Pāli Glossary – (A-K)

August 12, 2016; Revised May 27, 2017; February 19, 2020; May 29, 2022 (#4 added)

Tipiṭaka English” Convention

1. 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. See the following two posts for details:

Additional Pronunciation Keys: 

.”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. This glossary is in two posts because there are a total of over 400 Pāli words included now. This is the first part of the glossary; second part at “Pāli 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 Pāli 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.

3. Relevant posts on any of the words can be found by using the “Search” box on the top right.

Pali WordMeaning Audio
abhaya"a" +"bhaya"; doing something to stop someone's fear
abhaya dānasaving the life of a living being
abhijjhāstrong greed
abhiññāsupermundane powers
abhisaṅkhārastrong sankhara that lead to rebirths and strong vipaka
ādīnavabad outcome: Assāda, Ādīnava, Nissarana – Introduction
adhimokkhaarising to the top; reaching a high value
adhivāsanathings one gets used to based on sansaric habits; part of gathi
adinnādānastealing; taking something without permission
adōsawithout hatred
ākāsaspace (the void in between rupa)
ākāsānañcāyatanafirst arupa brahma realm
ākiñcaññāyatanathird arupa brahma realm
akusalaimmoral act
āhāranutrients (for body or mind)
ahetukawithout good roots
akālikaremove defilements or timeless (no birth or death, i.e., Nibbana)

alōbhawithout greed
ālōkalight, dissociating from “this world”
āmisamundane (belonging to 31 realms)
amōhawithout delusion; moral mindset
amurtafine food (drink) of devas
Anāgāmi Non-Returner (to the human world)
ānāpāna7. What is Änapäna?
ānāpānasati6. Anäpänasati Bhävanä (Introduction)
anāriyanot Noble
anatoppafear of doing immoral deeds
anattanot in-control, helpless
ānenjābhi sankhāraSankhara, Kamma, Kamma Beeja, Kamma Vipaka
aniccainability to maintain to one’s satisfaction
Aniccatātendency to change unexpectedly; characteristic of a rupa: Rupa (Material Form) – Table
anidassanaCannot be seen; can also mean pure as in anidassana vinnana
animisawithout pausing for even a moment: Animisa Locana Bodhi Poojawa – A Prelude to Acts of Gratitude
aññamaññadepend on each other
anantarabeing in storage until retrieval (kamma vipaka)
anumōdanāaccept pattidana (transfer of merits or sharing of merits) with joy
anupassanādiscard kileasa by contemplating with anicca, dukkha, anatta: see #6 of 4. What do all these Different Meditation Techniques Mean?
anusayadefilements arising from latent cravings (asava) and kilesa
apacāyanapaying respects to those with higher virtues: Punna Kamma – Dāna, Sīla, Bhāvanā
aparāpariya vēdaniyakamma vipaka that can materialize at any time in future
apāyacommon term for four lowest realms
āpōcohesive element
Appanā samādhialmost at jhana: What is Samadhi? – Three Kinds of Mindfulness
appaṇītanot to liking; dislikes
appaṭighacannot be grasped or touched
apuññābhi saṅkhārahighly immoral sankhara
Arahantnever to be born in any of the 31 realms
ārammaṇaobject of thought
AriyaNoble person (Sotapanna or above)
arūpawithout rupa
asaññawithout perception; without sanna
āsava =āsayadeep-seated craving
āsavakkhaya ñāṇaKnowledge of removing asava: The Way to Nibbāna – Removal of Āsavas
āsēvanarepeated practice; associate
asōbhanaugly or defiled (used mainly for cetasika)
asuraone of the four apayas; beings there have large bodies and are inactive
attaopposite of anatta
avicione of the niraya (hell)
avinibbhōgaconsituents not separable, as in a avinibbhoga rupa kalapa
avyāpāda = abyāpādanot angry, kind
āyatanaan indriya becomes as ayatana: Indriya and Āyatana – Big Difference
avijjāIgnorance of Tilakkhana

bhaṅgadissolution; destruction
bhavarealm of existence
bhāvanāmeditation, constant contemplation & use
bhavaṅgalife continuum
BhikkhuBuddhist monk
bojjhaṅgabodhi anga or facilitating factor for Nibbana
brahmaa being in rupa or arupa brahma realms
BuddhaBuddha Gotama
cakkhueye or seeing
cakkavāḷaplanetary system like our Solar system
cetanāintention; but deeper: What is Intention in Kamma?
cetasikamental factor
chanda liking
cittathought (pure thought)
cittānupassanādoing anupassana via contemplating on thoughts
citta vīthicitta come in packets of a discrete number; a single citta does not arise
cutūpapāta ñāṇaability to see all previous births
cuti cittamoment of death
dasakadecad; group of 10
dassanavision; but normally used for "comprehending"
dassanēna pahātabbaremoving (kilesa) via comprehension of Dhamma
dēsanā or desanāverbal discourse

dēvaa being in 6th-11th realms
Dhamma Buddha’s teachings, phenomenon, mental object

dhammavicaya (sambojjhaṅga)investigation of concepts like anicca
dhammānudhamma patipadācondition for attaining Sotapanna stage: Four Conditions for Attaining Sotapanna Magga/Phala
dhammānupassanādoing anupassana via contemplating on Dhamma
dhyāna (same as jhāna)meditative state with rupa loka or arupa loka consciousness
diṭṭhiview, wrong view unless specified
diṭṭhijukamma"diṭṭhi"+"uju"+"kamma" or getting rid of wrong views on kamma:Punna Kamma – Dāna, Sīla, Bhāvanā

dōmanassamental agony, displeasure; not bodily suffering
dōsakkhayadösa + khaya or removal of hate
dugati "du" + "gathi" or habits that can lead to bad rebirths
dukkhasuffering & it can be stopped from arising
dvāradoor (to the external world)
ehipassikoa quality of Dhamma, removing defilements in real time: Supreme Qualities of Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha
ekaggatāone-pointedness (of the mind)
gandhasmell, odor
gandabbaGandhabbaya (Manomaya Kaya)
gaticharacter, habits
ghānanose or smelling
gotrabhuchange of lineage ("götra") when getting close to a jhana
hadaya vatthuseat of mind (in the gandhabbaya)
hēturoot cause
hirishamefulness for doing akusala kamma
iddhispecial powers or knowledges
iddhipādameans to special (mental) accomplishment
indriyaone of the six sense faculties when used without lobha, dosa, moha
issa (irisiyā in Sinhala)jealousy
Itthi (sthree in Sinhala)feminine
jarāgetting old or weak
Jaratāone of 28 rupa: Rupa (Material Form)
jātibirth of a living being OR birth of anything
javanathose citta with which sankhara committed or kamma vipaka generated: Javana of a Citta – The Root of Mental Power
jhāna (same as dhyāna)meditative state with rupa loka or arupa loka consciousness
jivhātongue (more accurately jivha indriya) OR taste
jīvitalife: jivita indriya maintains life
Jīvitindriyaone of the 7 universal cetasika: Cetasika (Mental Factors) OR one of the 28 rupa: Rupa (Material Form)
kabaḷīkāraone of the 4 ahara: Āhāra (Food) in Udayavaya Ñāna
kappa (kalpa in Sinhala)time duration of an entity: kalpa of a human is about 100 years; maha kalpa is lifetime of the universe
kalyāna mittā (mitrā in Sinhala)Noble friend: Four Conditions for Attaining Sotapanna Magga/Phala
kāmacchandagreed for things in kamaloka
kāma lōkafirst 11 realms with five physical senses
kāma rāgaattachment to sense pleasures in kamaloka
kāmāvacarabelonging to kamaloka
kāmesumicchācāraimmoral ways of enjoying sense pleasures:The Five Precepts – What the Buddha Meant by Them
kammaaction, deed
kammantaactions as in samma kammanta
kammaṭṭhānamediation verses or procedures
kandhaheap, pile, or aggregate
karunācompassion in the suffering of others
kasinameditation object in anariya jhana (eg. a colored disk)
kāyapertaining to the body or action
kāyānupassanādoing anupassana via contemplating on the bodily actions
khaṇika samadhiWhat is Samadhi? – Three Kinds of Mindfulness
khayacutting off or gradually reduce
khaṇamoment, sub-moment
kriyāaction, deed

4. Anyone can download the audio files here:

Pāli Word Pronunciation – Audio Files

Print Friendly, PDF & Email