Pali Glossary – (A-K)

August 12, 2016

I have re-done the glossary in two posts, because there are a total of over 400 Pali words included now. This is the first part of the glossary; second part at, “Pali Glossary – (L-Z)“.

  • I have been able to get the audio files incorporated, and also have provided links to key posts whenever possible/needed.
  • We also have a Popup Pali Glossary with Pronunciation, thanks to Mr. Seng Kiat Ng. If that GoldenDict dictionary is installed on your computer, you will be able to access this glossary from each post directly. Furthermore, it could provide translations from other online dictionaries as well.

Possible Confusion in Pronunciation

In most cases, I use the spelling for Pali words that were adapted hundred years ago (by Rhys Davis and others). For example, “anichcha” is written in English as “anicca”. It seems that this was done in order to make the text shorter. That is a valid point, since otherwise some words could be very long when written in English.

In many cases:

1. “c” needs to be pronounced “ch” as in “charm” or “chicago”.

2. “t” needs to be pronounced “th” as in “thud” or “throw”.

  • For example, citta pronounced “chiththa”, cakkhu is pronounced “chakkhu”, aniccaas “anichcha”, anatta as “anaththa”, jati as “jathi”, tanha as “thanha”, tilakkhana as “thilakkhana”.

3. “d” needs to be pronounced “th” as in “this” or “that”. Note the difference in pronouncing “th” between 2 and 3.

  • For example, vedana or däna (as in giving) is pronounced this way.

Pronunciation Key

á rhymes like  pat        â → care        ã → pay        ä → father    ê  → pet     ë → bee                 th → thin            dh  → this
 ö →  toe       ü →  moon        ch → chin           ng  → thing
Pali WordPronunciation Meaning Audio
abhayaabhaya"a" +"bhaya"; doing something to stop someone's fear
abhaya danaabhaya danasaving the life of a living being
abhijjaabhijjhästrong greed
abhinnaabhingngnasupermundane powers
abhisankharaabhisankhärastrong sankhara that lead to rebirths and strong vipaka
adeenavaädeenavabad outcome: Äsvada, Ädeenava, Nissarana – Introduction
adhimokkhaadhimokkhaarising to the top; reaching a high value
adhivasanaadhiväsanathings one gets used to based on sansaric habits; part of gathi
adinnadanaadinnädanästealing; taking something without permission
adosaadösawithout hatred
ajjatta or ajjhattaajjhaththainternal
akasaäkäsaspace (the void in between rupa)
akasanancayatanaakäsananchayathanafirst arupa brahma realm
akincannayatanaakingchannayatanathird arupa brahma realm
akusalaakusalaimmoral act
aharaahäranutrients (for body or mind)
ahethukaahãthukawithout good roots
akalikaakälikaremove defilements or timeless (no birth or death, i.e., Nibbana)

alobhaalöbhawithout greed
alokaälökalight, dissociating from “this world”
amisaämisamundane (belonging to 31 realms)
amohaamöhawithout delusion; moral mindset
amurthaamurthafine food (drink) of devas
AnagamiAnägämi Non-Returner (to the human world)
anapanaänapäna7. What is Änapäna?
anapanasatiänapänasathi6. Anäpänasati Bhävanä (Introduction)
anariyaanäriyanot Noble
anatoppaanathoppafear of doing immoral deeds
anattaanattanot in-control, helpless
anenjabhi sankharaänenjäbhi sankhäraSankhara, Kamma, Kamma Beeja, Kamma Vipaka
aniccaanichchainability to maintain to one’s satisfaction
AniccataAnichchathatendency to change unexpectedly; characteristic of a rupa: Rupa (Material Form) – Table
anidassanaanidassanaCannot be seen; can also mean pure as in anidassana vinnana
animisaanimisawithout pausing for even a moment: Animisa Locana Bodhi Poojawa – A Prelude to Acts of Gratitude
annamannaannamannadepend on each other
annantaraannantarabeing in storage until retrieval (kamma vipaka)
anumodanaanumödanaaccept pattidana (transfer of merits or sharing of merits) with joy
anupassanaanupassanädiscard kileasa by contemplating with anicca, dukkha, anatta: see #6 of 4. What do all these Different Meditation Techniques Mean?
anusayaanusayadefilements arising from latent cravings (asava) and kilesa
apacayanaapachayanapaying respects to those with higher virtues: Ten Moral Actions (Dasa Kusala) and Ten Meritorious Actions (Punna Kriya)
aparapariyavedaniyaaparäpariyavedaneeyakamma vipaka that can materialize at any time in future
apayaapäyacommon term for four lowest realms
apoäpöcohesive element
Appana samadhiAppanä samadhialmost at jhana: What is Samadhi? – Three Kinds of Mindfulness
appaneetaappaneetanot to liking; dislikes
appatighaappatighacannot be grasped or touched
apunnabhi sankharaapunnabhi sankhärahighly immoral sankhara
ArahantArahantnever to be born in any of the 31 realms
arammanaärammanaobject of thought
AriyaäriyäNoble person (Sotapanna or above)
arupaarüpawithout rupa
asannaasangngawithout perception; without sanna
asava =asayaasävadeep-seated craving
asavakkhaya nanaäsavakkhaya ngänaKnowledge of removing asava: The Way to Nibbana – Removal of Asavas
asevanaäsãvanarepeated practice; associate
asobhanaasöbhanaugly or defiled (used mainly for cetasika)
asuraasuraone of the four apayas; beings there have large bodies and are inactive
attaaththaopposite of anatta; perception that one has total control
aviciavichione of the niraya (hell)
avinibbhogaavinibbhögaconsituents not separable, as in a avinibbhoga rupa kalapa
avyapadaavyäpadanot angry, kind
ayatanaäyatanaan indriya becomes as ayatana:
avijjaavijjäIgnorance of Tilakkhana

bhangabhangä dissolution; destruction
bhavabhavarealm of existence
Bhaudhdhaya (Buddhist)BhaudhdhayäOne striving to stop the rebirth process
bhavanabhävanämeditation, constant contemplation & use
bhavangabhavängalife continuum
BhikkhuBhikkhuBuddhist monk
bodhicittabödhichittaa Mahayana term denoting "enlightenment-mind"
bojjangabojjangabodhi anga or facilitating factor for Nibbana
brahmabrahmaa being in rupa or arupa brahma realms
BuddhaBudhdha (not “Budhdhä”)Buddha Gotama
cakkhuchakkhueye or seeing
chakrawatachakräwataplanetary system like our Solar system
cetanachethanäintention; but deeper:
cetasikachetasikamental factor
cittachiththathought (pure thought)
cittanupassanachiththänupassanädoing anupassana via contemplating on thoughts
citta vithichiththa veethicitta come in packets of a discrete number; a single citta does not arise
cutupapada nanachuthupapäda gnänaability to see all previous births
cuti cittachuthi chiththamoment of death
dasakadasakadecad; group of 10
dassanadassanavision; but normally used for "comprehending"
dassanena pahatabbadassanena pahäthabbäremoving (kilesa) via comprehension of Dhamma
desanadãsanäverbal discourse

devadãvaa being in 6th-11th realms
Dhammadhamma Buddha’s teachings, phenomenon, mental object

dhammavicayadhammavichayainvestigation of concepts like anicca
dhammanudhamma patipadadhammänudhamma patipadäcondition for attaining Sotapanna stage: Four Conditions for Attaining Sotapanna Magga/Phala
dhammanupassanadhammänupassanädoing anupassana via contemplating on Dhamma
dhyana (same as jhana)dhäynameditative state with rupa loka or arupa loka consciousness
ditthiditthiview, wrong view unless specified
ditthijukammaditthijukamma"ditthi"+"uju"+"kamma" or getting rid of wrong views on kamma:Ten Moral Actions (Dasa Kusala) and Ten Meritorious Actions (Punna Kriya)

domanassadomanassamental agony, displeasure; not bodily suffering
dosakkhayadösakkhayadösa + khaya or removal of hate
dugathidugathi"du" + "gathi" or habits that can lead to bad rebirths
dukkhadukkhasuffering & it can be stopped from arising
dvaradväradoor (to the external world)
ehipassikoehipassikoa quality of Dhamma, removing defilements in real time: Supreme Qualities of Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha
ekaggathaekaggathäone-pointedness (of the mind)
gandhagandhasmell, odor
gandabbhayagandabbhayäGandhabbaya (Manomaya Kaya)
gathigathicharacter, habits
ghanaghänanose or smelling
gotrabhugötrabhuchange of lineage ("götra") when getting close to a jhana
hadayavatthuhadayavaththuseat of mind (in the gandhabbaya)
hetuhãthuroot cause
hirihirishamefulness for doing akusala kamma
iddhiiddhispecial powers or knowledges
iddhipadaiddhipädameans to special (mental) accomplishment
indriyaindriyaone of the six sense faculties when used without lobha, dosa, moha
issa (irisiyä in Sinhala)issajealousy
Itthi (sthree in Sinhala)Iththifeminine
jarajarägetting old or weak
JarataJarathäone of 28 rupa: Rupa (Material Form)
jatijäthibirth of a living being OR birth of anything
javanajavanathose citta with which sankhara committed or kamma vipaka generated: Javana of a Citta – The Root of Mental Power
jhana (same as dhyana)jhänameditative state with rupa loka or arupa loka consciousness
jivhajivhätongue (more accurately jivha indriya) OR taste
jivitajeevithalife: jivita indriya maintains life
JivitindriyaJeevithindriyaone of the 7 universal cetasika: Cetasika (Mental Factors) OR one of the 28 rupa: Rupa (Material Form)
kabalinkakabalinkäone of the 4 ahara: Ahara (Food) in Udayavaya Nana
kalpa (same as kappa)kalpatime duration of an entity: kalpa of a human is about 100 years; maha kalpa is lifetime of the universe
kalyana mitrakalyäna mithraNoble friend: Four Conditions for Attaining Sotapanna Magga/Phala
kamachandakämachandagreed for things in kamaloka
kamalokakämalõkafirst 11 realms with five physical senses
kamaragakämarägaattachment to sense pleasures in kamaloka
kamavacarakämavacharabelonging to kamaloka
kamesu miccacarakämesu michchacharäimmoral ways of enjoying sense pleasures:The Five Precepts – What the Buddha Meant by Them
kammakammaaction, deed
kammantakammanthäactions as in samma kammanta
kammattanakammaththanamediation verses or procedures
kandhakandhaheap, pile, or aggregate
karunakarunäcompassion in the suffering of others
kasinakasinameditation object in anariya jhana (eg. a colored disk)
kayakäyapertaining to the body or action
kayakayaphysical or mental body
kayanupassanakäyanupassanädoing anupassana via contemplating on the bodily actions
khanika (khanika) samadhikhanika samädhiWhat is Samadhi? – Three Kinds of Mindfulness
khayakhayacutting off or gradually reduce
khanakhanamoment, sub-moment
kriyakriyäaction, deed
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