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  1. In the discourses of the Pali Canon, this term simply means "higher Dhamma," and a systematic attempt to define the  Buddha's teachings and understand their interrelationships.
  2. A later collection of analytical treatises based on lists of categories drawn from the teachings in the discourses, added to the Canon several centuries after the Buddha's life.

Timeless; unconditioned by time or season.


Not-self; ownerless.


Noble Truth. The word "ariya" (noble) can also mean ideal or standard, and in this context means "objective" or "universal" truth. There are four: stress, the origin of stress, the disbanding of stress, and the path of practice leading to the disbanding of stress.


Commentaries of Buddhist teachings.

bhikkhu (bhikkhuni)

A Buddhist "monk" ("nun"); a man (woman) who has given up the householder's life to live a life of heightened virtue in accordance with the Vinaya in general, and the Patimokkha rules in particular.


Awake; enlightened. An epithet for the Buddha.


The name given to one who rediscovers for himself the liberating path of Dhamma, after a long period of its having been forgotten by the world. According to tradition, there is a long line of Buddhas stretching into the distant past. The most recent Buddha was born Siddhattha Gotama in India in the sixth century BCE. A well-educated and wealthy young man, he relinquished his family and his princely inheritance in the prime of his life to search for true freedom and an end to suffering (dukkha). After seven years of austerities in the forest, he rediscovered the "middle way" and achieved his goal, becoming Buddha.


Founded: About 525 BC, reportedly near Benares, India.
Founder: Gautama Siddhartha (ca. 562-480), the Buddha, who achieved enlightenment through   intense meditation.
Organization: The basic institution is the Sangha or monastic order through which the traditions are passed to each generation. Monastic life tends to be democratic and anti-authoritarian. Large lay organizations have developed in some sects.
Philosophy: Buddhism defines reality in terms of cause-and-effect relations, thus accepting the  doctrine common to Indian religions of Samara, or bondage to the repeating cycle of births and deaths according to one's physical and mental actions.


(1) Event; a phenomenon in and of itself;
(2) mental quality;
(2) doctrine, teaching;
(4) nibbana.
Also, principles of behavior that human beings ought to follow so as to fit in with the right natural order of things; qualities of mind they should develop so as to realize the inherent quality of the mind in and of itself. By extension, "Dhamma" (usu. capitalized) is used also to denote any doctrine that teaches such things. Thus the Dhamma of the Buddha denotes both his teachings and the direct experience of nibbana, the quality at which those teachings are aimed.


"doctrine (dhamma) and discipline (vinaya)." The Buddha's own name for the religion he founded.


suffering, oppression.


"Inferior Vehicle," originally a pejorative term -- coined by a group who called themselves followers of the Mahayana, the "Great Vehicle" -- to denote the path of practice of those who adhered only to the earliest discourses as the word of the Buddha. Hinayanists refused to recognize the later discourses, composed by the Mahayanists, that claimed to contain teachings that the Buddha felt were too deep for his first generation of disciples, and which he thus secretly entrusted to underground serpents. The Theravada school of today is a descendent of the Hinayana.


action, deed, work.

Mahasatipatthana Sutta

The Great Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness.


Loving-kindness; goodwill. One of the ten perfections (paramis).


Liberation; literally, the "unbinding" of the mind from the mental effluents, defilements, and the round of rebirth, and from all that can be described or defined. As this term also denotes the extinguishing of a fire, it carries the connotations of stilling, cooling, and peace. (According to the physics taught at the time of the Buddha, a burning fire seizes or adheres to its fuel; when extinguished, it is unbound.) "Total nibbana" in some contexts denotes the experience of Awakening; in others, the final passing away of an arahant.

Pali Language

Pali language belonging to the Indic group of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages that is a scriptural and liturgical language of Hinayana Buddhism.


The group of five ascetics who met the Buddha shortly after he was enlightened.


Total Unbinding; the complete cessation of the khandhas that occurs upon the death of an arahant.


The basic code of monastic discipline, consisting of 227 rules for monks (bhikkhus) and 210 for nuns (bhikkhunis).


To transliterate the sound of the word or phrase of non-English language into English language spelling.


Conventional reality; convention; relative truth; supposition; anything conjured into being by the mind.


Mindfulness; alertness; self-collectedness; powers of reference and retention.




Literally, "thread"; a discourse or sermon by the Buddha or his contemporary disciples. After the Buddha's death the suttas were passed down in the Pali language according to a well-established oral tradition, and were finally committed to written form in Sri Lanka around 100 BCE. Over 10,000 suttas are collected in the Sutta Pitaka, one of the principal bodies of scriptural literature in Theravada Buddhism. The Pali Suttas are widely regarded as the earliest record of the Buddha's teachings. 


The Kingdom of Thailand, located in Southeast Asia on the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, shares boundaries with Myanmar (Burma) on the west and northwest, Laos on the east and northeast, Cambodia (Kampuchea) on the southeast, and Malaysia on the south.  Known also as Siam (before 1929 and from 1945 to 1949), the country was named Thailand, meaning "land of the free," in 1929.  Thailand, although rich in rubber and in mineral resources, was never colonized by Europeans and has existed as a unified monarchy since 1250. The capital, BANGKOK, an attractive blend of Western and Thai architecture, was established in 1782.

Land And Resources: Thailand consists of a compact heartland, or mainland, and a long southern peninsular extension of the MALAY PENINSULA.  It has a maximum north-south extent of about 1,700 km (1,100 mi) and a maximum east-west extent of about 800 km (500 mi). Forests occupy approximately 28% of the land area and farmland approximately 29%.

Four topographical regions are usually distinguished.  Of these, the most important is the central region, which occupies almost one-third of the nation and includes the fertile alluvial lowlands of the Chao Phraya River, Thailand's "rice bowl." The central region is the historical core of Thailand, and all but one of the former capitals have been located on the banks of the Chao Phraya or its distributary to the west. Thailand's three other distinct topographical areas are the northern region, a mountainous, forested section that rises to Doi Inthanon, (2,595 m/8,514 ft), the nation's highest peak; the northeastern, or Khorat Plateau, region, an area poor in resources with unproductive lateritic soils;  and the southern, or peninsular, region on the Malay Peninsula, rich in rubber and tin.

Thailand's richest natural resource lies in its agricultural potential. The country's fertile central plain regularly produces more rice than the nation requires. Other important crops include maize, cassava, and kenaf. Thailand is one of the world's largest producers of rubber. The extensive rain forests, long a source of teak and other valuable hardwoods, are disappearing rapidly due to the demand for agricultural land.  Thailand is one of the world's leading producers of tin. Other minerals include tungsten, lead, fluorite, and lignite. Petroleum deposits in central and western Thailand and extensive offshore natural gas fields in the Gulf of Thailand are being developed to reduce petroleum imports.

Education: Education has been compulsory for many years, and all children between the ages of 7 and 14 are now required to attend school. Thai culture  has  its  roots  in  Hinduism  and Buddhism, which reached Thailand from India after the 2rd century by way of the Three Pagodas Pass in the Bilauktaung Range west of the central region. Thailand's written literature dates from the 12th century, when the modern system of Thai writing was introduced. The golden age in Thai arts occurred during the 12th and 14th centuries and is reflected at its best in the many temples (wats) surviving from that period.


The "Doctrine of the Elders" -- the only one of the early schools of Buddhism to have survived into the present; currently the dominant form of Buddhism in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Burma.


Sacred Texts of Buddhism: The Tipitaka a collection of the Buddha's teachings, rules of monastic life, and philosophical commentaries on the teachings; also a vast body of Buddhist teachings. Buddhist sacred  literature comprises a vast body of texts--hundreds of works--that were transmitted both orally and in written form and have been  preserved  principally in four languages:   Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan.

Of the several different Buddhist ways of classifying this material, perhaps the most important is the division into the three "baskets" (Tipitaka) of the vinaya (which deals with monastic discipline), the sutra (which contains discourses attributed to the BUDDHA himself), and the abhidharma (which comprises scholastic elaboration and classifications of the elements of reality). This three-basket division is most evident in the organization of the Theravada Pali Canon, which is said to have been written in the 1st century BC.




The monastic discipline, whose rules and traditions comprise six volumes in printed text. The Buddha's own name for the religion he founded was "this dhamma-vinaya" -- this doctrine and discipline. The essence of the rules for monastics is found in the Patimokkha.

Visakha (also Vesakha, Vesak, Wesak, etc.)

The ancient name for the Indian lunar month in spring corresponding to our April-May. According to tradition, the Buddha's birth, Awakening, and Parinibbana each took place on the full-moon night in the month of Visakha. These events are commemorated on that day in the Visakha festival, which is celebrated annually throughout the world of Theravada Buddhism.


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