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

Bodhi: Awakening.

Brahmā: An inhabitant of the higher heavenly realms of form or formlessness.

Brahman: In Upaniṣadic texts, the source from which the cosmos as a whole emanates.

Brāhman: A member of the priestly caste, which claimed to be the highest caste in India, based on birth. In a specifically Buddhist usage, “brāhman” can also mean an arahant, conveying the point that excellence is based not on birth or race, but on the qualities attained in the mind.

Deva (devatā): 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) nibbāna (although there are passages describing nibbāna as the abandoning of all dhammas). Sanskrit form: Dharma.

Gotama: The Buddha’s clan name.

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

Kamma: (1) Intentional action, (2) the results of intentional actions. Sanskrit form: Karma.

Khandha: Aggregate, physical and mental phenomena as they are directly experienced: rūpa — physical form, vedanā — feelings of pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain, saññā — perception, mental label, saṅkhāra — fabrication, thought construct, and viññāṇa — sensory consciousness, the act of taking note of sense data and ideas as they occur. Sanskrit form: Skandha.

Māra: The personification of temptation and all forces, within and without, that create obstacles to release from the round of death and rebirth.

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. Sanskrit form: Nirvāṇa.

Pajāpati: A high-ranking deva, second in command to the king of his particular deva realm.

Pāli: The language of the oldest extant Canon of the Buddha’s teachings.

Sakyan: An inhabitant of the Sakyan republic, the Buddha’s home territory.

Saṅgha: 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.

Tathāgata: Literally, one who has “become authentic (tatha-āgata)” or who is “truly gone (tathā-gata)”: 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.