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.

Deva:  Literally, “shining one.” An inhabitant of the terrestrial and heavenly realms higher than the human.

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.

Jhana:  Mental absorption. A state of strong concentration focused on a single sensation or mental notion. 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.

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.

Samvega:  A sense of dismay, terror, or urgency.

Sangha:  On the conventional level, this term denotes the communities of Buddhist monks and nuns. On the ideal level, it denotes those followers of the Buddha, lay or ordained, who have attained at least their first taste of the Deathless.

Sankhara:  Fabrication; fashioning. The forces and factors that fashion things, the process of fashioning, and the fashioned 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.

Sutta:  Discourse. Sanskrit form: sutra.

Uposatha:  Observance day—the days of the full moon, new moon, and half-moon—and the practices traditionally followed on those days. For Buddhist monks, these include meeting (on the full moon and new moon days) to hear the recitation of the Patimokkha, the basic code of monastic discipline. For Buddhist lay people, these practices include observing the eight precepts: against killing, stealing, sexual intercourse, lying, taking intoxicants, eating during the period from noon to the following dawn, watching shows and decorating the body, and using high and luxurious beds and seats.

Vinaya:  The monastic discipline.

Wat (Thai):  Monastery.