Pāli Glossary – (A-K)

August 12, 2016

Revised May 27, 2017: I have revised the Pāli words to align with the convention used by most English texts. This convention was apparently adapted by the early European scholars (Rhys Davis and others) in order to keep the length of the word short. I will use this convention in new posts, and try to update old posts gradually.

This glossary is in two posts, because there are a total of over 400 Pāli words included now. This is the second part of the glossary; first part at “Pali Glossary – (A-K)“.

  • 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.

Pronunciation Key: 

1.”a” is pronounced like “u” in cut;   “ā” is pronounced like “a” in father

  • “i” is pronounced like “i” in sit;   “ī” is pronounced like “ee” in bee
  • “u” is pronounced like “u” in put;   “ū” is pronounced like “oo” in cool
  •  “ō” is pronounced like “oe” in Moe ;  “ē” is pronounced like “a” in pay
  •  “c” needs to be pronounced like “ch” as in “charm” or “chicago”
  • “ñ” needs to be pronounced like “gn” in signor

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.
Pali WordPronunciation Meaning Audio
abhayaabhaya"a" +"bhaya"; doing something to stop someone's fear
abhaya dānaabhaya dānasaving the life of a living being
abhijjāabhijjhāstrong greed
abhinnāabhiññāsupermundane powers
abhisankhāraabhisankhārastrong sankhara that lead to rebirths and strong vipaka
adeenavaädeenavabad outcome: Äsvada, Ädeenava, Nissarana – Introduction
adhimokkhaadhimokkhaarising to the top; reaching a high value
adhivāsanaadhivāsanathings one gets used to based on sansaric habits; part of gathi
adinnādānaadinnādanāstealing; taking something without permission
adōsaadōsawithout hatred
ajjatta or ajjhattaajjhaththainternal
ākasaākāsaspace (the void in between rupa)
ākāsānancāyatanaākāsānanchāyathanafirst arupa brahma realm
ākincaññāyatanaākincaññāyathanathird arupa brahma realm
akusalaakusalaimmoral act
āhāraāhāranutrients (for body or mind)
ahethukaahéthukawithout good roots
akālikaakālikaremove defilements or timeless (no birth or death, i.e., Nibbana)

alōbhaalōbhawithout greed
ālōkaālōkalight, dissociating from “this world”
āmisaāmisamundane (belonging to 31 realms)
amōhaamōhawithout delusion; moral mindset
amurthaamurthafine food (drink) of devas
AnāgāmiAnāgāmi Non-Returner (to the human world)
ānāpānaānāpāna7. What is Änapäna?
ānāpānasatiānāpānasathi6. Anäpänasati Bhävanä (Introduction)
anāriyaanāriyanot Noble
anatoppaanathoppafear of doing immoral deeds
anattaanaththanot in-control, helpless
ānenjābhi sankhāraānenjābhi sankhāraSankhara, Kamma, Kamma Beeja, Kamma Vipaka
aniccaanichchainability to maintain to one’s satisfaction
AniccatāAnichchathātendency 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
annamannaaññamaññadepend on each other
annantaraannantharabeing in storage until retrieval (kamma vipaka)
anumōdanāanumōdanāaccept pattidana (transfer of merits or sharing of merits) with joy
anupassanāanupassanādiscard 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)
aparāpariyavēdaniyaaparāpariyavēdaniyakamma vipaka that can materialize at any time in future
apāyaapāyacommon term for four lowest realms
āpōāpōcohesive element
Appanā samādhiAppanā samādhialmost at jhana: What is Samadhi? – Three Kinds of Mindfulness
appanītaappaneethanot to liking; dislikes
appatighaappatighacannot be grasped or touched
apuññabhi sankhāraapuññabhi sankhārahighly immoral sankhara
ArahantArahantnever to be born in any of the 31 realms
ārammanaārammanaobject of thought
ĀriyaĀriya or ĀriyāNoble person (Sotapanna or above)
arūpaarūpawithout rupa
asaññaasaññawithout perception; without sanna
āsava =āsayaāsavadeep-seated craving
āsavakkhaya ñānaāsavakkhaya ñānaKnowledge of removing asava: The Way to Nibbana – Removal of Asavas
asēvanaäsēvanarepeated practice; associate
asōbhanaasōbhanaugly or defiled (used mainly for cetasika)
asuraasuraone of the four apayas; beings there have large bodies and are inactive
attaaththa oir atta (eight)opposite of anatta or eight
atthaaththaopposite of anatta; perception that one has total control
aviciavichione of the niraya (hell)
avinibbhōgaavinibbhōgaconsituents not separable, as in a avinibbhoga rupa kalapa
avyāpādaavyāpādanot angry, kind
āyatanaāyatanaan indriya becomes as ayatana: https://puredhamma.net/key-dhamma-concepts-that-have-been-hidden/sorting-out-some-key-pali-terms-tanha-lobha-dosa-moha-etc/indriya-and-ayatana-big-difference/
avijjāavijjāIgnorance of Tilakkhana
bahiddhabahiddha or bahiddhāexternal
bahijjabahijja or bahijjāexternal

bhangabhanga or bhangā dissolution; destruction
bhavabhavarealm of existence
Bhaudhdhayā (Buddhist)BhaudhdhayāOne striving to stop the rebirth process
bhāvanābhāvanāmeditation, constant contemplation & use
bhavañgabhavañgalife continuum
BhikkhuBhikkhuBuddhist monk
bōdhicittabōdhichiththaa Mahayana term denoting "enlightenment-mind"
bojjangabojjañgabodhi anga or facilitating factor for Nibbana
brahmabrahmaa being in rupa or arupa brahma realms
BuddhaBudhdha (not “Budhdhā”)Buddha Gotama
cakkhuchakkhueye or seeing
chakrāwāta or cakrāvātachakrāvātaplanetary system like our Solar system
cetanāchethanāintention; but deeper:https://puredhamma.net/28-2/what-is-intention-in-kamma/
cetasikachetasikamental factor
chanda or candachandaliking
cittachiththathought (pure thought)
cittānupassanāchiththānupassanādoing anupassana via contemplating on thoughts
citta vithichiththa veethicitta come in packets of a discrete number; a single citta does not arise
cutūpapāda ñānachuthūpapāda ñānaability to see all previous births
cuti cittachuthi chiththamoment of death
dasakadasakadecad; group of 10
dassanadassanavision; but normally used for "comprehending"
dassanēna pahatabbadassanēna pahäthabbāremoving (kilesa) via comprehension of Dhamma
dēsanādēsanāverbal discourse

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

dhammavicayadhammavichayainvestigation of concepts like anicca
dhammānudhamma patipadādhammānudhamma patipadācondition for attaining Sotapanna stage: Four Conditions for Attaining Sotapanna Magga/Phala
dhammānupassanādhammānupassanādoing anupassana via contemplating on Dhamma
dhyāna (same as jhāna)dhāynameditative 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)

dōmanassadōmanassamental agony, displeasure; not bodily suffering
dōsakkhayadōsakkhayadösa + khaya or removal of hate
dugati or dugathidugathi"du" + "gathi" or habits that can lead to bad rebirths
dukkhadukkhasuffering & it can be stopped from arising
dvāradvāradoor (to the external world)
ehipassikōehipassikōa quality of Dhamma, removing defilements in real time: Supreme Qualities of Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha
ekaggathāekaggathāone-pointedness (of the mind)
gandhagandhasmell, odor
gandabbhayāgandabbhayāGandhabbaya (Manomaya Kaya)
gathigathicharacter, habits
ghānaghānanose or smelling
gōtrabhugōthrabhuchange of lineage ("götra") when getting close to a jhana
hadayavattuhadayavaththuseat of mind (in the gandhabbaya)
hētuhēthuroot cause
hirihirishamefulness for doing akusala kamma
iddhiiddhispecial powers or knowledges
iddhipādaiddhipādameans to special (mental) accomplishment
indriyaindriyaone of the six sense faculties when used without lobha, dosa, moha
issa (irisiyā in Sinhala)issajealousy
Itthi (sthree in Sinhala)Iththifeminine
jarājarāgetting old or weak
JaratāJarathāone of 28 rupa: Rupa (Material Form)
jātijāthibirth 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
jhāna (same as dhyāna)jhānameditative state with rupa loka or arupa loka consciousness
jivhājivhātongue (more accurately jivha indriya) OR taste
jīvitajeevithalife: jivita indriya maintains life
JīvitindriyaJeevithindriyaone of the 7 universal cetasika: Cetasika (Mental Factors) OR one of the 28 rupa: Rupa (Material Form)
kabalinkākabalinkāone 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
kalyāna mittā (or mitrā)kalyāna miththaNoble friend: Four Conditions for Attaining Sotapanna Magga/Phala
kāmachandakāmachandagreed for things in kamaloka
kāmalōkakāmalōkafirst 11 realms with five physical senses
kāmarāgakāmarāgaattachment to sense pleasures in kamaloka
kāmāvacarakāmāvacharabelonging to kamaloka
kāmēsu miccācārākāmēsu michchāchārāimmoral ways of enjoying sense pleasures:The Five Precepts – What the Buddha Meant by Them
kammakammaaction, deed
kammantakammanthäactions as in samma kammanta
kammattānakammaththānamediation verses or procedures
kandhakandhaheap, pile, or aggregate
karunākarunācompassion in the suffering of others
kasinakasinameditation object in anariya jhana (eg. a colored disk)
kāyakāyapertaining to the body or action
kayakayaphysical or mental body
kāyānupassanākāyānupassanādoing 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
kriyākriyāaction, deed
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