Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
By Nyanatiloka Mahathera
atappa: ‘the unworried’, is the name of a class of deities (s. deva,) inhabiting the first of the five Pure Abodes (Suddhāvāsa , q.v.), in which the Anāgāmī (q.v.) has his last rebirth.
atimāna: ‘superiority-conceit’; s. māna.
attā: ‘self, ego, personality, is in Buddhism a mere conventional expression (vohāradesanā), and no designation for anything really existing; s. paramattha-desanā, anattā, puggala, satta, jīva.
attachments: s. parāmāsa.
atta-diṭṭhi (-vāda): ‘ego-belief’, ‘personality-belief’, s. diṭṭhi.
attainment-concentration: appanā-samādhi (q.v.); s. samādhi.
attainments, ‘The 8 attainments’; s. samāpatti.
atta-kilamatha: ‘self-mortification’, is one of the two extremes to be avoided, the other extreme being addiction to sensual pleasures (kāma-sukha), whilst the Noble 8-fold Path constitutes the Middle Path (majjhima-paṭipadā, q.v.). See the Buddha’s first sermon, “The Establishment of the Realm of Dhamma” (Dhamma-cakkappavattana-Sutta).
atta-saññā (°citta, °diṭṭhi): ‘perception (consciousness, view) of an ego’, is one of the 4 perversions (vipallāsa, q.v.).
atta-vādupādāna: ‘attachment to the ego-belief’, is one of the 4 kinds of clinging (upādāna, q.v.).
attention: s. manasikāra.
attentiveness, attention, mindfulness; s. sati, Satipaṭṭhāna.
aṭṭhaṅgika-magga: The ‘Eightfold Path’; s. magga.
attha-paṭisambhidā: The ‘analytical knowledge of meaning’, is one of the 4 kinds of analytical knowledge (paṭisambhidā, q.v.).
atthi-paccaya: ‘presence’, is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya, q.v.) .
auditory organ: s. āyatana.
avacara: ‘sphere’, realm. The 3 spheres of existence are: the sensuous sphere (kāmāvacara ), the fine-material sphere (rūpāvacara), the immaterial sphere (arūpāvacara). “Which things are of the sensuous sphere (kāmāvacara )? Whatever things exist within the interval bounded beneath by the Avīci-hell and above by the Paranimmitavasavatti-heaven (s. deva), having therein their sphere, and being therein included, to wit: the groups of existence, the elements, bases (s. khandha, dhātu, āyatana), corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness, all these things are of the sensuous sphere. – But which things are of the fine material sphere (rūpāvacara)? Whatever things exist within the interval bounded beneath by the Brahma-world and above by the Akaṇiṭṭha-world (s. deva), having therein their sphere, and being therein included … and also consciousness and mental factors in one who has entered the (fine-material) absorptions, or who has been reborn in that sphere, or who already during his life-time is living in happiness (of the absorptions), all these things are of the fine-material sphere. – Which things are of the immaterial sphere (arūpāvacara)? Consciousness and mental factors arising within the interval bounded beneath by the beings reborn in the sphere of unbounded space and above by the beings reborn in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (s. jhāna 5-8), and consciousness and mental factors in one who has entered the (immaterial absorptions), or who has been reborn in that sphere, or who already during his lifetime is living in happiness (of the immaterial absorptions), all these things are of the immaterial sphere.” (Cf. Dhs. 1280, 1282, 1284; Vibh. XVIII). (App.).
āvajjana: ‘advertence’ of the mind towards the object, forms the first stage in the process of consciousness (s. viññāṇa-kicca). If an object of the 5 physical senses is concerned, it is called ‘five-door advertence’ (pañca dvārāvajjana); in the case of a mental object, ‘mind-door advertence’ (mano-dvārāvajjana).
aversion (from existence), contemplation of: s. vipassanā (VI . 5)
Avīci is the name of one of the most frightful hells (niraya , q.v.).
avigata-paccaya: ‘non-disappearance’, is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya, q.v.).
aviha (derivation uncertain; Sanskrit avrha) is one of the five Pure Abodes (Suddhāvāsa , q.v.) in the fine-material sphere. For details, s. under Anāgāmī.
avihiṃsā (equivalents: ahiṃsā, avihesā): ‘harmlessness’, nonviolence, absence of cruelty. The ‘thought of harmlessness’ (or: ‘non-cruelty’; avihiṃsā-vitakka) is one of the three constituents of right thought (sammā-saṅkappa), i.e. the 2nd factor of the Eightfold Path (s. magga). In the several lists of ‘elements’ (dhātu) appears also an ‘element of harmlessness’ (avihesā-dhātu), in the sense of an elementary quality of noble thought. See Dhp. 225, 261, 270, 300.
avijjā: ‘ignorance,’ nescience, unknowing; synonymous with delusion (moha, s. mūla), is the primary root of all evil and suffering in the world, veiling man’s mental eyes and preventing him from seeing the true nature of things. It is the delusion tricking beings by making life appear to them as permanent, happy, substantial and beautiful and preventing them from seeing that everything in reality is impermanent, liable to suffering, void of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, and basically impure (s. vipallāsa). Ignorance is defined as ‘not knowing the four truths, namely, suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the way to its cessation’ (S. XII, 4).
As ignorance is the foundation of all life-affirming actions, of all evil and suffering, therefore it stands first in the formula of Dependent Origination (paṭiccasamuppāda, q.v.). But for that reason, says Vis.M. (XVII, 36f) ignorance should not be regarded as “the causeless root-cause of the world … It is not causeless. For a cause of it is stated thus ‘With the arising of cankers (āsava, q.v.) there is the arising of ignorance’ (M. 9). But there is a figurative way in which it can be treated as a root-cause; namely, when it is made to serve as a starting point in an exposition of the Round of Existence … As it is said: ‘No first beginning of ignorance can be perceived, Bhikkhus, before which ignorance was not, and after which it came to be. But it can be perceived that ignorance has its specific condition (idappaccaya)” (A. X, 61). The same statement is made (A. X, 62) about the craving for existence (bhava-taṇhā; s. taṇhā). The latter and ignorance are called “the outstanding causes of kamma that lead to unhappy and happy destinies” (Vis.M. XVII, 38).
As ignorance still exists – though in a very refined way until the attainment of Arahatship or Holiness, it is counted as the last of the 10 fetters (saṃyojana, q.v.) which bind beings to the cycle of rebirths. As the first two roots of evil, greed and hate (s. mūla), are on their part rooted in ignorance, consequently all unwholesome states of mind are inseparably bound up with it. Ignorance (or delusion) is the most obstinate of the three roots of evil.
Ignorance is one of the cankers (āsava, q.v.) and proclivities (anusaya, q.v.). It is often called a hindrance (nīvaraṇa; e.g. in S.XV, 3; A.X, 61) but does not appear together with the usual list of five hindrances.
avikkhepa: ‘undistractedness’, is a synonym of concentration (samādhi, q.v.), one-pointedness of mind (cittekaggatā ) and tranquillity (samatha, q.v.; further s. samatha-vipassanā).
avoidance and performance: s. cāritta, etc. – The effort to avoid, s. padhāna.
avyākata: lit. ‘indeterminate’ – i.e. neither determined as kammically ‘wholesome’ nor as ‘unwholesome’ – are the kammically neutral, i.e. amoral, states of consciousness and mental factors. They are either mere kamma-results (vipāka, q.v.), as e.g. all the sense perceptions and the mental factors associated therewith, or they are kammically independent functions (kiriya-citta, q.v.), i.e. neither karmic nor kamma-resultant. See Tab. I. (App.).
abyāpāda: ‘hatelessness’, non-ill-will, goodness; is one of the three kinds of right thought (s. sacca, IV. 2), or wholesome thoughts (vitakka, q.v.) and is the 9th of the 10 wholesome courses of actions (kammapatha II. q.v.). The most frequently used synonyms are adosa (s. mūla) and mettā (s. brahma-vihāra).