Pali Glossary

1/2/16: It seems that the audio files are not loading, so just removed the audio files. 

We now have a Popup Pali Glossary with Pronunciation.

Possible Confusion in Pronunciation

It seems that the following conventions were adopted in order to make the text shorter.

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”, anicca as “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

Common Pali Words

I will keep adding more words to the glossary. If you would like me to add any  missing words to the glossary, please send a comment.

10/6/15: I have added audio files. 1/2/16: Audio files temporarily removed.

Pali Word Audio Pronunciation Meaning
akusala  akusala immoral, unwholesome
adosa adhösa non-hatred
alobha alöbha  non-greed
amoha amöha non-delusion
Anagami Anägämi Non-Returner (to the human world)
Anariya Anäriyä One who is not yet a Noble One or Ariya
anatta anaththä not in-control, helpless
anicca anichchä inability to maintain to one’s satisfaction
annantara being in storage until retrieval (kamma vipaka)
anupassana anupassanä contemplate with anicca, dukkha, anatta
anusaya   defilements arising from latent cravings (asava)
apaya apäya common term for four lowest realms
abhijja abhijjä strong greed
Arahant Never to be born in any of the 31 realms
Ariya äriyä noble one (Sotapanna or above)
arupa arüpa without rupa (not really correct)
avijja avijjä ignorance
ahirika ahirikä shamelessness
ahetuka ahãthuka without good roots
akasa äkäsa space (the void in between rupa)
aloka älöka light, dissociating from “this world”
apo äpö cohesive element
arammana ärammana object of thought
asava =asaya asäva deep-seated craving
asevana äsãvanä repeated practice
bahiddha bahidhdhä external
bala   power
bhanga bhangä  dissolution
bhava   existence level
Bhauddhaya (Buddhist) Bhaudhdhayä One striving to stop the rebirth process
bhavana bhävanä meditation, constant contemplation & use
Buddha Budhdha (not “Budhdhä”) Buddha Gotama
bhavanga bhavangä  life continuum
bhaya   fear
citta chiththa early stage of a thought (pure thought) 
dana däna giving
dasaka   decad
deva  dãva a being in 6th-11th realms
dhamma dhammä  Buddha’s teachings, phenomenon, mental object
dhammavicaya dhammavichaya investigation of concepts like anicca
dhatu dhäthu element
ditthi   view, wrong view unless specified
domanassa dhomanassa  displeasure
dosa dhösa hatred
dukha dhukha  suffering
dukkha dhukhkha  suffering & it can be overcome
dvara dhvära door (to the outside world)
ekaggata ekaggathä one-pointedness (of the mind)
gandha   smell
gathi gathi character
hadayavatthu hadayavaththu seat of mind
hetu hãthu root cause
hiri   shame
iddhipada iddhipäda means to accomplishment
kamachanda kämachanda greed for things in kamaloka
kamaloka kämalõka first 11 realms with five physical senses
kamavacara kämavachara belonging to kamaloka
kamma kammä action, deed
kasina kasina meditation device (usu. a colored disk)
kaya käya sensing (seeing, hearing, etc)
kaya kaya body
khaya   cutting off
khana   moment, sub-moment
khandha   aggregate, collection, heap
kilesa (keles) kilãsa defilement
kukkucca kukkuchcha tendency to do lowly things
kusala   removal of defilements
lahuta lahüta lightness
lakkhana lakhkhana  characteristc 
lobha löbha greed
loka löka world
lokottara lökoththara beyond this world, transcendental
maccariya machchariya extreme greed, hiding wealth
magga magga path
mana mäna conceit
manasikara manasikära memory
mano manö mind
manodhatu manödhäthu mind element
manodvara manödvära mind door
manussa   human being
marana   death
metta meththä loving kindness
micca ditthi michcha diththi wrong views
middha midhdhha lethargic mind
moha möha delusion
mudita mudhithä appreciative joy
muduta mudhuthä malleability
mula   mula or müla root
nama näma name, mental
namarupa nämarüpa name and form
nana ngäna knowledge
nimitta nimiththa sign
nivarana neevarana hindrance
niraya   hell
niyama niyama (not niyäma) law of nature
oja ojä nutritive essence
paccaya pachchayä condition
pahäna pahäna abandoning
pancadvara panchadvära five sense doors
pancakkhandha pancakkhandhä five aggregates
pancaupadanakkhandha pancaupädänakkhandhä grasping/craving of five aggregates
panna pangngä wisdom
piti  peethi (preethi) joy
pannindriya   wisdom faculty
paramatta paramaththä ultimate reality
pasada rupa pasäda rüpa sensitive matter (internal rupa)
passaddhi  passadhdhi tranquility
patavi element of hardness
paticca patichcha bind to something willingly 
patigha   aversion, dislike
pavutthi pavuththi during this life, current
peta (preta) petä (prétha) hungry ghost
phala   fruit, fruition
phassa   contact
puggala   individual
purisa   masculine
raga räga attachment to sansara
rasa   taste
rupa rüpa matter (and energy)
rupa kalapa rüpa kaläpa material group unit
rupavacara rüpavächara belonging to rupa loka
sadda sadhdha  sound
sadharana sädhärana universal, common
saddha sadhdhä faith (through knowledge and understanding)
sahetuka sahëthuka with roots
Sakadagami Sakadagämi Once-Returner (one more rebirth as a human)
salayatana saläyathana six sense bases
samadhi samädhi high concentration with pure mind
samma   quench (defilements)
samapatti samäpaththi meditative attainment 
samanantara samananthara contiguity, matching with annantara
samatha samathä calming the mind
samauppada samauppäda birth of a similar kind
sankappa   ideas
sankhara sankhära actions leading to defilements
sankata sankhatha conditioned, formed by conditions
sanna sangngä perception
sansara (also called samsara) sansära beginningless rebirth process
sasava säsavä with craving
sati  sathi mindful of anicca, dukkha, anatta
satipattana sathipattäna establishment of sati
sanyojana sanyöjana bind to defilements, fetter
sila seela virtue, moral conduct
sekha sëkha trainee (the three stages below the Arahant)
somanassa sömanassa with joy
sota sötha ear
Sotapanna Söthapanna Stream Enterer (first stage of Nibbana)
tanha thanhä attachment (bondage) due to greed, hate, or delusion
tejo thãjo  heat element
thina  theena sloth
uddacca udhdhachchä tendency to be high-minded (restlessness)
upadana upädhäna clinging, like to hold onto
upekkha   equanimity, neutrality
uppatthi uppaththi birth
vaci vachi speech
vanna (varna) color
vayama vayäma effort
vayo vayö fluidity
vedana vãdana feeling
vicara vichära sustained concentration on an object
vicikicca vichikichchä acting without sati
vimansa vimansä investigation
vinnati vingngäthi intimation
vinnana vingngana  (defiled) consciousness
vipaka vipäka result
vipassana vipassanä insight (via analysis of parts)
virati virathi abstinence from indulgence
viriya   effort
visuddhi visudhdhi purification
vitakka vithakka  initial application of the mind on an object
vithi  veethi process (sequential)
vottapana voththapana determining
vyapada vyäpäda ill will, stronger than patigha
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