Outline of Buddhism

Outline of Buddhism
Dharmacakra, symbol of the Dharma, the Buddha's teaching of the path to enlightenment

The following outline is provided as an overview of, and topical guide to, Buddhism:

Buddhism (Pali/Sanskrit: बौद्ध धर्म Bauddha Dharma) — religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha (Pāli/Sanskrit "the awakened one").


The Buddha

Gautama Buddha

Branches of Buddhism

Schools of Buddhism

Timeline: Development and propagation of Buddhist traditions (ca. 450 BCE – ca. 1300 CE)

  450 BCE[1] 250 BCE 100 CE 500 CE 700 CE 800 CE 1200 CE[2]







Early Buddhist schools Mahayana Vajrayana






Sri Lanka &
Southeast Asia

  Theravada Buddhism






Central Asia




Tibetan Buddhism


Silk Road Buddhism


East Asia

  Chán, Tiantai, Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren




  450 BCE 250 BCE 100 CE 500 CE 700 CE 800 CE 1200 CE
  Legend:   = Theravada tradition   = Mahayana traditions   = Vajrayana traditions


Theravada — literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", it is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India. It is relatively conservative, and generally closer to early Buddhism,[3] and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (now about 70% of the population[4]) and most of continental Southeast Asia.


Mahayana — literally the "Great Vehicle", it is the largest school of Buddhism, and originated in India. The term is also used for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice. According to the teachings of Mahāyāna traditions, "Mahāyāna" also refers to the path of seeking complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, also called "Bodhisattvayāna", or the "Bodhisattva Vehicle."[5][6]


The vajra, a distinct symbol of Vajrayana

Early Buddhist schools

Buddhist modernism

Buddhism worldwide

Percentage of formal/practicing Buddhists by the numbers of registered adherents (according to the least estimates).
Percentage of cultural/nominal adherents of combined Buddhism with its related religions (according to the highest estimates).

Buddhist scriptures and texts

Theravada texts

A collection of the Pali canon.

Mahayana texts

The Tripitaka Koreana in storage at Haeinsa.

Vajrayana texts

History of Buddhism

Doctrines of Buddhism

Three Jewels (TiratanaTriratna)

The triratna, a symbol of the Three Jewels
  • Buddha — Gautama Buddha, the Blessed One, the Awakened One, the Teacher
    • Accomplished (arahaṃarhat)
    • Fully enlightened (sammā-sambuddhosamyak-saṃbuddha)
    • Perfect in true knowledge and conduct (vijjā-caraṇa sampannovidyā-caraṇa-saṃpanna)
    • Sublime (sugatosugata)
    • Knower of the world (lokavidūloka-vid)
    • Incomparable leader of persons to be tamed (anuttaro purisa-damma-sārathipuruṣa-damya-sārathi)
    • Teacher of gods and humans (satthā deva-manussānaṃśāsta deva-manuṣyāṇaṃ)
    • The Enlightened One (buddho)
    • The Blessed One (bhagavābhagavat)
  • Dhamma (Dharma) — the cosmic principle of truth, lawfulness, and virtue discovered, fathomed, and taught by the Buddha; the Buddha's teaching as an expression of that principle; the teaching that leads to enlightenment and liberation
    • Well expounded by the Blessed One (svākkhāto bhagavatā dhammosvākhyāta)
    • Directly visible (sandiṭṭhikosāṃdṛṣṭika)
    • Immediate (akālikoakālika)
    • Inviting one to come and see (ehi-passikoehipaśyika)
    • Worthy of application (opanayikoavapraṇayika)
    • To be personally experienced by the wise (paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhipratyātmaṃ veditavyo vijñaiḥ)
  • Saṅgha (Saṃgha) — the spiritual community, which is twofold (1) the monastic Saṅgha, the order of monks and nuns; and (2) the noble Saṅgha, the spiritual community of noble disciples who have reached the stages of world-transcending realization
    • Practicing the good way (supaṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho)
    • Practicing the straight way (ujupaṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho)
    • Practicing the true way (ñāyapaṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho)
    • Practicing the proper way (sāmīcipaṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho)
    • Worthy of gifts (āhuṇeyyo)
    • Worthy of hospitality (pāhuṇeyyo)
    • Worthy of offerings (dakkhiṇeyyo)
    • Worthy of reverential salutation (añjalikaraṇīyo)
    • The unsurpassed field of merit for the world (anuttaraṃ puññākkhettaṃ lokassā)

Four Noble Truths (Cattāri ariyasaccāniCatvāri āryasatyāni)

1. The Noble Truth of Suffering (Dukkha ariya sacca)

2. The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering (Dukkha samudaya ariya sacca)

3. The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering (Dukkha nirodha ariya sacca)

  • Nirvana (NibbānaNirvāṇa) — to be realized (sacchikātabba)
    • Nibbāna element with residue remaining (sa-upādisesa nibbānadhātu)
    • Nibbāna element with no residue remaining (anupādisesa nibbānadhātu) — Parinirvana (parinibbānaparinirvāṇa)

4. The Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering (Dukkha nirodha gāminī paṭipadā ariya sacca)

  • Noble Eightfold Path (Ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggoĀrya 'ṣṭāṅga mārgaḥ) — to be developed (bhāvetabba)
    • Right view
    • Right intention
    • Right speech
    • Right action
    • Right livelihood
    • Right effort
    • Right mindfulness
    • Right concentration

Three Marks of Existence (TilakkhaṇaTrilakṣaṇa)

Five Aggregates (Pañca khandhaPañca-skandha)

Dependent Origination (PaticcasamuppādaPratītyasamutpāda)

Specific Conditionality (Idappaccayatā)

When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.

Imasmiṃ sati, idaṃ hoti.
Imass’ uppādā, idaṃ uppajjati.
Imasmiṃ asati, idaṃ na hoti.
Imassa nirodhā, idhaṃ nirujjhati.

Twelve Links (Nidāna)

Former life
Current life
  • Consciousness (viññāṇavijñāna)
    • Eye-consciousness
    • Ear-consciousness
    • Nose-consciousness
    • Tongue-consciousness
    • Body-consciousness
    • Mind-consciousness
  • Name and form (nāmarūpa)
  • Six sense bases (saḷāyatanaṣaḍāyatana)
    • Eye-base
    • Ear-base
    • Nose-base
    • Tongue-base
    • Body-base
    • Mind-base
  • Contact (phassasparśa)
    • Eye-contact
    • Ear-contact
    • Nose-contact
    • Tongue-contact
    • Body-contact
    • Mind-contact
  • Feeling (vedanā)
    • Feeling born of eye-contact
    • Feeling born of ear-contact
    • Feeling born of nose-contact
    • Feeling born of tongue-contact
    • Feeling born of body-contact
    • Feeling born of mind-contact
  • Craving (taṇhātṛṣṇā)
    • Craving for forms
    • Craving for sounds
    • Craving for odors
    • Craving for flavors
    • Craving for tangibles
    • Craving for mind-objects
  • Clinging (upādāna)
    • Clinging to sensual pleasures (kāmupādāna)
    • Clinging to views (diṭṭhupādāna)
    • Clinging to rituals and observances (sīlabbatupādāna)
    • Clinging to a doctrine of self (attavādupādāna)
  • Becoming (bhava)
    • Sense-sphere becoming
    • Fine-material becoming
    • Immaterial becoming
Future life

Transcendental Dependent Origination

  • Suffering (dukkhaduḥkha)
  • Faith (saddhāśraddhā)
  • Joy (pāmojja)
  • Rapture (pītiprīti)
  • Tranquillity (passaddhi)
  • Happiness (sukha)
  • Concentration (samādhi)
  • Knowledge and vision of things as they really are (yathābhūta-ñāna-dassana)
  • Disenchantment with worldly life (nibbidā)
  • Dispassion (virāga)
  • Freedom (vimutti)
  • Knowledge of destruction of the taints (āsava-khaye-ñāna)

Karma (Kamma)

  • Definition — volitional action, considered particularly as a moral force capable of producing, for the agent, results that correspond to the ethical quality of the action; thus good karma produces happiness, and bad karma produces suffering
  • Result of karma (vipāka)
  • Intention (cetanā)
    • Wholesome intention (kusala)
    • Unwholesome intention (akusala)
  • Three doors of action (kammadvara)
  • Roots (mula)
    • Unwholesome
      • Greed (lobha)
      • Hatred (dosa)
      • Delusion (moha)
    • Wholesome
      • Nongreed (alobha) — renunciation, detachment, generosity
      • Nonhatred (adosa) — loving-kindness, sympathy, gentleness
      • Nondelusion (amoha) — wisdom
  • Courses of action (kammapatha)
    • Unwholesome
      • Bodily
        • Destroying life
        • Taking what is not given
        • Wrong conduct in regard to sense pleasures
      • Verbal
        • False speech
        • Slanderous speech
        • Harsh speech
        • Idle chatter
      • Mental
        • Covetousness
        • Ill will
        • Wrong view
    • Wholesome
      • Bodily
        • Abstaining from destroying life
        • Abstaining from taking what is not given
        • Abstaining from wrong conduct in regard to sense pleasures
      • Verbal
        • Abstaining from false speech
        • Abstaining from slanderous speech
        • Abstaining from harsh speech
        • Abstaining from idle chatter
      • Mental
        • Being free from covetousness
        • Being free from ill will
        • Holding right view
  • Function
    • Reproductive kamma (janaka kamma) — that which produces mental aggregates and material aggregates at the moment of conception
    • Supportive kamma (upatthambhaka kamma) — that which comes near the Reproductive Kamma and supports it
    • Obstructive kamma (upapiḍaka kamma) — that which tends to weaken, interrupt and retard the fruition of the Reproductive Kamma
    • Destructive kamma (upaghātaka kamma) — that which not only obstructs but also destroys the whole force of the Reproductive Kamma
  • Order to take effect
    • Weighty kamma (garuka kamma) — that which produces its results in this life or in the next for certain
    • Proximate kamma (āsanna kamma) — that which one does or remembers immediately before the dying moment
    • Habitual kamma (āciṇṇa kamma) — that which one habitually performs and recollects and for which one has a great liking
    • Reserve kamma (kaṭattā kamma) — refers to all actions that are done once and soon forgotten
  • Time of taking effect
    • Immediately effective kamma (diţţhadhammavedaniya kamma)
    • Subsequently effective kamma (upapajjavedaniya kamma)
    • Indefinitely effective kamma (aṗarāpariyavedaniya kamma)
    • Defunct kamma (ahosi kamma)
  • Place of taking effect
    • Immoral (akusala) kamma pertaining to the sense-sphere (kamavacara)
    • Moral (kusala) kamma pertaining to the sense-sphere (kamavacara)
    • Moral kamma pertaining to the form-sphere (rupavacara)
    • Moral kamma pertaining to the formless-sphere (arupavacara)
  • Niyama Dhammas
    • Utu Niyama — Physical Inorganic Order (seasonal changes and climate), the natural law pertaining to physical objects and changes in the natural environment, such as the weather; the way flowers bloom in the day and fold up at night; the way soil, water and nutrients help a tree to grow; and the way things disintegrate and decompose. This perspective emphasizes the changes brought about by heat or temperature
    • Bīja Niyama — Physical Organic Order (laws of heredity), the natural law pertaining to heredity, which is best described in the adage, “as the seed, so the fruit”
    • Citta Niyama — Order of Mind and Psychic Law (will of mind), the natural law pertaining to the workings of the mind, the process of cognition of sense objects and the mental reactions to them
    • Kamma Niyama — Order of Acts and Results (consequences of one's actions), the natural law pertaining to human behavior, the process of the generation of action and its results. In essence, this is summarized in the words, “good deeds bring good results, bad deeds bring bad results”
    • Dhamma Niyama — Order of the Norm (nature's tendency to produce a perfect type), the natural law governing the relationship and interdependence of all things: the way all things arise, exist and then cease. All conditions are subject to change, are in a state of affliction and are not self: this is the Norm

Rebirth (PunabbhavaPunarbhava)

  • Saṃsāra — Lit., the "wandering," the round of rebirths without discoverable beginning, sustained by ignorance and craving

Buddhist cosmology

The bhavachakra, a symbolic depiction of the six realms.

Sense bases (Āyatana)

Six Great Elements (Dhātu)

Faculties (Indriya)

  • Six sensory faculties
    • Eye/vision faculty (cakkh-undriya)
    • Ear/hearing faculty (sot-indriya)
    • Nose/smell faculty (ghān-indriya)
    • Tongue/taste faculty (jivh-indriya)
    • Body/sensibility faculty (kāy-indriya)
    • Mind faculty (man-indriya)
  • Three physical faculties
  • Five feeling faculties
    • Physical pleasure (sukh-indriya)
    • Physical pain (dukkh-indriya)
    • Mental joy (somanasa-indriya)
    • Mental grief (domanass-indriya)
    • Indifference (upekh-indriya)
  • Five spiritual faculties
    • Faith (saddh-indriya)
    • Energy (viriy-indriya)
    • Mindfulness (sat-indriya)
    • Concentration (samādhi-indriya)
    • Wisdom (paññ-indriya)
  • Three final-knowledge faculties
    • Thinking "I shall know the unknown" (anaññāta-ñassāmīt-indriya)
    • Gnosis (aññ-indriya)
    • One who knows (aññātā-vindriya)

Formations (SaṅkhāraSaṃskāra)

Theravāda abhidhamma

  • Seven universal mental factors common to all; ethically variable mental factors common to all consciousnesses (sabbacittasādhāraṇa cetasikas)
    • Contact (phassa)
    • Feeling (vedanā)
    • Perception (saññā)
    • Volition (cetanā)
    • One-pointedness (ekaggatā)
    • Life Faculty (jīvitindriya)
    • Attention (manasikāra)
  • Six occasional or particular mental factors; ethically variable mental factors found only in certain consciousnesses (pakiṇṇaka cetasikas)
  • Fourteen unwholesome mental factors (akusala cetasikas)
    • Four universal unwholesome mental facrors (akusalasādhāraṇa):
      • Delusion (moha)
      • Lack of shame (ahirika)
      • Disregard for consequence (anottappa)
      • Restlessness (uddhacca)
    • Three mental factors of the greed-group (lobha):
    • Four mental factors of the hatred-group (dosa)
      • Hatred (dosa)
      • Envy (issā)
      • Miserliness (macchariya)
      • Regret (kukkucca)
    • Other unwholesome mental factors
      • Sloth (thīna)
      • Torpor (middha)
      • Doubt (vicikicchā)
  • Twenty-five beautiful mental factors (sobhana cetasikas)
    • Nineteen universal beautiful mental factors (sobhanasādhāraṇa):
      • Faith (saddhā)
      • Mindfulness (sati)
      • Shame at doing evil (hiri)
      • Regard for consequence (ottappa)
      • Lack of greed (alobha)
      • Lack of hatred (adosa)
      • Balance, neutrality of mind (tatramajjhattatā)
      • Tranquillity of mental body (kāyapassaddhi)
      • Tranquillity of consciousness (cittapassaddhi)
      • Lightness of mental body (kāyalahutā)
      • Lightness of consciousness (cittalahutā)
      • Softness/malleability of mental body (kāyamudutā)
      • Softness/malleability of consciousness (cittamudutā)
      • Readiness/wieldiness of mental body (kāyakammaññatā)
      • Readiness/wieldiness of consciousness (cittakammaññatā)
      • Proficiency of mental body (kāyapāguññatā)
      • Proficiency of consciousness (cittapāguññatā)
      • Straightness/rectitude of mental body (kāyujukatā)
      • Straightness/rectitude of consciousness (cittujukatā)
    • Three Abstinences (virati):
      • Right speech (sammāvācā)
      • Right action (sammākammanta)
      • Right livelihood (sammā-ājīva)
    • Two Illimitables (appamañña):
    • One Faculty of wisdom (paññindriya):
      • Wisdom (paññāprajñā)

Sarvāstivāda abhidharma

  • Five universal mental factors (sarvatraga) common to all:
    • Contact (sparśa)
    • Feeling (vedanā)
    • Perception (saṃjñā)
    • Volition (cetanā)
    • Attention (manaskāraḥ)
  • Eleven virtuous (kuśala) mental factors
    • Faith (sraddhā)
    • Shame at doing evil (hrī)
    • Regard for consequence (apatrāpya)
    • Lack of greed (alobha)
    • Lack of hatred (adveṣa)
    • Nonbewilderment (amoha)
    • Effort (vīrya)
    • Pliancy (praśrabdhi)
    • Concienciousness (apramāda)
    • Equanimity (upekṣa)
    • Nonharmfulness (avihiṃsā)
  • Six root mental defilements (mūlakleśa):
    • Desire (raga)
    • Anger (pratigha)
    • Conceit (māna)
    • Ignorance (avidyā)
    • Doubt (vichikitsā)
    • Wrong view (dṛiṣṭi)
  • Twenty secondary defilement (upakleśa):
    • Wrath (krodha)
    • Resentment (upanāha)
    • Concealment (mrakṣa)
    • Spite (pradāsa)
    • Jealousy (īrṣyā)
    • Deceit (matsarya)
    • Dishonesty (śāṭhya)
    • Self-importance (mada)
    • Harmfulness (vihiṃsā)
    • Nonshame (ahrikya)
    • Disregard of consequence (anapatrāpya)
  • Four changeable mental factors (aniyata):
    • Contrition (kaukṛitya)
    • Sleep (middha)
    • Examination (vitarka)
    • Analysis (vicharā)

Mind and Consciousness

  • Citta — Mind, mindset, or state of mind
  • Cetasika — Mental factors
  • Manas — Mind, general thinking faculty
  • Consciousness (viññāṇa)
  • Mindstream (citta-saṃtāna) — the moment-to-moment continuity of consciousness
  • Bhavanga — the most fundamental aspect of mind in Theravada
  • Luminous mind (pabhassara citta)
  • Consciousness-only (vijñapti-mātratā)
  • Eight Consciousnesses (aṣṭavijñāna)
    • Eye-consciousness — seeing apprehended by the visual sense organs
    • Ear-consciousness — hearing apprehended by the auditory sense organs
    • Nose-consciousness — smelling apprehended through the olfactory organs
    • Tongue-consciousness — tasting perceived through the gustatory organs
    • Ideation-consciousness — the aspect of mind known in Sanskrit as the "mind monkey"; the consciousness of ideation
    • Body-consciousness — tactile feeling apprehended through skin contact, touch
    • The manas consciousness — obscuration-consciousness — a consciousness which through apprehension, gathers the hindrances, the poisons, the karmic formations
    • Store-house consciousness (ālāyavijñāna) — the seed consciousness, the consciousness which is the basis of the other seven
  • Conceptual Proliferation (papañcaprapañca) — the deluded conceptualization of the world through the use of ever-expanding language and concepts
  • Monkey mind — unsettled, restless mind

Obstacles to Enlightenment

  • Taints (āsava)
  • Defilements (kilesakleśā)
    • Three poisons
      • Greed (lobha)
      • Hatred (dosa)
      • Delusion (moha)
    • Round of defilements (kilesa-vaṭṭa)
  • Four perversions of view, thought and perception (vipallasa)
    • Taking what is impermanent (aniccaanitya) to be permanent (niccanitya)
    • Taking what is suffering (dukkhaduḥkha) to be happiness (sukha)
    • Taking what is nonself (anattāanātman) to be self (attāātman)
    • Taking what is not beautiful (asubha) to be beautiful (subha)
  • Five hindrances (pañca nīvaraṇā) — the main inner impediments to the development of concentration and insight
    • Sensual desire (kāmacchanda) — craving for pleasure to the senses
    • Ill-will (vyāpāda) — feelings of malice directed toward others
    • Sloth and torpor (thīna-middha) — half-hearted action with little or no concentration
    • Restlessness and remorse (uddhacca-kukkucca) — the inability to calm the mind
    • Doubt (vicikicchā) — lack of conviction or trust
  • Latent tendencies (anusaya)
    • Sensual passion (kāma-rāga)
    • Resistance (patigha)
    • Views (diṭṭhi)
    • Doubt (vicikicchā)
    • Conceit (māna)
    • Craving for continued existence (bhavarāga)
    • Ignorance (avijjāavidyā)
  • Ten Fetters (saṃyojana)
    • Identity view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi) — the view of a truly existent self either as identical with the five aggregates, or as existing in some relation to them
      • Eternity-belief (sassata-diṭṭhi)
      • Annihilation-belief (uccheda-diṭṭhi)
    • Doubt (vicikicchā) — doubt about the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Saṅgha, or the training
    • Wrong grasp of rules and observances (sīlabbata-parāmāsa) — the belief that mere external observances, particularly religious rituals and ascetic practices, can lead to liberation
    • Sensual lust (kāmacchando)
    • Ill will (vyāpādo)
    • Desire for existence in the form realm (rūparāgo)
    • Desire for existence in the formless realm (arūparāgo)
    • Conceit (māno)
    • Restlessness (uddhacca)
    • Ignorance (avijjāavidyā)

Two Kinds of Happiness (Sukha)

  • Bodily happiness (kayasukha)
  • Mental happiness (cittasukha)

Two Kinds of Bhava

  • Kamma Bhava — kammas caused by four Upadanas
  • Upapatti Bhava — rebirth bhava

Two Guardians of the World (Sukka lokapala)

  • Shame at doing evil (hiri)
  • Fear of the results of wrongdoing (ottappa)

Threefold Discrimination

  • "I am better"
  • "I am equal"
  • "I am worse"

Three Standpoints

  • Gratification (assāda)
  • Danger (ādinava)
  • Escape (nissaraṇa)

Three Primary Aims

  • Welfare and happiness directly visible in this present life, attained by fulfilling one's moral commitments and social responsibilities (diṭṭha-dhamma-hitasukha)
  • Welfare and happiness pertaining to the next life, attained by engaging in meritorious deeds (samparāyika-hitasukha)
  • The ultimate good or supreme goal, Nibbāna, final release from the cycle of rebirths, attained by developing the Noble Eightfold Path (paramattha)

Three Divisions of the Dhamma

  • Study (pariyatti)
  • Practice (paṭipatti)
  • Realization (pativedha)

Four Kinds of Nutriment

Four Kinds of Acquisitions (Upadhi)

Eight Worldly Conditions

Truth (SaccaSatya)

Higher Knowledge (AbhiññaAbhijña)

  • Six types of higher knowledges (chalabhiñña)
    • Supernormal powers (iddhi)
      • Multiplying the body into many and into one again
      • Appearing and vanishing at will
      • Passing through solid objects as if space
      • Ability to rise and sink in the ground as if in water
      • Walking on water as if land
      • Flying through the skies
      • Touching anything at any distance (even the moon or sun)
      • Traveling to other worlds (like the world of Brahma) with or without the body
    • Divine ear (dibba-sota), that is, clairaudience
    • Mind-penetrating knowledge (ceto-pariya-ñāa), that is, telepathy
    • Remembering one's former abodes (pubbe-nivāsanussati), that is, recalling one's own past lives
    • Divine eye (dibba-cakkhu), that is, knowing others' karmic destinations
    • Extinction of mental intoxicants (āsavakkhaya), upon which arahantship follows
  • Three knowledges (tevijja)
    • Remembering one's former abodes (pubbe-nivāsanussati)
    • Divine eye (dibba-cakkhu)
    • Extinction of mental intoxicants (āsavakkhaya)

Great fruits of the contemplative life (Maha-Phala)

  • Equanimity (upekkha)
  • Fearlessness (nibbhaya)
  • Freedom from unhappiness & suffering (asukhacaadukkha)
  • Meditative Absorption (samādhi)
  • Out-of-body experience (manomaya)
  • Clairaudience (dibba-sota)
  • Intuition and mental telepathy (ceto-pariya-ñána)
  • Recollection of past lives (patisandhi)
  • Clairvoyance (dibba-cakkhu)
  • The Ending of Mental Fermentations (samatha)

Concepts unique to Mahayana and Vajrayana

White A - Symbol Dzogchen

Other concepts

Buddhist practices

Buddhist devotion

Buddhists making offerings at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Moral discipline and precepts (SīlaŚīla)

  • Five Precepts (pañca-sīlānipañca-śīlāni)
  • Eight Precepts (aṭṭhasīla)
    • Abstaining from taking life (both human and non-human)
    • Abstaining from taking what is not given (stealing)
    • Abstaining from all sexual activity
    • Abstaining from telling lies
    • Abstaining from using intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness
    • Abstaining from eating at the wrong time (the right time is eating once, after sunrise, before noon)
    • Abstaining from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume, and using cosmetics and garlands (decorative accessories)
    • Abstaining from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping
  • Ten Precepts (dasasīla)
    • Abstaining from killing living things
    • Abstaining from stealing
    • Abstaining from un-chastity (sensuality, sexuality, lust)
    • Abstaining from lying
    • Abstaining from taking intoxicants
    • Abstaining from taking food at inappropriate times (after noon)
    • Abstaining from singing, dancing, playing music or attending entertainment programs (performances)
    • Abstaining from wearing perfume, cosmetics and garland (decorative accessories)
    • Abstaining from sitting on high chairs and sleeping on luxurious, soft beds
    • Abstaining from accepting money
  • Sixteen Precepts
    • Three Treasures
      • Taking refuge in the Buddha
      • Taking refuge in the Dharma
      • Taking refuge in the Sangha
    • Three Pure Precepts
      • Not Creating Evil
      • Practicing Good
      • Actualizing Good For Others
    • Ten Grave Precepts
      • Affirm life; Do not kill
      • Be giving; Do not steal
      • Honor the body; Do not misuse sexuality
      • Manifest truth; Do not lie
      • Proceed clearly; Do not cloud the mind
      • See the perfection; Do not speak of others errors and faults
      • Realize self and other as one; Do not elevate the self and blame others
      • Give generously; Do not be withholding
      • Actualize harmony; Do not be angry
      • Experience the intimacy of things; Do not defile the Three Treasures
  • Vinaya
    • Pātimokkha (Pratimoksha) — the code of monastic rules binding on members of the Buddhist monastic order
      • Parajika (defeats) — four rules entailing expulsion from the sangha for life
        • Sexual intercourse, that is, any voluntary sexual interaction between a bhikkhu and a living being, except for mouth-to-mouth intercourse which falls under the sanghadisesa
        • Stealing, that is, the robbery of anything worth more than 1/24 troy ounce of gold (as determined by local law.)
        • Intentionally bringing about the death of a human being, even if it is still an embryo — whether by killing the person, arranging for an assassin to kill the person, inciting the person to die, or describing the advantages of death
        • Deliberately lying to another person that one has attained a superior human state, such as claiming to be an arahant when one knows one is not, or claiming to have attained one of the jhanas when one knows one hasn't
      • Sanghadisesa — thirteen rules requiring an initial and subsequent meeting of the sangha (communal meetings)
      • Aniyata — two indefinite rules where a monk is accused of having committed an offence with a woman in a screened (enclosed) or private place by a lay person
      • Nissaggiya pacittiya — thirty rules entailing "confession with forfeiture"
      • Pacittiya — ninety-two rules entailing confession
      • Patidesaniya — four violations which must be verbally acknowledged
      • Sekhiyavatta — seventy-five rules of training, which are mainly about the deportment of a monk
        • Sāruppa — proper behavior
        • Bhojanapatisamyutta — food
        • Dhammadesanāpatisamyutta — teaching dhamma
        • Pakinnaka — miscellaneous
      • Adhikarana-samatha — seven rules for settlement of legal processes that concern monks only
  • Bodhisattva vows
  • Samaya — a set of vows or precepts given to initiates of an esoteric Vajrayana Buddhist order
  • Ascetic practices (dhutanga) — a group of thirteen austerities, or ascetic practices, most commonly observed by Forest Monastics of the Theravada Tradition of Buddhism

Three Resolutions

  • To abstain from all evil (sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ)
  • To cultivate the good (kusalassa upasampadā)
  • To purify one's mind (sacittapariyodapanaṃ)

Three Pillars of Dhamma

Threefold Training (Sikkhā)

  • The training in the higher moral discipline (adhisīla-sikkhā) — morality (sīlaśīla)
  • The training in the higher mind (adhicitta-sikkhā) — concentration (samādhi)
  • The training in the higher wisdom (adhipaññā-sikkhā) — wisdom (paññāprajñā)

Five Qualities

Five Powers of a Trainee

  • Faith (saddhāśraddhā)
  • Conscience (hiri) — an innate sense of shame over moral transgression
  • Concern (ottappa) — moral dread, fear of the results of wrongdoing
  • Energy (viriyavīrya)
  • Wisdom (paññāprajñā)

Five Things that lead to Awakening

Five Subjects for Contemplation

  • I am subject to ageing, I am not exempt from ageing
  • I am subject to illness, I am not exempt from illness
  • I am subject to death, I am not exempt from death
  • There will be change and separation from all that I hold dear and near to me
  • I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, I am born of my actions, I am related to my actions and I have my actions as refuge; whatever I do, good or evil, of that I will be the heir

Gradual training (Anupubbikathā)

Seven Good Qualities (Satta saddhammā)

  • Faith (saddhāśraddhā)
  • Conscience (hiri)
  • Moral dread (ottappa)
  • Learning (suta)
  • Energy (viriyavīrya)
  • Mindfulness (satismṛti)
  • Wisdom (paññāprajñā)

Ten Meritorious Deeds (Punnakiriya vatthu)

  • Generosity (dāna)
  • Morality (sīlaśīla)
  • Meditation (bhāvanā)
  • Paying due respect to those who are worthy of it (apacayana)
  • Helping others perform good deeds (veyyavacca)
  • Sharing of merit after doing some good deed (anumodana)
  • Rejoicing in the merits of others (pattanumodana)
  • Teaching the Dhamma (dhammadesana)
  • Listening to the Dhamma (dhammassavana)
  • Straightening one's own views

Perfections (PāramīPāramitā)

Ten Theravada Pāramīs (Dasa pāramiyo)

Six Mahayana Pāramitās

States Pertaining to Enlightenment (BodhipakkhiyādhammāBodhipakṣa dharma)

Four Foundations of Mindfulness (Cattāro satipaṭṭhānāSmṛtyupasthāna)

  • Contemplation of the body (kāyagatāsatikāyasmṛti)
    • Mindfulness of breathing (ānāpānasatiānāpānasmṛti)
      • Contemplation of the body (kāyanupassana) — first tetrad
        • Breathing a long breath
        • Breathing a short breath
        • Experiencing the whole (breath-) body (awareness of the beginning, middle, and end of the breath)
        • Tranquilizing the bodily formation
      • Contemplation of feelings (vedanānupassana) — second tetrad
        • Experiencing rapture
        • Experiencing bliss
        • Experiencing the mental formation
        • Tranquilizing the mental formation
      • Contemplation of the mind (cittanupassana) — third tetrad
        • Experiencing the mind
        • Gladdening the mind
        • Concentrating the mind
        • Liberating the mind
      • Contemplation of Dhammas (dhammānupassana) — fourth tetrad
        • Contemplating impermanence (aniccānupassī)
        • Contemplating fading away (virāgānupassī)
        • Contemplating cessation (nirodhānupassī)
        • Contemplating relinquishment (paṭinissaggānupassī)
    • Postures
    • Clear comprehension (sampajaññasamprajaña)
      • Clear comprehension of the purpose of one's action (sātthaka)
      • Clear comprehension of the suitability of one's means to the achievement of one's purpose (sappāya)
      • Clear comprehension of the domain, that is, not abandoning the subject of meditation during one's daily routine (gocara)
      • Clear comprehension of reality, the awareness that behind one's activities there is no abiding self (asammoha)
    • Reflections on repulsiveness of the body, meditation on the thirty-two body parts (patikulamanasikara)
    • Reflections on the material elements (mahābhūta)
    • Cemetery contemplations (asubha)
      • Swollen or bloated corpse
      • Corpse brownish black or purplish blue with decay
      • Festering or suppurated corpse
      • Corpse splattered half or fissured from decay
      • Corpse gnawed by animals such as wild dogs and foxes
      • Corpse scattered in parts, hands, legs, head and body being dispersed
      • Corpse cut and thrown away in parts after killing
      • Bleeding corpse, i.e. with red blood oozing out
      • Corpse infested with and eaten by worms
      • Remains of a corpse in a heap of bones, i.e. skeleton
  • Contemplation of feelings (vedanāsativedanāsmṛti)
    • Pleasant feeling
      • Worldly pleasant feeling
      • Spiritual pleasant feeling
    • Painful feeling
      • Worldly painful feeling
      • Spiritual painful feeling
    • Neither-pleasant-nor-painful (neutral) feeling
      • Worldly neutral feeling
      • Spiritual neutral feeling
  • Contemplation of consciousness (cittasaticittasmṛti)
    • With lust (sarāga) or without lust (vītarāga)
    • With hate (sadosa) or without hate (vītadosa)
    • With delusion (samoha) or without delusion (vītamoha)
    • Contracted (sakhitta) or scattered (vikkhitta)
    • Lofty (mahaggata) or not lofty (amahaggata)
    • Surpassable (sa-uttara) or unsurpassed (anuttara)
    • Quieted (samāhita) or not quieted (asamāhita)
    • Released (vimutta) or not released (avimutta)
  • Contemplation of mental objects (dhammāsatidharmasmṛti)

Four Right Exertions (Cattārimāni sammappadhānāniSamyak-pradhāna)

  • Exertion for the non-arising (anuppādāya) of unskillful states
  • Exertion for the abandoning (pahānāya) of unskillful states
  • Exertion for the arising (uppādāya) of skillful states
  • Exertion for the sustaining (ṭhitiyā) of skillful states

Four Bases for Spiritual Power (IddhipādaṚddhipāda)

  • Concentration due to desire (chanda)
  • Concentration due to energy (viriyavīrya)
  • Concentration due to mind (citta)
  • Concentration due to investigation (vīmaṃsā)

Five Spiritual Faculties (Pañca indriya)

Five Strengths (Pañca bala)

  • Faith (saddhāśraddhā) — controls doubt
  • Energy (viriyavīrya) — controls laziness
  • Mindfulness (satismṛti) — controls heedlessness
  • Concentration (samādhi) — controls distraction
  • Wisdom (paññāprajñā) — controls ignorance

Seven Factors of Enlightenment (Satta sambojjhaṅgāSapta bodhyanga)

  • Mindfulness (satismṛti)

Noble Eightfold Path (Ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggoĀrya 'ṣṭāṅga mārgaḥ)

Wisdom (Paññākkhandha)
Dharmachakra, symbol of the Noble Eightfold Path, the Buddha's teaching of the path to enlightenment
Moral discipline (Sīlakkhandha)
  • Right speech (sammā-vācāsamyag-vāc)
    • Abstaining from false speech (musāvāda veramaṇī)
    • Abstaining from slanderous speech (pisunaya vacaya veramaṇī)
    • Abstaining from harsh speech (pharusaya vacaya veramaṇī)
    • Abstaining from idle chatter (samphappalāpa veramaṇī)
  • Right action (sammā-kammantasamyak-karmānta)
  • Right livelihood (sammā-ājīvasamyag-ājīva)
    • Abstaining from dealing in weapons
    • Abstaining from dealing in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter as well as slave trade and prostitution)
    • Abstaining from dealing in meat production and butchery
    • Abstaining from dealing in poisons
    • Abstaining from dealing in intoxicants
    • Abstaining from deceit
    • Abstaining from treachery
    • Abstaining from soothsaying
    • Abstaining from trickery
    • Abstaining from usury
Concentration (Samādhikkhandha)
  • Right effort (sammā-vāyāmasamyag-vyāyāma)
    • The effort to prevent the arising of unarisen unwholesome states (samvarappadhana)
      • Wise attention (yoniso manasikara)
      • Restraint of the sense faculties (indriya-samvara)
    • The effort to abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen (pahanappadhana)
    • The effort to arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen (bhavanappadhana)
    • The effort to maintain and perfect wholesome states already arisen (anurakkhanappadhana)
  • Right mindfulness (sammā-satisamyak-smṛti)
  • Right concentration (sammā-samādhisamyak-samādhi)
    • Four jhānas
      • First jhāna (pathamajjhana)
      • Second jhāna (dutiyajjhana)
      • Third jhāna (tatiyajjhana)
      • Fourth jhāna (catutthajjhana)
Acquired factors

Buddhist meditation

Theravada meditation practices

Serenity (SamathaŚamatha)
A Buddhist monk meditating
  • Place of work (kammaṭṭhāna)
    • Ten Kasinas
      • Earth kasina (pathavikasinam)
      • Water kasina (apokasinam)
      • Fire kasina (tejokasinam)
      • Wind kasina (vayokasinam)
      • Brownish or deep purplish blue kasina (nilakasinam)
      • Yellow kasina (pitakasinam)
      • Red kasina (lohitakasinam)
      • White kasina (odatakasinam)
      • Light kasina (alokakasinam)
      • Open air-space, sky kasina (akasakasinam)
    • Ten reflections on repulsiveness (asubas)
      • A swollen or bloated corpse (uddhumatakam)
      • A corpse brownish black or purplish blue with decay (vinilakam)
      • A festering or suppurated corpse (vipubbakam)
      • A corpse splattered half or fissured from decay (vicchiddakam)
      • A corpse gnawed by animals such as wild dogs and foxes (vikkhayittakam)
      • A corpse scattered in parts, hands, legs, head and body being dispersed (vikkhitakam)
      • A corpse cut and thrown away in parts after killing (hatavikkhittakam)
      • A bleeding corpse, i.e. with red blood oozing out (lohitakam)
      • A corpse infested with and eaten by worms (puluvakam)
      • Remains of a corpse in a heap of bones, i.e. skeleton (atthikam)
    • Ten Recollections (anussatianusmriti)
      • Buddhānussati (Buddhanusmrti) — Recollection of the Buddha — fixing the mind with attentiveness and reflecting repeatedly on the glorious virtues and attributes of Buddha
      • Dhammānussati (Dharmanusmrti) — Recollection of the Dhamma — reflecting with serious attentiveness repeatedly on the virtues and qualities of Buddha's teachings and his doctrine
      • Saṅghānussati (Sanghanusmrti) — Recollection of the Saṅgha — fixing the mind strongly and repeatedly upon the rare attributes and sanctity of the Sangha
      • Sīlānussati — Recollection of virtue — reflecting seriously and repeatedly on the purification of one's own morality or sīla
      • Cāgānussati — Recollection of generosity — reflecting repeatedly on the mind's purity in the noble act of one's own dāna, charitableness and liberality
      • Devatānussati — Recollection of deities — reflecting with serious and repeated attention on one's own complete possession of the qualities of absolute faith (saddhā), morality (sīla), learning (suta), liberality (cāga) and wisdom (paññā) just as the devas have, to enable one to be reborn in the world of devas
      • Maraṇānussati — Mindfulness of death — reflecting repeatedly on the inevitability of death
      • Kāyagatāsati — Mindfulness of the body — reflecting earnestly and repeatedly on the impurity of the body which is composed of the detestable 32 constituents such as hair, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, etc.
      • Ānāpānasati — Mindfulness of breathing — repeated reflection on the inhaled and exhaled breath
      • Upasamānussati — Recollection of peace — reflecting repeatedly with serious attentiveness on the supreme spiritual blissful state of Nirvana
    • Four Divine Abidings (brahmavihāra)
    • Four formless jhānas (arūpajhāna)
      • Base of the infinity of space (ākāsānañcāyatana)
      • Base of the infinity of consciousness (viññāṇañcāyatana)
      • Base of nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatana)
      • Base of neither-perception-nor-nonperception (nevasaññānāsaññāyatana)
    • Perception of disgust of food (aharepatikulasanna)
    • Four Great Elements (mahābhūta)
Concentration (Samādhi)
  • Sign (nimitta)
    • Learning sign (uggahanimitta)
    • Counterpart sign (paṭibhāganimitta)
  • Momentary concentration (khaṇikasamādhi)
  • Preliminary concentration (parikammasamādhi)
  • Neighbourhood concentration (upacārasamādhi)
  • Nine attainments (samāpatti)
    • Attainment concentration (appanāsamādhi)
    • Cessation of perception and feeling (nirodha-samāpatti)
Insight meditation (VipassanāVipaśyanā)
  • Insight knowledge (vipassanā-ñāṇa)
    • Vipassana jhanas
    • Eighteen kinds of insight
      • Contemplation on impermanence (aniccanupassana) overcomes the wrong idea of permanence
      • Contemplation on unsatisfactoriness (dukkhanupassana) overcomes the wrong idea of real happiness
      • Contemplation on non-self (anattanupassana) overcomes the wrong idea of self
      • Contemplation on turning away (nibbidanupassana) overcomes affection
      • Contemplation on detachment (viraganupassana) overcomes greed
      • Contemplation on cessation (nirodhanupassana) overcomes the arising
      • Contemplation on giving up (patinissagganupassana) overcomes attachment
      • Contemplation on dissolution (khayanupassana) overcomes the wrong idea of something compact
      • Contemplation on disappearance (vayanupassana) overcomes kamma-accumulation
      • Contemplation on changeablenes (viparinamanupassana) overcomes the wrong idea of something immutable
      • Contemplation on the signless (animittanupassana) overcomes the conditions of rebirth
      • Contemplation on the desireless (appanihitanupassana) overcomes longing
      • Contemplation on emptiness (suññatanupassana) overcomes clinging
      • Higher wisdom and insight (adhipaññadhamma vipassana) overcomes the wrong idea of something substantial
      • True eye of knowledge (yathabhuta ñanadassana) overcomes clinging to delusion
      • Contemplation on misery (adinavanupassana) overcomes clinging to desire
      • Reflecting contemplation (patisankhanupassana) overcomes thoughtlessness
      • Contemplation on the standstill of existence (vivattanupassana) overcomes being entangled in fetters
    • Sixteen Stages of Vipassanā Knowledge
      • Knowledge to distinguish mental and physical states (namarupa pariccheda ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge of the cause-and-effect relationship between mental and physical states (paccaya pariggaha ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge of mental and physical processes as impermanent, unsatisfactory and nonself (sammasana ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge of arising and passing away (udayabbaya ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge of the dissolution of formations (bhanga ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge of the fearful nature of mental and physical states (bhaya ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge of mental and physical states as unsatisfactory (adinava ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge of disenchantment (nibbida ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge of the desire to abandon the worldly state (muncitukamayata ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge which investigates the path to deliverance and instills a decision to practice further (patisankha ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge which regards mental and physical states with equanimity (sankharupekha ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge which conforms to the Four Noble Truths (anuloma ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge of deliverance from the worldly condition (gotrabhu ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge by which defilements are abandoned and are overcome by destruction (magga ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge which realizes the fruit of the path and has nibbana as object (phala ñāṇa)
      • Knowledge which reviews the defilements still remaining (paccavekkhana ñāṇa)

Zen meditation practices

  • Zazen
    • Concentration
    • Kōan — a story, dialogue, question, or statement in Zen, containing aspects that are inaccessible to rational understanding, yet may be accessible to intuition
    • Shikantaza — just sitting

Vajrayana meditation practices

Other practices

  • AhimsaNon-violence
  • Appamada — Heedfulness
  • Chöd — advanced spiritual practice and discipline arising from confluences of Bonpo, Mahasidda, Nyingmapa traditions and now practiced throughout the schools of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Merit
  • Paritta — Protection
  • Samvega and pasada
  • Simran

Attainment of Enlightenment


  • Nirvana (NibbānaNirvāṇa) — the final goal of the Buddha's teaching; the unconditioned state beyond the round of rebirths, to be attained by the destruction of the defilements; Full Enlightenment or Awakening, the complete cessation of suffering
    • Parinirvana (ParinibbānaParinirvāṇa) — final passing away of an enlightened person
  • Bodhi — the awakening experience attained by the Buddha and his accomplished disciples referring to the unique consciousness of a fully liberated yogi
  • Types of Buddha
    • Sammāsambuddha (Samyak-saṃbuddha) — one who, by his own efforts, attains Nirvana, having rediscovered the Noble Eightfold Path after it has been lost to humanity, and makes this Path known to others
    • Paccekabuddha (Pratyekabuddha) — "a lone Buddha", a self-awakened Buddha, but one who lacks the ability to spread the Dhamma to others
    • Sāvakabuddha (Śrāvakabuddha) — enlightened 'disciple of a Buddha'


  • Four stages of enlightenment (see also: Ariya-puggala — Noble Ones)
    • Sotāpanna — Stream-enterer (first stage of enlightenment) — one who has "opened the eye of the Dhamma", and is guaranteed enlightenment after no more than seven successive rebirths, having eradicated the first three fetters
      • The four factors leading to stream-entry
        • Association with superior persons
        • Hearing the true Dhamma
        • Careful attention
        • Practice in accordance with the Dhamma
      • The four factors of a stream-enterer
        • Possessing confirmed confidence in the Buddha
        • Possessing confirmed confidence in the Dhamma
        • Possessing confirmed confidence in the Sangha
        • Possessing moral virtues dear to the noble ones
    • Sakadagami — Once-returner (second stage of enlightenment) — will be reborn into the human world once more, before attaining enlightenment, having eradicated the first three fetters and attenuated greed, hatred, and delusion
    • Anāgāmi — Non-returner (third stage of enlightenment) — does not come back into human existence, or any lower world, after death, but is reborn in the "Pure Abodes", where he will attain Nirvāṇa, having eradicated the first five fetters
    • Arahant — "Worthy One", (see also: Arhat), a fully enlightened human being who has abandoned all ten fetters, and who upon decease (Parinibbāna) will not be reborn in any world, having wholly abandoned saṃsāra


  • Bodhisattva — one who has generated bodhicitta, the spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood


  • Satori — a Japanese Buddhist term for "enlightenment", which translates as a flash of sudden awareness, or individual enlightenment
  • Kensho — "Seeing one's nature"

Buddhist monasticism and laity

Buddhist monks on daily alms round.
  • Disciple (sāvakaśrāvaka)
  • Male lay follower (upāsaka) and Female lay follower (upāsikā)
    • Householder
    • Dhammacārī — lay devotees who have seriously committed themselves to Buddhist practice for several years
    • Anāgārika — lay attendant of a monk
    • Jisha — personal attendant of a monastery's abbot or teacher in Zen Buddhism
    • Ngagpa — non-monastic male practitioners of such disciplines as Vajrayana, shamanism, Tibetan medicine, Tantra and Dzogchen
    • Thilashin — Burmese Buddhist female lay renunciant
    • Mae ji — Buddhist laywomen in Thailand occupying a position somewhere between that of an ordinary lay follower and an ordained monk
  • Lower ordination (pabbajjapravrajya)
  • Higher ordination (upasampadā)
    • Monk (bhikkhubhikṣu)
    • Nun (bhikkhunībhikṣuṇī)
  • Titles for Buddhist teachers
    • General
      • Acariya (Ācārya) — teacher
      • Upajjhaya (Upādhyāya) — preceptor
      • Pandita — a learned master, scholar or professor in Buddhist philosophy
      • BhanteVenerable Sir
    • in Theravada
      • in Southeast Asia
        • Ayya — commonly used as a veneration in addressing or referring to an ordained Buddhist nun
      • in Thailand
        • Ajahn — Thai term which translates as teacher
        • Luang Por — means "venerable father" and is used as a title for respected senior Buddhist monastics
      • in Burma
        • Sayādaw — a Burmese senior monk of a monastery
    • in Japan
      • Ajari — a Japanese term that is used in various schools of Buddhism in Japan, specifically Tendai and Shingon, in reference to a "senior monk who teaches students
      • Oshō — high-ranking or highly virtuous Buddhist monk; respectful designation for Buddhist monks in general
    • in Zen
      • in Japan
        • Kaisan — founder of a school of Buddhism or the founding abbot of a Zen monastery
        • Roshi — a Japanese honorific title used in Zen Buddhism that literally means "old teacher" or "elder master" and usually denotes the person who gives spiritual guidance to a Zen sangha
        • Sensei — ordained teacher below the rank of roshi
        • Zen master — individual who teaches Zen Buddhism to others
      • in Korea
        • Sunim — Korean title for a Buddhist monk or Buddhist nun
    • in Tibetan Buddhism
      • Geshe — Tibetan Buddhist academic degree for monks
      • Guru
      • Khenpo — academic degree similar to that of a doctorate or Geshe. Khenpo's often are made abbots of centers and monasteries
      • Khenchen — academic degree similar in depth to post doctorate work. Senior most scholars often manage many Khenpos
      • Lama — Tibetan teacher of the Dharma
      • Rinpoche — an honorific which literally means "precious one"
      • Tulku — an enlightened Tibetan Buddhist lama who has, through phowa and siddhi, consciously determined to take birth, often many times, in order to continue his or her Bodhisattva vow

Major figures of Buddhism


  • Gautama Buddha — The Buddha, Siddhattha Gotama (Pali), Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit), Śākyamuni (Sage of the Sakya clan), The Awakened One, The Enlightened One, The Blessed One, Tathāgata (Thus Come One, Thus Gone One)

Buddha's disciples and early Buddhists

Chief Disciples

  • Sāriputta — Chief disciple, "General of the Dhamma", foremost in wisdom
  • Mahamoggallāna — Second chief disciple, foremost in psychic powers

Great Disciples

Ānanda reciting the Suttapitaka at the First Buddhist Council



First five disciples of the Buddha

  • Kondañña — the first Arahant
  • Assaji — converted Sāriputta and Mahamoggallāna
  • Bhaddiya
  • Vappa
  • Mahanama

Two seven-year-old Arahants

  • Samanera Sumana
  • Samanera Pandita

Other disciples

Later Indian Buddhists (after Buddha)

Indo-Greek Buddhists

Chinese Buddhists

Tibetan Buddhists

The 14th Dalai Lama, a renowned Tibetan Buddhist monk.

Japanese Buddhists

Vietnamese Buddhists

Burmese Buddhists

Thai Buddhists

Sri Lankan Buddhists

American Buddhists

Brazilian Buddhists

  • Lama Padma Samten
  • Coen Sensei

British Buddhists

German Buddhists

Irish Buddhists

  • U Dhammaloka

Buddhist philosophy

Golden statue of Nagarjuna at Samye Ling Monastery.

Buddhist culture

Vesak celebration in Singapore.
The Ushiku Daibutsu, depicting Amitabha Buddha
Imitation currency burned for ancestors, during the Ghost Festival
Tibetan monks creating a sand mandala.
Mala, Buddhist prayer beads.

Buddhist pilgrimage

Mahabodhi Temple in India, a common site of pilgrimage.

Comparative Buddhism

From a 12th century Greek manuscript: Saint Josaphat preaches the Gospel.

Other topics related to Buddhism


See also


  1. ^ Cousins, L.S. (1996); Buswell (2003), Vol. I, p. 82; and, Keown & Prebish (2004), p. 107. See also, Gombrich (1988/2002), p. 32: “…[T]he best we can say is that [the Buddha] was probably Enlightened between 550 and 450, more likely later rather than earlier."
  2. ^ Williams (2000, pp. 6-7) writes: "As a matter of fact Buddhism in mainland India itself had all but ceased to exist by the thirteenth century CE, although by that time it had spread to Tibet, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia." Embree et al. (1958/1988), "Chronology," p. xxix: "c. 1000-1200: Buddhism disappears as [an] organized religious force in India." See also, Robinson & Johnson (1970/1982), pp. 100-1, 108 Fig. 1; and, Harvey (1990/2007), pp. 139-40.
  3. ^ Gethin, Rupert. The Foundations of Buddhism, p1. Oxford University Press, 1998.
  4. ^ "The World Factbook: Sri Lanka". CIA World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ce.html. Retrieved 2006-08-12. .
  5. ^ Keown, Damien (2003), A Dictionary of Buddhism: p. 38
  6. ^ "The Mahayana, 'Great Vehicle' or 'Great Carriage' (for carrying all beings to nirvana), is also, and perhaps more correctly and accurately, known as the Bodhisattvayana, the bodhisattva's vehicle." - Warder, A.K. (3rd edn. 1999). Indian Buddhism: p.338

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