Basic Buddhist Concepts
This is an outline of some basic Buddhist concepts and teachings. To download a PDF of this page: Basic Buddhist Concepts
Buddha—Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha. Literally, awakened one, thus one who has achieved the enlightenment that leads to release from the cycle of birth and death.
Dharma—the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, also the law or true nature of existence.
Sangha—the community of Buddhist practitioners, both local and global. Most widely, all awakening beings.
The Triple Treasure or Three Jewels—Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. A practice in all Buddhist traditions is taking refuge in the Triple Treasure.
Tathagata—one of the ten titles of the Buddha, literally “thus come one”, implies “one who has attained supreme enlightenment”
Bodhicitta—awakening mind, the desire to become enlightened for the benefit of all beings
Bodhisattva—literally, enlightenment being, a being who seeks to awaken for the benefit of others
Bodhisattvas—images of archetypal qualities
These are some of the most significant bodhisattva images in Japanese Zen:
Avalokiteshvara—(Kuan Yin in Chinese, Kannon in Japanese) bodhisattva of compassion
Samantabhadra—(Fugen in Japanese) bodhisattva of practice
Manjushri—(Manju in Japanese) bodhisattva of wisdom
Ksitigarbha—(Ti-tsang in Chinese, Jizo in Japanese) bodhisattva of great vow
Four Noble Truths
Suffering/dissatisfaction (dukkha) is characteristic of human life.
There is a cause of suffering—craving.
There is liberation from suffering.
The Path to the liberation from suffering—the eightfold path.
The Noble Eightfold Path
Right view Right thought
Right speech Right conduct
Right livelihood Right effort
Right mindfulness Right concentration
The Three Poisions
Greed Hatred Ignorance
The Brahma Viharas (heavenly abodes)
The Three Seals
Impermanence Non-self Suffering/dissatisfaction
The Six Paramitas (Perfections)
dana (generosity/giving) shila (morality)
kshanti (patience) virya (vitality/zeal)
dhyana (meditative concentration) prajna (wisdom)
The Four Additional Paramitas
upaya (skillful means) pranidhana (determination)
bala (strength) jnana (knowledge)