This book is meant to provide basic information about Buddhism for students and others who have personal interest. It was especially designed as an aid for readers of the publications of the Buddhist Text Translation Society (BTTS), and the larger portion of the material presented consists of selections from BTTS publications. It is not meant as a scholarly tool, (although scholars are certainly welcome to read and use it).
The book is arranged in dictionary format and contains information on basic Buddhist concepts and lists. It can be used as a reference when reading Buddhist texts, and it can also function as an introduction to Buddhism. (See the "List of Introductory Readings" below.)
Buddhism A to Z is by no means all-inclusive. For instance, very little historical information is provided. The most basic important terms and lists are found in it, but from time to time the reader will fail to find what he or she is looking for. In those cases, the "Some Standard Reference Works Including Buddhist Subjects" contains information about standard reference works that will almost certainly be of use. References to non-Buddhist Text Translation Society publications were initially also planned for inclusion; however, it was decided that since that information can be readily located in the standard reference works, it would be omitted here.
The scope of the information found in the entries is not exhaustive. Many of the entries have an open-ended quality to them. The intent is to spur the interest of the reader to investigate further.
The following conventions have been adopted: All quotations from canonical works have been indented ten spaces. Quotations not indented and indicated by quotation marks are from modern works. In quotations from canonical works, if the speaker is not indicated, it is the Buddha Shakyamuni. In modern works, if the speaker is not indicated, it is the Venerable Master Hsuan-Hua, ninth patriarch of the Wei-Yang Chan lineage and founder and chairperson of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association.
Buddhism A to Z is by no means a finished work. Because of pressures to make it available, it has been decided to publish it in this preliminary form. The reader is cordially invited to participate in the development of the work for future editions by offering suggestions for its improvement and by providing information about errors and inaccuracies. Although many members of the BTTS have kindly contributed their suggestions and made corrections, the errors that remain are solely my responsibility.
Dharma Realm Buddhist University
City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
Talmage, CA 95481-0217
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
When using this book as a reference, look first under the term or list in question. If you do not find a list, then try under the key term in the list. If you do not find a term, try either another translation, the Sanskrit, or a related term. Be sure to consult the table of contents.
When using this book as an introduction to Buddhist teachings, see the section below entitled "List of Introductory Readings."
The Structure of the Entries
Most entries are structured following a pattern of going from easier to understand material to more difficult to understand material. Often the explanations progress according to level of teaching, culminating with the Mahayana teaching, but sometimes the progression is from less technical to more technical without regard to level of teaching.
Each entry will include some or all of the following elements:
DEFINITION OF TERM OR LISTING OF MEMBERS OF LIST
SHORT EXPLANATORY ESSAY AND/OR QUOTATIONS
ENTRY REFERENCES (at the bottom of each entry, separated by a short line). The references include the following sections:
1) Ch.: lists the romanization in Jungwen (i.e., Chinese Mandarin pronunciation).
2) Skt.: lists one or more Sanskrit equivalents.
3) Pali: lists one or more Pali equivalents.
4) Alternate Translations: lists other translations that have been used or proposed for the same term or list. Some of the alternate translations listed may not be accurate. They are given partly so that readers can be aware of equivalents found in other translations.
SEE ALSO: Indicates other entries that may give additional information on the topic or be of related interest.
BTTS REFERENCES: References to the topic which can be found in Buddhist Text Translation Society publications.
Information to be Found
Following the Entries
The reader should consult the table of contents for the location of useful charts and tables that follow the entry section.
LIST OF INTRODUCTORY READINGS
For a general understanding of basic Buddhist teachings, start with the entries in Group I, then move on to Group II, and so forth. If you want information on a particular topic, read the specific entry that most closely approximates your topic, then check the entries listed under "SEE ALS0" at the end of the entry, then check the sources listed under "BTTS REFERENCES" and "OTHER REFERENCES".
THUS COME ONE
FOUR HOLY TRUTHS
TWELVEFOLD CONDITIONED ARISING
III. SIX SPIRITUAL POWERS
SIX PATHS OF REBIRTH
TEN DHARMA REALMS
FIVE MORAL PRECEPTS
FOUR APPLICATIONS OF MINDFULNESS
FOUR FORMLESS REALMS
V. FIVE TYPES OF BUDDHIST STUDY AND PRACTICE
MAHAYANA AND HINAYANA COMPARED
ONE HUNDRED DHARMAS
1. Many passages from BTTS publications have been slightly edited and/or retranslated without each specific instance being indicated.
2. In quoted passages some attempt, though not an exhaustive one, has been made to standardize terminology.
a) Sanskrit and Pali diacritical marks are missing in the text of the entries but hopefully can be added in later editions. Diacritical marks are included in the Sanskrit and Pali sections of entry references.
b) Two slightly different conventions of romanization have been used for Sanskrit words depending upon whether or not they are treated as English. For those treated as English no diacritical marks will be used, and so the spelling is that English spelling closest to the pronunciation.
c) The following Sanskrit Buddhist terms have been treated as English words: Arhat, Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Bodhisattva, Buddha, Hinayana, karma, Mahayana, nirvana, Pratyekabuddha, samadhi, stupa, sutra, Theravada.
The following words have been italicized to indicate that they have not yet become part of the English language: asura, bodhi, dhyana, gatha, kalpa, paramita, prajna, sarira, skandha, sramana, sravaka, upasaka, upasika, vajra, yang, yin. Of course other less well-known non-English terms are also underlined.
d) For the names of countries each country's own pronunciation and spelling of its name has been used; therefore: Nippon, not Japan; Deutschland, not Germany; and Junggwo, not China.
e) The Yale system of romanization has been adopted for Jungwen (i.e., Chinese), because as read by non-linguists it most closely approximates the actual pronunciation. However, in many quoted passages the reader will find other systems of romanization. Conversion tables to the more widely used Wade/Giles and Pinyin romanizations are found at the end of the book. NOTE: We are in the process of converting the romanization to Pinyin.
ABBREVIATIONS OF BTTS PUBLICATIONS
AS AMITABHA SUTRA
BNS BRAHMA NET SUTRA
BRF BUDDHA ROOT FARM
CL CHERISHING LIFE
CPL CH'AN AND PURE LAND DHARMA TALKS
(reprinted in LS, vol. 2)
DFS DHARMA FLOWER SUTRA
DS DHARANI SUTRA
EDR ENTERING THE DHARMA REALM (Ch. 39 of FAS)
FAS FLOWER ADORNMENT SUTRA
FASP FLOWER ADORNMENT SUTRA PROLOGUE
FASVP FLOWER ADORNMENT SUTRA VERSE PREFACE
FHS FILIALITY: THE HUMAN SOURCE
HD SHASTRA ON THE DOOR TO UNDERSTANDING THE HUNDRED
HR HUMAN ROOTS
HS HEART SUTRA
LY LISTEN TO YOURSELF, THINK EVERYTHING OVER
NTC NEWS FROM TRUE CULTIVATORS
OYE OPEN YOUR EYES, TAKE A LOOK AT THE WORLD
PB PICTORIAL BIOGRAPHY OF THE VENERABLE MASTER HSU YUN
PDS PROPER DHARMA SEAL
PS SIXTH PATRIARCH'S DHARMA JEWEL PLATFORM SUTRA
RH CITY OF 10,000 BUDDHAS RECITATION HANDBOOK
RHS RECORDS OF HIGH SANGHANS
RL RECORDS OF THE LIFE OF THE VEN. MASTER HSUAN HUA
S42 SUTRA IN 42 SECTIONS
SE SONG OF ENLIGHTENMENT
SM SHURANGAMA MANTRA COMMENTARY
SPV SUTRA OF THE PAST VOWS OF EARTH STORE BODHISATTVA
SS SHURANGAMA SUTRA
SV SHRAMANERA VINAYA AND RULES OF DEPORTMENT
TD THE TEN DHARMA REALMS ARE NOT BEYOND A SINGLE THOUGHT
TS THREE STEPS ONE BOW
TT HEREIN LIES THE TREASURE TROVE
UW UNIVERSAL WORTHY'S CONDUCT AND VOWS (FAS, ch. 40)
VBS VAJRA BODHI SEA
VS VAJRA PARAMITA SUTRA
WM WATER MIRROR REFLECTING HEAVEN
WOH WITH ONE HEART BOWING TO THE CITY OF 10,000 BUDDHAS
WPG WORLD PEACE GATHERING
Volume numbers are indicated by roman numerals.