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

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Three marks of existence
Dependent origination
Saṃsāra · Nirvāṇa
Skandha · Cosmology
Karma · Rebirth

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Buddhahood · Bodhisattva
4 stages of enlightenment
Wisdom · Meditation
Smarana · Precepts · Pāramitās
Three Jewels · Monastics

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Theravāda · Mahāyāna


Chinese canon · Pali canon
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Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices considered by most to be a religion and is based on the teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as "The Buddha" (the Awakened One), who was born in what is today Nepal. He lived and taught in the northeastern region of the Indian subcontinent and most likely died around 400 BCE.

Buddhists recognize him as an awakened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their suffering by understanding the true nature of phenomena, thereby escaping the cycle of dukkha and rebirth (saṃsāra), that is, achieving Nirvana. Among the methods various schools of Buddhism apply towards this goal are: ethical conduct and altruistic behaviour, devotional practices, ceremonies and the invocation of bodhisattvas, renunciation of worldly matters, cultivating continuous mindfulness, meditation, physical exercises, study, and the cultivation of wisdom.

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


Main article

The Buddha

Gautama Buddha

Doctrines of Buddhism

Three Jewels

The triratna, a symbol of the Three Jewels

  • Buddha — Gautama Buddha, the Awakened One, the Teacher
    • Araham — Holy
    • Sammasambuddho — Fully Enlightened
    • Vijjacaranasanpanno — Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct
    • Sugato — Welfarer
    • Lokavidu — World-knower
    • Anuttaro-purisadammasarathi — The incomparable leader of men to be tamed
    • Sattha Devamanussanam — Teacher of gods and mankind
    • Buddho — Awakened
    • Bhagava — Blessed
  • Dhamma — the teachings of the Buddha
    • Svakkhato Bhagavata Dhammo — well-proclaimed by the Blessed One, admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end
    • Sanditthiko — able to be examined
    • Akaliko — followed by fruit without delay (of immediate result)
    • Ehipassiko — which you can come and see
    • Opaneyyiko — to be brought inward
    • Paccattam Veditabbo Vinnuhi — to be personally known by the wise
  • Sangha — the Community of Enlightened disciples of the Buddha
    • Suppatipanno Bhagavato Savakasamgho — The disciples of the Blessed One practice well the threefold training of morality, concentration and wisdom
    • Ujuppatipanno Bhagavato Savakasamgho — The disciples of the Blessed One practice righteously the threefold training
    • Nyayappatipanno Bhagavato Savakasamgho — The disciples of the Blessed One practice to realize nibbana
    • Samicippatipanno Bhagavato Savakasamgho — The disciples of the Blessed One practice to be worthy of veneration
    • Ahuneyyo — They are worthy of receiving offerings brought even from afar
    • Pahuneyyo — They are worthy of receiving offerings specially set aside for guests
    • Dakkhineyyo — They are worthy of receiving offerings offered with the belief that the offering will bear fruits in future existences
    • Anjalikaraniyo — They are worthy of receiving reverential salutation
    • Anuttaram Punnakkhettam Lokassa — They are an unsurpassed (incomparable) fertile field for planting the seeds of merit for the world

Four Noble Truths

1. The Noble Truth of Suffering
2. The Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering
3. The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering
  • Nirodha — Nirvana (to be realized)
    • Saupadisesa Nibbana — Nibbana element with residue remaining
    • Anupadisesa Nibbana — Nibbana element without a residue remaining
4. The Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering
  • Magga — Noble Eightfold Path (to be developed)
    • Right view
    • Right intention
    • Right speech
    • Right action
    • Right livelihood
    • Right effort
    • Right mindfulness
    • Right concentration

Three Marks of Existence

Five Aggregates

Dependent Origination

Idappaccayatā — This/That Conditionality

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.

Twelve Links

Former life
Current life
Future life

Transcendental Dependent Origination

  • DukkhaSuffering
  • Saddhā — Faith
  • Pāmojja — Joy
  • Pīti — Rapture
  • Passaddhi — Tranquillity
  • Sukha — Happiness
  • Samādhi — Concentration
  • Yathābhūta-ñāna-dassana — Knowledge and vision of things as they are
  • Nibbidā — Disenchantment with worldly life
  • Virāga — Dispassion
  • Vimutti — Freedom
  • Āsava-khaye-ñāna — Knowledge of destruction of the cankers


  • Vipāka — Result of karma
  • Cetana — Intention
  • Kammadvara — Three doors of action
  • Mula — Roots
    • Unwholesome
    • Wholesome
      • Alobha — Non-greed (renunciation, detachment, generosity)
      • Adosa — Non-hatred (loving-kindness, sympathy, gentleness)
      • Amoha — Non-delusion (wisdom)
  • Kammapatha — Courses of action
    • 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
    • Janaka kamma — Reproductive kamma - that which produces mental aggregates and material aggregates at the moment of conception
    • Upatthambhaka kamma — Supportive kamma - that which comes near the Reproductive Kamma and supports it
    • Upapidaka kamma — Obstructive kamma - that which tends to weaken, interrupt and retard the fruition of the Reproductive Kamma
    • Upaghataka kamma — Destructive kamma - that which not only obstructs but also destroys the whole force of the Reproductive Kamma
  • Order to take effect
    • Garuka kamma — Weighty kamma - that which produces its results in this life or in the next for certain
    • Asanna kamma — Proximate kamma - that which one does or remembers immediately before the dying moment
    • Acinna kamma — Habitual kamma - that which one habitually performs and recollects and for which one has a great liking
    • Katatta kamma — Reserve kamma - refers to all actions that are done once and soon forgotten
  • Time of taking effect
    • Ditthadhammavedaniya kamma — Immediately effective kamma
    • Upapajjavedaniya kamma — Subsequently, effective kamma
    • Aparapariyavedaniya kamma — Indefinitely effective kamma
    • Ahosi kamma — Defunct kamma
  • Place of taking effect
    • Kamavacara — Immoral (Akusala) Kamma pertaining to the Sense-Sphere
    • Kamavacara — Moral (Kusala) Kamma pertaining to the Sense-Sphere
    • Rupavacara — Moral Kamma pertaining to the Form-Sphere
    • Arupavacara — Moral Kamma pertaining to the Formless-Sphere
  • 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
    • Bija 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


  • Saṃsāra — the cycle of becoming, the round of birth, aging and death, which has been revolving through beginningless time

Buddhist cosmology

The bhavachakra, a symbolic depiction of the six realms.

Sense bases


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


Six Great Elements

Mind and Consciousness

Obstacles to Enlightenment

Eight Worldly Conditions

Three Standpoints

Three Primary Aims

  • Diṭṭha-dhamma-hitasukha — welfare and happiness directly visible in this present life, attained by fulfilling one's moral commitments and social responsibilities
  • Samparāyika-hitasukha — welfare and happiness pertaining to the next life, attained by engaging in meritorious deeds
  • Paramattha — the ultimate good or supreme goal, Nibbāna, final release from the cycle of rebirths, attained by developing the Noble Eightfold Path

Three Divisions of the Dhamma

Four Kinds of Nutriment


Higher Knowledge

Great fruits of the contemplative life

Concepts unique to Mahayana and Vajrayana

Other concepts

Buddhist practices

Buddhist devotion

Buddhists making offerings at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Moral discipline and precepts

  • Five Precepts
  • Eight Precepts
  • Ten Precepts
    • 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
    • Patimokkha (Pratimoksha) — Buddhist Monastic Code
      • 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
  • Dhutanga — Ascetic practices

Three Resolutions

  • To avoid evil
  • To do good
  • To purify the mind

Three Pillars of Dhamma

Threefold Training

Five Qualities

Five Powers for one in training

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

Ten Meritorious Deeds

  • Dāna — Generosity
  • Śīla — Morality
  • Bhavana — Meditation
  • Reverence or respect
  • Services in helping others
  • Anumodana — Transference of merits
  • Pattanumodana — Rejoicing in the merits of others
  • Teaching the Dharma
  • Listening to the Dharma
  • Straightening one's own views


Ten Theravada Pāramīs
Six Mahayana Pāramitās

Qualities conducive to Enlightenment

Four Foundations of Mindfulness

  • Contemplation of the body
  • Contemplation of Vedanā (feelings)
    • 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 Citta (consciousness)
    • 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 Dhamma (mental objects)

Four Right Exertions

  • Exertion for the non-arising of unskillful states
  • Exertion for the abandoning of unskillful states
  • Exertion for the arising of skillful states
  • Exertion for the sustaining of skillful states

Four Bases of Power

Five Faculties

Five Strengths

Seven Factors of Enlightenment

  • Sati — Mindfulness

Noble Eightfold Path

Wisdom — Paññakkhandha

Dharmachakra, symbol of the Noble Eightfold Path, the Buddha's teaching of the path to enlightenment

Moral discipline — Silakkhandha
Concentration — Samādhikkhandha
Acquired factors

Buddhist meditation

Theravada meditation practices

Samatha — Calm abiding

A Buddhist monk meditating

  • Kammaṭṭhāna — Place of work
    • Ten Kasinas
      • Pathavikasinam — Earth kasina
      • Apokasinam — Water kasina
      • Tejokasinam — Fire kasina
      • Vayokasinam — Wind kasina
      • Nilakasinam — Brownish or deep purplish blue kasina
      • Pitakasinam — Yellow kasina
      • Lohitakasinam — Red kasina
      • Odatakasinam — White kasina
      • Alokakasinam — Light kasina
      • Akasakasinam — Open air-space, sky kasina
    • Ten Asubas — Reflections on repulsiveness
      • Uddhumatakam — a swollen or bloated corpse
      • Vinilakam — a corpse brownish black or purplish blue with decay
      • Vipubbakam — a festering or suppurated corpse
      • Vicchiddakam — a corpse splattered half or fissured from decay
      • Vikkhayittakam — a corpse gnawed by animals such as wild dogs and foxes
      • Vikkhitakam — a corpse scattered in parts, hands, legs, head and body being dispersed
      • Hatavikkhittakam — a corpse cut and thrown away in parts after killing
      • Lohitakam — a bleeding corpse, i.e. with red blood oozing out
      • Puluvakam — a corpse infested with and eaten by worms
      • Atthikam — Remains of a corpse in a heap of bones, i.e. skeleton
    • Ten Anussati — Recollections
      • Buddhanussati — Fixing the mind with attentiveness and reflecting repeatedly on the glorious virtues and attributes of Buddha
      • Dhammanussati — Reflecting with serious attentiveness repeatedly on the virtues and qualities of Buddha's teachings and his doctrine
      • Sanghanussati — Fixing the mind strongly and repeatedly upon the rare attributes and sanctity of the Sanghas
      • Silanussati — Reflecting seriously and repeatedly on the purification of one's own morality or sila
      • Caganussati — Repeatedly reflecting on the mind's purity in the noble act of one's own dana, charitableness and liberality
      • Devatanussati — Reflecting with serious and repeated attention on one's own complete possession of the qualities of saddha. absolute faith, sila, morality, suta; knowledge, caga, liberality and panna, wisdom or knowledge just as the devas have, to enable one to be reborn in the World of devas
      • Upasamanussati — Reflecting repeatedly with serious attentiveness on the supreme spiritual blissful state of Nirvana
      • Marananussati — Recollection of death or reflecting repeatedly on the inevitability of death
      • Kayagata-sati — 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 — Repeated reflection on the inhaled and exhaled breath
    • Four Brahmaviharas — Four Divine Abidings
    • Four Arūpajhānas — Formless jhāna
    • Aharepatikulasanna — Perception of disgust of food
    • Mahābhūta — Four Great Elements
Samādhi — Concentration
Vipassanā — Insight meditation
  • Vipassanā-ñāṇa — Insight knowledge
    • 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

Attainment of Enlightenment


  • Nirvana — Full Enlightenment or Awakening, the complete cessation of suffering
    • Parinirvana — 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 — 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 — "a lone Buddha", a self-awakened Buddha, but one who lacks the ability to spread the Dhamma to others
    • Sāvakabuddha — 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
    • Sakadagami — Once-returner (second stage of enlightenment) — will be reborn into the human world once more, before attaining enlightenment, having eradicated the first three and weakened the next two fetters
    • Anagami — 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.

  • Śrāvaka — Disciple
  • UpāsakaLay follower
    • Householder
    • Dhammacari — lay devotees who have seriously committed themselves to Buddhist practice for several years
    • Anagarika — 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
  • Pabbajja — Lower ordination
  • Upasampada — Higher ordination
  • 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
        • Sayadaw — 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
      • 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, Siddhartha Gautama (Skt., Pali: Siddhattha Gotama), Sakyamuni (Sage of the Sakya clan), The Awakened One, The Enlightened One, The Blessed One, Tathagata (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

File:Ananda at First Council.jpg

Ananda reciting the Suttapitaka at the First Buddhist Council




First five disciples of the Buddha

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

Burmese Buddhists

Thai Buddhists


Ajahn Chah

Sri Lankan Buddhists

American Buddhists

British Buddhists

Branches of Buddhism

Schools of Buddhism




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).

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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

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

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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


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