I. Terms

The definitions given here are based on the meanings these words have in Ajaan Lee’s writings and sermons. Terms marked with a single asterisk (*) are taken from the standard chant of the qualities of the Buddha; those with a double asterisk (**), from the chant of the qualities of the Dhamma.

akāliko**: Timeless; unconditioned by time or season.

apāya: State of deprivation; the four lower levels of existence—rebirth in hell, as a hungry ghost, as an angry demon, or as a common animal. None of these states are permanent.

arahant: A ‘Worthy One,’ a person whose heart is freed from the fermentations (āsava) of sensuality, states of being, views, and ignorance, and who is thus not destined for further rebirth. An epithet for the Buddha and the highest level of his noble disciples.

avijjā: Unawareness; ignorance; counterfeit awareness.

bhagavā*: Blessed. This word is also related to the verb for ‘divide’ and ‘separate,’ and so is sometimes interpreted in that light as well.

bhāvanā-maya-paññā: Discernment achieved by developing the mind through meditation.

brahmā: Inhabitant of the higher, non-sensual levels of heaven.

bodhisattva: A being firmly on the path to becoming a Buddha.

buddho*: Awake.

chabbaṇṇa-raṅsī: Six-colored radiance or aura. Mentioned usually as an attribute of the Buddha.

chalang’upekkhā: Six-factored equanimity, i.e., maintaining equanimity toward events known through any of the six senses—sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and ideation.

deva: Inhabitant of any of the heavens of sensual pleasure.

dhamma: Event; phenomenon; the way things are in and of themselves; their inherent qualities; the basic principles that underlie their behavior. Also, principles of behavior that human beings ought to follow so as to fit in with the right natural order of things; qualities of mind they should develop so as to realize the inherent quality of the mind in and of itself. By extension, ‘dhamma’ is used also to refer to any doctrine that teaches such things. Thus the Dhamma of the Buddha refers both to his teachings and to the direct experience of the quality—nibbāna—at which those teachings are aimed. In contexts where the term is used in a neutral sense in these sermons, it has been left uncapitalized. Where used in a positive sense, it has been capitalized.

dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhaṅga: Analysis of phenomena, qualities, principles, etc. One of the factors for awakening, the others being mindfulness, persistence, rapture, serenity, concentration, and equanimity.

dhātu: Element; property; the elementary properties that make up the inner sense of the body and mind: earth (solidity), water (liquidity), fire (heat), wind (energy or motion), space, and consciousness. The breath is regarded as an aspect of the wind property, and all feelings of energy in the body are classed as breath sensations. According to Thai physiology, diseases come from the aggravation or imbalance of any of the first four of these properties. Wellbeing is defined as a state in which none of these properties is dominant: All are quiet, unaroused, balanced, and still.

ekayāna-magga: A unified path; a direct path. An epithet for the practice of being mindful of the four frames of reference: body, feelings, mind, and mental qualities in and of themselves.

gotarabhū-ñāṇa: ‘Change of lineage knowledge’: The glimpse of nibbāna that changes one from an ordinary run-of-the-mill person to a noble one.

indrīya: Mental faculty, or dominant factor in the mind. There are five faculties to be developed in the practice: conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment.

jhāna: Absorption in a physical sensation (rūpa jhāna) or in a mental notion (arūpa jhāna).Vitakka (directed thought), vicāra (evaluation), and pīti (rapture) are three of the five factors forming the first level of rūpa jhāna, the other two being sukha (pleasure) and ekaggatārammaṇa (singleness of preoccupation).

kamma: Intentional act that results in states of being and birth.

khandha: Aggregate; heap; component parts of sensory perception: rūpa (physical sensations, sense data); vedanā (feelings of pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain); saññā (labels, concepts); saṅkhāra (mental fabrications, anything created by the mind); and viññāṇa (consciousness).

lokavidū*: Expert with regard to the cosmos.

magga: The path to the cessation of suffering and stress. The four transcendent paths—or rather, one path with four levels of refinement—are the path to stream entry (entering the stream to nibbāna, which ensures that one will be reborn at most only seven more times), the path to once-returning, the path to non-returning, and the path to arahantship. Phala—fruition—refers to the mental state immediately following the attainment of any of these paths.

mahābhūta-rūpa: The four great physical properties—earth, water, fire, and wind (see ‘dhātu’).

māra: The personification of death, temptation, and any force that obstructs the practice of the path to Liberation.

nāga: A type of serpent reputed to have miraculous powers.

nibbāna (nirvāṇa): Liberation; the unbinding of the mind from greed, anger, and delusion, from physical sensations and mental acts. As this term is used to refer also to the extinguishing of fire, it carries connotations of stilling, cooling, and peace. (According to the physics taught at the time of the Buddha, the property of fire in a latent state exists to a greater or lesser extent in all objects. When activated, it seizes and sticks to its fuel. As long as it remains latent or is extinguished, it is ‘unbound.’)

nīvaraṇa: Hindrance to concentration—sensual desire, ill will, sloth & drowsiness, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty.

opanayiko**: Referring inwardly; to be brought inward.

paccattaṁ**: Personal; individual.

puñña: Inner worth; merit; the inner sense of wellbeing that comes from having acted rightly or well, and that enables one to continue acting well.

sādhu: Excellent; well-done. Often used as a term of approval when someone has done something meritorious.

sambhavesin: (A being) searching for a place to take birth.

sandiṭṭhiko**: Self-evident; visible here and now.

saṅgha: The community of the Buddha’s followers. On the conventional level, this refers to the Bhikkhu Saṅgha, or Buddhist monkhood. On the ideal level, it refers to those of the Buddha’s followers, whether lay or ordained, who have practiced to the point of gaining at least ‘stream-entry,’ the first of the transcendent qualities culminating in nibbāna.

saṅkhāra: Fabrication—the forces and factors that fabricate things, the process of fabrication, and the fabricated things that result; all processes or things conditioned, compounded, or concocted by nature, whether on the physical or the mental level.

sugato*: Going (or gone) to a good destination.

uposatha: Observance day, corresponding to the phases of the moon, on which Buddhist lay people gather to listen to the Dhamma and to observe special precepts. The eight uposatha precepts are to refrain from taking life; from stealing; from sexual intercourse; from telling lies; from taking intoxicants; from eating food after noon until the following dawn; from watching dancing, singing, instrumental music, and other shows, and from using garlands, perfumes, cosmetics and jewelry; and from using high and luxurious beds and seats.

vicāra: Evaluation (see ‘jhāna’).

vijjā: Awareness, science, cognitive skill.

vijjā-caraṇa-sampanno*: Consummate in knowledge and conduct; accomplished in the conduct leading to awareness or cognitive skill.

vipassanā: Clear, intuitive insight into physical and mental phenomena as they arise and disappear, seeing them for what they actually are—in and of themselves—in terms of stress, its origin, its disbanding, and the way to its disbanding.

vitakka: Directed thought (see ‘jhāna’).

II. Quotations

aniccā vata saṅkhārā, uppāda-vaya-dhammino, uppajjitvā nirujjhanti: Fabrications are inconstant, subject to arising and passing away. Arising, they disband. (From stanzas uttered on the occasion of the Buddha’s passing into total nibbāna.)

asevanā ca bālānaṁ, paṇḍitānañca sevanā: Non-association with fools, and association with the wise. (From a discourse listing factors that augur well for one’s wellbeing.)

attā hi attano nātho: One’s self is one’s own mainstay.

atītaṁ nānvāgameyya, nappaṭikankhe anāgataṁ… paccuppannañca yo dhammaṁ, tatha tatha vipassati: He would not pursue the past or yearn for the future… and whatever phenomenon is present, he clearly sees it right there, right there. (From stanzas describing a person who spends his day auspiciously in terms of the practice.)

āyudo balado dhīro’ti: The enlightened person who gives life and strength…. (From stanzas extolling the benefits—to the donor—of a donation of food.)

ekāyano ayaṁ maggo sattānaṁ visuddhiyā: This is a direct path for the purification of beings. (See ‘ekāyana-magga.’)

kammassako’mhi: I am the owner of actions.

mano-pubbaṅgamā dhammā, mano-seṭṭhā mano-mayā: Phenomena are preceded by the mind, are excelled by the mind, are made from the mind.

namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa: Homage to the Blessed One, Worthy and Rightly Self-awakened.

*     *     *

If anything in this translation is inaccurate or misleading, I ask forgiveness of the author and reader for having unwittingly stood in their way. As for whatever may be accurate, I hope the reader will make the best use of it, translating it a few steps further, into the heart, so as to attain the truth to which it points.

The translator

sabbe sattā sadā hontu

averā sukha-jīvino

kataṁ puñña-phalaṁ mayhaṁ

sabbe bhāgī bhavantu te

May all beings always live happily,

free from animosity.

May all share in the blessings

springing from the good I have done.