Glossary - Buddhism
(Pronunciation: "ah-MEE-dah") The Buddha of Infinite Light. Creator of the Pure Land or Western Paradise, a place where beings can strive toward enlightenment free from the pain and suffering associated with life on earth. Chinese: A-mi-t'o-p'o ("ah-mee-TOH-poh"); Sanskrit: Amitabha ("ah-mee-TAH-bah").
(Pronunciation: "bye-SHAH-jah-goo-roo") The Buddha of Healing. Chinese: Yao-shih ("YOW-shur"); Japanese: Yakushi ("YAHK-shee").
(Pronunciation: "boh-dee-SAHT-vah") A being who has the wisdom and power sufficient to become a Buddha, but who refrains from doing so in order to help others find salvation.
(Pronunciation: "BOO-dah") A being who has attained complete enlightenment (nirvana), the highest level of perfection within the Buddhist spectrum of existence.
(Pronunciation: "BOO-dizm") A religion or philosophy founded by an Indian prince in the fifth century B.C. in which followers seek to attain enlightenment, a state of complete spiritual freedom known as nirvana. In so doing, they escape the endless cycle of birth and death as well as the pain and suffering associated with life.
(Pronunciation: "DAY-vahss") Literally "heavenly beings," devas comprise of a large group of deities from the pantheons of other religions—especially Hinduism—who have been adopted into the service of Buddhism.
(Pronunciation: "HEE-nah-yah-nah") Literally "The Lesser Vehicle;" the form of Buddhism as evolved in Southeast Asia. Also called Theraveda.
(Pronunciation: "jee-ZOH") A Bodhisattva who comes to the aid of people condemned to the torments of hell. Jizo is also worshiped independently as a protector of children and pregnant women. Chinese: Ti-tsang ("DEE-dzahng"); Sanskrit: Ksitigarbha ("ksih-tee-GAHR-bah")
(Pronunciation: "KAH-nohn") The Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion. Chinese: Kuan-yin ("GWAHN-yeen"); Sanskrit: Avalokitesvara ("ah-vah-loh-kee-teh-SVAH-rah").
(Pronunciation: "KAY-sah") A Japanese Buddhist monk's ceremonial robe.
(Pronunciation: "LOH-kah-pah-lah") Guardians of the four directions, or "Four Heavenly Kings," commonly found in Buddhist temple architecture. Chinese: T'ien-Wang ("TYEN-wahng"); Japanese: Shi-Tenno ("SHEE-ten-noh").
(Pronunciation: "MAH-hah-stah-mah-PRAHP-tah") The Bodhisattva of Extreme Strength. Chinese: Shih-chih ("SHUHR-juhr"); Japanese: Seishi ("SAY-shee")
(Pronunciation: "MAH-hah-yah-nah") "The Greater Vehicle," a form of Buddhism that developed in India around the time of Christ and spread to China, Korea, Tibet, and Japan by the 7th century.
(Pronunciation: "mye-TRAY-ah") The Buddha of the Future.
(Pronunciation: "MAHN-dah-lah") A diagrammatic picture or sculptural arrangement used to represent aspects of the Buddhist cosmos.
(Pronunciation: "mahn-JOO-shree") The Bodhisattva of Wisdom. Chinese: Wen-shu ("WEN-shoo"); Japanese: Monju ("MOHN-joo").
(Pronunciation: "nee-OH") The "Two Kings"—devas who serve as guardians or attendants to Buddhas or bodhisattvas in Japanese Buddhist art.
(Pronunciation: "neer-VAH-nah") Enlightenment, the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice. Nirvana is the state in which all illusions and desires binding humankind to the cycle of birth and death are extinguished.
(Pronunciation: "pah-ree-neer-VAH-nah") "Beyond nirvana," the state into which an enlightened being (or Buddha) passes upon physical death.
(Pronunciation: "RYE-goh") The descent of Amida Buddha from the heavens to receive the soul of a dying worshiper.
(Pronunciation: "sah-mahn-tah-BAHD-rah") The Bodhisattva of Universal Goodness. Chinese: P'u-hsien ("POOH-shehn"); Japanese: Fugen ("foo-GEN").
(Pronunciation: "SHAHK-yah-moo-nee") The Historical Buddha, who lived in the 6th Century B.C.
(Pronunciation: "TEY-rah-vey-dah") Literally "The Way of the Elders;" the form of Buddhism as evolved in Southeast Asia. Also called Hinayana.
(Pronunciation: "OOR-nah") A coil of hair on the forehead (often depicted as a jewel), one of the traditional identifying aspects of a Buddha.
(Pronunciation: "oos-NEESH-ah") A protuberance on the crown of the head indicative of great wistom, one of the traditional identifying aspects of a Buddha.
(Pronunciation: "vye-ROH-kah-nah") The Supreme or Cosmic Buddha, from which—in some Buddhist traditions—all other Buddhas emanate. Chinese: P'i-lu-che-na ("pea-LOO-juh-nah"); Japanese: Roshana ("ROH-shah-nah").
(Pronunciation: "VAHJ-rah") A stylized thunderbolt, which often symbolizes supreme wisdom or nirvana.
(Pronunciation: "VAHJ-rah-yah-nah") "The Diamond Vehicle," Tibetan Buddhism.
(Pronunciation: "veed-yah-RAH-jah") "Kings of Knowlege," fierce and protective deities who frighten away evil spirits and destroy harmful passions. Chinese: Ming-wang ("MING-wang"); Japanese: Myo-o ("MYOH-oh").
(Pronunciation: "YAH-mahn-tah-kah") The Conqueror of Death—believed to be a manifestation of the ultimate wisdom which overcomes evil, suffering and death. In Vajrayana Buddhism, he is frequently depicted as a buffalo-headed demon, but in the Institute's sand mandala, he is symbolized by a blue vajra, or thunderbolt. Chinese: Ta-wei-te ("dah-WEH-duh"); Japanese: Daiitoku ("DIE-toh-koo").