Glossary

Abbhantara: a unit for measuring distance, approximately equal to 14 meters.

Akkosa-vatthu: a topic for abuse. See BMC1, Pc 2 & 3.

Andhaka: one of the ancient Sinhalese commentaries on which Buddhaghosa based his work.

Añjali: a gesture of respect in which one places one’s hands palm-to-palm over one’s heart.

Bhikkhu: a male mendicant ordained in the Bhikkhu Saṅgha.

Bhikkhunī: a female mendicant, a member of the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha ordained by both the Bhikkhunī and the Bhikkhu Saṅghas.

Chanda: consent by proxy.

Deva (devatā): literally, a “shining one”—a terrestrial spirit or celestial being.

Dubbhāsita: wrong speech.

Dukkaṭa: wrong doing, the lightest grade of offense.

Garubhaṇḍa: a heavy or expensive article. Garubhaṇḍa belonging to the Saṅgha includes monasteries and monastery land; dwellings, land on which dwellings are built; furnishings such as couches, chairs, and mattresses; metal vessels and tools; building materials, except for such things as rushes, reeds, grass, and clay; and articles made of pottery or wood.

Hatthapāsa: a distance of 2.5 cubits, or 1.25 meters.

Jhāna: mental absorption.

Kaṭhina: literally, a frame used in sewing a robe; figuratively, a period of time in which certain rules are rescinded for bhikkhus who have participated in a ceremony, held in the fourth month of the rainy season, in which they receive a gift of cloth from lay people, bestow it on one of their members, and then make it into a robe before dawn of the following day.

Kurundī: one of the ancient Sinhalese commentaries on which Buddhaghosa based his work.

Lahubhaṇḍa: a light or inexpensive article. Lahubhaṇḍa of the Saṅgha includes such things as cloth, food, and medicine; small personal accessories such as scissors, sandals, and water strainers; and light building materials, such as rushes, reeds, grass, and clay.

Leḍḍupāta: the distance a man of average height can toss a clod of dirt underarm—approximately 18 meters.

Mahā Aṭṭhakathā: one of the ancient Sinhalese commentaries on which Buddhaghosa based his work, and the one that he took as his primary authority.

Mahā Paccarī: one of the ancient Sinhalese commentaries on which Buddhaghosa based his work.

Mahāpadesa: Great Standard for deciding what is and is not in line with the Dhamma and Vinaya. See BMC1, Chapter 1.

Nāga: a special kind of serpent, classed as a common animal but having magical powers, including the ability to assume human appearance. Nāgas have long been regarded as protectors of the Buddha’s teachings.

Pabbajjā: Going-forth—ordination as a sāmaṇera or sāmaṇerī.

Pācittiya: entailing confession; one of the minor classes of offenses.

Palibodha: constraint.

Paṇḍaka: a eunuch or neuter person.

Pārājika: defeat, the most serious grade of offenses.

Pavāraṇā: (1) an invitation whereby a donor gives permission to a bhikkhu or a Community of bhikkhus to ask for requisites; (2) a ceremony, held at the end of the Rains-residence, in which each bhikkhu invites the rest of the Community to inform him of any transgressions they may have seen, heard, or suspected that he has committed.

Samaṇa: contemplative; monk. This word is derived from the adjective sama, which means “in tune” or “in harmony.” The samaṇas in ancient India were wanderers who tried through direct contemplation to find the true nature of reality—as opposed to the conventions taught in the Vedas—and to live in tune or in harmony with that reality. Buddhism is one of several samaṇa movements. Others included Jainism, Ajivakan fatalism, and Lokayata, or hedonism.

Sāmaṇera: literally, a small samaṇa—a novice monk observing ten precepts.

Saṅgha: Community. This may refer to the entire Community of bhikkhus or bhikkhunīs, or to the Community living in a particular location. In passages where the distinction between the two is important, I have used Saṅgha to denote the first, and Community the second.

Saṅghādisesa: involving the Community in the initial (ādi) and subsequent (sesa) acts required in making amends for the offense; the second most serious grade of offenses.

Sīmā: territory.

Sutta (suttanta): discourse.

Thullaccaya: grave offense, the most serious of the confessable offenses.

Upajjhāya: preceptor (literally, “supervisor” or “overseer”).

Upasampadā: Acceptance—full ordination as a bhikkhu or bhikkhunī.

Uposatha: (1) Observance day, the day of the new and of the full moon; traditionally, in India, a time of special spiritual practices. (2) The Observance—either the recitation of the Pāṭimokkha, the declaration of mutual purity, or determination of the day—that the bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs perform on this day.

Yojana: a distance of approximately ten miles or sixteen kilometers.