Abhidhamma: The third of the three “baskets” or collections that comprise the Pali Canon, devoted to establishing the precise taxonomy of the terms found in the other two collections. Generally believed to be a later addition to the Canon.

Āsava: Effluent; fermentation. The mind has four types of effluents: sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance.

Arahant: “Worthy one; pure one.” A person who has mastered the kamma that puts an end to kamma, and thus is not destined for future rebirth.

Bodhisatta: A being destined for awakening. After his awakening, the Buddha used this term to refer to himself prior to his awakening.

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

Jhāna: Mental absorption. A state of strong concentration focused on a single sensation or mental notion. This term is related to the verb jhāyati, which means to burn with a still, steady flame.

Kamma: Intentional act. Sanskrit form: Karma.

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. “Total nibbāna” in some contexts denotes the experience of awakening; in others, the final passing away of an arahant. Sanskrit form: Nirvāna.

Saṅgha: The Community of the Buddha’s followers. This term has two levels of meaning. On the conventional level it refers to ordained monks and nuns. On the ideal level, it refers to all those—lay or ordained—who have reached at least the first of the four levels of awakening.

Sutta: Discourse.

Tathāgata: Literally, “one who has truly gone (tatha-gata)” or “one who has become authentic (tatha-āgata),” an epithet used in ancient India for a person who has attained the highest religious goal. In Buddhism, it usually denotes the Buddha, although occasionally it also denotes any of his arahant disciples.