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Abhidhamma in daily life
Nina Van Gorkom

Glossary of Pali terms



abhinna supernormal power.
adosa non-aversion or kindness.
ahetuka rootless, not accompanied by beautiful roots or unwholesome roots .
ahetuka ditthi the wrong view of there being no cause of what arises.
akasanancayatana sphere of boundless space, the meditation subject of the first immaterial jhanacitta.
akincannayatana sphere of nothingness, the meditation subject of the third immaterial jhanacitta.
akusala unwholesome, unskillful.
alobha non-attachment or generosity.
amoha wisdom or understanding.
anagami non-returner, the noble person who has realized the third stage of enlightenment.
anatta not self, without abiding substance.
anicca impermanent.
anuloma adaptation, the third of the four javana-cittas of the sense-sphere, arising before jhana, absorption, is attained, or before enlightenment is attained.
anupadi-sesa nibbana final nibbana, without the khandhas, aggregates or groups of existence, remaining, at the death of an arahat.
anusaya latent tendency or proclivity.
apo-dhatu element of water or cohesion.
appana absorption.
arahat perfected one, noble person who has attained the fourth stage of enlightenment.
arammana object which is known by consciousness.
ariyan noble person who has attained enlightenment.
arupa-bhumi plane of existence of immaterial beings. For them birth was the result of arupa-jhana.
arupa-brahma plane plane of existence of immaterial beings.
arupavacara belonging to the immaterial plane of consciousness, thus, arupa-jhanacitta.
arupa-jhana immaterial absorption.
asankharika not instigated, not induced, neither by oneself nor by someone else.
asavas cankers, influxes or intoxicants, group of defilements.
asobhana not beautiful, not accompanied by beautiful roots.
asubha foul.
asuras demons, beings of one of the unhappy planes of existence.
atita bhavanga past life-continuum, arising and falling away shortly before a process of cittas experiencing an object through one of the sense-doors starts.
avajjana adverting of consciousness to the object which has impinged on one of the six doors.
avijja ignorance.
ayoniso manasikara unwise attention to an object.


bhavana mental development, comprising the development of calm and the development of insight.
bhavangacitta life-continuum, citta which does not arise within a process but in between processes.
bhavanga calana vibrating bhavanga, arising shortly before a sense-cognition process starts.
bhavangupaccheda arrest bhavanga, last bhavangacitta before a process starts. The bhavangupaccheda which arises before a mind-door process is the mind-door of that process.
bhinkkhu monk.
bhikkhuni nun
bhumi plane of existence.
brahma-viharas the four 'divine abidings', meditation subjects which are lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.


cakkhu eye.
cakkhu-dhatu eye element.
cakkhu-dvara eyedoor.
cakkhuppasada rupa rupa which is the organ of eyesense, capable of receiving visible object.
cakkhuvinnana seeing-consciousness.
cetana intention or volition.
cetasika mental factor arising with consciousness.
citta consciousness, the reality which knows or cognizes an object.
cuti-citta dying-consciousness.


dana act of generosity, liberality.
dassana kicca function of seeing.
dhamma-dhatu element of dhammas, realities, comprising cetasikas, subtle rupas, nibbana.
dhammarammana all objects other than the sense objects which can be experienced through the five sense-doors, thus, objects which can be experienced only through the mind-door.
ditthi wrong view, distorted view about realities.
ditthigata sampayutta accompanied by wrong view.
domanassa unpleasant feeling.
dosa aversion or ill-will.
dosa-mula-citta citta rooted in aversion.
dukkha suffering, unsatisafactoriness of conditioned realities.
dukkha vedana painful feeling or unpleasant feeling.
dvara doorway through which an object is experienced, the five sense-doors or the mind-door.
dvi-panca-vinnana the five pairs of sense-cognitions, which are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and the experience of objects through the bodysense. Of each pair, one is kusala vipaka and one akusala vipaka.


ekaggata cetasika one-pointedness which makes citta focus on one object.


ghana-dhatu nose element.
ghanappasada rupa rupa which is the organ of smelling-sense, capable of receiving odour.
ghandharammana odour.
ganthas bonds, a group of defilements.
ghayana kicca function of smelling.
gotrabhu adaptation or change of lineage, the last citta of the sense-sphere before jhana, absorption, is attained, or enlightenment is attained.


hadaya-vatthu heart-base, place of origin of the cittas other than the sense-cognitions.
hasituppada citta smiling-consciousness of the arahat.
hetu root, which can be beautiful or unwholesome.


indriya faculty. Some are rupas such as the sense organs, some are namas such as feeling. Five 'spiritual faculties' are wholesome qualifies which should be cultivated, namely: confidence, energy, sati, concentration and wisdom. A faculty is 'leader' in its own field.
issa jealousy.


jati nature, class (of cittas).
jhana absorption which can be attained when one develops calm.
jivha-dhatu tongue-element.
jivhappasada rupa rupa which is the organ of tasting-sense, capable of receiving flavour.


kama bhumi sensuous plane of existence.
kamacchanda sensuous desire. .
kama-sobhana cittas beautiful cittas of the sense-sphere.
kamavacara cittas cittas of the sense-sphere.
kamma intention or volition which may be wholesome or unwholesome; it is also the deed motivated by volition.
kamma-patha course of action, which is wholesome or unwholesome.
kasina disk, as meditation subject in the development of calm.
kaya body. It can also stand for the 'mental body', the cetasikas.
kaya-dhatu element of bodysense.
kayappasada rupa bodysense, the rupa which is capable of receiving tangible object. It is all over the body, inside or outside.
kayavinnana body consciousness, the experience of bodily impressions.
kaya-vinnatti bodily intimation, such as gestures, facial expression, etc.
khandha aggregate or group of existence. There are five khandhas, one of them being physical phenomena, one feelings, one perception or remembrance, one cetasikas other than feeling and perception, and one consciousness. Thus, there are five khandhas, groups of conditioned realities.
karuna compassion.
kicca function (of citta).
kilesa defilement.
kiriyacitta inoperative citta (neither cause nor result).
kukkucca regret or worry.
kusala wholesome.


lobha attachment or greed.
lobha-mula-citta citta rooted in attachment.
lokiya citta citta which is mundane, not experiencing nibbana.
lokuttara citta supramundane citta, experiencing nibbana.
lokuttara dhammas the unconditioned dhamma ,which is nibbana and the cittas which experience nibbana.


macchariya stinginess.
magga path (Eightfold Path).
magga-citta path-consciousness, lokuttara citta which experiences nibbana and eradicates defilements.
maha-bhuta-rupas the rupas which are the four great elements of earth or solidity, water or cohesion, fire or temperature and wind or motion.
maha-kiriyacitta inoperative citta of the sense-sphere accompanied by beautiful roots.
maha-kusala citta wholesome citta of the sense-sphere.
maha-vipakacitta citta of the sense-sphere which is result, accompanied by beautiful roots.
mano mind, consciousness.
mano-dhatu mind-element, comprising the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness and the two types of receiving-consciousness.
mano-dvaravajjana-citta mind-door adverting consciousness.
mano-dvara-vithi-cittas cittas arising in a mind-door process.
mano-vinnana dhatu mind-consciousness element, comprising all cittas other than the sense-cognitions (seeing, etc.) and mind-element.
metta lovingkindness.
middha torpor.
moha ignorance.
moha-mula-citta citta rooted in ignorance.
mudita sympathetic joy.


nama mental phenomena, including those which are conditioned and also the unconditioned nama which is nibbana.
natthika ditthi wrong view of annihilation, assumption that there is no result of kamma.
n'eva-sanna-n'asannayatana sphere of neither perception nor non-perception, the meditation subject of the fourth immaterial jhana.
nibbana the unconditioned reality which is freedom from suffering, or the deathless.
nimitta mental image one can acquire of a meditation subject.
nirodha-samapatti attainment of cessation of consciousness.
nivaranas the hindrances, a group of defilements.
nana wisdom.


oja the rupa which is nutrition.
olarika rupas gross rupas (sense-objects and sense-organs)


pancadvaravajjana-citta five sense-door adverting-consciousness.
pancavinnana (or dvi-pancavinnana) the sense-cognitions (seeing, etc.) of which there are five pairs.
panna wisdom or understanding.
pannatti conventional term or idea represented by it. It is not a reality which can be directly experienced.
paramattha dhammas absolute or ultimate realities, which can be directly experienced through one of the six doors.
parikamma preparatory consciousness, the first javanacitta arising in the process during which absorption or enlightenment is attained.
pasada-rupas sense-organs, the rupas which are capable of receiving sense-objects.
patibhaga nimitta counterpart image, more perfected mental image of a meditation subject acquired in the development of calm.
patigha aversion or ill-will.
patisandhi-citta rebirth-consciousness-
phala-citta fruit-consciousness, experiencing nibbana. It is the result of magga-citta, path-consciousness.
phottabbarammana tangible object, experienced through bodysense.
phusana kicca function of experiencing tangible object.
piti enthusiasm or rapture.
puthujjana worldling or ordinary person, not a noble person who has attained enlightenment.


rasarammana object of flavour.
rupa physical phenomena which cannot experience anything.
rupa-bhumi plane of beings whose birth was the result of rupa-jhana, fine-material jhana.
rupa-brahma plane fine material plane of existence.
rupa-jhana fine material absorption, developed with a meditation subject which is still dependent on materiality. It is less refined as immaterial jhana, arupa-jhana, developed with a meditation subject which is independent on materiality.
rupakkhandha aggregate or group of physical phenomena.
rupavacara citta consciousness of the fine-material sphere, rupa-jhanacitta.


saddarammana object of sound.
saddha faith or confidence in wholesomeness.
sahetuka accompanied by roots.
sakadagami once-returner, noble person who has attained the second stage of enlightenment.
samadhi concentration or one-pointedness.
samatha the development of calm.
sampaticchana-citta receiving-consciousness.
sampayutta associated with.
sankharadhamma conditioned realities.
sankarakkhandha aggregate or group of all cetasikas other than feeling and perception or remembrance.
sanna perception or remembrance.
santirana-citta investigating-consciousness.
sasankharika induced, instigated, either by oneself or someone else.
sati mindfulness or awareness; non-forgetfuIness of what is wholesome or non-forgetfulness of realities which appear.
satipatthana application of mindfulness. It can be the cetasika sati or the object of mindfulness.
sa-upadi-sesa nibbana arahatship with the khandhas or groups of existence remaining, thus not final nibbana at death of an arahat.
savana-kicca function of hearing.
sayana-kicca function of tasting.
sila morality (in action or speech).
silabbatupadana wrong practice which is clinging to certain rules (rites and rituals) in one's practice.
sobhana (citta and cetasikas) beautiful, accompanied by beautiful roots.
somanassa pleasant feeling.
sota-dhatu element of ear.
sota-dvara-vithi-cittas ear-door process cittas.
sotapanna noble person who has attained the first stage of enlightenment.
sota-vinnana hearing-consciousness.
sukha-vedana pleasant feeling.


tadarammana } retention or registering, last citta of a complete process.
tatra-majjhattata equanimity or even-mindedness.
tejo-dhatu element of fire or heat.
thina sloth.


uddhacca restlessness.
upacara access or proximatory consciousness, the second javana-citta in the process in which absorption or enlightenment is attained.
upada rupa derived rupas, the rupas other than the four great elements.
upadana clinging.
upadanakkhandha the aggregates or groups which are objects of clinging.
upekkha indifferent feeling. It can stand for even-mindedness or equanimity, and then it is not feeling.


vaci-vinnatti the rupa which is speech intimation.
vatthu base, physical base of citta.
vayo-dhatu element of wind or motion.
vedana feeling.
vicara sustained thought or discursive thinking.
vicikiccha doubt.
vinnana consciousness.
vinnana-dhatu element of consciousness, comprising all cittas.
vinnanakkhandha aggregate of consciousness, comprising all cittas.
vinnanancayatana sphere of boundless consciousness, meditation subject for the second stage of immaterial jhana. .
vipakacitta citta which is the result of a wholesome deed (kusala kamma) or an unwholesome deed (akusala kamma).
vipassana insight, wisdom which sees realities as they are.
vippayutta unaccompanied by.
visankharadhamma unconditioned dhamma, nibbana.
vitakka applied thought, a cetasika which directs the citta to the object.
vithicittas cittas arising in processes.
vithi-vimutti-cittas process freed cittas, cittas which do not arise within a process.
votthapana-citta determining consciousness.
vyapada ill-will


yoniso manasikara wise attention to the object.


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