Brief explanations of words, terms and names, mainly of Buddhist origin. The definitions on this page are not exhaustive or definitive, but help to explain their meaning within the context of our website.
(lit) stands for: (literal translation)
Awakening: The unfolding process or journey towards a state of mind where suffering ceases.
Bodhisattva or Bodhisatta: One who seeks to attain Liberation for the welfare of all beings.
Brahma Viharas: (lit: divine abidings) The 4 noble qualities of heart and mind, which can be cultivated through specific meditative practices. They are: Metta or Loving-kindness, Karuna or compassion, Mudita or appreciative joy, and Upekkha or equanimity.
Buddha: 1. The historical figure Siddhartha Gotama, who lived in what is now India, attained Awakening in the 6th century BCE, and whose teachings are followed in the Buddhist traditions.
2. Awakened One: any person who has attained Liberation/ Nibbana/ Nirvana, and who has cultivated the inner qualities necessary to optimally support the Liberation of others.
Buddhism: The teachings of the Buddha, and the various schools of thought, teaching and practice that have developed from them.
Buddhist: One who explores the meanings of the teachings of the Buddha.
Dharma: (Sanskrit) / Dhamma: (Pali) The teachings of the Buddha.
Diamond Approach: A modern spiritual practice of the Ridhwan School, founded in the later 20th Century by A.H. Almaas (Hameed Ali).
Eightfold Noble Path: The path of practice leading to the cessation of suffering and dissatisfaction laid out by the Buddha in the Four Noble Truths, and comprising Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.
Emptiness: The concept that nothing arises independently, that everything is interconnected and empty of inherent or separate self existence.
1. Refrain from taking any life or harming any living being.
2. Refrain from taking or misusing anything that does not belong to you or has not been clearly offered.
3. Refrain from harmful expressions of sexuality.
4. Refrain from harmful expressions of speech.
5. Refrain from the use of intoxicants and substances which cloud the mind.
Four Noble Truths: The core of the Buddha’s teaching, the truth of suffering and dissatisfaction; its cause and the path of practice leading to liberation from suffering.
Gelugpa: A Tibetan Buddhist lineage founded by Tsongkapa, a philosopher and religious leader in the 14th Century. Wikipedia
Insight Meditation: The practice of developing a calm and mindful investigation into the nature of experience, leading to wisdom, compassion and the end of suffering, through Awakening to the Four Noble Truths. Also known as Vipassana.
Jhana: (Pali. lit: absorption) A state of mental unification where consciousness is absorbed in a specific object, arising through the cultivation of Samatha.
Karuna: (lit: compassion) Empathy and compassionate caring expressed as a wish for others and oneself to be free of suffering, leading to action to help relieve suffering. One of the 4 Brahma Viharas.
Meditation Retreat: A period of time set aside for the development of wisdom and compassion through sustained Meditation practice in which one is secluded from the activities, responsibilities, pressures and distractions of everyday life.
Metta: Also known as Loving-kindness. The quality of loving friendliness, which wishes happiness and well-being for oneself and all beings. One of the 4 Brahma Viharas. Metta Meditation: The meditative cultivation of Loving-kindness or Metta.
Mindfulness: The mental quality of non-judgemental attention that can see things directly as they appear in the present moment.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy or MBCT: A specific secular training for promoting mental health and well-being through the therapeutic application of Mindfulness to cognitive (thought) activity. MBCT website & Wikipedia
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or MBSR: A specific secular training for reducing stress and assisting in pain management through the systematic application of Mindfulness to daily experience, developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Mudita: Appreciative joy. One of the 4 Brahma Viharas.
Nirvana (Sanskrit) / Nibbana: (Pali) The cessation of suffering and dissatisfaction through the uprooting of greed, hatred, and delusion.
Non-duality / Non-dualism: A belief that everything in the universe is ultimately one.
Pali: The language in which the teachings of the Buddha were recorded, giving rise to the Pali Texts – the earliest records of the teachings of the Buddha.
Patticca-samupada: (lit: dependant origination or dependant co-arising) This is a central teaching from the Buddha, describing the process whereby suffering arises and how it can be brought to cessation.
Precepts: These are guidelines used to support wholesome behaviour through ethical commitments. (See Five Precepts)
Samatha: Meditative calm. Jhana practice is the systematic meditative development of Samatha, leading to states of refined consciousness known as absorptions.
Sangha: The community of followers and practitioners of the Buddha’s path and teaching. Sometimes used to refer specifically to Buddhist monastics.
Sanskrit: The ancient Indian language in which Mahayana scriptures were recorded.
Seva: Service; working for the benefit of others.
Sitting Group: A meditation group. A group of meditators who meet regularly to practise together and support each other as a Sangha.
Six Perfections: Generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiastic perseverance, concentration and wisdom.
Thai Forest Tradition: A Theravadan monastic lineage in Thailand emphasizing the Precepts, simplicity and renunciation. In the West the lineage has continued mainly through Ajahn Chah, and the Forest Sangha. Monasteries in the UK include Amaravati in Hertfordshire. ForestSangha.org
Upekkha: Equanimity. One of the 4 Brahma Viharas.
Yoga: A system of spiritual development deriving from the teachings of the 2nd century BCE Indian teacher Patanjali, incorporating the practice of specific physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation. Wikipedia
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