A fully ordained Buddhist monk.


A fully ordained Buddhist nun.

Bhumi The bhumis

(earth, region, plane or level) are the stages of the Bodhisattva's career on his way to enlightenment. The tenth, or highest, bhumi is called "Cloud of Dharma", where the Bodhisattva enters the stage of abhiseka (initiation) and experiences many great samadhis, and many other accomplishments.


The role model in the Mahayana tradition. The bodhisattva is a being who vows to remain in the world life after life, postponing his own full liberation until all other living beings are delivered.


(Sanskrit: bodhicitta, "mind of awakening") in the Mahayana tradition, the aspiration for enlightenment in behalf of all sentient beings. Giving rise to the Bodhi-mind is the first step in establishing oneself on the bodhisattva path.


Enlightenment; function of wisdom.


1. In Hinduism, a major god who is a member of the trimūrti (“trinity”) and functions as the creator god. The other two members of the trimūrti, Vis .n .u and Śiva, function as the preserver and destroyer gods, respectively. 2. In Buddhist texts, a class of deities who occupy the heavens in the realms of form and formlessness.


The mainstream religious beliefs and practices in ancient India from about 1000 bce (give or take two hundred years) through roughly the time of the Buddha, for which the Vedas are authoritative texts and members of the brahmin (priestly) social class officiate at religious rituals. Other forms of this mainstream Indian religious tradition, all of which take the Vedas as authoritative, are called Vedism (for the pre-Brahmanic phase) and Hinduism (for the phase beginning early in the Common Era and continuing to the present). buddha-nature (buddha-dhātu or buddha-gotra; fóxìng 佛性) 1. The potential to become a Buddha. 2. The positive qualities a being possesses that are the preconditions or distant causes for its eventual attainment of Buddhahood.


Criteria for determining who is a Buddhist vary widely; some include: 1. Anyone who identifies himself as a Buddhist. 2. Anyone who has formally taken the three refuges (sān guīyī 三皈依) in the Buddha, Dharma, and San˙gha. (Educated Chinese monastics often use this criterion.) 3. Anyone who undertakes one or more religious practices considered Buddhist. 4. According to the famous Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa, anyone who, in filling out the registration form for admittance to a hospital, writes “Buddhist” on the dotted line for religious affiliation (Prebish 1999, 56). (The criteria one uses to determine whether or not someone is Buddhist should perhaps vary depending on why this determination is necessary. For example, those who advocate posting the Ten Commandments on US government property seem to define Buddhists (and Hindus, atheists, etc.) narrowly, so that it appears that almost every religious person in America is either Jewish or Christian. In a similar vein, those in America who want to find diversity and multiculturalism everywhere seem to define Buddhists broadly.)


The Supremely Enlightened One. See 'THREE JEWELS."


The truths and teaching of Buddhism; the Dharma as taught by the Buddha. See "Dharma."

Buddha nature

A term to describe the underlying nature which pervades everything sentient and non-sentient. Actually, it is inexplicable, as it transcends all descriptions and dualities.


1. The body of doctrines and practices described in texts that are labeled by some community as Buddhist. Such texts (a) are generally attributed to a Buddha, usually Śākyamuni Buddha, or were spoken by one of his disciples and later validated by him, or (b) are directly based on or inspired by such texts. 2. A set of the shared beliefs and practices of a given category of people labeled Buddhist. 3. The social institutions of Buddhists. (Failure to distinguish between the different meanings of the word Buddhism and to specify the set of texts or the community in question leads to frequent confusion.)