Buddhism Glossary


(Sanskrit, Pali, "awakened"). Buddhahood; state of full enlightenment, in which things are seen as they really are.

bowl, begging

Bowl used by Buddhism monks to collect alms from laypeople; also has symbolic significance.

Buddhism, Basics Points of

In 1966, leading monks from the Theravada and Mahayana traditions met in Sri Lanka with the goal of bridging the differences between the two groups and identifying the essential points of agreement.

hindrances, five

Sanskrit, nivaranas. Mental and emotional obstacles that must be removed in order to attain knowledge and enlightenment: desire; anger; sloth; worry; and doubt.


Mental concentration for the purpose of relaxation, enlightenment, communion with the divine, or all of the above.

Precepts, Five

Sanskrit, sila. Obligations that both monks and laypersons undertake. They are to abstain from: harming any living being; taking anything not given; sensual misconduct; false speech; and losing control through intoxication.


(Sanskrit "diamond vehicle"). Esoteric form of Buddhism focused on attaining enlightenment more quickly (in one lifetime). Also known as Tantric Buddhism. Closely related to, but not synonymous with, Tibetan Buddhism.