BuddhaSasana Home Page
English Section

 VU-Times font (Unicode Pali) is used in this page



bahula-kamma: 'habitual kamma': s. kamma.

bala: 'powers'. Among various groups of powers the following five are most frequently met with in the texts: (1) faith (saddhā, q.v.), (2) energy (viriya, q.v.), (3) mindfulness (sati, q.v.), (4) concentration (samādhi, q.v.), (5) wisdom (paññā, q.v.).

Their particular aspect, distinguishing them from the corresponding 5 spiritual faculties (indriya, q.v.), is that they are unshakable by their opposites: (1) the power of faith is unshakable by faithlessness (unbelief); (2) energy, by laziness; (3) mindfulness, by forgetfulness; (4) concentration, by distractedness; (5) wisdom, by ignorance (see Pts.M., Ñāṇa Kathā). They represent, therefore, the aspect of firmness in the spiritual faculties.

According to A.V. 15, the power (1) becomes manifest in the 4 qualities of the Stream-winner (Sotāpannassa aṅgāni, q.v.), (2) in the 4 right efforts (s. padhāna), (3) in the 4 foundations of mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna, q.v.), (4) in the 4 absorptions (jhāna, q.v.), (5) in the (full comprehension of the) 4 Noble Truths (sacca, q.v.) .

Cf. S. XLVIII, 43; S. L. (Bala Saṃyutta).

In A. VII, 3, the powers of moral shame (hiri, q.v.) and moral dread (ottappa ) are added to the aforementioned five Several other groups of 2 (s. paṭisaṅkhāna-bala), 4, 5 and more powers are mentioned in the texts. - About the 10 powers of a Buddha, s. dasa-bala.

balance of mental faculties: indriya samatta (q.v.).

bases: The 12 of the perceptual process: āyatana (q.v.).

beautiful: Sobhana (q.v.).

beauty, deliverance through the perception of: cf. vimokkha (II. 3) To hold for beautiful or pure (subha) what is impure (asubha), is one of the 4 perversions (s. vipallāsa).

behaviour, morality consisting in good: abhisamācārikasīla (q.v.) .

being, living: satta (q.v.); further s. puggala. - Belief in eternal personality: bhava-diṭṭhi (s. diṭṭhi), sassata-diṭṭhi (q.v.).

beings, The 9 worlds of: sattāvāsa (q.v.).

belief, blind: s. indriya-samatta.

bhangānupassanā-ñāṇa: 'knowledge consisting in contemplation of dissolution' (of all forms of existence), is one kind of insight: s. visuddhi (VI, 2).

bhava: 'becoming', 'process of existence', consists of 3 planes: sensuous existence (kāma-bhava), fine-material existence (rūpa-bhava), immaterial existence (arūpa-bhava). Cf. loka.

The whole process of existence may be divided into two aspects:

(1) Kamma-process (kamma-bhava), i.e. the kammically active side of existence, being the cause of rebirth and consisting in wholesome and unwholesome volitional actions. See Kamma, paṭiccasamuppāda (IX).

(2) Kamma-produced rebirth, or regenerating process (uppattibhava), i.e. the kammically passive side of existence consisting in the arising and developing of the kamma-produced and therefore morally neutral mental and bodily phenomena of existence. Cf. Tab. - (App.).

bhāva: (feminine and masculine) 'nature', refers to the sexual characteristics of the body, and belongs to the group of corporeality (s. khandha). It is a commentarial term for the faculties of femininity and masculinity (s. indriya 7, 8). (App.).

bhava-diṭṭhi: 'belief in being' (eternal personality); s. sassatadiṭṭhi, diṭṭhi.

bhāvanā: 'mental development' (lit. 'calling into existence, producing') is what in English is generally but rather vaguely called 'meditation'. One has to distinguish 2 kinds: development of tranquillity (samatha-bhāvanā), i.e. concentration (samādhi), and development of insight (vipassanā-bhāvanā), i.e. wisdom (paññā).

These two important terms, tranquillity and insight (s. samatha-vipassanā), are very often met with and explained in the Sutta, as well as in the Abhidhamma.

Tranquillity (samatha) is the concentrated, unshaken, peaceful, and therefore undefiled state of mind, whilst insight (vipassanā) is the intuitive insight into the impermanence, misery and impersonality (anicca, dukkha, anattā; s. tilakkhaṇa) of all bodily and mental phenomena of existence, included in the 5 groups of existence, namely, corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness; s. khandha.

Tranquillity, or concentration of mind, according to Saṅkhepavaṇṇana (Commentary to Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha), bestows a threefold blessing: favourable rebirth, present happy life, and purity of mind which is the condition of insight. Concentration (samādhi) is the indispensable foundation and precondition of insight by purifying the mind from the 5 mental defilements or hindrances (nīvaraṇa, q.v.), whilst insight (vipassanā) produces the 4 supra mundane stages of holiness and deliverance of mind. The Buddha therefore says: "May you develop mental concentration, o monks; for who is mentally concentrated, sees things according to reality" (S. XXII, 5). And in Mil. it is said: "Just as when a lighted lamp is brought into a dark chamber, the lamp-light Will destroy the darkness and produce and spread the light, just so will insight, once arisen, destroy the darkness of ignorance and produce the light of knowledge."

Vis.M. III-XI gives full directions how to attain full concentration and the absorptions (jhāna, q.v.) by means of the following 40 meditation subjects (kammaṭṭhāna):

10 kasiṇa-exercises (s. kasiṇa). These produce the 4 absorptions

10 loathsome subjects (asubha, q.v.). These produce the 1st absorption.

10 Recollections (anussati, q.v.): of the Buddha (buddhānussati), the Doctrine (dhammānussati), the Brotherhood of the Noble Ones (saṃghānussati), morality, liberality, the heavenly beings, death (maraṇasati, q.v. ), the body (kāyagatāsati, q.v.), in-and-outbreathing (ānāpāna-sati, q.v.) and peace (upasamānussati, q.v.). Among these, the recollection (or mindfulness) of in-and-out breathing may produce all the 4 absorptions, that of the body the 1st absorption, the rest only neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi, s. samādhi).

4 Sublime Abodes (brahma-vihāra, q.v.): loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, equanimity (mettā, karuṇā, muditā , upekkhā). Of these, the first 3 exercises may produce 3 absorptions, the last one the 4th absorption only.

4 Immaterial Spheres (arūpāyatana, s. jhāna): of unbounded space, unbounded consciousness, nothingness, neither-perception-nor-non-perception. These are based upon the 4th absorption.

1 Perception of the Loathsomeness of Food (āhāre paṭikkūla-saññā), which may produce neighbourhood-concentration

1 Analysis of the 4 elements (catudhātu-vavatthāna, s. dhātu-vavatthāna), which may produce neighbourhood-concentration.

Mental development forms one of the 3 kinds of meritorious action (puñña-kiriya-vatthu, q.v.). 'Delight in meditation' (bhāvanā-rāmatā) is one of the noble usages (ariya-vaṃsa, q.v.) .

bhāvanā-bala: s. paṭisaṅkhāna-bala.

bhāvanā-maya-paññā: wisdom based on mental development'; s. paññā

bhavaṅga-santāna: 'continuity of subconsciousness'; s. santāna

bhavaṅga-sota and bhavaṅga-citta: The first term may tentatively be rendered as the 'undercurrent forming the condition of being, or existence', and the second as 'subconsciousness', though, as will be evident from the following, it differs in several respects from the usage of that term in Western psychology. bhavaṅga (bhava-aṅga), which, in the canonical works, is mentioned twice or thrice in the Paṭṭhāna, is explained in the Abhidhamma commentaries as the foundation or condition (kāraṇa) of existence (bhava), as the sine qua non of life, having the nature of a process, lit. a flux or stream (sota). Herein, since time immemorial, all impressions and experiences are, as it were, stored up, or better said, are functioning, but concealed as such to- full consciousness, from where however they occasionally emerge as subconscious phenomena and approach the threshold of full consciousness, or crossing it become fully conscious. This so-called 'subconscious life-stream' or undercurrent of life is that by which might be explained the faculty of memory, paranormal psychic phenomena, mental and physical growth, kamma and rebirth. etc. An alternative rendering is 'life-continuum'.

It should be noted that bhavaṅga-citta is a kamma-resultant state of consciousness (vipāka, q.v.), and that, in birth as a human or in higher forms of existence, it is always the result of good, or wholesome kamma (kusala-kamma-vipāka), though in varying degrees of strength (s. paṭisandhi, end of the article). The same holds true for rebirth consciousness (paṭisandhi) and death consciousness (cuti), which are only particular manifestations of subconsciousness. In Vis.M. XIV it is said:

"As soon as rebirth-consciousness (in the embryo at the time of conception) has ceased, there arises a similar subconsciousness with exactly the same object, following immediately upon rebirth-consciousness and being the result of this or that kamma (volitional action done in a former birth and remembered there at the moment before death). And again a further similar state of subconsciousness arises. Now, as long as no other consciousness arises to interrupt the continuity of the life-stream, so long the life-stream, like the flow of a river, rises in the same way again and again, even during dreamless sleep and at other times. In this way one has to understand the continuous arising of those states of consciousness in the life-stream." Cf. viññāṇa-kicca. For more details, s. Fund. 11. (App.).

bhava-taṇhā: 'craving for (eternal) existence'; s. taṇhā.

bhavāsava: 'canker of existence'; s. āsava.

bhayatu paṭṭhāna-ñāṇa: 'knowledge consisting in the awareness of terror', is one of those kinds of insight-knowledge that form the 'purification by knowledge and vision of the path-progress' (s. visuddhi, VI.).

bhikkhu: A fully ordained disciple of the Buddha is called a bhikkhu. "Mendicant monk" may be suggested as the closest equivalent for "Bhikkhu", literally it means "he who begs" but bhikkhus do not beg. They silently stand at the door for alms. They live on what is spontaneously given by the supporters. He is not a priest as he is no mediator between God and man. He has no vows for life, but he is bound by his rules which he takes of his own accord. He leads a life of voluntary poverty and celibacy. If he is unable to live the Holy Life, he can discard the robe at any time.

bhojane mattaññutā: 'knowing the measure in eating'.

"Now, o monks, the monk wisely reflecting partakes of his almsfood, neither for pastime, nor for indulgence, nor to become beautiful or handsome, but only to maintain and support this body, to avoid harm and to assist the holy life, knowing: 'In this way I shall dispel the former pain (of hunger, etc.) and no new pain shall I let arise, and long life, blamelessness and ease will be my share ' This, o monks, is knowing the measure in eating." (A. III. 16). "How o monks, would it be possible for Nanda to lead the absolutely pure life of holiness, if he did not watch over his senses and did not know the measure in eating?" (A. VII, 9).

biases: s. āsava.

birth process: upapatti-bhava: s. bhava. Further s. paṭisandhi, jāti.

bodhi (from verbal root budhi, to awaken, to understand): awakenment, enlightenment, supreme knowledge. "(Through Bodhi) one awakens from the slumber or stupor (inflicted upon the mind) by the defilements (kilesa, q.v.) and comprehends the Four Noble Truths (sacca, q.v.)" (Com. to M. 10).

The enlightenment of a Buddha is called sammā-sambodhi (q.v.) 'perfect enlightenment'. The faith (saddhā, q.v.) of a lay follower of the Buddha is described as "he believes in the enlightenment of the Perfect One" (saddahati Tathāgatassa bodhim: M. 53, A. III, 2).

As components of the state of enlightenment and contributory factors to its achievement, are mentioned in the texts: the 7 factors of enlightenment (bojjhaṅga (q.v.)= bodhi-aṅga) and the 37 'things pertaining to enlightenment' (bodhipakkhiya-dhammā, q.v.). In one of the later books of the Sutta Piṭaka, the Buddhavaṃsa, 10 bodhipācana-dhammā are mentioned, i.e. qualities that lead to the ripening of perfect enlightenment; these are the 10 perfections (pāramī, q.v.).

There is a threefold classification of enlightenment: 1. that of a noble disciple (sāvaka-bodhi, q.v.). i.e. of an Arahat, 2. of an Independently Enlightened One (pacceka-bodhi, q.v.), and 3. of a Perfect Enlightened One (sammā-sambodhi). This 3-fold division, however, is of later origin, and in this form it neither occurs in the canonical texts nor in the older Sutta commentaries. The closest approximation to it is found in a verse Sutta which is probably of a comparatively later period, the Treasure Store Sutta (Nidhikkanda Sutta) of the Khuddakapāṭha, where the following 3 terms are mentioned in stanza 15: sāvaka-pāramī, pacceka-bodhi, buddha-bhūmi (see Khp. Tr., pp. 247f.).

The commentaries (e.g. to M., Buddhavaṃsa, Cariya-piṭaka) generally give a 4-fold explanation of the word bodhi: 1. the tree of enlightenment, 2. the holy path (ariya-magga), 3. Nibbāna, 4 omniscience (of the Buddha: sabbaññutā-ñāṇa). As to (2), the commentaries quote Cūḷa Niddesa where bodhi is defined as the knowledge relating to the 4 paths (of Stream-entry, etc.; catūsu maggesu ñāṇa).

Neither in the canonical texts nor in the old commentaries is it stated that a follower of the Buddha may choose between the three kinds of enlightenment and aspire either to become a Buddha, a Pacceka-Buddha, or an Arahat-disciple. This conception of a choice between three aspirations is, however, frequently found in present-day Theravāda countries, e.g. in Sri Lanka.

bodhipakkhiya-dhammā: The 37 'Things pertaining to Enlightenment', or 'requisites of enlightenment' comprise the entire doctrines of the Buddha. They are:

the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna, q.v.),

the 4 Right Efforts (s. padhāna),

the 4 Roads to Power (iddhi-pāda, q.v.),

the 5 Spiritual Faculties (indriya; s. bala),

the 5 Spiritual Powers (bala, q.v.),

the 7 Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhaṅga, q.v.),

the Noble 8-fold Path (s. magga).

In M. 77 all the 37 bodhipakkhiya-dhammā are enumerated and explained though not called by that name. A detailed explanation of them is given in Vis.M. XXII. In S.XLVII, 51, 67, only the five spiritual faculties (indriya) are called bodhipakkhiya-dhammā; and in the Jhāna Vibhaṅga, only the 7 factors of enlightenment (bojjhaṅga).

See The Requisites of Enlightenment, by Ledi Sayadaw (WHEEL 169/172).

Bodhisatta: 'Enlightenment Being', is a being destined to Buddhahood, a future Buddha. According to the traditional belief a Bodhisatta, before reaching his last birth as a Buddha on this earth, is living in the Tusita-heaven (s. deva), the heaven of bliss. Cf. A. IV, 127; VIII, 70.

In the Pāḷi Canon and commentaries, the designation 'Bodhisatta' is given only to Prince Siddhattha before his enlightenment and to his former existences. The Buddha himself uses this term when speaking of his life prior to enlightenment (e.g. M. 4, M. 26). Bodhisattahood is neither mentioned nor recommended as an ideal higher than or alternative to Arahatship; nor is there any record in the Pāḷi scriptures of a disciple declaring it as his aspiration. - See bodhi.

bodily action (wholesome or unwholesome); s. kamma, kamma formations - Right b.a. = sammā-kammanta; s. magga.

bodily postures, the 4: iriyā-patha (q.v.)

body: kāya (q.v.) Contemplation on the b. is one of the 4 Satipaṭṭhāna(q.v.).

body-witness: kāya-sakkhi (q.v.).

bojjhaṅga: 'the 7 Factors of Enlightenment', are: Mindfulness (sati-sambojjhaṅga; s. sati), investigation of the law (dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhaṅga), energy (viriya-sambojjhaṅga; s. viriya, padhāna), rapture (pīti-sambojjhaṅga, q.v.) tranquillity (passaddhi-sambojjhaṅga, q.v.), concentration (samādhi-sambojjhaṅga, q.v.), equanimity (upekkhā, q.v.). "Because they lead to enlightenment, therefore they are called factors of enlightenment" (S. XLVI, 5).

Though in the 2nd factor, dhamma-vicaya, the word Dhamma is taken by most translators to stand for the Buddhist doctrine, it probably refers to the bodily and mental phenomena (nāma-rūpa-dhammā) as presented to the investigating mind by mindfulness, the 1st factor. With that interpretation, the term may be rendered by 'investigation of phenomena'.

In A.X. 102, the 7 factors are said to be the means of attaining the threefold wisdom (s. tevijjā).

They may be attained  by means of the 4 foundations of mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna, q.v.), as it is said in S. XLVI, 1 and explained in M. 118:

(1) "Whenever, o monks, the monk dwells contemplating the body (kāya), feeling (vedanā), mind (citta) and mind-objects (dhammā), strenuous, clearly-conscious, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief, at such a time his mindfulness is present and undisturbed; and whenever his mindfulness is present and undisturbed, at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'mindfulness' (sati-sambojjhaṅga), and thus this factor of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

(2) "Whenever, while dwelling with mindfulness, he wisely investigates, examines and thinks over the law ... at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'investigation of the law' (dhamma-vicaya°) ....

(3) "Whenever, while wisely investigating his energy is firm and unshaken ... at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'energy' (viriya°) ....

(4) "Whenever in him, while firm in energy, arises supersensuous rapture ... at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'rapture' (pīti°) ..

(5) "Whenever, while enraptured in mind, his body and his mind become composed ... at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'tranquillity' (passaddhi°).

(6) "Whenever, while being composed in his body and happy, his mind becomes concentrated ... at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'concentration' (samādhi°)

(7) "Whenever he looks with complete indifference on his mind thus concentrated ... at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment 'equanimity' (upekkhā).

Literature: Bojjhaṅga Saṃyutta (S. XLVI); Bojjhaṅga Vibh. - For the conditions leading to the arising of each of the factors, see the Com. to Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (Way of Mindfulness, by Soma Thera; 3rd ed., 1967, BPS). Further, The 'Seven Factors of Enlightenment, by Piyadassi Thera (WHEEL 1.)

bondages, mental: cetaso vinibandha (q.v.).

bonds, the 4: yoga (q.v.).

both-ways liberated, s. ubhato-bhāga-vimutta, ariyapuggala B. 4.

boundless consciousness (and b. space), Sphere of: s. jhāna 5, 6.

brahma-cariya: 'pure (chaste) or holy life', is a term for the life of the monk. Also a lay-devotee who observes the 8 moral precepts (sikkhāpada, q.v.), takes as the third precept the vow of chastity, i.e. full abstention from sexual relations. The highest aim and purpose of b. is, according to M. 29, the 'unshakable deliverance of mind' (akuppā ceto-vimutti).

brahma-kāyika-deva: The 'heavenly beings of the Brahma-world' inhabit the first 3 heavens of the fine-material world, (rūpaloka), corresponding to the 1st absorption (jhāna, q.v.). The highest ruler of them is called the Great Brahma (Mahā-Brahmā). With caustic humor he is said (D. 11) to pretend: "I am Brahma, the Great Brahmā, the Most High, the Invincible One, the Omniscient One, the Ruler, the Lord, the Creator, the Maker, the Perfect One, the Preserver, the Controller, the Father of all that was and will be." Cf. deva (II. 1-3).

brahma-loka: 'Brahma-world', in the widest sense, is a name for the fine-material (rūpa-loka) and immaterial world (arūpa-loka); in a narrower sense, however, only for the first three heavens of the fine-material world. Cf. Brahma-kāyika-deva.

brahma-vihāra: the 4 'Sublime' or 'Divine Abodes', also called the 4 Boundless States (appamaññā), are: Loving-kindness (mettā), Compassion (karuṇā), Altruistic (or sympathetic) Joy (muditā ), Equanimity (upekkhā).

The stereotype text on the development of these 4 sublime abodes (brahma-vihāra-bhāvanā; s. bhāvanā), often met with in the Suttas ,- is as follows: "'There, o monks, the monk with a mind full of loving-kindness pervading first one direction, then a second one, then a third one, then the fourth one, just so above, below and all around; and everywhere identifying himself with all, he is pervading the whole world with mind full of loving-kindness, with mind wide, developed, unbounded, free from hate and ill-will." Hereafter follows the same theme with compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity.

Literature: Detailed explanation in Vis.M. IX. - For texts s. "Path", 97ff; texts on mettā in The Practice of Loving Kindness, by Ñāṇamoli Thera (WHEEL 7). - The Four Sublime States, by Ñaṇaponika Thera (WHEEL 6). - Brahma Vihāra, by Narada Thera (Vajirarama, Colombo, 1962).

breathing, mindfulness of in-and-out-breathing ānāpānasati  (q.v.) .

Buddha: s. sammā-sambodhi.

buddhānussati: 'recollection of the Enlightened One'; s. anussati.

Buddha-sāsana: s.sāsana.

 Oben Zum Index Zurueck Voraus

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

[Back to English Index]