Apāya-bhūmi: Realm of deprivation; the four lower states of existence: rebirth in hell, as a hungry shade, as an angry demon, or as a common animal. In Buddhism, none of these states are regarded as eternal conditions.

Arahant: A “worthy one” or “pure one”; a person whose mind is free of defilement and thus not destined for further rebirth. A title for the Buddha and the highest level of his noble disciples.

Ariya-dhamma: Noble qualities: virtue, concentration, discernment, and release.

Bhava: Becoming. A sense of identity within a particular world of experience. The three levels of becoming are on the level of sensuality, form, and formlessness.

Brahmā: An inhabitant of the higher heavenly realms of form or formlessness.

Brahma-vihāra: A mental attitude that, when developed to a level where it can extend without limit to all beings, is conducive to rebirth in one of the Brahmā worlds. There are four altogether: unlimited goodwill (mettā), unlimited compassion (karuṇā), unlimited empathetic joy (muditā), and unlimited equanimity (upekkhā).

Deva: Literally, “shining one.” A being on the subtle levels of sensuality, form, or formlessness, living either in terrestrial or heavenly realms.

Dhamma: (1) Event, action; (2) a phenomenon in and of itself; (3) mental quality; (4) doctrine, teaching; (5) nibbāna (although there are passages in the Canon describing nibbāna as the abandoning of all dhammas). Sanskrit form: Dharma.

Dhutaṅga: Literally, a “factor for shaking off.” This denotes any of thirteen ascetic practices that monks and other meditators may voluntarily undertake to “shake off” their defilements. Among these practices are: going for alms, eating only one meal a day, living in the wilderness, living at the foot of a tree, and not lying down.

Dukkha: Stress; suffering.

Evaṁ: Thus. A formal ending for a Dhamma talk.

Indra: The chief of a deva-realm.

Jhāna: Mental absorption. A state of strong concentration focused on a single sensation or mental notion. Sanskrit form: Dhyāna.

Kamma: (1) Intentional action; (2) the results of intentional actions. Sanskrit form: Karma.

Kasiṇa: An object stared at with the purpose of fixing an image of it in one’s consciousness and then manipulating the image to make it fill the totality of one’s awareness.

Khandha: Aggregate; physical and mental phenomena as they are directly experienced; the raw material for a sense of self: rūpa—physical form; vedanā—feeling-tones of pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain; saññā—perception, mental label; saṅkhāra—fabrication, thought construct; and viññāṇa—sensory consciousness, the act of taking note of sense data and ideas as they occur. Sanskrit form: Skandha.

Loka-dhamma: Worldly phenomena—gain, loss, status, loss of status, praise, criticism, pleasure, and pain.

Māra: The personification of temptation and all forces, within and without, that create obstacles to release from saṁsāra.

Nibbāna: Literally, the “unbinding” of the mind from passion, aversion, and delusion, and from the entire round of death and rebirth. As this term also denotes the extinguishing of a fire, it carries connotations of stilling, cooling, and peace. Sanskrit form: Nirvāṇa.

Paa (Thai): Wilderness; forest.

Pāli: The language of the oldest extant Canon of the Buddha’s teachings.

Saṁsāra: Transmigration; the process of wandering through repeated states of becoming, with their attendant death and rebirth.

Saṅgha: 1) On the conventional (sammati) level, this term denotes the communities of Buddhist monks and nuns. 2) On the ideal (ariya) level, it denotes those followers of the Buddha, lay or ordained, who have attained at least stream-entry, the first stage of awakening.

Saṅkhāra: Fabrication (see Khandha).

Tham (Thai): Cave.

Uposatha: Observance day, corresponding to the phases of the moon, on which Buddhist laypeople gather to listen to the Dhamma and observe the eight precepts: abstaining from killing; stealing; sexual intercourse; lying; taking intoxicants; eating after noon or before dawn; going to shows, listening to music, ornamenting the body with jewelry, garlands, or scents; and using luxurious seats or beds.

Vinaya: The monastic discipline, whose rules and traditions comprise six volumes in printed text. The Buddha’s own term for the religion he taught was, “This Dhamma-Vinaya.”

Wat (Thai): Monastery.