Outline of Buddhism

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

Buddhism (Pali and Sanskrit: 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 is provided as an overview of, and topical guide to, Buddhism.

The Buddha[edit]

Gautama Buddha

Gautama Buddha

Branches of Buddhism[edit]

Schools of Buddhism[edit]

Schools of Buddhism

Timeline: Development and propagation of Buddhist traditions (c. 450 BCE – c. 1300 CE)

  450 BCE[note 1] 250 BCE 100 CE 500 CE 700 CE 800 CE 1200 CE[note 2]







Early Buddhist schools Mahāyāna Vajrayāna






Sri Lanka &
Southeast Asia










Tibetan Buddhism








East Asia


Early Buddhist schools
and Mahāyāna
(via the silk road
to China, and ocean
contact from India to Vietnam)


Nara (Rokushū)




Thiền, Seon
Tiantai / Jìngtǔ









Central Asia & Tarim Basin





Silk Road Buddhism


  450 BCE 250 BCE 100 CE 500 CE 700 CE 800 CE 1200 CE
  Legend:   = Theravada   = Mahayana   = Vajrayana   = Various / syncretic


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,[2] and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (now about 70% of the population[3]) 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, "Mahāyāna" also refers to the path of seeking complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, also called "Bodhisattvayāna", or the "Bodhisattva Vehicle."[4][5]



The vajra, a distinct symbol of Vajrayana

Early Buddhist schools[edit]

Early Buddhist schools

Buddhist modernism[edit]

Buddhist modernism

Buddhism worldwide[edit]

Buddhism by country

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).

Buddhist scriptures and texts[edit]

Buddhist texts

Theravada texts[edit]

Pali literature

A collection of the Pali canon.

Mahayana texts[edit]

The Tripitaka Koreana in storage at Haeinsa.

Vajrayana texts[edit]

History of Buddhism[edit]

History of Buddhism

Doctrines of Buddhism[edit]

Core Buddhist concepts and their relationships
The relationship between the major concepts in Buddhism

Three Jewels (TiratanaTriratna)[edit]

The triratna, a symbol of the Three Jewels

Three Jewels

  • Buddha — Gautama Buddha, the Blessed One, the Awakened One, the Teacher
    • Accomplished (arahaṃarhat)
    • Fully enlightened (sammā-sambuddhosamyak-saṃbuddha)
    • Perfect in true knowledge and conduct (vijjā-caraṇa sampannovidyā-caraṇa-saṃpanna)
    • Sublime (sugatosugata)
    • Knower of the worlds (lokavidūloka-vid)
    • Incomparable leader of persons to be tamed (anuttaro purisa-damma-sārathipuruṣa-damya-sārathi)
    • Teacher of devas and humans (satthā deva-manussānaṃśāsta deva-manuṣyāṇaṃ)
    • The Enlightened One (buddho)
    • The Blessed One (bhagavābhagavat)
  • 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 dhammosvākhyāta)
    • Directly visible (sandiṭṭhikosāṃdṛṣṭika)
    • Immediate (akālikoakālika)
    • Inviting one to come and see (ehi-passikoehipaśyika)
    • Worthy of application (opanayikoavapraṇayika)
    • To be personally experienced by the wise (paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhipratyātmaṃ veditavyo vijñaiḥ)
  • Saṅgha (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 ariyasaccāniCatvāri āryasatyāni)[edit]

Four Noble Truths

1. The Noble Truth of Suffering (Dukkha ariya sacca)[edit]

2. The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering (Dukkha samudaya ariya sacca)[edit]

3. The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering (Dukkha nirodha ariya sacca)[edit]

  • Nirvana (NibbānaNirvāṇa) (nirodha) — to be realized (sacchikātabba)
    • Nibbāna element with residue remaining (sa-upādisesa nibbānadhātusopadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa)
    • Nibbāna element with no residue remaining (anupādisesa nibbānadhātunir-upadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa) — Parinirvana (parinibbānaparinirvāṇa)

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

  • Noble Eightfold Path (Ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggoĀrya '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 (TilakkhaṇaTrilakṣaṇa)[edit]

Three marks of existence

Five Aggregates (Pañca khandhaPañca-skandha)[edit]


Dependent Origination (PaticcasamuppādaPratītyasamutpāda)[edit]

This/that Conditionality (Idappaccayatā)[edit]

Describing the causal nature of everything in the universe, as expressed in the following formula:

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)[edit]

Describes how suffering arises.

Transcendental Dependent Origination[edit]

Describes the path out of suffering.

Karma (Kamma)[edit]

Karma in Buddhism

  • 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
      • Five heinous crimes, causing rebirth in hell immediately after death (ānantarika-kamma)
        • Intentionally killing one's father (patricide)
        • Intentionally killing one's mother (matricide)
        • Intentionally killing an arahant
        • Maliciously causing blood to flow from the body of a Buddha
        • Creating a schism in the sangha
    • 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 (PunabbhavaPunarbhava)[edit]

  • Saṃsāra — Lit., the "wandering," the round of rebirths without discoverable beginning, sustained by ignorance and craving

Buddhist cosmology[edit]

Buddhist cosmology

The bhavachakra, a symbolic depiction of the six realms.

Sense bases (Āyatana)[edit]


Six Great Elements (Dhātu)[edit]

Faculties (Indriya)[edit]


  • 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)

Formations (SaṅkhāraSaṃskāra)[edit]

Mental Factors (CetasikaCaitasika )[edit]

Theravāda abhidhamma[edit]

Mahayana abhidharma[edit]

  • 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. Ahiṃsā — 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[edit]

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

Obstacles to Enlightenment[edit]

Two Kinds of Happiness (Sukha)[edit]

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

Two Kinds of Bhava[edit]

Two Guardians of the World (Sukka lokapala)[edit]

Three Conceits[edit]

  • "I am better"
  • "I am equal"
  • "I am worse"

Three Standpoints[edit]

Three Primary Aims[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Four Kinds of Nutriment[edit]

Four Kinds of Acquisitions (Upadhi)[edit]

Eight Worldly Conditions[edit]

The "Eight Worldly Winds" referenced in discussions of Equanimity (upekkhā, upekṣhā)

Truth (SaccaSatya)[edit]

Higher Knowledge (AbhiññāAbhijñā)[edit]


  • 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)[edit]


  • Equanimity (upekkhā, upekṣhā)
  • 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[edit]

White A – Symbol Dzogchen

Other concepts[edit]

Buddhist practices[edit]

Buddhist devotion[edit]

Buddhists making offerings at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Buddhist devotion

Moral discipline and precepts (SīlaŚīla)[edit]

  • Five Precepts (pañca-sīlānipañca-śīlāni)
  • Eight Precepts (aṭṭhasīla)
    • Abstaining from taking life (both human and non-human)
    • Abstaining from taking what is not given (stealing)
    • Abstaining from all sexual activity
    • Abstaining from telling lies
    • Abstaining from using intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness
    • Abstaining from eating at the wrong time (the right time is eating once, after sunrise, before noon)
    • Abstaining from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume, and using cosmetics and garlands (decorative accessories)
    • Abstaining from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping
  • 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[edit]

  • To abstain from all evil (sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ)
  • To cultivate the good (kusalassa upasampadā)
  • To purify one's mind (sacittapariyodapanaṃ)

Three Pillars of Dharma[edit]

Threefold Training (Sikkhā)[edit]

Threefold Training

  • The training in the higher moral discipline (adhisīla-sikkhā) — morality (sīlaśīla)
  • The training in the higher mind (adhicitta-sikkhā) — concentration (samādhi)
  • The training in the higher wisdom (adhipaññā-sikkhā) — wisdom (paññāprajñā)

Five Qualities[edit]

Five Powers of a Trainee[edit]

  • Faith (saddhāśraddhā)
  • Conscience (hiri) — an innate sense of shame over moral transgression
  • Fear of wrong-doing (ottappa) — moral dread, fear of the results of wrongdoing
  • Energy (viriyavīrya)
  • Wisdom (paññāprajñā)

Five Things that lead to Enlightenment[edit]

Five Subjects for Contemplation[edit]

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)[edit]

Seven Good Qualities (Satta saddhammā)[edit]

Ten Meritorious Deeds (Dasa Punnakiriya vatthu)[edit]

Perfections (PāramīPāramitā)[edit]

Ten Theravada Pāramīs (Dasa pāramiyo)[edit]

Six Mahayana Pāramitās[edit]

States Pertaining to Enlightenment (BodhipakkhiyādhammāBodhipakṣa dharma)[edit]

Four Foundations of Mindfulness (Cattāro satipaṭṭhānāSmṛtyupasthāna)[edit]


  • Mindfulness of the body (kāyagatāsatikāyasmṛti)
    • Mindfulness of breathing (ānāpānasatiānāpānasmṛti)
      • 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 (sampajaññasamprajaña)
      • 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, hands, legs, head 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 (vedanāsativedanāsmṛti)
    • 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 (cittasaticittasmṛti)
    • 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 (dhammāsatidharmasmṛti)

Four Right Efforts (Cattārimāni sammappadhānāniSamyak-pradhāna)[edit]

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 (IddhipādaṚddhipāda)[edit]


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

Five Spiritual Faculties (Pañca indriya)[edit]


Five Powers (Pañca bala)[edit]

Five Strengths

  • Faith (saddhāśraddhā) — controls doubt
  • Energy (viriyavīrya) — controls laziness
  • Mindfulness (satismṛti) — controls heedlessness
  • Concentration (samādhi) — controls distraction
  • Wisdom (paññāprajñā) — controls ignorance

Seven Factors of Enlightenment (Satta sambojjhaṅgāSapta bodhyanga)[edit]

Seven Factors of Enlightenment


Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya aṭṭhaṅgika maggaĀrya 'ṣṭāṅga mārgaḥ)[edit]

Noble Eightfold Path

Wisdom (Paññākkhandha)[edit]
Dharmachakra, symbol of the Noble Eightfold Path, the Buddha's teaching of the path to enlightenment
Moral discipline (Sīlakkhandha)[edit]
Concentration (Samādhikkhandha)[edit]
Acquired factors[edit]

Buddhist meditation[edit]

Theravada meditation practices[edit]

Tranquillity/Serenity/Calm (SamathaŚamatha)[edit]


A Buddhist monk meditating
  • 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 (anussatianusmriti)
      • Buddhānussati (Buddhanusmrti) — Recollection of the Buddha — fixing 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 Saṅgha — fixing 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 (brahmavihāra)
    • Four formless jhānas (arūpajhāna)
    • Perception of disgust of food (aharepatikulasanna)
    • Four Great Elements (mahābhūta)
Concentration (Samādhi)[edit]
Insight meditation (VipassanāVipaśyanā)[edit]
  • 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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Other practices[edit]

Attainment of Enlightenment[edit]

Enlightenment in Buddhism


  • Nirvana (NibbānaNirvāṇa) — 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 (ParinibbānaParinirvāṇa) — 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 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
      • 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


  • 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[edit]

Buddhist monks on daily alms round.

Buddhist monasticism

  • Disciple 声闻弟子ShengWenDiZi (sāvakaśrāvaka)
  • 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 (pabbajjapravrajya)
  • Higher ordination (upasampadā)
    • Monk (bhikkhubhikṣu)
    • Nun (bhikkhunībhikṣuṇī)
  • 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,LvShi — Vinaya 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, to continue his or her Bodhisattva vow

Major figures of Buddhism[edit]

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[edit]

Chief Disciples[edit]

  • Sāriputta — Chief disciple, "General of the Dhamma", foremost in wisdom
  • Mahamoggallāna — Second chief disciple, foremost in psychic powers

Great Disciples[edit]




First five disciples of the Buddha[edit]

Two seven-year-old Arahants[edit]

Other disciples[edit]

Later Indian Buddhists (after Gotama Buddha)[edit]

Indo-Greek Buddhists[edit]

Chinese Buddhists[edit]

Tibetan Buddhists[edit]

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, a renowned Tibetan lama.

Japanese Buddhists[edit]

Vietnamese Buddhists[edit]

Burmese Buddhists[edit]

Thai Buddhists[edit]

Sri Lankan Buddhists[edit]

American Buddhists[edit]

Brazilian Buddhists[edit]

British Buddhists[edit]

German Buddhists[edit]

Irish Buddhists[edit]

Buddhist philosophy[edit]

Buddhist philosophy

Golden statue of Nagarjuna at Samye Ling Monastery.

Buddhist culture[edit]

Vesak celebration in Singapore.
Imitation currency burned for ancestors, during the Ghost Festival
Mala, Buddhist prayer beads.

Buddhist pilgrimage[edit]

Buddhist pilgrimage

Mahabodhi Temple in India, a common site of pilgrimage.

Comparative Buddhism[edit]

From a 12th-century Greek manuscript: Saint Josaphat preaches the Gospel.

Other topics related to Buddhism[edit]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Cousins, L.S. (1996); Buswell (2003), Vol. I, p. 82; and, Keown & Prebish (2004), p. 107. See also, Gombrich (1988/2002), p. 32: “…[T]he best we can say is that [the Buddha] was probably Enlightened between 550 and 450, more likely later rather than earlier."
  2. ^ Williams (2000, pp. 6-7) writes: "As a matter of fact Buddhism in mainland India itself had all but ceased to exist by the thirteenth century CE, although by that time it had spread to Tibet, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia." [1] (Originally 1958), "Chronology," p. xxix: "c. 1000-1200: Buddhism disappears as [an] organized religious force in India." See also, Robinson & Johnson (1970/1982), pp. 100-1, 108 Fig. 1; and, Harvey (1990/2007), pp. 139-40.


  1. ^ Embree 1988.
  2. ^ Gethin, Rupert. The Foundations of Buddhism, p1. Oxford University Press, 1998.
  3. ^ "The World Factbook: Sri Lanka". CIA World Factbook. Archived from the original on 2021-12-17. Retrieved 2006-08-12..
  4. ^ Keown, Damien (2003), A Dictionary of Buddhism: p. 38
  5. ^ "The Mahayana, 'Great Vehicle' or 'Great Carriage' (for carrying all beings to nirvana), is also, and perhaps more correctly and accurately, known as the Bodhisattvayana, the bodhisattva's vehicle." – Warder, A.K. (3rd edn. 1999). Indian Buddhism: p.338
  6. ^ "SuttaCentral AN 8.53". SuttaCentral. Archived from the original on 2020-10-23. Retrieved 2020-12-04.

External links[edit]