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Some of the Pali and foreign terms used in the Forest Sangha Newsletter

Please note: Pali diacritics have been omitted throughout the newsletter. Below are brief descriptions of how these words are being used in this issue of the FSN; they are not full definitions. Often used, many have not been italicized.

For a more complete glossary of Pali terms including useful references, see John Bullit’s collection on

Ajahn: (Thai) Senior monk or nun; literally ‘teacher’. Used for those with ten vassas or more, regardless of their role in the community.

anagarika: A male or female postulant in the preliminary noviciate stage.

anjali: A gesture of respect by joining palms in front of the heart.

anumodana: An expression of appreciative acknowledgment of goodness performed.

bhikkhu : A Buddhist monk.

bhikkhuni (Pali)/ bhikshuni (Sanskrit): A Buddhist nun.

bodhisatta: "A being (striving) for Awakening"; the term used to describe the Buddha before he became Buddha.

Buddha: Awakened One; the perfectly enlightened historical teacher of the Dhamma.

Bodhi Tree: The tree under which the Buddha was liberated, or same kind.

dana : Giving, generosity; offering, alms.

deva; devata: Lit. 'shining one'; an inhabitant of the heavenly realms.

Dhamma: The Truth; the teaching of the Buddha.

Dhammacakka: "Dhamma-wheel"; the symbol of a wheel representing the Buddha’s teaching.

Dhamma-vinaya: The Teaching and Training, or Doctrine and Discipline

dukkha: Stress; suffering; pain; distress; discontent.

dhutanga: Voluntary ascetic practices.

garudhammas: Eight ' vows of respect' pertaining to the Bhikkhu Sangha.

kalyanamitta: Spiritual friend; a mentor or teacher of Dhamma.

kamma (Sanskrit: karma): Intentional acts that result in states of being.

kathina: An almsgiving ceremony at the end of the vassa.

kuti : A simple hut for dwelling and meditation.

Luang Por: (Thai) A title of affectionate respect (lit. "Venerable Father")

maechee: (Thai) An eight-precept nun in Thailand.

metta: Loving-kindness

Mahayana: The school of Buddhism mainly practised in Tibet and E.Asia.

pabbajja: "Going forth"– ordination into the mendicant life.

parittas: Blessing chants; a particular collection of the Buddha’s words.

Patimokkha: The basic code of discipline the Buddha established for his ordained disciples.

puja: Devotional observances such as chanting and offering incense.

samadhi: Concentration; unshakeable presence of mind.

samana: One who has entered the Holy life; religious recluse or wanderer.

samsara: The 'endless round' of birth and death.

samanera : A novice monk.

Sangha : The community of ordained Buddhist monks and nuns; alternatively, those who have realized liberation (Ariya Sangha).

sasana: The dispensation of the Buddha's teaching.

siladhara: A Buddhist nun from the community of Luang Por Sumedho.

stupa: Pagoda; a devotional monument often enshrining holy relics.

sutta: A discourse of the Buddha or his disciples.

Tan (Thai): A common title of respect.

thera: A bhikkhu of ten or more vassas.

Theravada : The school of Buddhism mainly practised in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos and Cambodia.

theri: A Siladhara of ten or more vassas.

Triple Gem : The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

tudong : Austere contemplative wandering, relying on faith and meditation.

upasaka: A male lay-follower of the Buddha

upasampada: "Acceptance": ordination as a bhikkhu.

upasika : A female lay-follower of the Buddha.

vassa: The three-month summer "Rains Retreat"; a mark of how many years ("vassas") a monk or nun has been in robes.

vihara: A monastic dwelling.

Vinaya: The monastic discipline.

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