Ajaan (Thai): Teacher; mentor. Pali form: Acariya.

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

Brahma: An inhabitant of the highest heavenly realms, of form and formlessness.

Deva: Literally, “shining one.” An inhabitant of the heavenly realms.

Dhamma: (1) Event; action; (2) a phenomenon in and of itself; (3) mental quality; (4) doctrine, teaching; (5) nibbana (although there are passages 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. This term is derived from the verb jhayati, which means to burn with a steady, still flame. Sanskrit form: Dhyana.

Kamma: Intentional act. Sanskrit form: Karma.

Khandha: Aggregate; heap; pile. 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. “Total nibbana” in some contexts denotes the experience of Awakening; in others, the final passing away of an arahant. Sanskrit form: Nirvana.

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

Samvega: A sense of overwhelming terror or dismay over the pointlessness of life as it is normally lived.

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

Sutta: Discourse. Sanskrit form: Sutra.

Vinaya: The monastic discipline, whose rules and traditions comprise six volumes in printed text.