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Ananda – one of many principal disciples and a devout attendant of the Buddha

bodhi – see Buddhahood and Enlightenment.

Bodhisattva: a person who has attained Enlightenment, but who postpones nirvana in order to help others to attain Enlightenment. Individual Bodhisattvas are the subjects of devotion in certain sects and are often represented in painting and sculpture. The idea of the bodhisattva should be contrasted to that of an arhat in Theravada Buddhism.

Bhagavat – meaning “the Adorable One.” It also refers to a tradition devoted to the worship of Krishna.

Brahma – meaning “purified life.” He is the chief god of the trinity known as the Creator, together with Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer.

Brahmins – the highest of the four castes in Hinduism. They serve Brahma, as the keepers of the teachings known as the
Vedas.

Buddha – usually refers to someone who has become enlightened or awakened to truth; ultimately someone aware of the nature of existence.

The Buddha, Siddartha, was the founder of Buddhism. He was the first to attain enlightenment, and then taught others how to attain it. His first name was Siddartha, his family name was Gautama. He was a member of the Shakya clan, and hence is called Shakyamuni, "the wise one of the Shakyas." Other Buddhas include Amitabha and Maitreya.

Buddhism and Schools:

The Lotus Sutra of Mahayana Buddhism – reveals that there are many different methods to teach, but there is only one purpose, that is, to attain Buddhahood. The Lotus Sutra is probably the most important text of Mahayana Buddhism as it discusses all the things that differentiate Mahayana Buddhism from the Theravada school, such as the idea of a bodhisattva, in particular the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, the merit of the people who venerate the Lotus Sutra, and the key to nirvana and Buddhahood.

The Blue Sutra – is an extract from the Lotus Sutra of Mahayana Buddhism. Japanese mediators, Mr. Kabutaro Kubo and Ms. Kimi Kotani, were the original masters who extracted this portion of the Sutra for practice and realization by laypeople

Buddhahood and Enlightenment – from the English translation of the Sanskrit word "bodhi," which literally means "to awaken, to understand."

deity – a god or goddess

deva – Literally, "shining one," an inhabitant of the heavenly realms.

Devadatta – He was the cousin and a devotee of the Shakyamuni Buddha. He later became an enemy and opponent out of jealousy of the Buddha, and has since become emblematic for all Buddhists who work knowingly or unknowingly to undermine the religion from within.

Dharma – the teachings of the Buddha, see dharma below

dharma – the universal truth common to all individuals at all times, see Dharma above

Five Precepts – Five moral teachings in Buddhism which include the prohibition of killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants

Fourfold Assembly – originally referred to those monks and nuns and laymen and laywomen who gathered to hear the Buddha teach the Dharma.

Four Noble Truths – Refers to the teaching on suffering and how to end it: 1) Sufferings, 2) Cause of Sufferings, 3) Cessation of Sufferings, and 4) the Path leading to the cessation of sufferings.

Fugen – Fugen probably arrived in Japan sometime in the 8th or 9th century, for Fugen was already a major deity during the last half of the Heian Period (794-1192 AD). Fugen represents meditation and practice (praxis) in
Mahayana Buddhism.

kakocho – in Japanese genealogy, refers to the death registry of a family.

kalpa – ‘world-period’, an inconceivably long space of time, an aeon.

kharma – Literally, “action.” For Buddhism, this refers to the moral law of cause and effect. People build up karma (both good and bad) as a result of their actions. This then determines the state of existence to which one is reborn after birth. In Buddhism, the different levels can include hells, humans or animals in this world, or one of the several heavens.

Mahayana – see Buddhism and Schools above

Maitreya – see Buddha above

mandarava flowers – flowers of the coral tree

Mount Gridhrakuta – also known as “Vulture’s Peak,” is located near Rajagriha, a city on the site of present-day Rajgir, in northeastern India. Thus, the Lotus Sutra begins by making a connection to a real place associated with the historical Buddha.

Namu – I devote myself

Namu Myohorenge Kyo – I Devote Myself to the Sutra of the Lotus Blossom of the Marvelous Dharma.

nirvana – is the highest and ultimate goal of all Buddhist aspirations, the absolute extinction of greed, hate, and delusion, and therewith, the ultimate deliverance from future rebirth, old age, disease and death.

parinirvana – The term is a synonym for nirvana. It also refers to the end of the Shakyamuni Buddha's physical existence.

samsara – the continuous cycle of ever being born, growing old, suffering and dying for each being.

Sangha – The Buddhist monastic order traditionally composed of four groups: monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen.

Sariputra – (known in Japan as Monju) was a disciple of the Historical Buddha, and represents wisdom, intelligence and willpower. He is known as the Voice of Buddhist Law, the Wisest of the Bodhisattvas

Shakyamuni – see Buddha above

six sense faculties – five senses with the addition of "mind" or "thought"

sutra – generally refers to a collection of rules that form a manual for instruction and practice. In Buddhism, the term refers mostly to canonical scriptures, many of which are regarded as records of the oral teachings of Gautama (Shakyamuni) Buddha.

stupa – A shrine in which relics of the Buddha are kept. The center is a raised temple which is usually surrounded by a series of terraces

Tathagata – Refers to one who has come from the world of truth.

The Three Precious Jewels of Buddhism: Refers to the Buddha, the Dharma (doctrine) and the Sangha (community).

Ten Virtuous Merits – teachings in Buddhist doctrine regarding right behavior:


    THUS have I heard – All sutras begin with this phrase. The sutras are not books that were written by Shakyamuni Buddha nor recorded by someone else. They are sacred words, phrases, parables transmitted orally for 100 to 200 years. They were written down as sutras in later years. There was probably no method to write at the time of the Buddha. During that era, writing may have been considered disrespectful to the Buddha.