Glossary

Terms defined as they are used on this website

Anthology: This refers to collections of suttas that are not a complete nikāya (or book within the Kuddhaka Nikāya). An anthology may contain only some suttas or excerpts of suttas from a single nikāya, or it may contain suttas from many different nikāyas. Some anthologies of this latter type are organized around a topic. Some give a broad overview of the teachings.

Blessed One, The: This is one of the names of the Buddha Gotama. Using this term may help to generate a greater sense of reverence, love, and respect for our great teacher.

Canon: On this website, this refers to the collection of texts in the Vinaya Piṭaka and Sutta Piṭaka and specifically does not include the commentarial literature.

Kuddhaka Nikāya: The fifth and final collection in the Sutta Piṭaka. It is composed of smaller, autonomous collections.

Nikāya: There are five nikāyas in the Sutta Piṭaka. The first four are collections of suttas. The fifth is a collection of collections of suttas.

Pāḷi: The ancient language that the texts of Theravāda Buddhism are recorded in. The lines and dots added in some Pāḷi words aid in pronunciation. When these marks, called diacritics, are used the pronunciation is completely phonetic.

Sutta: Used generically to refer to a single unit of the teaching. Technically, not everything in the Sutta Piṭaka is a sutta. There are also verses, sayings, inspired utterances, expositions, questions and answers just to name a few. In general, when the word “sutta” is used on this website it refers to anything you are practicing with in the Sutta Piṭaka.

Sutta Piṭaka: This is the part of the Pāḷi canon that contains the bulk of the Buddha’s teachings. It is divided into five nikāyas. Compare with Vinaya Piṭaka

Sutta Practice: Working with the direct teachings of the Blessed One on a daily basis, not necessarily in an intellectual, scholarly way. It is more akin to a meditation session than a sutta study.

Vinaya Piṭaka: This is the part of the Pāḷi canon that contains the rules and way of life of ordained bhikkhus (male monastics) and bhikkhuṇīs (female monastics). Here you will also find some of the early history of the saṅgha as well as some Dhamma teaching. Because of these parts, you may find that readings from the Vinaya are a good support to a sutta practice.

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