Outline of Buddhism

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Buddhism (बौद्ध धर्म Buddha Dharma) is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha, “the awakened one”.

The following Outline of Buddhism is provided as an overview of, and topical guide to, Buddhism. See What is Buddhism?

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The Buddha

Common concepts in Indian religions

Indian Religions

The Buddha

Gautama Buddha

Branches of Buddhism

Branches of Buddhism

Branches of Buddhism

Schools of Buddhism

Schools of Buddhism


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, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (now about 70% of the population) 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, “Mahayana” also refers to the path of seeking complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, also called “Bodhisattvayāna”, or the “Bodhisattva Vehicle.”




Navayana (India; also called Neo-Buddhism or Ambedkarite Buddhism)

Early Buddhist schools

Early Buddhist schools


Buddhist modernism

Buddhist Modernism

Buddhism worldwide

Buddhist scriptures and texts

Theravada texts

Pali Literature

Mahayana texts

Vajrayana texts

Deity Yoga

Mallas defending the city of Kusinagara, as depicted at Sanchi.

Mallas defending the city of Kusinagara, as depicted at Sanchi. The leader of the Mallas, under siege, by the seven kings, during the War of the Relics, which were objects associated with the Buddha. The Mallas were an ancient Indian republic (Gaṇa sangha) that constituted one of the solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (great realms) of ancient India as mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya.

History of Buddhism

History of Buddhism

Doctrines of Buddhism

Main article: Glossary of Buddhism

Three Jewels (Tiratana • Triratna)

Three Jewels

  • Buddha — Gautama Buddha, the Blessed One, the Awakened One, the Teacher
    • Accomplished (arahaṃarhat)
    • Fully enlightened (sammā-sambuddho • samyak-saṃbuddha)
    • Perfect in true knowledge and conduct (vijjā-caraṇa sampanno • vidyā-caraṇa-saṃpanna)
    • Sublime (sugato • sugata)
    • Knower of the worlds (lokavidū • loka-vid)
    • Incomparable leader of persons to be tamed (anuttaro purisa-damma-sārathi • puruṣa-damya-sārathi)
    • Teacher of devas and humans (satthā deva-manussānaṃ • śāsta deva-manuṣyāṇaṃ)
    • The Enlightened One (buddho)
    • The Blessed One (bhagavā • bhagavat)
  • 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 dhammo • svākhyāta)
    • Directly visible (sandiṭṭhiko • sāṃdṛṣṭika)
    • Immediate (akāliko • akālika)
    • Inviting one to come and see (ehi-passiko • ehipaśyika)
    • Worthy of application (opanayiko • avapraṇayika)
    • To be personally experienced by the wise (paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhi • pratyātmaṃ veditavyo vijñaiḥ)
  • Sangha (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 ariyasaccāni • Catvāri āryasatyāni)

Four Noble Truths

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 (Nibbāna • Nirvāṇa) (nirodha) — to be realized (sacchikātabba)
    • Nibbāna element with residue remaining (sa-upādisesa nibbānadhātu • sopadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa)
    • Nibbāna element with no residue remaining (anupādisesa nibbānadhātu • nir-upadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa) — Parinirvana (parinibbāna • parinirvāṇa)

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

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

Three Characteristics of Existence (Tilakkhaṇa • Trilakṣaṇa)

Three Marks of Existence

Five Aggregates (Pañca khandha • Pañca-skandha)


Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppāda • Pratītyasamutpāda)

Main article: Pratityasamutpada

This/that Conditionality (Idappaccayatā)

Main article: 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)

Main article: Twelve Nidānas

Describes how suffering arises.

Transcendental Dependent Origination

Describes the path out of suffering.

Karma (Kamma)


  • Karma in Buddhism
  • The Theory of Karma
  • 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)
  • Three doors of action (kammadvara)
  • Roots (mula)
    • Unwholesome
    • 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 (Punabbhava • Punarbhava)

Main article:  Rebirth in Buddhism


  • Samsara in Buddhism — Lit., the “wandering,” the round of rebirths without discoverable beginning, sustained by ignorance and craving

Buddhist cosmology

Buddhist Cosmology

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
  • Three final-knowledge faculties
    • Thinking “I shall know the unknown” (anaññāta-ñassāmīt-indriya)
    • Gnosis (aññ-indriya)
    • One who knows (aññātā-vindriya)

Formations (Saṅkhāra • Saṃskāra)

Mental Factors (Cetasika • Caitasika )

Theravāda abhidhamma

Mahayana abhidharma

  • Five universal mental factors (sarvatraga) common to all:
  1. Sparśa — contact, contacting awareness, sense impression, touch
  2. Vedanā — feeling, sensation
  3. Saṃjñā — perception
  4. Cetanā — volition
  5. Manasikara — attention
  • Five determining mental factors (viṣayaniyata):
  1. Chanda — desire (to act), intention, interest
  2. Adhimoksha — decision, interest, firm conviction
  3. Smṛti — mindfulness
  4. Prajñā — wisdom
  5. Samādhi — concentration
  • Eleven virtuous (kuśala) mental factors
  1. Sraddhā — faith
  2. Hrī — self-respect, conscientiousness, sense of shame
  3. Apatrāpya — decorum, regard for consequence
  4. Alobha — non-attachment
  5. Adveṣa — non-aggression, equanimity, lack of hatred
  6. Amoha — non-bewilderment
  7. Vīrya — diligence, effort
  8. Praśrabdhi — pliancy
  9. Apramāda — conscientiousness
  10. Upekṣa — equanimity
  11. Ahimsa — nonharmfulness
  • Six root mental defilements (mūlakleśa):
  1. Raga — attachment
  2. Pratigha — anger
  3. Avidya — ignorance
  4. Māna — pride, conceit
  5. Vicikitsa — doubt
  6. Dṛiṣṭi — wrong view
  • Twenty secondary defilement (upakleśa):
  1. Krodha — rage, fury
  2. Upanāha — resentment
  3. Mrakśa — concealment, slyness-concealment
  4. Pradāśa — spitefulness
  5. Irshya — envy, jealousy
  6. Mātsarya — stinginess, avarice, miserliness
  7. Māyā — pretense, deceit
  8. Śāṭhya — hypocrisy, dishonesty
  9. Mada — self-infatuation, mental inflation, self-satisfaction
  10. Vihiṃsā — malice, hostility, cruelty, intention to harm
  11. Āhrīkya — lack of shame, lack of conscious, shamelessness
  12. Anapatrāpya — lack of propriety, disregard, shamelessness
  13. Styāna — lethargy, gloominess
  14. Auddhatya — excitement, ebullience
  15. Āśraddhya — lack of faith, lack of trust
  16. Kausīdya — laziness, slothfulness
  17. Pramāda — heedlessness, carelessness, unconcern
  18. Muṣitasmṛtitā — forgetfulness
  19. Asaṃprajanya — non-alertness, inattentiveness
  20. Vikṣepa — distraction, desultoriness
  • Four changeable mental factors (aniyata):
  1. Kaukṛitya — regret, worry,
  2. Middha — sleep, drowsiness
  3. Vitarka — conception, selectiveness, examination
  4. Vicāra — discernment, discursiveness, analysis

Mind and Consciousness

  • Citta — Mind, mindset, or state of mind
  • Cetasika — Mental factors
  • Manas — Mind, general thinking faculty
  • Consciousness (Vijnana)
  • 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
  • Mental proliferation (papañca • prapañca) — the deluded conceptualization of the world through the use of ever-expanding language and concepts
  • Monkey mind — unsettled, restless mind

Obstacles to Enlightenment

Two Kinds of Happiness (Sukha)

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

Two Kinds of Bhava

Two Guardians of the World (Sukka lokapala)

Three Conceits

  • “I am better”
  • “I am equal”
  • “I am worse”

Three Standpoints

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 Dharma

Four Kinds of Nutriment

Four Kinds of Acquisitions (Upadhi)

Eight Worldly Conditions

The “Eight Worldly Winds” referenced in discussions of Equanimity (upekkhāupekṣhā)

Truth (Sacca • Satya)

Higher Knowledge (Abhiññā • Abhijñā)


  • 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 (upekkhāupekṣhā)
  • 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

White A – Symbol Dzogchen

Other concepts

Buddhist practices

Buddhist devotion

Moral discipline and precepts (Sīla • Śīla)

  • Five Precepts (pañca-sīlāni • pañca-śīlāni)
    • Abstaining from taking life (pāṇātipātā veramaṇī)
    • Abstaining from taking what is not given (adinnādānā veramaṇī)
    • Abstaining from sexual misconduct (kāmesu micchācāra veramaṇī)
    • Abstaining from false speech (musāvāda veramaṇī)
    • Abstaining from drinks and drugs that cause heedlessness (surā-meraya-majja-pamādaṭṭhānā veramaṇī)
  • Eight Precepts (aṭṭhasīla)
  • 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 Dharma

Threefold Training (Sikkhā)

Threefold Training

  • The training in the higher moral discipline (adhisīla-sikkhā) — morality (sīla • śīla)
  • The training in the higher mind (adhicitta-sikkhā) — Concentration (samādhi)
  • The training in the higher wisdom (adhipaññā-sikkhā) — Wisdom (paññā • prajñā)

Five Qualities

Five Powers of a Trainee

Five Things that lead to Enlightenment

Five Subjects for Contemplation

Upajjhatthana Sutta

  • 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)

Ten Meritorious Deeds (Dasa Punnakiriya vatthu)

Perfections (Pāramī • Pāramitā)

Ten Theravada Pāramīs (Dasa pāramiyo)

Six Mahayana Pāramitās

States Pertaining to Enlightenment (Bodhipakkhiyādhammā • Bodhipakṣa dharma)

Four Foundations of Mindfulness (Cattāro satipaṭṭhānā • Smṛtyupasthāna)


  • Mindfulness of the body (kāyagatāsati • kāyasmṛti)
    • Mindfulness of breathing (ānāpānasati • ānāpānasmṛti)
      • Mindfulness 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
      • Mindfulness of feelings (vedanānupassana) — second tetrad
        • Experiencing rapture
        • Experiencing bliss
        • Experiencing the mental formation
        • Tranquilizing the mental formation
      • Mindfulness of the mind (cittanupassana) — third tetrad
        • Experiencing the mind
        • Gladdening the mind
        • Concentrating the mind
        • Liberating the mind
      • Mindfulness of Dhammas (dhammānupassana) — fourth tetrad
        • Contemplating impermanence (aniccānupassī)
        • Contemplating fading away (virāgānupassī)
        • Contemplating cessation (nirodhānupassī)
        • Contemplating relinquishment (paṭinissaggānupassī)
    • Postures
    • Clear comprehension (sampajañña • samprajaña)
      • 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, handslegshead 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
  • Mindfulness of feelings (vedanāsati • vedanāsmṛti)
    • 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
  • Mindfulness of the mind (cittasati • cittasmṛti)
    • 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)
  • Mindfulness of mental phenomena (dhammāsati • dharmasmṛti)

Four Right Efforts (Cattārimāni sammappadhānāni • Samyak-pradhāna)

Four Right Exertions

  • The effort to prevent the arising of unarisen unwholesome mental states (anuppādāya)
  • The effort to abandon arisen unwholesome mental states (pahānāya)
  • The effort to generate unarisen wholesome mental states (uppādāya)
  • The effort to maintain and perfect arisen wholesome mental states (ṭhitiyā)

Four Roads to Mental Power (Iddhipāda • Ṛddhipāda)


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

Five Spiritual Faculties (Pañca indriya)


Five Powers (Pañca bala)

Five Strengths

Seven Factors of Enlightenment (Satta sambojjhaṅgā • Sapta bodhyanga)

Seven Factors of Enlightenment


Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga • Ārya ‘ṣṭāṅga mārgaḥ)

Noble Eightfold Path

Wisdom (Paññākkhandha)
Moral discipline (Sīlakkhandha)
Concentration (Samādhikkhandha)
Acquired factors

Buddhist meditation

Theravada meditation practices

Tranquillity/Serenity/Calm (Samatha • Śamatha)


  • 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 (anussati • anusmriti)
      • Buddhānussati (Buddhanusmrti) — Recollection of the Buddhafixing 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 Sanghafixing 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 (Brahmavihara)
    • Four formless jhānas (arūpajhāna)
    • Perception of disgust of food (aharepatikulasanna)
    • Four Great Elements (mahābhūta)
Concentration (Samādhi)
Insight meditation (Vipassanā • Vipaśyanā)
  • 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 disenchantment (revulsion) (nibbidanupassana) overcomes affection
      • Contemplation on dispassion (fading away) (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 changeableness (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

Attainment of Enlightenment



  • Nirvana in Buddhism (Nibbāna • Nirvāṇa) — 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 cessation of suffering; saupādisesa-nibbāna-dhātu — Nibbāna with residue remaining
    • Parinirvana (Parinibbāna • Parinirvāṇa) — final passing away of an enlightened person, final Nibbāna, Nibbāna at death; anupādisesa-nibbāna-dhātu — Nibbāna without residue remaining
  • Bodhi — the awakening attained by the Buddha and his accomplished disciples, referring to insight into the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path
  • 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’. Usual being named Arhat


  • Four stages of enlightenment (see alsoAriya-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



  • 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 Monasticism

  • Disciple 声闻弟子ShengWenDiZi (sāvaka • śrāvaka)
  • Male lay follower (忧婆塞 YouPoSai) (upāsaka) and Female lay follower (忧婆夷 YouPoYi) (upāsikā)
    • Householder 在家弟子ZaiJiaDiZi
    • Dhammacārī — lay devotees who have seriously committed themselves to Buddhist practice for several years
    • Anāgārika — lay attendant of a monk
    • 近侍Jisha (Japan), JinShi (chinese) — personal attendant of a monastery’s abbot or teacher in Chan/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 (pabbajja • pravrajya)
  • Higher ordination (upasampadā)
    • Monk (bhikkhu • bhikṣu)
    • Nun (bhikkhunī • bhikṣuṇī)
  • Titles for Buddhist teachers
    • General
    • 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 China
        • 和尚,Heshang — high-ranking or highly virtuous Buddhist monk; respectful designation for Buddhist monks in general
        • 僧侣,SengLv — Monk
        • 住持,ZhuChi — Abbot
        • 禅师,ChanShi — Chan/Zen Master
        • 法师,FaShi — Dharma Master
        • 律师,LvShiVinaya Master, teacher who focuses on the discipline and precepts
        • 开山祖师,KaiShanZuShi — founder of a school of Buddhism or the founding abbot of a Zen monastery
        • 比丘,BiQiu — transliteration of Bhikkhu
        • 比丘尼,BiQiuNi — transliteration of Bhikkhuni
        • 沙弥,ShaMi — transliteration of Samanera
        • 沙弥尼,ShaMiNi — transliteration of Samaneri
        • 尼姑,NiGu — Nun
        • 论师,LunShi — Abhidharma Master, one who is well versed in the psychology, thesis and higher teachings of Buddhism
        • 师兄,ShiXiong — dharma brothers, used by laity to address each other, note that all male or female lay disciples are called ‘Dharma Brothers’
    • 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
      • 和尚 Oshō — high-ranking or highly virtuous Buddhist monk; respectful designation for Buddhist monks in general
    • in Zen
      • in Japan
        • 开山 Kaisan — founder of a school of Buddhism or the founding abbot of a Zen monastery
        • 老师 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
        • 先生 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. Khenpos 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

List of Buddhists


  • 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




First five disciples of the Buddha

Two seven-year-old Arahants

Other disciples

Later Indian Buddhists (after Buddha)

Indo-Greek Buddhists

Chinese Buddhists

Tibetan Buddhists

Japanese Buddhists

Vietnamese Buddhists

Burmese Buddhists

Thai Buddhists

Sri Lankan Buddhists

American Buddhists

Brazilian Buddhists

British Buddhists

German Buddhists

Irish Buddhists

Indian Buddhists

Buddhist philosophy

Buddhist philosophy

The Basics of Buddhist Wisdom

Three in One: A Buddhist Trinity

Buddhist culture

Buddhist pilgrimage

Buddhist pilgrimage

Comparative Buddhism

Other topics related to Buddhism


Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia