For those new to Buddhism or just curious, all the different terms used in Buddhism can be confusing to most. In this article we will look briefly at different terms often heard associated with Buddhism. This article has K thru Z.
Lama - In Vajrayana, the term for teacher or guru. He is usually the head of a monastery or perhaps several monasteries. Some important lamas are considered to be bodhisattvas, such as the Dalai Lama.
Lesser Vehicle - The early Buddhism. A term coined by Mahayanists to distinguish Theravada from Mahayana. It is so called because the teaching of this school puts emphasis on one's own liberation, whereas the teaching of Mahayana stresses the attainment of Buddhahood for all sentient beings.
mandala - In general, an art form based on the closed circle, which is the symbol on eternal continuity.
Mantra - A syllable, word or verse which has been revealed to a seer in meditation, embodiment in sound of a deity; spell or incantation.
metta - Loving kindness
mudra - Symbolic hand gestures used in ritual or dance
Nirvana - The deathless; the cessation of all suffering.
puja - A act of worship or devotion to a buddha or a bodhisattva
Pure Land - Generic term for the realms of the Buddhas.
Rinpoche - This is an honorific term applied to lamas in Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism. It literally means "greatly precious" and is given to masters who are highly valued for their spiritual knowledge
Sutra - refers to a discourse by the Buddha or one of his major disciples.
The Three Vows, also known as The Three Refuges or The Three Jewels -
1) I take refuge in the Buddha.
2) I take refuge in the Dharma.
3) I take refuge in the Sangha
Zazen - In Zen Buddhism, the practice of extended periods of mediation, usually in a group in a meeting hall.
Zen - A major school of Mahayana Buddhism, with several branches.
Can you think of a word you need defined? Feel free to email me and I will try to offer and explanation!