Sanskrit word, literally means boundless light and boundless life. He is the Buddha in
the Land of Ultimate Bliss (Pure Land), in which all
beings enjoy unbounded happiness. Amitabha has forty-eight great vows to establish and
adorn his Pure Land. People also recite or call upon his name by the time of dying will be
born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss with the reception by Amitabha. Amitabha is one of the
most popular and well-known Buddha in China, Japan & Viet Nam.
One of the main sutra in Pure Land Sect. It is said to be the only sutra that Shakyamuni
preached without being asked. For the sake of facillitating the living beings to practise
and cultivate the Buddha way. Shakyamuni revealed and taught us of the simplest ways for
liberation and enlightenment -- reciting Amitabha Buddha's name. By reciting the name, one
can hope to be born in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. It is one of the most popular
sutra recited by the Buddhists in China, Japan & Viet Nam.
Sanskrit word meaning unexcelled complete enlightenment, which is an attribute of every
Buddha. It is the highest, correct and complete or universal knowledge or awareness, the
perfect wisdom of a Buddha.
There are two kinds of arhats, namely, the Sound-hearing arhat (Sravaka) (Vn. Thanh
Vaên ) and the Enlightened-to-condition arhat (Praetyka-Buddha) (Vn. Bích Chi) .
The former attains the wisdom to understand the Four Noble
Truth (Vn. Töù Dieäu Ñeá) , while the latter attains the wisdom to
understand the Law of Dependent Origination or the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination (Vn. Thaäp Nhò
Nhaân Duyeân) . They represent two vehicles, who "comprehend for their own
sake". As they pay attention to themselves and not to others, they are incapable of
genuine and equal enlightenment.
There are four noble stages of fruition in the Arhat Path.
Sanskrit word for the Bodhisattva who Hears the
Sounds of the World. He rescues all beings by hearing their voices of suffering and cries
for help. In Chinese, he is called Guan Shr Yin or Guan Yin Bodhisattva. As one of the Four Great Bodhisattva, he is the one with the greatest
compassion and mercy.
Guan Yin is one of the triad of Amitabha Buddha,
represented on his left, and being the future Buddha in the Land of Ultimate Bliss (Pure
Land) after Amitabha Buddha.
Guan Yin can transform into many different forms in order to cross over to the beings.
Guan Yin is one of the most popular Bodhisattva in China.
a Future Buddha who is a being destined to Buddhahood. Bodhi means Enlightenment and
Sattva means Sentient and Conscious. Therefore Bodhisattva refers to the sentient being of
or for the great wisdom and enlightenment. Bodhisattva's vow/aim is the pursuit of
Buddhahood and the salvation of others and of all. He seeks enlightenment to enlighten
others. He will sacrifice himself to save the others. He is devoid of egoism and devoted
to help the others. The way and discipline of Bodhisattva is to benefit the self and the
others, leading to Buddhahood.
or almsgiving, the first Paramita. There are three
kinds of charity in terms of goods, doctrines (Dharma)
and courage (fearlessness). Out of the three, the merits and virtues of doctrines charity
is the most surpassing. Charity done for no reward here and hereafter is called pure or
unsullied, while the sullied charity is done for the purpose of personal benefits. In
Buddhism, the merits and virtues of pure charity is the best.
abstract contemplation. There are four levels through which the mind frees itself from
all subjects and objective hindrances and reaches a state of absolute indifference and
annihilation of thought, perception, and will. See also Meditation.
One of the Six Psychic Power and one of the Five Eyes. Unlimited vision, large and small, distant and
near, the destiny of all beings in future rebirth. It may be obtained by human eyes
through the practice of meditation/Samadhi.
It is one of the most ancient sutra in Buddhism. It is
a record of the quotations of Shakyamuni, which is
comparatively easy to understand. It is so common that it is said to be the
"Bible" of Buddhism. There are 26 chapters consisting of 423
The eight negations of Nagarjuna (Vn. Long Thoï Boà Taùt) , founder of
Madhyamika (Vn. Trung Luaän) , are actually four pairs of neither birth nor death,
neither end nor permanence, neither identity nor difference, neither coming nor going.
This is one of the important concepts of the Middle Way
(Vn. Trung Ñaïo) , the ultimate truth of Buddhism and the reality character of all
(1) Suffering of Birth (Vn. Sanh khoå)
(2) Suffering of Old Age (Vn. Laõo khoå)
(3) Suffering of Sickness (Vn. Beänh khoå)
(4) Suffering of Death (Vn. Töû khoå)
(5) Suffering of being apart from the loved ones (Vn. AÙi bieät ly khoå)
(6) Suffering being together with the despised ones (Vn. Oaùn taêng hoäi khoå)
(7) Suffering of not getting what one wants (Vn. Caàu baát ñaéc khoå)
(8) Suffering of the flouishing of the Five Skandhas (Vn. Nguõ thaïnh aâm khoå)
or the Winds of Eight Directions. Most people are usually moved by the winds of the
(1) Praise (Vn. Xöng)
(2) Ridicule (Vn. Cô, cheâ)
(3) Suffering (Vn. khoå)
(4) Happiness (Vn. Laïc)
(5) Benefit (Vn. Lôïi)
(6) Destruction (Vn. Huûy)
(7) Gain (Vn. Dö)
(8) Loss (Vn. Ai)
the eight right ways for the Arhat leading to Nirvana. The eight are:
(1) Right View (Vn. Chaùnh Kieán)
(2) Right Thought (Vn. Chaùnh Tö Duy)
(3) Right Speech (Vn. Chaùnh Ngöõ)
(4) Right Action (Vn. Chaùnh Nghieäp)
(5) Right Livelihood (Vn. Chaùnh Maïng)
(6) Right Effort (Vn. Chaùnh Tinh Taán)
(7) Right Remembrance (Vn. Chaùnh Nieäm)
(8) Right Concentration (Vn. Chaùnh Ñònh)
The Sanskrit word is Sunya. One of the key concepts in Buddhism. Emptiness is an
abstract idea representing impermanence, unreality, instability, transcience and
relativity in the nature of all existence. The doctrine states that all phenomena and the
ego have no reality, but are composed of a certain number of skandhas or elements, which
disintegrate. The doctrine also states that everything is unstable, possessing no
self-essence or self-nature, i.e., its own existence depdent or caused by the conditions
of others' existence.
Emptiness is not nothing, but it is the condition of existence of everything. It permeates
all phenomena making possible their evolution.
"Enlightenment" sometimes refers to the attainment of Buddhahood, as the
"Enlightened One" means Buddha. If one is enlightened, one has a complete and
perfect understanding of the reality character of everything.
It refers to the time on Earth. The Five Turbidities are
(1) the Kalpa Turbidity (Vn. Kieáp tröôïc)
(2) the View Turbidity(Vn. Kieán tröôïc)
(3) the Affliction Turbidity(Vn. Phieàn naõo tröôïc)
(4) the Living Beings Turbidity(Vn. Chuùng sinh tröôïc)
(5) the Life Turbidity(Vn. Maïng tröôïc)
The first five of Buddha's converts: Ajnata-Kaundinya (Vn. A Nhaõ Kieàu Traàn
Nhö) , Asvajit (Vn. AÙt Beä) , Bhadrika (Vn. Baït Ñeà) ,
Dasabala-Kasyapa (Vn. Thaäp Löïc Ca Dieáp) , and Mahanama-Kulika (Vn. Ma Nam
Caâu Ly) . They were the first five disciples that Shakyamuni
preached when he became Buddha.
The five rebellious acts or deadly sins:
(1) parricide (Vn. Saùt Phuï)
(2) matricide (Vn. Saùt Maãu)
(3) killing an arhat (Vn. haïi A La Haùn)
(4) shedding the blood of a Buddha (Vn. Khôûi aùc yù ñoái vôùi sôû haønh
cuûa Ñöùc Nhö Lai)
(5) destroying the harmony of the sangha, or fraternity. (Vn. Ñaáu loaïn chuùng
All matters are formed and are composed by four conditioned causes :
(1) earth, which is characterized by solidity and durability
(2) water, which is characterized by liquid/fluid and moisture
(3) fire, which is characterized by energy and warmth
(4) wind, which is characterized by gas/air movement
It is the primary and fundamental doctrines of Shakyamuni
Doctrine of Suffering - (Vn. Khoå Ñeá) suffering is a necessary attribute of
sentient existence (Effect of Suffering)
Doctrine of Accumulation - (Vn. Taäp Ñeá) accumulation of suffering is caused
by passions (Cause of Suffering)
Doctrine of Extinction - (Vn. Dieät Ñeá) extinction of passion (Effect of
Doctrine of Path - (Vn. Ñaïo Ñeá) Path leading to the extinction of passion
(Cause of Happiness); i.e. Eightfold Path.
The first two are considered to be related to this life, and the last two to the life
outside and beyond this world.
The Four Noble Truths were first preached to Shakyamuni's five former ascetic companions.
The four standards of Right Dharma which buddhist should rely on or abide by:
(1) to abide by the Dharma, not the person (Vn. Y Phaùp baát y nhaân)
(2) to abide by the sutras of ultimate truth, not the sutras of incomplete truth (Vn. Y
lieãu nghóa kinh, baát y baát höõu nghóa kinh)
(3) to abide by the meaning, not the word (Vn. Y nghóa baát y ngöõ)
(4) to abide by the wisdom, not the consciousness (Vn. Y tri baát y thöùc)
also called Small Vehicle or Liberated Vehicle, which refers to Sravaka and Praetyka-Buddha.
It is a school of Buddhism, popular in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, hence also known as
Southern Buddhism, in contrast with Northern Buddhism or Mahayana,
the form mainly prevalent from Nepal to Japan.
Hinayana is sometimes described as
self-benefiting, and Mahayana as self-benefiting
for the benefit of others. Another difference is that Pali is the general literary
language in Hinayana while Sanskrit of Mahayana.
Hinayana is nearer to the original teaching of the Buddha. For further details, please
refer to Section 3-A A Glimpse in the Scope of Buddhism in Vol. 1 No. 4 of Buddhist
Sanskrit word is Avidya. Literally, it means darkness without illumination. Actually it
refers to illusion without englightenment, i.e., the illusory phenomena for realities.
Avidya is the first or the last of the Twelve Nidanas(Vn.
Thaäp Nhò Nhaân Duyeân). Ignorance, karma and desire are the three forces
that cause reincarnation.
Sanskrit word meaning action, deed, moral duty, effect. Karma is moral action which
causes future retribution, and either good or evil transmigration. It is also moral kernal
in each being which survive death for further rebirth.
it states that all phenomenon arise depending upon a number of casual factors. In other
word, it exists in condition that the other exist; it has in condition that others have;
it extinguishes in condition that others extinguish; it has not in condition that others
have not. For existence, there are twelve links in the chain:
Ignorance is the condition for karmic activity (Vn. Voâ minh);
Karmic activity is the condition for consciousness (Vn. Haønh);
Consciousness is the condition for the name and form (Vn. Thöùc);
Name and form is the condition for the six sense organs (Vn. Danh Saéc);
Six sense organs are the condition for contact (Vn. Luïc Nhaäp);
Contact is the condition for feeling (Vn. Xuùc);
Feeling is the condition for emotional love/craving (Vn. Thoï);
Emotional love/craving is the condition for grasping (Vn. AÙi);
Grasping is the condition for existing (Vn. Thuû);
Existing is the condition for birth (Vn. Höõu);
Birth is the condition for old age and death (Vn. Sanh);
Old age and death is the condition for ignorance (Vn. Töû); and so on.
As one of the Four Great Bodhisattva, he is the one with the greatest wisdom. Manjuri is
said to have: wonderful head, universal head, glossy head, revered head, wonderful virtue
and wonderfully auspicious. Manjuri, the guardian of wisdom, is often placed on the left
of Shakyamuni, while Visvabhadra, the guardian of law, is on the right. Manjuri always
rides on a lion. He is also described as the ninth predecessor or Buddha-ancestor of
Shakyamuni. He is the Chief of the Bodhisattva, and the chief disciple of the Buddha. He
is the object for the pilgrimages visiting the Wu Tai Shan of Shansi Province in China.
The Sanskrit word is Dharani (Vn. Ñaø La Ni, chuù) , i.e. esoteric
incantation. It is a treatise with mystical meaning, and is regarded as every word and
deed of a Bodhisattva. It is one of the most popular
method of cultivation in Buddhism, especially in Shingon or "True Word" sect.
Or Form or Thing. The Sanskrit word is Rupa. It is defined as that which has resistence,
or which changes and disappear, i.e., the phenomenal. There are inner and outer forms
representing the organs and objects of sense respectively.
Rupa is one of the Six Bahya-ayatanna or Six Gunas and
also one of the Five Skandhas.
It denotes the mean between two extremes, particularly between realism and nihilism,
eternal substantial existence and annihilation. This doctrine opposes the rigid categories
of existence and non-existence in the interest of a middle way. This is the utlimate truth
of Buddhism, and the reality character of all Buddha. See also Eight Negations.
Or Nine Grades, Classes of Lotus Flowers, i.e. upper superior, middle superior, lower
superior, upper medium, middle medium, lower medium, upper inferior, middle inferior and
lower inferior, which represent ninefold future life into Pure
Land. The nine grades, or rewards, of the Pure Land, corresponding to the nine grades
of development in the previous life, upon which depends, in the next life, one's distance
from Amitabha, the consequent aeons that are required
to approach Amitabha, and whether one's lotus will open early or late.
It means to cross over from this shore of births and deaths to the other shore which is
The Six Paramita or means of so doings are
(1) dana - charity/giving (Vn. Boá Thí)
(2) sila - moral/conduct/taking precepts (Vn. Trì Giôùi)
(3) ksanti - patience (Vn. Nhaãn Nhuïc)
(4) virya - vigor/devotion/energy (Vn. Tinh Taán)
(5) dhyana - contemplation/meditation (Vn. Thieàn Ñònh)
(6) prajna - wisdom. (Vn. Baùt Nhaõ)
The Ten Paramita are the above plus
(7) upaya - use of expedient or proper means (Vn. Phöông tieän)
(8) pranidhana - vow of bodhi and helpfulness (Vn. Nguyeän)
(9) bala - strength (Vn. Löïc)
(10) intelligence (Vn. Trí)
Childers gives the list of ten as the perfect exercise of
kindness/universal love and
Each of the ten is divided into ordinary, superior and unlimited perfection, making up
to thirty in total.
endurance, the third Paramita. There are groups of
two, three, four, five, six, ten and fourteen, indicating various forms of patience,
equanimity, repression, forbearance, both in mundane and spiritual things. Patience refers
to bearing insult and distress without resentment.
the second stage in Hinayana, the first or initial
being that of Sravaka (Vn. Thinh Vaên) . He is
enlightened to the conditions, i.e. the Law of Dependent
Origination. He seeks enlightenment for himself and understands deeply Nidanas. He
attains his enlightenment alone, independently, or a teacher, and with the object of
attaining Nirvana and his own salvation rather than
that of others.
There are three kinds of Prajna:
(1) Prajna of languages (Vn. Phaät Töôùng Baùt Nhaõ)
(2) Prajna of contemplative illumination (Vn. Quaùn Chieáu Baùt Nhaõ)
(3) prajna of the characteristics of actuality (Vn. Vaên Töï Baùt Nhaõ)
last one is the ultimate wisdom, which is the wisdom of Buddha.
Also see wisdom.
generally refers to the Paradise of the West, presided over by Amitabha. Also known as the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Other
Buddhas have their own Pure Lands. The Pure-Land Sect whose chief tenet is salvation by
faith in Amitabha; it is the popular cult in China and Japan.
This is the Buddha Land of Amitabha Buddha. In Amitabha Sutra, there is full description about this Pure Land. This is the world of utmost joy without
suffering. With the spiritual power of Amitabha Buddha,
all beings in this world will understand Buddhism easily and practise diligently, and
attain enlightenment eventually. Therefore by reciting Amitabha Buddha's name, Buddhist
followers hope that they will be born in this Pure Land
after their lives on earth. See also Nine Stages of Lotus
One of the Four Unlimited Mind. As one of the chief
Buddhist virtues, renunciation leads to a state of "undifferent without pleasure or
pain". It is also an equality in mind with no distinction of self and others.
the fifth of the Eightfold Path; right life, abstaining
from any of the forbidden modes of living. Five kinds of livelihood are discouraged :
trading in animals for slaughter, dealing in weapons, dealing in slaves, dealing in poison
and dealing in intoxicants.
One of the principal disciples of Shakyamuni, noted
for his wisdom and learning. He was also the right-hand attendant on Shakyamuni. He
figures prominently in certain sutras. He is represented as standing with Maudgalyayana
(Vn. Muïc Kieàn Lieân) by the Buddha when
entering Nirvana. He is to reappear as Padmaprabha
Buddha (Vn. Hoa Quang Nhö Lai Phaät).
the founder of Buddhism. He was born as the Prince of Sakyans, and was called Siddhartha
Goutama. At the age of 35, he attained the supreme Enlightenment and became the Buddha and
was the called Shakyamuni. The word means "capability and kindness".
(1) Naraka, i.e. Hell (Vn. Ñòa Nguïc)
(2) Presta, i.e. Hungry Ghost (Vn. Ngaï Quyû)
(3) Tiryagyoni, i.e. Animal (Vn. Suùc Sanh)
(4) Asura, i.e. Malevolent nature spirits (Vn. A Tu La)
(5) Manusya, i.e. Human Existence (Vn. Nhaân gian)
(6) Deva, i.e. Heavenly Existence (Vn. Thieân thöôïng)
or Six External Bases, or Six Dusts. They are sight (Vn. Saéc), sound (Vn.
Thinh), scent/smell (Vn. Höông), taste (Vn. Vò), tangibles/touch
(Vn. Xuùc) and dharma/idea (Vn. Phaùp). They are the qualities produced by
the objects and organs of sense.
(1) the phychic power of the heavenly eye (Vn. Thieân Nhaõn Thoâng)
(2) the psychic power of the heavenly ear (Vn. Thieân Nhó Thoâng)
(3) phychic power with regard to post lives (Vn. Tuùc Maïng Thoâng)
(4) phychic power with regard to the minds (Vn. Tha Taâm Thoâng)
(5) the spiritually based psychic powers (Vn. Thaàn Tuùc Thoâng)
(6) the psychic power of the extinction of outflows (Vn. Laäu Taän Thoâng)
Sanskrit word is Trailokya. It is Buddhist metaphysical equivalence for the triple world
of earth, atmosphere and heaven.
Realm of Sensusous Desire (Sanskrit word is Kamadhatu) (Vn. Duïc Giôùi) of sex
and food. It includes the Six Hevens of Desire, the Human World and the Hells.
Realm of Form (Sanskrit word is Rupaadhatu) (Vn. Saéc Giôùi) of matter which
is substantial and resistant. It includes the Heavens of Four Zen (Sanskrit word is
Realm of Formlessness (Sanskrit word is Arupadhatu) (Vn. Voâ Saéc Giôùi) of
pure spirit, where there are no bodies and matters to which human terms would apply, but
where the mind dwells in mystic contemplation; its extent is indefinable, but it is
conceived of in Four Stages/Places of Emptiness in the immaterial world.
Vimalakirti> (Vn. Duy Ma Caät) , a Sanskrit word, means undefiled and pure
reputation. Vimalakirti was said to be a native of Vaisali, and an upasaka (not a monk) to
assist Shakyamuni to preach and cross over the human
beings. The Sutra is the record of interesting conversation between Vimalakirti and Manjuri Bodhisattva regarding the understanding of One
It is one of the main sutra for Pure Land Sect. The Sutra indicates that the Pure Land of Amitabha
Buddha is one of the Buddha Lands. It also describes how to be born in the Pure Land through the Sixteen
Contemplations. Therefore, the Sutra is also called "Sixteen Contemplations
As one of the Four Great Bodhisattva, he is the one
with the highest conduct. Visvabhadra, also known as Samantabhadra, means universal
worthy. He is the lord of the fundamental law, the dhyana (taking precepts) and the
practice of all Buddhas. Visvabhadra, the guardian of law, is often placed on the right of
Shakyamuni, while Manjuri,
the guardian of wisdom, is the left, He always rides on a white elephant, is the patron of
the Lotus Sutra, and its devotees, and has close connection with Hua-yen Sutra. He has Ten Great King Vows, which give an excellent guideline to
all Buddhists to practise and cultivate the Buddha Way.
the highest of Paramita; the virtue of wisdom as the
principal means of attaining Nirvana. It connotes a
knowledge of the illusory character of everything earthly, and destroys error, ignorance,
prejudice and heresy.