Glossary of Buddhism


This glossary of Buddhism provides definitions of terms related to Buddhism, with links to full articles where available.

abhaya mudra
Buddhist hand gesture representing fearlessness.
(also papa). Evil, sin, or misfortune, including both natural and moral evil.
Amida Buddha
(Japanese; Sanskrit Amitabha; "infinite light"). Celestial buddha who, while a bodhisattva, vowed to lead all beings to the Pure Land. Amida is the focus of devotion in Pure Land Buddhism and one of several revered buddhas of the Mahayana tradition.
(Sanskrit, "foe-destroyer"). One who has attained nirvana; the goal of Theravada Buddhism.
(Sanskrit, "ignorance"). Ignorance, which is the root of all suffering.
Basic Points
(full name: "Basic Points Unifying the Theravada and Mahayana"). A Buddhist creed agreed upon by leading monks from the Theravada and Mahayana traditions in Sri Lanka in 1966, identifying the essential points of agreement.
begging bowl
Bowl used by Buddhist monks to collect alms from laypeople; also has symbolic significance.
bhumisparsha mudra
Buddhist hand gesture representing calling the earth to witness.
In Mahayana Buddhism, one who attains the enlightenment of a Buddha but chooses to postpone entering nirvana and instead stays in the world for the compassionate purpose of helping lesser beings attain enlightenment. In Theravada Buddhism, the term is exclusively used to identify historical Buddhas in their previous lives.
(Sanskrit, Pali, "Awakened One") A fully enlightened being.
Teaching of the Buddha. Another name for Buddhism.
Buddha-discipline; another name for Buddhism.
conch shell
Symbol of the fame of the Buddha's teachings.
Dalai Lama
Head of the dominant school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Gelugpa (or Yellow Hats), and from 1642 to 1959, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet.
Dharma Day
Buddhist festival on the full moon day of the eighth lunar month (usually July), commemorating the "turning of the wheel of the Dharma" (the Buddha's first sermon) at the Deer Park in Sarnath

Article Info

Title Glossary of Buddhism
Last UpdatedFebruary 3, 2021
URL religionfacts.com/buddhism/glossary
Short URLrlft.co/3102
MLA Citation “Glossary of Buddhism.” ReligionFacts.com. 3 Feb. 2021. Web. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021. <religionfacts.com/buddhism/glossary>