The buddha who guards humanity between the departure of the Buddha
Shakyamuni and the appearance of the Buddha Maitreya.
Arhat: Sanskrit for "one who
is worthy," a perfected person, one who has gained insight
into the true nature of existence. In China, Korea, Japan, and Tibet,
arhats are the close disciples of the Buddha who also achieved nirvana.
Ahe bodhisattva of infinite compassion, from the Sanskrit term "the
lord who looks in every direction."
The tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. A pipal
tree or Ficus religiosa, a member of the fig family. It
is believed that a descendant of the original tree is preserved
at Bodh Gaya, India, and in Sri Lanka.
Ta-mo (Chinese) or Daruma (Japanese), an Indian
monk who brought meditational or Ch'an (Zen in Japan) Buddhism
to China. Legend has it that he spent nine years meditating in a
cave, a cut off his eyelids so he wouldn't fall asleep.
A Sanskrit term meaning "one whose essence is enlightenment,"
a being who is destined for enlightenment or who could become a
Buddha, but who puts it off to help others.
Awakened or enlightened being.
Maitreya: A bodhisattva who will come in the future and save
the world from lawlessness. He will be enthroned by Buddha Shakyamuni
as the next Buddha. "Maitreya" means benevolence and friendship.
In China, Maitreya is often depicted as the Laughing Buddha, who
promises prosperity and happiness.
Shakyamuni: The name means "Sage of the Shakyas,"
the clan into which Prince Siddhartha was born in Nepal in the 6th
Dharma: The teachings of the Buddha,
which offer the path to enlightenment.
Earth Touching Gesture: The Buddha
touched the earth and called on it to witness the moment of his
Wisdom, the understanding of the true nature of reality, and compassion
for others; the final release of the soul from the cycle of rebirth.
Also known as Nirvana.
Chinese name for the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
Buddha: The Buddha who lived in the 6th century B.C. in India.
Through existence, there have been countless buddhas, some of which
are also venerated by certain form of Buddhism. Also known as the
Japanese name for the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
Lama: Tibetan for "superior
one" or spiritual leader.
Lohan: A Chinese term for a perfected
person, one who has gained insight into the true nature of existence.
In China, Japan, Korea, and Tibet, arhats are the close disciples
of the Buddha who also achieved nirvana.
Buddhism: A form of Buddhism that stresses universal salvation
and compassion for others rather than the pursuit of individual
A geometric diagram of a perfected world; often including deities,
bodhisattvas, and incarnations of the Buddha.
Manjushri: A bodhisattva associated with wisdom, possibly a disciple
of the historical Buddha.
A powerful or sacred syllable or phrase recited as a form of meditation;
it is often associated with a particular deity.
Meditation: Focused concentration
and emptying of the mind. A tool for understanding the true nature
Mudra: A Sanskrit term meaning "seal,"
"mark," or "gesture." Often hand gestures
that have specific symbolic meanings.
Enlightenment; release from the cycle of rebirth. From the Sanskrit
word for "extinction" or "blowing out."
Path: The essential teachings of the Buddha that help followers
overcome desire and attachment: (1) right view, (2) right thought,
(3) right speech, (4) right action, (5) right living, (6) right
effort, (7) right mindfulness, and (8) right concentration.
Pagoda: A temple that evolved from
the Indian stupa. Found in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.
At the Buddha's death--his final release from the cycle of birth,
death, and rebirth.
Samsara: The endless cycle of birth,
death, and rebirth, to which souls are chained.
Sangha: The community of monks and
nuns as well as the lay community that supports them.
Sanskrit: The language of the earliest
Gautama: The historical Buddha was one of many buddhas who
have become or will be enlightened beings and break the wheel of
birth, death, and rebirth. The name means "Sage of the Shakyas,"
the people into which Prince Siddhartha was born in Nepal in the
6th century B.C. He became known as Gautama when he became a monk.
Stupa: A Buddhist monument housing
relics of the Buddha or other holy figures. The basic form originated
in India as a circular structure, often set on a base. In China,
Japan, and Korea, the multi-tiered pagoda is a form of stupa, and
in many countries, miniature stupas are included on Buddhist altars.
Sutras: Sacred Buddhist texts.
Sauvastika [Sanskrit]: The sauvastika
rotates counter-clockwise and is, like the swastika, a sign for
prosperity and good fortune.
Swastika: From the Sanskrit term
"conducive to well-being," a symbol in Asian art that
often stands for "prosperity" or "good fortune."
The swastika rotates clockwise.
Thangka: Tibetan scroll painting
that shows deities, sacred lands, or mandalas.
Buddhism: Sanskrit for "way of the elders." A form
of Buddhism that stresses monasticism, the sutras, and meditation.
Ushnisha: A bump on the Buddha's
head signifying wisdom; one of the 32 marks of greatness.
Buddhism: Emphasizes the assistance that rituals and sacred
beings such as bodhisattvas and deities can give to help believers
attain enlightenment. Vajra means "diamond" or
"thunderbolt" in Sanskrit, referring to what is eternal
and indestructible in us all.
the Law: The wheel represents the endless cycle of birth,
death, and rebirth or samsara. The Wheel of the Law or daruma
stands for the teachings of Buddha, which provide a path to enlightenment.
Zen Buddhism: From the Sanksrit dhyana
or meditation, a Japanese form of Buddhism that emphasizes meditation,
the relationship between the teacher and student, and the use of
conundrums to induce enlightenment.