Glossary of Basic Buddhist Terms

bodhi enlightenment
four noble truths the summary of Gautama's teaching
    -dukkha suffering
    -samudaya the cause of suffering
    -nirodha the cesation of suffering
    -magga the 8-fold path
karma (literally:action) belief that every action, good or bad, will influence the future status quo of a person in the sense of "what goes around comes around."
reincarnation belief that every human person will be reborn until s/he is able to break out of the cycle of death-and-rebirth.
avidya ignorance
tanha desire
samsara the cycle of death-and-rebirth
nirvana extinction (of desire and karma)
anatman no-self: the denial of the belief in an eternal self
5 skandhas the five aggregates that make up the human individual
    -rupa the physical dimension of a person
    -vedana feeling: the emotional dimension of a person
    -samjna perceptions
    -samkhara mental formations and dispositions
    -vijnana consciousness
pratitya-samutpada co-dependant-origination: (i) the belief that all things are interconnected, (ii) denotes the twelvefold wheel of existence
karuna compassion
sila precepts
sangha community
dharma (i)teaching of Buddha, (ii) a thing, (iii) a single moment
upaya skillful means
sunyata emptiness
tathata suchness
dhyana/ch'an/zen (the school of) meditation
manadala symmetric objects of meditation
mudra meditative posture of one's hands
mantra sacred syllable
koan paradoxical riddle (such as "What is the sound of one hand clapping?") which aims at tranforming one's consciousness
satori enlightenment in Zen
zazen seated meditation
nembutsu prayer: "I entrust myself to Amida Buddha"