Abhidhamma: The third division of the Pali Canon, composed of texts that elaborate on lists of terms and categories drawn from the discourses.
Ajaan (Thai): Teacher; mentor.
Arahant: A person who has abandoned all ten of the fetters that bind the mind to the cycle of rebirth, whose heart is free of mental defilement, and is thus not destined for future rebirth. An epithet for the Buddha and the highest level of his noble disciples. Sanskrit form: arhat.
Asava: Effluent; fermentation. Four qualities—sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance—that “flow out” of the mind and create the flood of the round of death and rebirth.
Brahma-vihara: Sublime attitude, of which there are four: limitless goodwill, limitless compassion, limitless empathetic joy, and limitless equanimity.
Deva: Literally, a “shining one.” A being on the subtle level of form, living in either terrestrial or celestial realms.
Dhamma: (1) Event; action. (2) A phenomenon in and of itself. (3) Mental quality. (4) Doctrine, teaching. (5) Nibbana (although there are passages in the Pali Canon describing nibbana as the abandoning of all dhammas). Sanskrit form: dharma.
Dhutanga: Ascetic practice that monks may voluntarily undertake.
Dukkha: Stress; pain; suffering.
Farang (Thai): Caucasian.
Jhana: Mental absorption. A state of strong concentration focused on a single sensation or perception. Sanskrit form: dhyana.
Kamma: Intentional act. Sanskrit form: karma.
Khandha: Aggregate; heap; pile. The aggregates are the basic building blocks of describable experience, as well as the building blocks from which one’s sense of “self” is constructed. There are five in all: physical form, feeling, perception, thought-fabrications, and consciousness. Sanskrit form: skandha.
Luang Puu (Thai): Venerable Grandfather. A term of respect for a very senior and elderly monk.
Metta: Goodwill; kindness; benevolence; friendliness.
Nibbana: 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: nirvana.
Pali: The name of the earliest extant canon of the Buddha’s teachings and, by extension, of the language in which it was composed.
Samsara: The “wandering-on” through death and rebirth.
Samvega: A sense of dismay, terror, or urgency.
Sankhara: Fabrication; fashioning. The forces and factors that fabricate things, the process of fabrication, and the fabricated things that result; all things conditioned, compounded, or concocted by nature, whether on the physical or the mental level. In some contexts this word is used as a blanket term for all five khandhas. As the fourth khandha, it refers specifically to the fashioning or forming of urges, thoughts, etc., within the mind.
Satipatthana: The act of establishing mindfulness on any one of four frames of reference—body, feelings, mind states, or mental qualities—taken in and of themselves.
Sutta: Discourse. Sanskrit form: sutra.
Tathagata: One who has become authentic or has truly gone to the goal. An epithet of the Buddha.
Vinaya: The monastic discipline.
Wat (Thai): Monastery.