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Glossary of Selected Terms Source: World Archaeology , Vol. 27, No. 2, Buddhist Archaeology (Oct.,

Glossary of Selected Terms Source: World Archaeology, Vol. 27, No. 2, Buddhist Archaeology (Oct., 1995), pp. 183-184 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/125080 Accessed: 08-08-2016 14:31 UTC

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Glossary of selected terms

The earliest Buddhist terminology is recorded in two principal languages: Pali, in which

the texts of Theravada Buddhism have been transmitted in Sri Lanka; and Sanskrit

(abbreviated here as Skt), the scholarly language of Brahman priests of the Hindu

tradition in which many of the Mahayana texts are written. Other languages that have

contributed to the Buddhist vocabulary are Chinese (C.) and Japanese (J.). For a fuller

discussion of terms, see Ling's A Dictionary of Buddhism: Indian and South-East Asian

(1981). Diacritics have been presented here but are omitted from other articles in the

volume.

apsara a flying deity prominent in Buddhist mural paintings.

bhikkhu (Pali) monk. bhikkhuni (Pali) nun.

bodhi (Skt) enlightenment.

bodhisattva (Skt) a being on the verge of enlightenment who turns back to help others on

the path to enlightenment rather than enter nirvana. Avalokitesvara (C. Guanyin

[Kwan-yin], J. Kannon) is one of the most prominent in Mahayana Buddhism, often

represented as a female in China and Japan.

bodhi-tree the tree (Ficus religiosus) under which the historic Buddha gained enlighten-

ment.

brahman (Skt) priestly caste of India; in particular, priests who subscribed to beliefs in Brahma, a god-entity present in every human being. Brahmanism eventually became

know as Hinduism.

buddha(Skt) the 'enlightened one'; in addition to the historic Buddha (Sakyamuni), there

are also Maitreya (buddha of the future), Amitabha [J. Amida] (in the Mahayana school, a buddha presiding over paradise) and Vairocana. The buddha state is

theoretically available to anyone who follows the Buddhist dharma, but in reality, true buddhas are very rare. chaitya a hall of worship, originally containing a sttpa; a stutpa shrine.

cakravartin the Buddhist ideal of a righteous king presiding over this world.

chedi (Thai) a stupa.

deva demi-god.

dharma (Skt) Buddhist doctrine, Buddhist law; 'a scheme of mental training and

discipline leading to salvation' (Ziircher 1962: 17).

dhyana (Skt; C. chan, J. zen) trance or meditation; particularly the progression through

four mental stages.

Hinaydna 'lesser vehicle' or means towards enlightenment through the 'eradication of

desire'.

jftaka stories of the historic Buddha's previous lives, often represented pictorially.

karma (Skt 'action, deed') a Brahman concept incorporated into Buddhism, entailing

the idea that one's actions in this life determine how one will be born in the next; a

system of spiritual credit, which can be enhanced by good deeds.

World Archaeology Vol. 27(2): 183-4 Buddhist Archaeology

? Routledge 1995 0043-8243

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184 Gina L. Barnes

Mahdydna 'greater vehicle' or means towards enlightenment through 'universal

compassion'.

mandala a circular form, here applied in two senses: 1) a geographically concentric

system of political organization; 2) a circular motif in Buddhist art, often incorporating many buddha figures.

mudrd (Skt) meaningful hand gestures of buddha figures.

nigantha naked ascetic.

nirvana (Skt) release from the cycle of rebirth; emancipation from 'desire', which causes

one to keep being reborn into this world. Nirvana can be entered while still alive; upon

death, the enlightened one enters parinirvdna ('total emancipation').

pagoda an English rendition of a Portuguese transliteration of a South Asian word for

stupa; Sanskrit or Sinhalese source words have been suggested (cf. Ling 1981: 154).

sangha (Skt) community of monks, Buddhist order.

stupa (Skt) a monument to house the personal possessions or cremated remains of the

historic Buddha, built on the model of an Indian burial mound.

sutra (Skt 'thread') a Buddhist discourse or scripture; derived from the sermons of

Sakyamuni. Sutra often have at the beginning a formulaic description of where and

when the sermon was first delivered.

thera (Pali) Buddhist elder, senior monk.

Theravada (Pali) a school of Buddhism relying on the 'lesser vehicle' (Hinayana);

survives today in its Sinhalese form, which spread to continental Southeast Asia.

theri (Pali) senior nun.

vajrapdni (Skt) a figure from tantric Buddhism.

vihara (Pali) monastery. wat (Thai) monastery.

yakkha (Pali) spirits or supernatural beings, sometimes represented in Pali texts as

morally neutral, other times as hostile.

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