Arahatship; nor is there any record in the Pāḷi scriptures of a disciple declaring it as his aspiration. - See bodhi.

bodily action

bodily action (wholesome or unwholesome); see kamma, kamma formations - Right bodily action = sammā-kammanta; see magga.

bodily postures


body: kāya. Contemplation on the body is one of the 4 Satipaṭṭhāna.



bojjhaṅga: 'the 7 Factors of Enlightenment', are: Mindfulness (sati-sambojjhaṅga; see sati), investigation of the law (dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhaṅga), energy (viriya-sambojjhaṅga; see viriya, padhāna), rapture (see pīti-sambojjhaṅga) tranquillity (see passaddhi-sambojjhaṅga), concentration (see samādhi-sambojjhaṅga), equanimity (see upekkhā).

“Because they lead to enlightenment, therefore they are called factors of enlightenment” SN 46.5

Though in the 2nd factor, dhamma-vicaya, the word Dhamma is taken by most translators to stand for the Buddhist doctrine, it probably refers to the bodily and mental phenomena (nāma-rūpa-dhammā) as presented to the investigating mind by mindfulness, the 1st factor. With that interpretation, the term may be rendered by 'investigation of phenomena'.

In AN 10.102, the 7 factors are said to be the means of attaining the threefold wisdom (see tevijjā).

They may be attained by means of the 4 foundations of mindfulness (see Satipaṭṭhāna), as it is said in SN 46.1 and explained in MN 118:

(1) “Whenever, o monks, the monk dwells contemplating the body (kāya), feeling (vedanā), mind (citta) and mind-objects (dhammā), strenuous, clearly-conscious, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief, at such a time his mindfulness is present and undisturbed; and whenever his mindfulness is present and undisturbed, at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'mindfulness' (sati-sambojjhaṅga), and thus this factor of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

(2) “Whenever, while dwelling with mindfulness, he wisely investigates, examines and thinks over the law … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'investigation of the law' (dhamma-vicaya-bojjhaṅga) ….

(3) “Whenever, while wisely investigating his energy is firm and unshaken … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'energy' (viriya-bojjhaṅga) ….

(4) “Whenever in him, while firm in energy, arises supersensuous rapture … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'rapture' (pīti-bojjhaṅga) ….

(5) “Whenever, while enraptured in mind, his body and his mind become composed … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'tranquillity' (passaddhi-bojjhaṅga).

(6) “Whenever, while being composed in his body and happy, his mind becomes concentrated … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'concentration' (samādhi-bojjhaṅga).

(7) “Whenever he looks with complete indifference on his mind thus concentrated … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'equanimity' (upekkhā-bojjhaṅga).

Literature: Bojjhaṅga Saṁyuttā (SN 4); Bojjhaṅga Vibhaṅga - For the conditions leading to the arising of each of the factors, see the Commentary to Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (Way of Mindfulness, by Soma Thera; 3rd ed., 1967, BPS). Further, The 'Seven Factors of Enlightenment', by Piyadassi Thera (Wheel 1.)



bonds, the 4: yoga.

both-ways liberated

boundless consciousness

boundless consciousness, Sphere of: see jhāna 5, 6.

boundless space

boundless space, Sphere of: see jhāna 5, 6.


brahma-cariya: 'pure (chaste) or holy life', is a term for the life of the monk. Also a lay-devotee who observes the 8 moral precepts (see sikkhāpada), takes as the third precept the vow of chastity, i.e. full abstention from sexual relations. The highest aim and purpose of brahma-cariya is, according to MN 29, the 'unshakable deliverance of mind' (akuppā ceto-vimutti).


brahma-kāyika-deva: The 'heavenly beings of the Brahma-world' inhabit the first 3 heavens of the fine-material world, (rūpaloka), corresponding to the 1st absorption (see jhāna). The highest ruler of them is called the Great Brahma (Mahā-Brahmā). With caustic humor he is said (DN 11) to pretend:

“I am Brahma, the Great Brahmā, the Most High, the Invincible One, the Omniscient One, the Ruler, the Lord, the Creator, the Maker, the Perfect One, the Preserver, the Controller, the Father of all that was and will be.”

Cf. deva (II. 1-3).


brahma-loka: 'Brahma-world', in the widest sense, is a name for the fine-material (rūpa-loka) and immaterial world (arūpa-loka); in a narrower sense, however, only for the first three heavens of the fine-material world. Cf. Brahma-kāyika-deva.


brahma-vihāra: the 4 'Sublime' or 'Divine Abodes', also called the 4 Boundless States (appamaññā), are: Loving-kindness (mettā), Compassion (karuṇā), Altruistic (or sympathetic) Joy (muditā), Equanimity (upekkhā).

The stereotype text on the development of these 4 sublime abodes (brahma-vihāra-bhāvanā; see bhāvanā), often met with in the Suttas, is as follows:

“There, o monks, the monk with a mind full of loving-kindness pervading first one direction, then a second one, then a third one, then the fourth one, just so above, below and all around; and everywhere identifying himself with all, he is pervading the whole world with mind full of loving-kindness, with mind wide, developed, unbounded, free from hate and ill-will.”

Hereafter follows the same theme with compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity.

Literature: Detailed explanation in Visuddhi Magga IX. - For texts see “Path”, 97ff; texts on mettā in The Practice of Loving Kindness, by Ñāṇamoli Thera (Wheel 7). - The Four Sublime States, by Ñaṇaponika Thera (Wheel 6). - Brahma Vihāra, by Narada Thera (Vajirarama, Colombo, 1962).


breathing, mindfulness of in-and-out-breathing ānāpānasati.



buddhānussati: 'recollection of the Enlightened One'; see anussati.




cāga: 'liberality', is one of the 'blessings' (see sampadā), 'foundations' (see adhiṭṭhāna), 'recollections' (see anussati), 'treasures' (see dhana ).


cakka: 'wheel', is one of the seven 'precious possessions' (ratana) of a righteous World Emperor (cakkavatti: 'He who owns the Wheel,' cf. DN 26), and symbolizes conquering progress and expanding sovereignty. From that derives the figurative expression dhammacakkaṁ pavatteti, 'he sets rolling the Wheel of the Law' and the name of the Buddha's first sermon, Dhammacakkappavaṭṭana Sutta (see dhamma-cakka).

Another figurative meaning of cakka is 'blessing'. There are 4 such 'auspicious wheels' or 'blessings': living in a suitable locality, company of good people, meritorious acts done in the past, right inclinations (AN 4.31).


cakkhāyatana: 'the base “visual organ” ' (see āyatana).


cakkhu: 'eye' see āyatana. - The following 5 kinds of 'eyes' are mentioned and explained in Cūḷa Niddesa (PTS, p. 235; the first 3 also in Iti 3.52): 1. the physical eye (mamsa-cakkhu), 2. the divine eye (dibba-cakkhu; see abhiññā), 3. the eye of wisdom (paññā-cakkhu), 4 the eye of a Buddha (Buddha-cakkhu), 5. the eye of all-round knowledge (samanta-cakkhu; a frequent appellation of the Buddha).


cakkhu-dhātu: 'the element “visual organ” '(see dhātu).


cakkhu-viññāṇa: 'eye-consciousness' (see viññāṇa).




carita:13) 'nature, character'. In Visuddhi Magga III there are explained six types of men: the greedy-natured (rāga-carita), the hate-natured (dosa-carita), the stupid or dull-natured (moha-carita), the faithful-natured (saddhā-carita), the intelligent-natured (buddhi-carita), the ruminating-natured (vitakka-carita).


cāritta-sīla and vāritta-sīla:14) 'morality consisting in performance and morality consisting in avoidance,' means “the performance of those moral rules which the Blessed one has ordained to be followed, and the avoidance of those things that the Blessed One has rejected as not to be followed” (Visuddhi Magga III).


catu-dhātu-vavatthāna: 'analysis of the four elements'; see dhātu-vavatthāna.


catu-mahārājika-deva: a class of heavenly beings of the sensuous sphere; see deva.



catu-vokāra-bhava: 'four-group existence', is the existence in the immaterial world (arūpa-loka; see loka), since only the four mental groups (feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness, see khandha) are found there, the corporeality group being absent. Cf. pañca-vokāra-bhava, eka-vokāra-bhava. See vokāra).


cause: cf. paccaya (1). - For the five cause of existence, see paṭiccasamuppāda (10).


cemetery: ascetic practice of living in a cemetery; see dhutaṅga.



cetanā: 'volition', will, is one of the seven mental factors (see cetasika) inseparably bound up with all consciousness, namely sensorial or mental impression (phassa), feeling (vedanā), perception (saññā), volition (cetanā), concentration (samādhi), vitality (jīvita), advertence (manasikāra). Cf. Table II, Table III.

With regard to kammical volition (i.e. wholesome or unwholesome kamma) it is said in AN 6.13: “Volition is action (kamma), thus I say, o monks; for as soon as volition arises, one does the action, be it by body, speech or mind.” For details, see paṭiccasamuppāda (10), kamma.


cetasika:15) 'mental things, mental factors', are those mental concomitants which are bound up with the simultaneously arising consciousness (citta = viññāṇa) and conditioned by its presence. Whereas in the Suttas all phenomena of existence are summed up under the aspect of 5 groups: corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness (see khandha), the Abhidhamma as a rule treats them under the more philosophical 3 aspects: consciousness, mental factors and corporeality (citta, cetasika, rūpa).

Thus, of these 3 aspects, the mental factors (cetasika) comprise feeling, perception and the 50 mental formations, altogether 52 mental concomitants. Of these, 25 are lofty qualities (either kammically wholesome or neutral), 14 kammically unwholesome, while 13 are as such kammically neutral, their kammical quality depending on whether they are associated with wholesome, unwholesome or neutral consciousness. For details see Table II, Table III. Cf. precedent, cetanā.


cetaso-vinibandha: 'mental bondages', are 5 things which hinder the mind from making right exertion, namely: lust for sensuous objects, for the body, for visible things, for eating and sleeping, and leading the monk's life for the sake of heavenly rebirth. For details, see AN 5.205; AN10.14; DN 33; MN 16. Cf. cetokhila.


cetokhila: 'mental obduracies', are 5 things which stiffen and hinder the mind from making right exertion, namely: doubt about the Master, about the Doctrine, about the (holy) Brotherhood, about the training, and anger against one's fellow-monks. For details see AN 5.206; DN 33; MN 16. Cf. precedent,  cetasika.


ceto-pariya-ñāṇa: 'penetrating knowledge of the mind (of others)', is one of the 6 higher powers (see abhiññā 3).


ceto-vimutti: 'deliverance of mind'. In the highest sense it signifies the fruition of Arahatship (see ariya-puggala), and in particular, the concentration associated with it. It is often linked with the 'deliverance through wisdom' (see paññā-vimutti), e.g. in the ten powers of a Perfect One (see dasa-bala). See vimokkha I.

It is also called 'unshakable deliverance of mind' (akuppa-cetovimutti); further 'boundless deliverance of mind'. (appamāna-cetovimutti); 'deliverance of mind from the conditions of existence, or signless deliverance of mind' (animittā-cetovimutti); 'deliverance of mind from the appendages' (ākincañña-cetovimutti), since that state of mind is free from the 3 bonds, conditions and appendants, i.e. from greed, hatred and ignorance; and since it is void thereof, it is called the 'void deliverance of mind' (suññatā-cetovimutti).

In a more restricted sense, 'boundless deliverance of mind' is a name for the 4 boundless states, i.e. loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy and equanimity (see brahma-vihāra); 'd. of m. from the appendages' stands for the 'sphere of nothingness' (ākiñcaññāyatana see jhāna 7); 'deliverance of mind from the conditions of existence', for deliverance of mind due to non-attention to all conditions of existence; 'void deliverance of mind' for deliverance of mind due to contemplating voidness of self. For further details, see MN 43.


chaḷabhiññā: the 6 'higher powers'; see abhiññā.


chaḷabhiñño: an Arahat who is a 'possessor of the 6 higher powers' (see abhiññā).


chanda: intention, desire, will.

1. As an ethically neutral psychological term, in the sense of 'intention', it is one of those general mental factors (see cetasika Table II) taught in the Abhidhamma, the moral quality of which is determined by the character of the volition (see cetanā) associated therewith. The Commentary explains it as 'a wish to do' (kattu-kamyatā-chanda). If intensified, it acts also as a 'predominance condition' (see paccaya 3).

2. As an evil quality it has the meaning of 'desire', and is frequently coupled with terms for 'sensuality', 'greed', etc., for instance: kāma-cchanda, 'sensuous desire', one of the 5 hindrances (see nīvaraṇa); chanda-rāga, 'lustful desire' (see kāma). It is one of the 4 wrong paths (see agati).

3. As a good quality it is a righteous will or zeal (dhamma-chanda) and occurs, e.g. in the formula of the 4 right efforts (see padhāna): “The monk rouses his will (chandaṁ janeti)….” If intensified, it is one of the 4 roads to power (see Iddhipāda ).


change, contemplation of: one of the 18 chief kinds of insight (see vipassanā).


chaos: cf. kappa.


character: On the 6 kinds of human character, see carita.


characteristics of existence, the. 3: ti-lakkhaṇa.




cintā-maya-paññā: 'Wisdom (or knowledge) based on thinking', see paññā.


citta: 'mind', 'consciousness', 'state of consciousness', is a synonym of mano and viññāṇa (see khandha and Table I). Dhammasaṅgaṇi divides all phenomena into consciousness (citta), mental concomitants (see cetasika) and corporeality (rūpa).

In adhicitta, 'higher mentality', it signifies the concentrated, quietened mind, and is one of the 3 trainings (see sikkhā).

The concentration (or intensification) of consciousness is one of the 4 roads to power (see Iddhipāda ).


citta-ja-rūpa, citta-samuṭṭhāna-rūpa: 'mind-produced corporeality'; see samuṭṭhāna.









cittakkhaṇa: 'consciousness-moment', is the time occupied by one single stage in the perceptual process or cognitive series (cittavīthi; see viññāṇa-kicca). This moment again is subdivided into the genetic (uppāda), static (ṭhiti) and dissolving (bhaṅga) moment. One such moment is said in the commentaries to be of inconceivably short duration and to last not longer than the billionth part of the time occupied by a flash of lightning.

However that may be, we ourselves know from experience that it is possible within one single second to dream of innumerable things and events. In AN 1.10 it is said:

“Nothing, o monks, do I know that changes so rapidly as consciousness. Scarcely anything may be found that could be compared with this so rapidly changing consciousness.” see khaṇa


cittānupassanā: 'contemplation of consciousness', is one of the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness (see Satipaṭṭhāna)


citta-samuṭṭhāna-rūpa: 'mind-produced corporeality'; see samuṭṭhāna.



citta-santāna: 'consciousness-continuity'; see santāna.


cittassekaggatā: 'one-pointedness of mind', is a synonym of concentration, or samādhi


citta-vipallāsa: 'perversion of mind'; see vipallāsa.


citta-visuddhi: 'purification of mind', is the 2nd of the 7 stages of purification (visuddhi, II,.).


citta-vīthi:21) 'process of consciousness'; see viññāṇa-kicca.



clarity of consciousness: sampajañña.


clinging, the 4 kinds of: upādāna.

cognitive series


companionship: Influence of good and bad companionship = saṅseva.



comprehension: clear comprehension: see sampajañña. - comprehension in insight, see sammasana. - As an alternative translation for full understanding, see pariññā.


co-nascence: sahajāta-paccaya, is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).


conceit: māna; further see saṅyojana.


concentration: samādhi. - right concentration, see sacca (IV. 8), magga (8). - wrong concentration, see micchā-magga (8).



1. thought-conception: cf. vitakka-vicāra.

2. conception (in the mother's womb): okkanti.


conditions, the 24: paccaya.

conditions of existence

conditions of existence, deliverance from the: see cetovimutti; vimokkha.



consciousness: viññāṇa (see khandha), citta, mano. - Moment of consciousness: citta-kkhaṇa. Contemplation of consciousness: cittānupassanā: see Satipaṭṭhāna- Corporeality produced by consciousness: citta-ja-rūpa, see samuṭṭhāna - Abodes or supports of consciousness: cf. viññāṇaṭṭhiti Functions of consciousness: viññāṇa-kicca.



contentedness (with whatever robe, etc.) belongs to the noble usages: ariya-vaṅsa.


contentment: appicchatā, is one of the ascetic virtues. Cf. AN 10.181-AN 10.190.


contiguity: samanantara-paccaya, is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).


continuity (of body, subconsciousness, consciousness or groups of existence): santāna.


control, effort of: see padhāna.


conventional (expression or truth): see desanā.


corporeality: produced through consciousness, kamma, etc.; see samuṭṭhāna.

- Sensitive corporeality: pasāda-rūpa.

corporeality and mind





counteractive kamma


counter-image (during concentration): see nimitta, kasiṇa, samādhi.

course of action

course of action (wholesome or unwholesome): kammapatha.


covetousness: abhijjhā; further see kamma-patha (1).



craving: taṇhā, rāga; further see mūla.



cuti-citta:22) 'death-consciousness', lit. 'departing consciousness', is one of the 14 functions of consciousness (viññāṇa-kicca).


cutūpapāta-ñāṇa: the 'knowledge of the vanishing and reappearing' (of beings) is identical with the divine eye; see abhiññā.

cycle of existence



dāna: 'almsgiving', liberality, offering.

“He who gives alms, bestows a fourfold blessing: he helps to long life, good appearance, happiness and strength. Therefore long life, good appearance, happiness and strength will be his share, whether amongst heavenly beings or amongst men” AN 4.57

“Five blessings accrue to the giver of alms: the affection of many, noble association, good reputation, self-confidence, and heavenly rebirth” see AN 5.34

Seven further blessings are given in AN 7.54.

Liberality, especially the offering of robes, food, etc., to the monks, is highly praised in all Buddhist countries of Southern Asia as a fundamental virtue and as a means to suppress man's inborn greed and egoism. But, as in any other good or bad action, so also in offering gifts, it is the noble intention and volition that really counts as the action, not the mere outward deed.

Almsgiving or liberality (dāna), constitutes the first. kind of meritorious activity, the two others being morality (see sīla) and mental development (bhāvanā); see puñña-kiriya-vatthu.

Liberality (cāga) forms one of the 10 recollections (see anussati) and almsgiving one of the 10 perfections (see pāramī).


dasa-bala, or dasa-Tathāgata-bala: 'the ten powers (of a Perfect One); or, he who Possesses the 10 P.', i.e. the Buddha. About him it is said (e.g., MN 12.; AN 10.21):

“There, o monks, the Perfect One understands according to reality the possible as possible, and the impossible as impossible … the result of past, present and future actions … the path leading to the welfare of all … the world with its many different elements … the different inclinations in beings … the lower and higher faculties in beings … the defilement, purity and rising with regard to the absorptions, deliverances, concentration and attainments … remembering many former rebirths … perceiving with the divine eye how beings vanish and reappear again according to their actions (kamma) … gaining, through extinction of all taints, possession of 'deliverance of mind' and 'deliverance through wisdom' ….”






death: maraṇa - Contemplation of death: maraṇānussati - As divine messenger: deva-dūta.


death-consciousness: cuti-citta, is one of the 14 functions of consciousness (see viññāṇa-kicca).


death-proximate kamma

deciding function

deciding function (of consciousness): see viññāṇa-kicca.


decline (in morality, wisdom, etc.): see hāna-bhāgiya-sīla. - Liable to decline, parihāna-dhamma.


defilements: see kilesa, upakkilesa.

- 10 defilements of insight: vipassanūpakkilesa, see visuddhi VI.

- Round of defilements, see vaṭṭa (1).


deliverance: see vimutti, vimokkha.
- The 8 kinds of deliverance (or liberation), see vimokkha.
- Deliverance of mind, deliverance through voidness, boundless deliverance etc., see ceto-vimutti.
- Desire for deliverance, see visuddhi (VI, 6).
- Deliverance through wisdom; paññā-vimutti.
- 3 doors of Deliverance (or gateways of liberation) see visuddhi (VI, 8).

deluded consciousness



demons realm


departed, the spirits of the: peta.

dependent origination

derived corporeality


desanā: 'exposition' of the doctrine, may be either an exposition true in the highest sense (paramattha-desanā); or it may not be true in the highest, but only in the conventional sense (vohāra-desanā). See paramattha.

desire for deliverance

desireless deliverance


desirelessness, contemplation on: see vipassanā (12).


destiny, evil views with fixed destiny: niyata-micchā-diṭṭhi. Men with fixed destiny: niyata-puggala. See gati.


destruction: overcoming, or liberation from, evil things through their destruction samuccheda-pahāna or samuccheda-vimutti; see pahāna.

destructive kamma




determining the reality


deva (lit: the Radiant Ones; related to Lat. deus): heavenly beings, deities, celestials, are beings who live in happy worlds, and who, as a rule, are invisible to the human eye. They are subject, however, just like all human and other beings, to ever-repeated rebirth, old age and death, and thus are not freed from the cycle of existence and from misery. There are many classes of heavenly beings.

I. The 6 classes of heavenly beings of the sensuous sphere (kāmāvacara or kāma-loka; see avacaraloka), are Cātumahārājika-deva, Tāvatiṁsa-deva, Yāma-deva, Tusita-deva (see Bodhisatta), Nimmāna-rati, Paranimmita-vasavatti. Cf. anussati. (6).

II. The heavenly beings of the fine-material sphere (rūpāvacara or rūpaloka) are:

1. Brahma-pārisajja, Brahma-purohita, Mahā-brahmāno (see brahma-kāyika-deva).

Amongst these 3 classes will be reborn those with a weak, medium or full experience of the 1st absorption (see jhāna).

2. Parittābha, Appamānābha, Ābhassara. Here will be reborn those with experience of the 2nd absorption.

3. Paritta-subha, Appamāna-subha, Subha-kiṇṇa (or kiṇha). Here will be reborn those with experience of the 3rd absorption.

4. Vehapphala, Asañña-satta, Suddhāvāsa (q.v.; further see Anāgāmi). Amongst the first 2 classes will be reborn those with experience of the 4th absorption, but amongst the 3rd class only Anāgāmis.

III. The 4 grades of heavenly beings of the immaterial sphere (arūpāvacara or arūpa-loka) are: the heavenly beings of the sphere of unbounded space (ākāsānañcāyatanūpaga-devā), of unbounded consciousness (viññāṇañcāyatanūpaga-deva), of nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatanūpaga-devā), of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (nevasaññā-nāsaññāyatanūpaga-devā). Here will be reborn those with experience of the 4 immaterial spheres (arūpāyatana; see jhāna 5-8).

See Gods and the Universe by Francis Story (Wheel 180/181).


deva-dūta: 'divine messengers', is a symbolic name for old age, disease and death, since these three things remind man of his future and rouse him to earnest striving. In AN 3.35, it is said:

“Did you, o man, never see in the world a man or a woman eighty, ninety or a hundred years old, frail, crooked as a gable-roof, bent down, resting on crutches, with tottering steps, infirm, youth long since fled, with broken teeth, grey and scanty hair, or baldheaded, wrinkled, with blotched limbs? And did it never occur to you that you also are subject to old age, that you also cannot escape it?

“Did you never see in the world a man or a woman, who being sick, afflicted and grievously ill, and wallowing in their own filth, was lifted up by some people, and put down by others? And did it never occur to you that you also are subject to disease, that you also cannot escape it?

“Did you never see in the world the corpse of a man or a woman, one or two or three days after death, swollen up, blue-black in colour, and full of corruption? And did it never occur to you that you also are subject to death, that you also cannot escape it?” See MN 130


devatānussati: 'recollection of the heavenly beings'; see anussati.


development (mental): bhāvanā. - Effort to develop, see padhāna
- Wisdom based on development see paññā.
- Gradual development of the Eightfold Path in the 'progress of the disciple'.


deviation: (from morality and understanding): vipatti.



dhamma: lit. the 'bearer', constitution (or nature of a thing), norm, law (jus\\), doctrine; justice, righteousness; quality; thing, object of mind (see āyatana) 'phenomenon'. In all these meanings the word 'dhamma' is to be met with in the texts. The Commentary to DN instances 4 applications of this term guṇa (quality, virtue), desanā (instruction), pariyatti (text), nijjīvatā (soullessness, e.g. “all dhammā, phenomena, are impersonal,” etc.). The Commentary to Dhs. has hetu (condition) instead of desanā. Thus, the analytical knowledge of the law (see paṭisambhidā) is explained in Visuddhi Magga XIV. and in Vibhaṅga as hetumhi-ñāṇa, knowledge of the conditions. The Dhamma, as the liberating law discovered and proclaimed by the Buddha, is summed up in the 4 Noble Truths (see sacca). It forms one of the 3 Gems (see index) and one of the 10 recollections (anussati).

Dhamma, as object of mind (dhammāyatana, see āyatana) may be anything past, present or future, corporeal or mental, conditioned or not (cf. saṅkhāra, 4), real or imaginary.


dhamma-cakka: The 'Wheel (realm) of the Law', is a name for the doctrine 'set rolling' (established) by the Buddha, i.e. the 4 Noble Truths (see sacca).

“The Perfect One, o monks, the Holy One, fully Enlightened One, in the Deer Park at Isipatana near Benares, has set rolling (established) the unsurpassed Wheel (realm) of the Law” MN 141

Cf. cakka.


dhamma-desanā: 'exposition of the Doctrine (law)'; see desanā.


dhamma-dhātu: mind-object-element (see dhātu).


dhammānupassanā: 'contemplation of the mind-objects' is the last of the 4 foundations of mindfulness (see Satipaṭṭhāna)


dhammānusārī: the 'Dhamma-devotee', is one of the 7 noble disciples (see ariya-puggala).


dhammānussati: 'recollection of the Law', is one of the 10 recollections (see anussati).


dhamma-paṭisambhidā: the 'analytical knowledge of the law, is one of the 4 kinds of analytical knowledge (see paṭisambhidā).


dhamma-ṭṭhiti-ñāṇa: 'knowledge of the fixity of law, is a name for that 'insight which is leading up' to the entrance into one of the 4 supermundane paths (see vuṭṭhāna-gāminī-vipassanā). In the Susima Sutta (SN 12.70) this (ascending) insight is called the 'knowledge of the fixity of the law', namely:

“At first, Susima, there exists the knowledge of the fixity of the law, and later the knowledge of Nibbāna.” See Visuddhi Magga XXI.


dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhaṅga: 'investigation of the law as factor of enlightenment', is one of the 7 factors of enlightenment (see bojjhaṅga).


dhammāyatana: 'mind-object as base' (see āyatana).


dhana: 'treasures', a term for the following 7 qualities: faith, morality, moral shame, moral dread, learning, liberality and wisdom. Cf. AN 7.5, AN 7.6.

See 'Treasures of the Noble', by Soma Thera (BODHI LEAVES B. 27, BPS).


dhātu: 'elements', are the ultimate constituents of a whole.

(1) The 4 physical elements (dhātu or Mahā-bhūta), popularly called earth, water, fire and wind, are to be understood as the primary qualities of matter. They are named in Pāḷi: paṭhavī-dhātu, āpo-dhātu, tejo-dhātu, and vāyo-dhātu. In Visuddhi Magga XI, 2 the four elements are defined thus: “Whatever is characterized by hardness (thaddha-lakkkhaṇa) is the earth or solid-element; by cohesion (ābandhana) or fluidity, the water-element; by heating (paripācana), the fire or heat-element; by strengthening or supporting (vitthambhana), the wind or motion-element. All four are present in every material object, though in varying degrees of strength. If, for instance, the earth element predominates, the material object is called 'solid', etc. - For the analysis of the 4 elements, see dhātu-vavatthāna.

(II) The 18 physical and mental elements that constitute the conditions or foundations of the process of perception, are:

1. visual organ (eye) 6. visible object 11. eye-consciousness
2. auditory organ (ear) 7. sound or audible object 12. ear-consciousness
3. olfactory organ (nose) 8. odour or olfactive object 13. nose-consciousness
4. gustatory organ (tongue) 9. gustative object 14. tongue-consciousness
5. tactile organ (body) 10. body-impression 15. body-consciousness
16. mind-element 17. mind-object (mano-dhātu) (dhamma-dhātu) 18. mind-consciousness-element (mano-viññāṇa-dhātu)

1-10 are physical; 11-16 and 18 are mental; 17 may be either physical or mental. - 16 performs the function of advertence (āvajjana) towards the object at the inception of a process of sensuous consciousness; it further performs the function of receiving (sampaṭicchana) the sensuous object. 18 performs, e.g., the function of investigation (santīraṇa), determining (voṭṭhapana) and registering (tadārammaṇa) - (for its other functions, see Table I). For the 14 functions of consciousness, see viññāṇa-kicca.

Cf. MN 115; SN 1IV and especially Vibhaṅga II (F. Guide p. 28f), Visuddhi Magga XV, 17ff.

Of the many further groupings of elements (enumerated in MN 115), the best known is that of the 3 world-elements: the sensuous world (kāma-dhātu), the fine-material world (rūpa-dhātu), the immaterial world (arūpa-dhātu); further the sixfold group: the solid, liquid, heat, motion, space, consciousness (paṭhavī, āpo, tejo, vāyo, ākāsa, viññāṇa; see above I), described in MN 140; see also MN 112.


dhātu-vavatthāna:23) 'analysis (or determining) of the 4 elements', is described in Visuddhi Magga XI, 2, as the last of the 40 mental exercises (see bhāvanā). In a condensed form this exercise is handed down in DN 22 and MN 10 (see Satipaṭṭhāna), but in detail explained in MN 28, MN 62, MN 140. The simile of the butcher in MN 10 (“Just, o monks, as a skilled butcher or butcher's apprentice, after having slaughtered a cow and divided it into separate portions, should sit down at the junction of four highroads; just so does the disciple contemplate this body with regard to the elements”) is thus explained in Visuddhi Magga XI.:

“To the butcher, who rears the cow, brings it to the slaughter-house, ties it, puts it there, slaughters it, or looks at the slaughtered and dead cow, the idea 'cow' does not disappear as long as he has not yet cut the body open and taken it to pieces. As soon, however, as he sits down, after having cut it open and taken it to pieces, the idea 'cow' disappears to him, and the idea 'meat' arises. And he does not think: 'A cow do I sell, or 'A cow do they buy.' Just so, when the monk formerly was still an ignorant worldling, layman or a homeless one, the ideas 'living being' or 'man' or 'individual' had not yet disappeared as long as he had not taken this body, whatever position or direction it had, to pieces and analysed it piece by piece. As soon, however, as he analysed this body into its elements, the idea 'living being' disappeared to him, and his mind became established in the contemplation of the elements.”


dhutaṅga:24) (lit. 'means of shaking off (the defilements)'); 'means of purification', ascetic or austere practices. These are strict observances recommended by the Buddha to monks as a help to cultivate contentedness, renunciation, energy and the like.

One or more of them may be observed for a shorter or longer period of time.

“The monk training himself in morality should take upon himself the means of purification, in order to gain those virtues through which the purity of morality will become accomplished, to wit: fewness of needs, contentedness, austerity, detachment, energy, moderation, etc.” Visuddhi Magga II

Visuddhi Magga II describes 13 dhutaṅgas, consisting in the vows of

These 13 exercises are all, without exception, mentioned in the old Sutta texts (e.g. MN 5, MN 113; AN 5.181-AN 5.190), but never together in one and the same place.

“Without doubt, o monks, it is a great advantage to live in the forest as a hermit, to collect one's alms, to make one's robes from picked-up rags, to be satisfied with three robes” AN 1.30

The vow, e.g. of No. 1, is taken in the words: “I reject robes offered to me by householders,” or “I take upon myself the vow of wearing only robes made from picked-up rags.” Some of the exercises may also be observed by the lay-adherent.

Here it may be mentioned that each newly ordained monk, immediately after his being admitted to the Order, is advised to be satisfied with whatever robes, alms-food, dwelling and medicine he gets:

“The life of the monks depends on the collected alms as food … on the root of a tree as dwelling … on robes made from patched-up rags … on stale cow's urine as medicine. May you train yourself therein all your life.”

Since the moral quality of any action depends entirely upon the accompanying intention and volition, this is also the case with these ascetic practices, as is expressly stated in Visuddhi Magga Thus the mere external performance is not the real exercise, as it is said (Puggalapaññatti 275-84):

“Some one might be going for alms; etc. out of stupidity and foolishness - or with evil intention and filled with desires - or out of insanity and mental derangement - or because such practice had been praised by the Noble Ones….”

These exercises are, however properly observed “if they are taken up only for the sake of frugality, of contentedness, of purity, etc.”

On dhutaṅga practice in modern Thailand, see With Robes and Bowl, by Bhikkhu Khantipālo (Wheel 82/83).


dibba-cakkhu: the 'divine eye', is one of the 6 higher powers (see abhiññā), and one of the three kinds of knowledge (see tevijjā).


dibba-loka: heavenly world; see deva.


dibba-sota: the 'divine ear', is one of the 6 higher powers (see abhiññā).



disappearance: vigata-paccaya, is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).

disciplinary code

discursive thinking


disease: one of the 'divine messengers' (see deva-dūta).


disinterestedness: (regarding the whole world): see sabbalokeanabhiratisaññā.



dissociation: vippayutta-paccaya, is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).


dissolution, contemplation of: khayānupassanā, is one of the 18 chief kinds of insight (see vipassanā).


diṭṭha-dhamma-vedanīya-kamma: kamma bearing fruit in this present life; see kamma.


diṭṭhi (lit. 'sight'; √ dis to see): view, belief, speculative opinion, insight. If not qualified by sammā, 'right', it mostly refers to wrong and evil view or opinion, and only in a few instances to right view, understanding or insight (e.g. diṭṭhi-ppatta; diṭṭhi-visuddhi, purification of insight; diṭṭhi-sampanna, possessed of insight).

Wrong or evil views (diṭṭhi or micchā-diṭṭhi) are declared as utterly rejectable for being a source of wrong and evil aspirations and conduct, and liable at times to lead man to the deepest abysses of depravity, as it is said in AN 1.22:

“No other thing than evil views do I know, o monks, whereby to such an extent the unwholesome things not yet arisen arise, and the unwholesome things already arisen are brought to growth and fullness. No other thing than evil views do I know, whereby to such an extent the wholesome things not yet arisen are hindered in their arising, and the wholesome things already arisen disappear. No other thing than evil views do I know, whereby to such an extent human beings at the dissolution of the body, at death, are passing to a way of suffering, into a world of woe, into hell.” Further in AN 1.23: “Whatever a man filled with evil views performs or undertakes, or whatever he possesses of will, aspiration, longing and tendencies, all these things lead him to an undesirable, unpleasant and disagreeable state, to woe and suffering.”

From the Abhidhamma (Dhs) it may be inferred that evil views, whenever they arise, are associated with greed (see Table I. 22, 23, 26, 27).

Numerous speculative opinions and theories, which at all times have influenced and still are influencing mankind, are quoted in the Sutta-texts. Amongst them, however, the wrong view which everywhere, and at all times, has most misled and deluded mankind is the personality-belief, the ego-illusion. This personality-belief (sakkāya-diṭṭhi), or ego-illusion (atta-diṭṭhi), is of 2 kinds: eternity-belief and annihilation-belief.

Eternity-belief (sassata-diṭṭhi) is the belief in the existence of a persisting ego-entity, soul or personality, existing independently of those physical and mental processes that constitute life and continuing even after death.

Annihilation-belief (uccheda-diṭṭhi), on the other hand, is the belief in the existence of an ego-entity or personality as being more or less identical with those physical and mental processes, and which therefore, at the dissolution at death, will come to be annihilated. - For the 20 kinds of personality-belief, see sakkāya-diṭṭhi.

Now, the Buddha neither teaches a personality which will continue after death, nor does he teach a personality which will be annihilated at death, but he shows us that 'personality', 'ego', 'individual', 'man', etc., are nothing but mere conventional designations (vohāra-vacana) and that in the ultimate sense (see paramattha-sacca) there is only this self-consuming process of physical and mental phenomena which continually arise and again disappear immediately. - For further details, see anattā, khandha, paṭiccasamuppāda.

“The Perfect One is free from any theory (diṭṭhigata), for the Perfect One has seen what corporeality is, and how it arises and passes away. He has seen what feeling … perception … mental formations …consciousness are, and how they arise and pass away. Therefore I say that the Perfect One has won complete deliverance through the extinction, fading away, disappearance, rejection and casting out of all imaginings and conjectures, of all inclination to the 'vain-glory of 'I' and 'mine.” MN 72

The rejection of speculative views and theories is a prominent feature in a chapter of the Sutta Nipāta, the Aṭṭhaka.Vagga.

The so-called 'evil views with fixed destiny' (niyata-micchādiṭṭhi) constituting the last of the 10 unwholesome courses of action (see kammapatha), are the following three:

(1) was taught by Makkhaligosāla, a contemporary of the Buddha who denied every cause for the corruptness and purity of beings, and asserted that everything is minutely predestined by fate.

(2) was taught by Pūraṇakassapa, another contemporary of the Buddha who denied every kammical effect of good and bad actions: “To him who kills, steals, robs, etc., nothing bad will happen. For generosity, self-restraint and truthfulness, etc. no reward is to be expected.”

(3) was taught by Ajitakesakambala, a third contemporary of the Buddha who asserted that any belief in good action and its reward is a mere delusion, that after death no further life would follow, that man at death would become dissolved into the elements, etc.

For further details about these 3 views, see DN 2, MN 60; commentarial exposition in Wheel 98/99, P. 23.

Frequently mentioned are also the 10 antinomies (antagāhikā-micchādiṭṭhi): 'Finite is the world' or 'infinite is the world' … 'body and soul are identical' or 'body and soul are different' (e.g. MN 63).

In the Brahmajāla Sutta (DN 1), 62 false views are classified and described, comprising all conceivable wrong views and speculations about man and world.

See The All-Embracing Net of Views (Brahmajāla Sutta), translation with Commentary by Bhikkhu Bodhi (BPS).

Further see DN 15, DN 23, DN 24, DN 28; MN 11, MN 12, MN 25, MN 60, MN 63, MN 72, MN 76, MN 101, MN 102, MN 110; AN 2.16; AN 10.93; SN 2I, XXIV; Paṭisambhidāmagga Diṭṭhikathā,. etc.

Wrong views (diṭṭhi) are one of the proclivities (see anusaya), cankers (see āsava), clingings (see upādāna), one of the three modes of perversions (see vipallāsa). Unwholesome consciousness (akusalacitta), rooted in greed, may be either with or without wrong views (diṭṭhigata-sampayutta or vippayutta); see Dhammasaṅgaṇi; Tab I.

On right view (sammā-diṭṭhi), see magga and MN 9 (Trans. with Commentary in 'Right Understanding').


diṭṭhi-nissita-sīla: 'morality based on wrong views'; see nissaya.


diṭṭhi-ppatta: the 'vision attainer', is one of the 7 Noble Persons (see ariya-puggala).


diṭṭhi-vipallāsa: 'perversion of views'; see vipallāsa.


diṭṭhi-visuddhi: 'purification of view' is the 3rd of the 7 stages of purification (see visuddhi III).


diṭṭhupādāna: 'clinging to views', is one of the 4 kinds of clinging (see upādāna).

divine abode

divine ear and

divine eye

divine messengers


doctrine, of the Buddha: see dhamma, sāsana.

dogmatic articles


domanassa: lit. 'sad-mindedness', grief, i.e. mentally painful feeling (cetasika-vedanā), is one of the 5 feelings (see vedanā) and one of the 22 faculties (see indriya). According to the Abhidhamma, grief is always associated with antipathy and grudge, and therefore kammically unwholesome (see akusala). Cf. Table I. 30, 31.


domanassupavicāra: 'indulging in grief'; see manopavicāra.

doors of deliverance


dosa: 'hatred', anger, is one of the 3 unwholesome, roots (see mūla).
- dosa citta: hate consciousness; see Table I (30, 31).


dosa-carita: 'angry-or hate-natured'; see carita.


doubt, skeptical: vicikicchā, kaṅkhā.


dread, moral: ottappa see hiri-ottappa.


drinking: On the evil effects of drinking intoxicants, see surāmeraya, etc.



duccarita: 'evil conduct', is threefold: in deeds, words and thoughts. See kammapatha (I).


duggati: 'woeful course' (of existence); see gati.



(1) 'pain', painful feeling, which may be bodily and mental (see vedanā).

(2) 'Suffering', 'ill'. As the first of the Four Noble Truths (see sacca) and the second of the three characteristics of existence (see ti-lakkhaṇa), the term dukkha is not limited to painful experience as under (1), but refers to the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena which, on account of their impermanence, are all liable to suffering, and this includes also pleasurable experience. Hence 'unsatisfactoriness' or 'liability to suffering' would be more adequate renderings, if not for stylistic reasons. Hence the first truth does not deny the existence of pleasurable experience, as is sometimes wrongly assumed. This is illustrated by the following texts:

“Seeking satisfaction in the world, monks, I had pursued my way. That satisfaction in the world I found. In so far as satisfaction existed in the world, I have well perceived it by wisdom. Seeking for misery in the world, monks, I had pursued my way. That misery in the world I found. In so far as misery existed in the world, I have well perceived it by wisdom. Seeking for the escape from the world, monks, I had pursued my way. That escape from the world I found. In so far as an escape from the world existed, I have well perceived it by wisdom” A. 111, 10125)

“If there were no satisfaction to be found in the world, beings would not be attached to the world …. If there were no misery to be found in the world, beings would not be repelled by the world …. If there were no escape from the world, beings could not escape therefrom” A. 111, 102 26)

See dukkhatā. For texts on the Truth of Suffering, see W. of B. and 'Path'. See The Three Basic Facts of Existence, II. Suffering (Wheel 191/193).



dukkhatā (abstr. noun fr. dukkha): 'the state of suffering', painfulness, unpleasantness, the unsatisfactoriness of existence. “There are three kinds of suffering:

(1) is the bodily or mental feeling of pain as actual]y felt.

(2) refers to the oppressive nature of all formations of existence (i.e. all conditioned phenomena), due to their continual arising and passing away; this includes also experiences associated with neutral feeling.

(3) refers to bodily and mental pleasant feelings, “because they are the cause for the arising of pain when they change” (Visuddhi Magga XIV, 34f).


dukkha-paṭipadā: 'painful progress'; see paṭipadā.



dwellings: Suitable dwellings for monks; see senāsana. Satisfied with whatever dwellings; see dhutaṅga.





eating, knowing the measure in bhojane mattaññutā.


effort, the 4 right effort: samma-ppadhāna; see padhāna. Right effort see sacca (IV 6), magga (6); 5 elements of effort: padhāniyaṅga.




ego-idea, ego-perception: see vipallāsa.



eightfold path


eka-bījī: 'germinating only once more', is the name for one of the 3 kinds of Stream-winners: see Sotāpanna.


ekāsanikaṅga: the exercise of eating at one sitting, is one of the ascetic practices; see dhutaṅga.


eka-vokāra-bhava: one-group existence, is the existence of the unconscious beings (see asañña-satta) as they possess only the corporeality-group. Cf. catu-vokāra-bhava, pañca-vokāra-bhava.


elasticity (of corporeality, mental factors or consciousness): mudutā; see khandha (Corporeality I.B.) and Table II.


elders, the teaching of the: Theravāda.


elements: dhātu. - Analysis of the 4 elements: dhātu-vavatthāna.


emotion: 8 sources of emotion: saṁvega-vatthu. The 4 places rousing emotion; saṁvejanīya-ṭṭhāna.


emptiness: suññatā. - Contemplation of emptiness: suññatānupassanā.
- For emptiness of self, pertaining to the 4 truths, see sacca.


ends: 'attaining two ends simultaneously'; sama-sīsī(q.v.).


enlightened one

enlightened one, the: Buddha; see sammā-sambuddha.


enlightenment: bodhi.
- The 7 elements of enlightenment: bojjhaṅga.
- A being destined for enlightenment: Bodhisatta.





equanimity: upekkhā = tatra-majjhattatā.
- Knowledge consisting in equanimity with regard to all formations, see visuddhi (VI, 8).
- Indulging in equanimity, see manopavicāra.

equilibrium of mental faculties





exertion: see padhāna, viriya, magga (6).
- Reaching Nibbāna with or without exertion; see Anāgāmi.


existence: bhava

* The 5 groups of existence: khandha * The 4 substrata of existence: upadhi. * Courses of existence: gati. * Wheel of existence: saṅsāra. * Craving for existence: bhava-taṇhā; see taṇhā; * The 3 characteristics of existence: ti-lakkhaṇa.


expression (bodily and verbal): see viññatti.


extinction: see nirodha;
- of craving: taṇhakkhaya.


extremes: the two extremes and the middle path; see majjhima-paṭipadā.


- 5 kinds, see cakkhu.
- Visual organ, see āyatana.





factors: mental: see cetasika.
- factors of absorption, see jhāna
- factors of enlightenment, see bojjhaṅga.


faculties: indriya; see also paccaya 16.

fading away


faith-devotee one

faith-devotee and faith-liberated one: see ariyapuggala (B).

faith-liberated one




favour, 4 ways of showing saṅgaha-vatthu.


feeling: vedanā; further see khandha.
- Contemplation of feeling: vedanānupassanā; see Satipaṭṭhāna.



fetters: The 10 fetters binding to existence; see saṅyojana.

few wishes

fine-material sphere



fire-element: see dhātu (I).

fivefold sense-door

five-group existence

fixed destiny



floods, the 4: ogha, are identical with the 4 cankers (see āsava).


food, material: is one of the 4 nutriments (see āhāra). Foodproduced corporeality, see samuṭṭhāna.
- Refusing all further food, see dhutaṅga.
- Loathsomeness of food see āhāre paṭikkūla-saññā.

foolish babble



forest-dweller, the ascetic practice for the: see dhutaṅga.



foundation: nissaya, one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).
-Wrong foundation of morality, see nissaya.
- foundation of sympathy: saṅgaha-vatthu.
- foundation-forming absorptions: pādaka-jjhāna;
- foundation of an Arahat's mentality: see adhiṭṭhāna.

foundations of mindfulness

four-group existence

freedom of will

freedom of will, problem of the: cf. paṭiccasamuppāda (X).

noble friend

frivolous talk


fruition (result of supermundane path): phala; see ariyapuggala (A).

fruits of monk-life

full comprehension

functional consciousness

functional consciousness, or consciousness functioning independently of kamma: kiriya-citta; see viññāṇa-kicca.

functions of consciousness



gantha: 'ties'. “There are 4 ties: the bodily tie (kāyagantha) of covetousness (abhijjhā), of ill-will (byāpāda), of clinging to rule and ritual (sīlabbata-parāmāsa), of dogmatical fanaticism (idaṅsaccābhinivesa)” (DN 33).

“These things are ties, since they tie this mental and material body” Visuddhi Magga XXII, 54


garuka-kamma: weighty kamma; see kamma.


gati (lit. 'going'): 'course of existence', destiny, destination.

“There are 5 courses of existence: hell, animal kingdom, ghost realm, human world, heavenly world” DN 33; AN 11.68

Of these, the first 3 count as woeful courses (duggati, see apāya), the latter 2 as happy courses (sugati).


gems, the 3: ti-ratana.


generation, the 4 modes of: yoni.

germinating once more

germinating once more: eka-bījī, is the name of one of the 3 kinds of Sotāpanna.


ghosts: cf. peta, yakkha; see loka.



gladness: somanassa.
- Indulging in gladness, see manopavicāra.


gnosis: see indriya (21).


gotrabhū:27) lit. 'who has entered the lineage (of the Noble Ones)', i.e. the Matured One.

I. 'Maturity-Moment' (gotrabhū-citta) is the last of the 4 impulsive moments (see javana; cf. viññāṇa-kicca) immediately preceding the entering into an absorption (see jhāna) or into one of the supermundane paths (see ariya-puggala, A.). Cf. visuddhi VII.

II. The 'Matured One'. “He who is endowed with those things, immediately upon which follows the entrance into the noble path (ariya-magga), this person is called a 'Matured One'.” (Pug 10). In the Commentary to this passage it is said: “He who through perceiving Nibbāna, leaves behind the whole multitude of worldlings (see puthujjana), the family of worldlings, the circle of worldlings, the designation of a worldling and enters into the multitude of the Noble Ones, the family of the Noble Ones, the circle of the Noble Ones, and obtains the designation of a Noble One, such a being is called a Matured One.” By this state of consciousness is meant the lightning-like transitional stage between the state of a worldling and that of a Sotāpanna; see ariya-puggala.

- Gotrabhū is mentioned in this sense, i.e. as 9th ariyapuggala, in AN 9.10; X, 16.


gotrabhū-ñāṇa: 'Maturity-knowledge'; see precedent, gotrabhū. and visuddhi (VII)

gradual instruction


great man

great man, the 8 thoughts of a: mahāpurisa-vitakka.


greedy consciousness



grief: domanassa
- Indulging in grief, see manopavicāra.


groups: of existence, see khandha; corporeal groups, see rūpa-kalāpa; corporeality-group, see rūpa-kāya; mind-group, see nāma-kāya.


growth, bodily: rūpassa upacaya: see khandha I.


gustatory organ




hadaya-vatthu: 'heart as physical base' of mental life. The heart, according to the commentaries as well as to the general Buddhist tradition, forms the physical base (vatthu) of consciousness In the canonical texts, however, even in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, no such base is ever localized, a fact which seems to have first been discovered by Shwe Zan Aung (Compendium of Philosophy, pp. 277ff.). In the Paṭṭhāna we find repeatedly only the passage: “That material thing based on which mind-element and mind-consciousness element function” (rūpaṁ nissāya manodhātu ca manoviññāṇadhātu ca vattanti, taṁ rūpaṅ).


hāna-bhāgiya, hāna-bhāgiya-sīla, hāna-bhāgiya-samādhi, hāna-bhāgiya-paññā: morality, concentration or wisdom connected with decline. The other three stages are: ṭhiti-bhāgiya sīla, etc. morality, etc. connected with a standstill; visesa-bhāgiya sīla, etc.: morality, etc. connected with progress; nibbedha-bhāgiya sīla, etc.: morality, etc. connected with penetration. Cf. AN 4.179; VI. X, 71.

” 'Decline' (hāna) is to be understood with regard to the arising of opposing qualities, 'standstill' (ṭhiti) with regard to the standstill of the corresponding attentiveness, 'progress' (visesa) with regard to higher excellency, 'penetration' (nibbedha) with regard to the arising of perception and reflection connected with the turning away (from existence)” Visuddhi Magga III; Cf. vodāna (2)


happiness, feeling of happiness: see sukha.
- The idea of happiness (of the world), see vipallāsa.




happy courses of existence



hasituppāda-citta:28) lit. 'consciousness producing mirth' (smile), is found in the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha as a name for the joyful mind-consciousness element (manoviññāṇa-dhātu, Table I. 72) arising as functional consciousness independent of kamma (kiriya-citta), only in the Arahat.


hate and hatelessness: (dosa, adosa) are two of the 6 kammical roots (see mūla) or root-conditions (hetu; paccaya 1).






hearer (disciple): sāvaka.




hetu: 'cause', condition, reason; (Abhidhamma) root-condition. In Sutta usage it is almost synonymous with paccaya, 'condition', and often occurs together with it 'What is the cause, what is the condition', ko hetu ko paccayo (Uparipaṇṇāsa-aṭṭhakathā).

In Abhidhamma, it denotes the wholesome and unwholesome roots (see mūla). In that sense, as 'root-condition' (hetu-paccaya; see paccaya), it is the first of the 24 conditions given in the introduction to the Paṭṭhāna (see F. Guide, p. 117). The Dhs (1052-1082) and Paṭṭhāna (Duka-paṭṭhāna; F. Guide, p. 144) have sections on roots (hetu).

- The term is also used (a) for the classification of consciousness, as sa-hetuka and a-hetuka, with and without concomitant root-conditions; (b) for a division of rebirth consciousness into ahetuka, dvihetuka and tihetuka, without, with 2, or with 3 root-conditions (see paṭisandhi).

Ahetuka-diṭṭhi, the false view of the uncausedness of existence; see diṭṭhi.

higher wisdom

higher wisdom: clear insight based on higher wisdom: see vipassanā. Training in H.W., see sikkhā.

highest knowledge



hiri-ottappa: 'moral shame and moral dread', are associated with all kammically wholesome consciousness (see Table II).

“To be ashamed of what one ought to be ashamed of, to be ashamed of performing evil and unwholesome things: this is called moral shame. To be in dread of what one ought to be in dread of, to be in dread of performing evil and unwholesome things: this is called moral dread” Puggalapaññatti 79, 80

“Two lucid things, o monks, protect the world: moral shame and moral dread. If these two things were not to protect the world, then one would respect neither one's mother, nor one's mother's sister, nor one's brother's wife, nor one's teacher's wife ….” AN 2.7

Cf. ahirika. See Aṭṭhasālinī Translation I. pp. 164ff.


homelessness, going into pabbajjā. Cf. Progress of the disciple.

human world



iddhi:29) 'power', 'magical power'. The magical powers constitute one of the 6 kinds of higher spiritual powers (see abhiññā). One distinguishes many kinds of magical powers: the power of determination (adhiṭṭhāniddhi), i.e. the power of becoming oneself manifold; the power of transformation (vikubbaniddhi), i.e. the power of adopting another form; the power of spiritual creation (manomayiddhi), i.e. the power of letting issue from this body another mentally produced body; the power of penetrating knowledge (ñāṇa-vipphariddhi), i.e. the power of inherent insight to remain unhurt in danger; the power of penetrating concentration (samādhivipphariddhi) producing the same result. The magical powers are treated in detail in Visuddhi Magga XII; Paṭisambhidāmagga, Vibhaṅga. They are not a necessary condition for final deliverance.

'Noble power' (ariyiddhi) is the power of controlling one's ideas in such a way that one may consider something not repulsive as repulsive and something repulsive as not repulsive, and remain all the time imperturbable and full of equanimity. This training of mind is frequently mentioned in the Suttas (e.g. MN 152, AN 5.144), but only once the name of ariyiddhi is applied to it (DN 28). See further Paṭisambhidāmagga, Iddhi-kathā, Visuddhi Magga XII.


iddhi-pāda: 'roads to power' (or success) are the 4 following qualities, “for as guides, they indicate the road to power connected therewith; and because they form, by way of preparation, the roads to the power constituting the fruition of the path” (Visuddhi Magga XII), namely: “concentration of intention (chanda-samādhi) accompanied by effort of will (padhāna-saṅkhāra-samannāgata), concentration of energy (viriya-samādhi) … concentration of consciousness (citta-samādhi) … and concentration of investigation (vimaṅsa-samādhi) accompanied by effort of will.” As such, they are supermundane (lokuttara, i.e. connected with the path or the fruition of the path; see ariyapuggala) But they are mundane (see lokiya) as predominant factors (adhipati; see paccaya 3), for it is said: “Because the monk, through making intention a predominant factor, reaches concentration, it is called the concentration of intention (chanda-samādhi), etc.” (Visuddhi Magga XII).

“These 4 roads of power lead to the attaining and acquiring of magical power, to the power of magical transformation, to the generation of magical power, and to mastery and skill therein” Paṭisambhidāmagga II. 205, PTS

For a detailed explanation, see Visuddhi Magga XII.

“Once the monk has thus developed and often practised the 4 roads to power, he enjoys various magical powers, … hears with the divine ear heavenly and human sounds, … perceives with his mind the mind of other beings … remembers many a former existence … perceives with the divine eye beings passing away and reappearing, … attains, after the extinction of cankers, deliverance of mind and deliverance through wisdom, free from. cankers…. (SN 51.2).

For a detailed explanation of these 6 higher powers, see abhiññā.

“Whosoever, o monks, has missed the 4 roads to power, he has missed the right path leading to the extinction of suffering; but whosoever, o monks, has reached the 4 roads to power, he has reached the right path leading to the extinction of suffering” SN 51.2

See the chapter on Iddhipāda in The Requisites of Enlightenment by Ledi Sayadaw (Wheel 169/172).



ill-humour, heavenly beings who come to grief through: mano-padosika-deva.


ill-will: byāpāda, is a synonym of dosa (see mūla) and paṭigha and is one of the 10 fetters (see saṅyojana), 5 hindrances (see nīvaraṇa) and 10 unwholesome courses of action (see kammapatha, I).


image, mental: see nimitta, samādhi, kasiṇa.

immaterial sphere

immaterial world


immediacy: an alternative rendering for contiguity-condition, samanatara-paccaya, which is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya)





impermanence: anicca.
- Contemplation of impermanence, cf. vipassanā (1).

impersonality ofexistence

impersonality of existence: see anattā.
- Contemplation of: see vipassanā (3).



impression, sensorial or mental: phassa.



impurity of the body

impurity of the body, contemplation of the: see asubha, sīvathikā.



indifferent feeling



indriya: 'faculties', is a name for 22, partly physical, partly mental, phenomena often treated in the Suttas as well as in the Abhidhamma.

They are:

6 Bases (see āyatana):

Sex (see bhava):

5 Feelings (vedanā, q. v.):

5 Spiritual Faculties (see bala):

3 Supermundane Faculties:

(1-5, 7-8) are physical; (9) is either physical or mental. All the rest are mental.

(14) (see upekkhā) is here merely indifferent feeling (= adukkha-m-asukhā-vedanā, i.e. 'neither pleasant nor unpleasant feeling') and not identical with that highly ethical state of equanimity (= tatramajjhattatā, i.e. 'keeping everywhere the middle', the equipoise of mind), also called upekkhā which belongs to the group of mental formations (saṅkhāra-kkhandha; see Tab II).

(20) arises at the moment of entering the Sotāpatti-Path (Sotāpatti-magga), (21) on reaching the Sotāpatti-Fruition (Sotāpatti-phala), (22) at attaining the Arahat-Fruition (Arahatta-phala). For the three last, see ariya-puggala. The faculties, excepting (7) and (8), form one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya 16).

In Vibhaṅga V all these faculties are treated in the above order, whereas SN 4VIII enumerates and explains them by way of the above indicated groups, leaving only 20-22 unexplained. See Vis XVI; Path to Deliverance 138ff. - For the 5 spiritual faculties (15-19), see The Way of Wisdom (Wheel 65/66).



indriya-samatta:30) 'equilibrium, balance, or harmony of faculties', relates to the 5 spiritual faculties: faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom (see indriya 15-19). Of these there are two pairs of faculties, in each of which both faculties should well counter-balance each other, namely: faith and wisdom (see saddhā, paññā) on the one hand and energy and concentration (see viriya, samādhi) on the other. For excessive faith with deficient wisdom leads to blind belief, whilst excessive wisdom with deficient faith leads to cunning. In the same way, great energy with weak concentration leads to restlessness, whilst strong concentration with deficient energy leads to indolence. Though for both faculties in each of the 2 pairs a balanced degree of intensity is desirable, mindfulness should be allowed to develop to the highest degree of strength. Cf. Visuddhi Magga III.


indriya-saṁvara-sīla: 'morality consisting of purity of restraint of the senses'; see sīla.


indriyesu-gutta-dvāratā: 'guarding the sense-doors' is identical with sense-control (indriya-saṁvara; see sīla).



inducement: an alternative rendering for decisive-support condition, upanissaya, is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya).


indulging (in joy, sadness etc.): see manopavicāra.

indulging kamma


inference ofmeaning

inference of meaning: an 'expression the meaning of which is to be inferred': neyyattha-dhamma.
- Antonym: 'expression with an established meaning': nītattha-dhamma (see neyyattha-dhamma).



influxes (cankers), the 4: āsava.

inoperative consciousness

inseparable mentalfactors

inseparable mentalfactors, the 7 inseparable mentalfactors in all consciousness: see cetanā, phassa, nāma.







intoxicating drinks

intoxicating drinks, the evil effect of taking: see surāmeraya.

investigating function


investigation, full understanding through: tīraṇapariññā, see pariññā.
- 'Investigation' (vīmaṅsā) is one of the 4 roads to power (see Iddhipāda ) and one of the 4 predominants (adhipati; s paccaya 3).
- investigation of truth: dhamma-vicaya, is one of the 7 factors of enlightenment (see bojjhaṅga).


iriyā-patha (lit. 'ways of movement'): 'bodily postures', i.e. going, standing, sitting, lying. In the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (see Satipaṭṭhāna), they form the subject of a contemplation and an exercise in mindfulness.

“While going, standing, sitting or lying down, the monk knows 'I go', 'I stand', 'I sit', 'I lie down'; he understands any position of the body.”

“The disciple understands that there is no living being, no real ego, that goes, stands, etc., but that it is by a mere figure of speech that one says: 'I go', 'I stand', and so forth.” Commentary


issā: 'envy', is a kammically unwholesome (akusala) mental factor, which is occasionally associated with hate-rooted consciousness (see Table I. 30, 31,). Explained in Puggalapaññatti 55.


itthindriya: 'femininity'; see bhāva.



janaka-kamma: 'regenerative kamma'; see kamma.


jarā: 'old age, decay', is one of the 3 divine messengers (see see deva-dūta). For its conditioning by birth, see paṭiccasamuppāda (11).


jāti: 'birth', comprises the entire embryonic process beginning with conception and ending with parturition.

“The birth of beings belonging to this or that order of beings, their being born, their conception (okkanti) and springing into existence, the manifestation of the groups (corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness; see khandha), the acquiring of their sensitive organs: this is called birth” DN 22

For its conditioning by the prenatal kamma-process (kamma-bhava; see bhava), see paṭiccasamuppāda (9, 10), paṭisandhi.


javana (fr. javati, to impel):31) 'impulsion', is the phase of full cognition in the cognitive series, or perceptual process (citta-vīthi; see viññāṇa-kicca) occurring at its climax, if the respective object is large or distinct. It is at this phase that kamma is produced, i.e. wholesome or unwholesome volition concerning the perception that was the object of the previous stages of the respective process of consciousness. There are normally 7 impulsive moments. In mundane consciousness (see lokiya), any of the 17 kammically wholesome classes of consciousness (Table I, 1-17) or of the 12 unwholesome ones (Table I, 22-23) may arise at the phase of impulsion.

For the Arahat, however, impulsion has no longer a karmic, i.e. rebirth-producing character, but is a kammically independent function (see kiriya; Table I, 72-89). There are further 8 supermundane classes of impulsion (Table I, 18-21, 66-69).

The 4 impulsive moments immediately before entering an absorption (see jhāna) or one of the supermundane paths (magga; see ariyapuggala) are: the preparatory (parikamma), approach (upacāra), adaptation (anuloma), and maturity-moment (see gotrabhū) In connection with entering the earth-kasiṇa absorption (see kasiṇa), they are explained as follows, in Visuddhi Magga IV: “After the breaking off of the subconscious stream of being (see bhavaṅga-sota), there arises the 'advertence at the mind-door' (manodvārāvajjana, see viññāṇakicca), taking as object the earthkasiṇa (whilst thinking), 'Earth! Earth!' Thereupon, 4 or 5 impulsive moments flash forth, amongst which the last one (maturity-moment) belongs to the fine-material sphere (rūpāvacara), whereas the rest belong to the sense-sphere (kāmāvacara; see avacara), though the last one is more powerful in thought conception, discursive thinking, interest (rapture), joy and concentration (cf. jhāna) than the states of consciousness belonging to the sense-sphere. They are called 'preparatory' (parikamma-samādhi), as they are preparing for the attainment-concentration (appanā-samādhi); 'approaching' (upacāra-samādhi), as they are close to the attainment-concentration and are moving in its neighbourhood; 'adaptive' (anuloma), as they adapt themselves to the preceding preparatory states and to the succeeding attainment concentration. The last one of the four is called 'matured' (gotrabhū).

In a similar way, the impulsive moments before reaching the divine ear are described in Visuddhi Magga XIII, 1. - Cf. Kamma.


jewels, the 3: ti-ratana.


jhāna: 'absorption' (meditation) refers chiefly to the four meditative absorptions of the fine-material sphere (rūpa-jjhāna or rūpāvacara-jjhāna; see avacara). They are achieved through the attainment of full (or attainment -, or ecstatic) concentration (appanā, see samādhi), during which there is a complete, though temporary, suspension of fivefold sense-activity and of the 5 hindrances (see nīvaraṇa).

The state of consciousness, however, is one of full alertness and lucidity. This high degree of concentration is generally developed by the practice of one of the 40 subjects of tranquillity meditation (samatha-kammaṭṭhāna; see bhāvanā). Often also the 4 immaterial spheres (arūpāyatana) are called absorptions of the immaterial sphere (arūpa-jjhāna or arūpāvacara-jjhāna).

The stereotype text, often met with in the Suttas, runs as follows:

(1) “Detached from sensual objects, o monks, detached from unwholesome consciousness, attached with thought-conception (vitakka) and discursive thinking (vicāra), born of detachment (viveka ja) and filled with rapture (pīti) and joy (sukha) he enters the first absorption.

(2) “After the subsiding of thought-conception and discursive thinking, and by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind, he enters into a state free from thought-conception and discursive thinking, the second absorption, which is born of concentration (samādhi), and filled with rapture (pīti) and joy (sukha).

(3) “After the fading away of rapture he dwells in equanimity, mindful, clearly conscious; and he experiences in his person that feeling of which the Noble Ones say, 'Happy lives the man of equanimity and attentive mind'; thus he enters the 3rd absorption.

(4) “After having given up pleasure and pain, and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond pleasure and pain, into the 4th absorption, which is purified by equanimity (upekkhā) and mindfulness.

(5) “Through the total overcoming of the perceptions of matter, however, and through the vanishing of sense-reactions and the non-attention to the perceptions of variety, with the idea, 'Boundless is space', he reaches the sphere of boundless space (ākāsānañcāyatana) and abides therein.

“By 'perceptions of matter' (rūpa-saññā) are meant the absorptions of the fine-material sphere, as well as those objects themselves … ” Visuddhi Magga X, 1

“By 'perceptions of sense-reactions' (paṭigha-saññā) are meant those perceptions that have arisen due to the impact of sense-organs (eye, etc.) and the sense-objects (visible objects, etc.). They are a name for the perception of visible objects, as it is said (Jhāna Vibhanga ): 'What are here the perceptions of sense-reactions? They are the perceptions of visible objects, sounds, etc.' - Surely, they do no longer exist even for one who has entered the 1st absorption, etc., for at such a time the five-sense consciousness is no longer functioning. Nevertheless, this is to be understood as having been said in praise of this immaterial absorption, in order to incite the striving for it” Visuddhi Magga X, 16

“Perceptions of variety (ñāṇatta-saññā) are the perceptions that arise in various fields, or the various perceptions” (ib.). Hereby, according to Visuddhi Magga X, 20, are meant the multiform perceptions outside the absorptions.]

(6) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless space, and with the idea 'Boundless is consciousness', he reaches the sphere of boundless consciousness (viññāṇañcāyatana) and abides therein.

(7) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless consciousness, and with the idea 'Nothing is there', he reaches the sphere of nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatana) and abides therein.

(8) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of nothingness he reaches the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (nevasaññā-n’asaññāyatana) and abides therein.”

“Thus the 1st absorption is free from 5 things (see i.e. the hindrances, nīvaraṇa), and 5 things are present (i.e. the factors of absorption; jhānaṅga).

Whenever the monk enters the 1st absorption, there have vanished sensuous desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and scruples, doubts; and there are present: thought-conception (vitakka), discursive thinking (vicāra) rapture (pīti), joy (sukha), and concentration (samādhi). In the 2nd absorption there are present: rapture, joy and concentration; in the 3rd: joy and concentration; in the 4th: equanimity (upekkhā) and concentration” Visuddhi Magga IV

The 4 absorptions of the immaterial sphere (see above 5-8) still belong, properly speaking, to the 4th absorption as they possess the same two constituents. The 4th fine-material absorption is also the base or starting point (see pādaka-jhāna) for the attaining of the higher spiritual powers (see abhiññā).

In the Abhidhamma, generally a fivefold instead of a fourfold division of the fine-material absorptions is used: the 2nd absorption has still the constituent 'discursive thinking' (but without thought-conception), while the 3rd, 4th and 5th correspond to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively, of the fourfold division (see Table I, 9- 13). This fivefold division is based on Sutta texts like AN 63.

For the 8 absorptions as objects for the development of insight (vipassanā), see samatha-vipassanā. - Full details in Visuddhi Magga IV-X.

Jhāna in its widest sense (e.g. as one of the 24 conditions; see paccaya 17), denotes any, even momentary or weak absorption of mind, when directed on a single object.


jhānaṅga: 'constituents (or factors) of absorption'; see jhāna.


jhāna-paccaya, is one of the 24 conditions (see paccaya).


jīva: life, vital principle, individual soul. 'Soul (life) and body are identical' and 'Soul and body are different', these two frequently quoted wrong views fall under the 2 kinds of personality-belief (sakkāya-diṭṭhi; see diṭṭhi), i.e. the first one under the annihilation-belief (uccheda-diṭṭhi) and the second under the eternity-belief (sassata-diṭṭhi).

“Verily, if one holds the view that the soul (life) is identical with the body, in that case a holy life is not possible; or if one holds the view that the soul (life) is something quite different, also in that case a holy life is impossible. Both these extremes the Perfect One has avoided and shown the Middle Doctrine, which says: 'On ignorance depend the kamma-formations, on the kamma-formations depends consciousness', etc.” SN 3.35


jīvita and jīvitindriya: 'Life, vitality', may be either physical (rūpa-jīvitindriya) or mental (nāma-jīvitindriya). The latter is one of the mental factors inseparably associated with all consciousness; cf. nāma, cetanā, phassa.


jīvita-navaka-kalāpa: ninefold vital group; see rūpa-kalāpa.


joy: somanassa.
- Altruistic joy = muditā (see brahma-vihāra).



kabalinkārāhāra: lit. 'food formed into balls', i.e. food formed into mouthfuls for eating (according to Indian custom); it denotes 'material food' and belongs, together with the three mental nutriments, to the group of four nutriments (see āhāra).


kalāpa 'group', 'unit' (kappa = kalpa: (Skr)):32) 1. 'corporeal unit' (see rūpa-kalāpa); 2. It has the meaning of 'group of existence' (khandha) in kalāpasammasana (see sammasana), i.e. 'comprehension by groups', which is the application of 'methodical (or inductive) insight' (ñāya-vipassanā) to the comprehension of the 5 aggregates (khandha) as impermanent, painful and not-self. It is a process of methodical summarization, or generalization, from one's own meditative experience that is applied to each of the 5 aggregates, viewed as past, present, future, as internal and external, etc. In Visuddhi Magga XX, where the 'comprehension by groups' is treated in detail, it is said to constitute 'the beginning of insight' as it leads to the 'knowledge of rise and fall', being the first of the 8 insightknowledges (see visuddhi VI). It is necessary for accomplishing the 5th purification (see visuddhi V; Visuddhi Magga XX, 2, 6ff.).


kalyāṇa-mitta: 'noble (or good) friend', is called a senior monk who is the mentor and friend of his pupil, “wishing for his welfare and concerned with his progress”, guiding his meditation; in particular, the meditation teacher (kammaṭṭhānācariya) is so called. For details see Visuddhi Magga III, 28, 57ff. The Buddha said that “noble friendship is the entire holy life” (SN 3.18; SN 45.2), and he himself is the good friend par excellence:

Ānanda, it is owing to my being a good friend to them that living beings subject to birth are freed from birth” SN 3.18


kāma may denote: 1. subjective sensuality, 'sense-desire'; 2. objective sensuality, the five sense-objects.

1. Subjective sensuality, or sense-desire, is directed to all five sense-objects, and is synonymous with kāma-cchanda, 'sensuous desire', one of the 5 hindrances (see nīvaraṇa); kāma-rāga, sensuous lust', one of the ten fetters (see saṅyojana); kāma-taṇhā, 'sensuous craving', one of the 3 cravings (see taṇhā); kāma-vitakka, 'sensuous thought', one of the 3 wrong thoughts (micchā-saṅkappa; see vitakka). - Sense-desire is also one of the cankers (see āsava) and clingings (see upādāna).

2. Objective sensuality is, in the canonical texts, mostly called kāma-guṇa, 'cords (or strands) of sensuality'.

“There are 5 cords of sensuality: the visible objects, cognizable by eye-consciousness, that are desirable, cherished, pleasant, lovely, sensuous and alluring; the sounds … smells … tastes … bodily impressions cognizable by body-consciousness, that are desirable …. ” DN 33; MN 13, MN 26, MN 59, MN 66

These two kinds of kāma are called 1. kilesa-kāma, i.e. kāma as a mental defilement, 2. vatthu-kāma, i.e. kāma as the object-base of sensuality; first in Mahā Niddesa I, p. 1, and frequently in the commentaries.

Sense-desire is finally eliminated at the stage of the Non-Returner (Anāgāmī; see ariya-puggala, saṅyojana).

The peril and misery of sense-desire is often described in the texts, e.g. in stirring similes at MN 22, MN 54, and in the 'gradual instruction' (see ānupubbī-kathā).

See further MN 13, MN 45, MN 75; Snp 4.1 v. ff.; Dhp. 186, Dhp. 215.

The texts often stress the fact that what fetters man to the world of the senses are not the sense-organs nor the sense-objects but lustful desire (chandarāga).

On this see AN 6.63; SN 35.122, SN 35.191.


kāma-bhava: 'sensuous existence'; see bhava.


kāma-cchanda: 'sensuous desire', see nīvaraṇa, chanda.



kāma-loka: 'sensuous world', see loka.


kāma-rāga: 'sensuous lust', is one of the 10 fetters (see saṅyojana).



kāma-sukh'allikānuyoga: 'being addicted to sensual pleasures', is one of the 2 extremes to be avoided by the monk; see majjhima-paṭipadā.


kāma-taṇhā: 'sensuous craving'; see taṇhā.


kāmāvacara: 'sensuous sphere'; see avacara.


kāmesu-micchācāra: lit. 'wrong or evil conduct with regard to sensual things'; 'unlawful sexual intercourse' refers to adultery, and to intercourse with minors or other persons under guardianship.

The abstaining from this unlawful act is one of the 5 moral rules (see sikkhāpada) binding upon all Buddhists. Through any other sexual act one does not become guilty of the above transgression, which is considered a great crime. The monk, however, has to observe perfect chastity.

In many Suttas (e.g. AN 10.176) we find the following explanation:

“He avoids unlawful sexual intercourse, abstains from it. He has no intercourse with girls who are still under the protection of father or mother, brother, sister or relatives, nor with married women, nor female convicts, nor, lastly, with betrothed girls.”


karma (Skr.): (wholesome, kusala or unwholesome, akusala) action; see kamma.



kammaja-rūpa: 'kamma-produced corporeality'; see samuṭṭhāna.


kammaññatā:33) 'adaptability', i.e. of corporeality (rūpassa; see khandha, Summary I), mental factors (kāya), and of consciousness (citta); cf. Table II.


kammanta, sammā-kammanta: 'right action'; see magga.


kamma-paccaya: 'kamma as condition'; see paccaya (13).


kamma-patha: 'course of action', is a name for the group of 10 kinds of either unwholesome or wholesome actions, viz.

I. The tenfold unwholesome courses of action (akusala-kamma-patha):

  • 3 bodily actions: killing, stealing, unlawful sexual intercourse;
  • 4 verbal actions: lying, slandering, rude speech, foolish babble;
  • 3 mental actions: covetousness, ill-will, evil views.

Unwholesome mental courses of action comprise only extreme forms of defiled thought: the greedy wish to appropriate others' property, the hateful thought of harming others, and pernicious views. Milder forms of mental defilement are also unwholesome, but do not constitute 'courses of action'.

II. The tenfold wholesome course of action (kusala-kamma-patha):

  • 3 bodily actions: avoidance of killing, stealing, unlawful sexual intercourse;
  • 4 verbal actions: avoidance of lying, slandering, rude speech, foolish babble; i.e. true, conciliatory, mild, and wise speech;
  • 3 mental actions: unselfishness, good-will, right views.

Both lists occur repeatedly, e.g. in AN 10.28, AN 10.176; MN 9; they are explained in detail in MN 114, and in Commentary to MN 9 (Right Understanding, p. 14), Aṭṭhasālinī Translation I, 126ff.


kamma-samuṭṭhāna-rūpa: 'corporeality produced through kamma'; see samuṭṭhāna.


kammaṭṭhāna:34) lit. 'working-ground' (i.e. for meditation), is the term in the Commentary for 'subjects of meditation'; see bhāvanā.


kamma-vaṭṭa: 'kamma-round'; see vaṭṭa.