Buddhist Dictionary By Nyanatiloka Mahathera – Ae, Ag, Ah, Aj, Ak, Al, Am

Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
By Nyanatiloka Mahathera


aeon: kappa (q.v.).


agati: the 4 ‘wrong paths’ are: the path of greed (chanda), of hate, of delusion, of cowardice (bhaya). “One who is freed from evil impulses is no longer liable to take the wrong path of greed, etc.” (A. IV, 17; IX, 7).

age, Old: jarā (q.v.).

aggregates: khandha (q.v.).

agility: lahutā (q.v.).


āhāra: ‘nutriment’, ‘food’, is used in the concrete sense as material food and as such it belongs to derived corporeality (s. khandha, Summary I.) In the figurative sense, as ‘foundation’ or condition, it is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya, q.v.) and is used to denote 4 kinds of nutriment, which are material and mental: 1. material food (kabaliṅkārāhāra), 2. (sensorial and mental) impression (phassa), 3. mental volition (mano-sañcetanā), 4. consciousness (viññāṇa).

1. Material food feeds the eightfold corporeality having nutrient essence as its 8th factor (i.e. the solid, liquid, heat, motion, color, odour, the tastable and nutrient essence; s. rūpa-kalāpa). 2. Sensorial and mental impression is a condition for the 3 kinds of feeling (agreeable, disagreeable and indifferent); s. paṭiccasamuppāda (6). 3. Mental volition (= kamma, q.v.) feeds rebirth; s. paṭiccasamuppāda (2). 4. Consciousness feeds mind and corporeality ; nāma-rūpa; ib., 2) at the moment of conception” (Vis.M. XI).

Literature (on the 4 Nutriments): M. 9 & Com. (tr. in ‘R. Und.’), M 38; S. XII, 11, 63, 64 – The Four Nutriments of Life, Selected texts & Com. (WHEEL 105/106).

āhāra-ja (or-samuṭṭhāna) – rūpa: ‘Food-produced corporeality’; s. samuṭṭhāna.

āhāre paṭikkūla-saññā: ‘reflection on the loathsomeness of food’, fully described in Vis.M. XI, l.

ahetuka-citta: s. hetu.

ahetuka-diṭṭhi: ‘view of uncausedness’ (of existence); s. diṭṭhi.

ahetu-paṭisandhika: s. paṭisandhi.

ahiṃsā: s. avihiṃsā.

ahirika -anottappa: ‘lack of moral shame and dread’, are two of the 4 unwholesome factors associated with all kammically unwholesome states of consciousness, the two others being restlessness (uddhacca) and delusion (moha). Cf. Tab. II.

“There are two sinister things, namely, lack of moral shame and dread, etc.” (A. II, 6). “Not to be ashamed of what one should be ashamed of; not to be ashamed of evil, unwholesome things: this is called lack of moral shame” (Pug. 59). “Not to dread what one should dread … this is called lack of moral dread (Pug. 60).

ahosi-kamma: ‘ineffective kamma’; p. kamma.


ājīva: ‘livelihood’. About right and wrong livelihood., s. sacca (IV. 5) and micchā-magga (5).

ājīva-pārisuddhi-sīla: ‘morality consisting in purification of livelihood’, is one of the 4 kinds of perfect morality; s. sīla.


akaniṭṭha: the ‘Great Ones’, i.e. ‘Highest Gods’, are the inhabitants of the 5th and highest heaven of the Pure Abodes (Suddhāvāsa , q.v.); cf. avacara, deva (II) Anāgāmī.

ākāsa: ‘space’, is, according to Com., of two kinds: 1. limited space (paricchinnākāsa or paricchedākāsa), 2. endless space (anantākāsa), i.e. cosmic space.

1. Limited space, under the name of ākāsa-dhātu (space element), belongs to derived corporeality (s. khandha, Summary I; Dhs 638) and to a sixfold classification of elements (s. dhātu; M 112, 115, 140). It is also an object of kasiṇa (q.v.) meditation. It is defined as follows: “The space element has the characteristic of delimiting matter. Its function is to indicate the boundaries of matter. It is manifested as the confines of matter; or its manifestation consists in being untouched (by the 4 great elements), and in holes and apertures. Its proximate cause is the matter delimited. It is on account of the space element that one can say of material things delimited that ‘this is above. below, around that’ ” (Vis.M. XIV, 63).

2. Endless space is called in Aṭṭhasālinī, ajatākāsa, ‘unentangled’, i.e. unobstructed or empty space. It is the object of the first immaterial absorption (s. jhāna), the sphere of boundless space (ākāsānañcāyatana). According to Abhidhamma philosophy, endless space has no objective reality (being purely conceptual), which is indicated by the fact that it is not included in the triad of the wholesome (kusala-tika), which comprises the entire reality. Later Buddhist schools have regarded it as one of several unconditioned or uncreated states (asaṅkhatadhamma) – a view that is rejected in Kath. (s. Guide. p. 70). Theravāda Buddhism recognizes only Nibbāna as an unconditioned element (asaṅkhata-dhātu: s. Dhs. 1084).

ākāsa dhātu: ‘space element’; see above and dhātu.

ākāsa-kasiṇa : ‘space-kasiṇa exercise’; s. kasiṇa.

ākāsānañcāyatana: ‘sphere of boundless space’, is identical with the 1st absorption in the immaterial sphere; s. jhāna (6).

ākiñcañña-ceto-vimutti: s. ceto-vimutti.

ākiñcaññāyatana: s. jhāna (7).

akiriyadiṭṭhi: view of the inefficacy of action’; s. diṭṭhi.

akuppā-ceto-vimutti: cf. ceto-vimutti.

akuppa-dhamma: ‘unshakable’, is one who has attained full mastery over the absorptions (jhāna, q.v.). In Pug. 4 it is said:

‘What person is unshakable? If a person gains the meditative attainments of the fine-material and immaterial sphere (rūpāvacara-arūpāvacara); and he gains them at his wish, without toil and exertion; and according to his wish, as regards place, object and duration, enters them or arises from them, then it is impossible that in such a person the attainments may become shaken through negligence. This person is unshakable.”

akusala: ‘unwholesome’, are all those karmic volitions (kamma-cetanā; s. cetanā) and the consciousness and mental concomitants associated therewith, which are accompanied either by greed (lobha) or hate (dosa) or merely delusion (moha); and all these phenomena are causes of unfavourable kamma-results and contain the seeds of unhappy destiny or rebirth. Cf. kamma, paṭiccasamuppāda (1), Tab. II.

akusala-sādhāraṇa-cetasika: ‘general unwholesome mental factors associated with all unwholesome actions’ (volitions), are four: (1) lack of moral shame (ahirika ), (2) lack of moral dread (anottappa), (3) restlessness (uddhacca), (4) delusion (moha). For (1) and (2) s. ahirika -anottappa, for (3) s. nīvaraṇa, for (4) mūla. (App.).

The corresponding term in the field of wholesome consciousness is Sobhana-sādhāraṇa-cetasika (s. Sobhana).

akusala-vitakka: ‘unwholesome thoughts’ as defined under akusala(q.v.). In M. 20, five methods of overcoming them are given: by changing the object, thinking of the evil results, paying no attention, analyzing, suppressing.

Tr. in The Removal of Distracting Thoughts (WHEEL 21).


alcohol prohibition: s. surāmeraya -majja-ppamādaṭṭhānā etc.

alms, vow of going for; or to do so without omitting any house: s. dhutaṅga, 3, 4.

alms-bowl eater, the practice of the: s. dhutaṅga.

alms-giving: dāna (q.v.).

alms-goer, the practice of the; s. dhutaṅga.

alobha: ‘greedlessness’, is one of the 3 kammically wholesome roots (mūla, q.v.).

āloka-kasiṇa: ‘light-kasiṇa-exercise’; s. kasiṇa.

āloka-saññā: ‘perception of light’. The recurring canonical passage reads: “Here the monk contemplates the perception of light. He fixes his-mind to the perception of the day; as at day-time so at night, and as at night, so in the day. In this way, with a mind clear and unclouded, he develops a stage of mind that is full of brightness.” It is one of the methods of overcoming drowsiness, recommended by the Buddha to Mahā-Moggallāna (A. VII, 58). According to D. 33, it is conducive to the development of ‘knowledge and vision’ (s. visuddhi), and it is said to be helpful to the attainment of the ‘divine eye’ (s. abhiññā).

altruistic joy: muditā , is one of the 4 sublime abodes (brahmavihāra, q.v.).


amata: (Sanskrit amṛta; Pāḷi root mar to die; = Gr. ambrosia): ‘Deathlessness’ according to popular belief also the gods’ drink conferring immortality, is a name for Nibbāna (s. Nibbāna), the final liberation from the wheel of rebirths, and therefore also from the ever-repeated deaths .

amoha: ‘non-delusion’, wisdom, is one of the 3 kammically wholesome roots (mūla, q.v.).

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