Buddhism Terms: Buddha- and Buddhist God-Related

There are numerous terms throughout the Buddhist culture that you may not be familiar with. Some are associated with Buddha and his teachings, while other refer to specific gods and their purpose. In this article, you will learn what an asura is, as well as who Ratnasambhava is.


asuras: This is the name given to anti-gods or demi-gods, who can be located within the lower parts of the heavens, which is one of the highest places to exist. Second to the highest realm, these gods experience some of the same things as those in the higher realm. Jealousy often occurs between these two groups, which often result in wars that do not amount to anything. This is a term associated with Mahayana Buddhism.


Bodhi: In Sanskrit and Pali, this term refers to Buddhahood, which also means “awakened.” This is when one achieved the full state of enlightenment, obtaining the ability to see the things around them for what they really are.


stupa: In Sanskrit, the term refers to a monument, which is filled with relics from the past. Usually, these relics are associated with the Buddha


Tripitaka: In Sanskrit and Pali, this term refers to “three baskets.” It is meant as a reference to the collection of teachings associated with the Buddha. There are three sections connected to this term. They are sutra, vinaya and Adhidhamma.


Vinaya refers to the code of ethics that early monks and nuns were expected to follow. Some of these practices were found essential in the eyes of the Buddha. As different issues arose among the monks, the Buddha created new philosophic teachings to deal with these changes on a daily basis.


Sutra refers to the life and teachings of the Buddha. There are many different aspects of the sutra, which total more than 10,000 separate items of wisdom. Adhidhamma is often associated with the Theravada school of thought. It refers to a gathering of texts, which deal with the words of the Sutra. These words are reworded to create better presentation and understanding.


Amida: This is the Japanese term used to describe the Celestial buddha, who when they were a bodhisattva, vowed to represent the leadership position of one who would lead everyone to the Pure Land. Throughout the Mahayana belief system, Amida is considered one of the more important buddhas. In Sanskrit, this particular buddha is referred to as Amitabha. His name means “infinite light.”


Anada: As the Buddha’s cousin, Anada was one of his main disciples. He accomplished many things, including the memorization and recitation of all teachings associated with the Buddha. He is also referred to as the Dhammabhandagarika, which stands for “treasurer of the teachings.”


vinaya: This is a word that originated in Sankrit and Pali. It refers to the teachings of the Buddha, which pay close attention to things, such as ethics and karma.


Ratnasambhava: In Sanskrit, this term refers to the “jewel-born one”, which is actually one of the five Dhyani Buddhas. With each Dhyani Buddha, there are certain associations attached to their being. For Ratnasambhava, the direction of south; the color yellow; pride; equality and giving are all attached to this Dhyani Buddha.