5. Glossary


One who has attained the third level of enlightenment. The classic definition of an Anagami is that he or she has eliminated the mental defilements of lust and aversion, but still retains the five defilements of mind: 1) craving for subtle material realms, 2) craving for subtle immaterial realms, 3) conceit, 4) restlessness, 5) the final vil of unknowing or delusion.


A fully enlightened being. One who has uprooted all the defilements and experiences no more mental suffering. According to the Theravada tradition, just before death an Arahant will pass into and remain in Nirvana and will not be reborn in any form. According to the Mahayana tradition, Arahants may be reborn if they have made a vow to reincarnate to help other sentient beings attain enlightenment.


The Hindu concept of self as being an unchanging, immutable aspect of the consciousness of God. Enlightenment in this tradition is regarded as a transcendence of concepts which separate oneself from God. Ultimately, all separate self existence is relinquished, and all that remains is everything which is God. In both the Hindu and Buddhist tradition individual self existence ultimately ceases when one realizes fully that the individual self is only an illusion, and when one is able to transcend the craving which causes rebirth.


In the 5th century A.D. Buddhaghosa, an Indian scholar in Sri Lanka, compiled and translated a great body of texts written in Sinhalese and Sanskrit into Pali. The Theravadans believe Buddhaghosa regarded the Buddha as the source of original thought, and the various explanatory texts as fortification of the teachings of the Buddha. Western scholars have suggested that Buddhaghosa must have simply translated any texts that were available as they range in quality from wonderfully insightful to trivial and erroneous. In any case, the body of Pali texts which were compiled became the basis for making Pali the scholarly language of the Theravada tradition in Southeast Asia.


As used in this book, contemplative refers to spiritual traditions which involve mental disciplines as opposed to disciplines which involve service, study, teaching, or work.


Co-psychopaths are close associates of psychopaths who are caught up in a web of control and deception. They may be a spouse, partner, student or disciple. They, themselves are usually not morally defective, but they have accepted the artificial reality that the psychopaths have created. Once they have developed some doubt about their psychopathic associate, they have an excellent chance of extricating themselves from their role. Usually to fully recover, they will need support and understanding from others who have had similar experiences.

deep insight

An abbreviation of Deep Insight into Arising and Passing of Phenomenon. This occurs when concentration and the ability to observe change are developed to the point that thought processes can be observed to arise and pass in the mind. The nature of objects of consciousness appears to change, and a great energy and enthusiasm for meditation practice arises in the meditator. After deep insight, insight into faster and subtler components of the thought process is realized, and the meditator acquires an intuitive wisdom about the nature of consciousness and reality.

defilements of mind

There are three basic defilements of the mind: greed, hatred-aversion, and delusion-confusion-unknowing. There are innumerable individual defilements which are permutations and combinations of the basic three such as: fear, sloth, conceit, jealousy, paranoia and resentment. The root cause of defilements is craving, or a strong preference for things to be a certain way such as, having what you want and not having an experience which you do not want. The mind is defiled when there is craving that is unconscious and determines behavior. Only Arahants are able to be conscious of the arising of the subtlest forms of craving.


The Dhammapada was compiled in Sri Lanka about 2,000 years ago from the 100,000 page record of the Buddha’s discourses. Occasionally during his discourses, the Buddha would make a point in spontaneous poetry. The Dhammapada is an anthology of some of these poems. Since the record of the discourses are chants of summaries, and since the poems could not be rendered into summaries, the Dhammapada contains the purest record of what the Buddha actually said.


The natural law for any conditioned object. The truth. The teachings of the Buddha. Cause and effect. The way things are. Dharma is Sanskrit for the Pali word dhamma. It has a great range of meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Usually it applies to spiritual truths or laws. Sometimes it is used as a synonym for karma which is one aspect of the dharma. Generally, dharma refers to the natural law or the basic truth such as the law of gravity (also a dharma), and it is not strictly speaking a law, but the definition of a process. Dharma is not regarded in Buddhism as a law decreed by the Buddha or any deity.

Eight Fold Path

The Buddha’s basic teaching is the Eight Fold Path. It consists of eight things which if understood and done correctly will lead to enlightenment. They are: Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration. All of the Buddha’s teachings are explanations and elaborations on these eight basic teachings.


As used in this book, refers to having attained a stable access to the first stratum of the unconscious processes and corresponds to the level of stream-winner. The characteristics of clarity, compassion and intuitive wisdom deepen as access to deeper strata are attained. Arahants have the greatest access and are regarded as being fully enlightened.


Karma is the cause and effect relationship of how past actions condition our present experience. Karma is created by the volitional intentions of action, speech and thought and the effect they have on sentient beings. One’s reality is the result of one’s karma and is a composite of good and bad karma. Good karma results in pleasure. Bad karma results in suffering. Actions based on intentions to bring pleasure result in good karma. Actions based on intentions to bring harm bring suffering. Actions which result in good karma do not cancel out bad karma, but they do upgrade the mix.


A powerful psychedelic drug, lysergic acid diethylamide, that alters consciousness and perception.

levels of enlightenment
  1. Sotapanna; 2) Sakadagami; 3) Anagami; 4) Arahant.


A long discourse by the Buddha in the Digha Nikayti describing the basic principles of meditation and different forms of meditation practice. It is traditionally regarded as being a single discourse given in the market town of Karnmasadhamma. However, a study of the structure and content of the text indicates it was compilation on the subject of meditation from fragments of various discourses. The editor’s apparent lack of skill in meditation seem to have created some odd combinations of topics based on words instead of how methods would be used in actual practice. It seems unlikely that a skillful teacher such as the Buddha would arrange his topics in such a way. It is possible that the Buddha expected that the details of meditation practice be taught individually and orally by a qualified teacher. This may be why his discourses contain so little specific information on meditation technique.


Buddhists who take the Bodhisattva Vow to delay their enlightenment until all sentient beings attain enlightenment. The purpose is to remain in existence so that they can help to all other sentient beings attain enlightenment. Mahayana Buddhists have different interpretations of what this vow means, but many regard this as not entering Parinirvana where individual existence would cease. In the Mahayana tradition it is believed that the Bodhisattva vow makes it possible to override the limitations of rebirth that the Buddha described for different levels of enlightenment.


A meditation practice of systematically cultivating feelings of unconditional loving kindness. Metta is a concentration practice sometimes used in conjunction with, but not at the same time as vipassana meditation. Metta is a wish that all beings should be safe, happy and healthy. Advanced practitioners experience heavenly mental states, and sometimes have a profound positive effect on other beings.


Mind and matter. A stage of development in meditation practice when it becomes very clear that mind and matter are separate but interdependent.


Sanskrit: lit, Extinction (nir+va to cease blowing, to become extinguished.) Nirvana is beyond time and space; therefore it has neither beginning nor end—birth nor death. One can enter into Nirvana and leave it, but Nirvana is always there and unchanging. The ultimate objective of Buddhism is to enter Nirvana and not leave it. Some of the synonyms the Buddha used for are Nirvana are: The Peaceful State, Deathless, Bliss Supreme, Stilling of Conditioned Things, Unconditioned, Uncreated, Unmade, Unoriginated, Unformed, Unborn, Uncompounded, The Way, Highest Goal, Fruit, Dharma, Happiness Supreme, That Beyond Happiness, Destruction of Conditioned Things, Gone Beyond. Nirvana is experienced briefly at the culmination of each path at the time that enlightenment or higher level of enlightenment is attained. Since there are no reference points in Nirvana to base a description on, any description of Nirvana is not a description of Nirvana.


An Anagami. People who have attained the third level of enlightenment The Buddha gave them the name Non-returners because they will not be reborn again in this world as a human. They will experience one more birth in a formless heavenly realm of gods before they go into Parinirvana.


Summaries of the Buddha’s discourses were rendered into chants, and for two hundred years after the death of the Buddha, nearly the only record of what the Buddha said, was this oral tradition. Then King Asoka sponsored the writing of the Buddha’s discourses into Pali, the language of his kingdom. Northern India was ruled by the kingdom of Magadha during the Buddha’s lifetime, so it seems reasonable that the Buddha spoke Magadhi in public, and possibly at times spoke Sanskrit with scholars. Both Magadhi and Pali have very near roots in Sanskrit. The similarity of the three languages must have the advantage of transmitting subtle understanding as well as subtle misunderstandings. Traditionally, the Theravada view is that Pali is an absolutely accurate record of the Buddha’s discourses, and the Pali Commentaries are accurate elaborations of the Buddha’s teachings.


Immediately before physical death, an Arahant’s consciousness passes out of conditioned existence and enters into Nirvana, and will not reenter conditioned existence.

progress of insight

The sequence of insights leading up to enlightenment and immediately after enlightenment.


Of alterations in consciousness or perceptions. From the Greek psyche (mind) + delos (clear). Psychedelic drugs have an effect of creating a sense that the mind is seeing clearer and consciousness is expanded. In larger doses, they have an increased effect of distorting perceptions, confusing the mind and causing hallucinations. In some cases, psychedelic drugs have induced a profound examination of the present moment, and have resulted in deep insight.


A person considered to be holy and worthy of veneration. As used in this book, it is someone who has purified their consciousness of defilements and is enlightened.


Also known as a Once-returner. Someone who has reached the second level of enlightenment. Traditionally, a Sakadagami is said to have reduced the defilements of mind of lust and aversion. A Sakadagami has greater clarity of mind and a deeper intuitive wisdom than a stream-winner.


The transmission of psychic energy from teacher to student that results in a variety of phenomenon, such as deep trance, visions, energy sensations and uncontrollable body motions.


Pure concentration meditation practice. Samatha meditation is essentially a form of self-hypnosis. The mind is focused on a fixed object which seems more solid, real and unchanging as concentration deepens. As one is able to focus the mind precisely on the object of concentration with less wavering to other objects or thoughts, specific levels of concentration called jhanas are attained. Any sense object—sight, sound, smell, taste, touch or thought—can be used as an object of samatha meditation. Sensations of breathing are frequently used as objects of meditation in vipassana practice because the breath is a changing object. Samatha is an essential component to vipassana and is developed first. True vipassana practice begins to develop when the level of nama-rupa is reached. Vipassana deconditions the hypnotic state of mind which results in an illusory view of reality. One of the reasons that vipassana meditation is so difficult is that samatha is constantly being destroyed by vipassana.


In the Hindu tradition, the true self is the atta which is an unchanging aspect of the consciousness of God. The objective of Hindu practice is to come to the full realization that the atta is the true self and the relinquishment of any sense that you are anything else but the atta. Most Westerners do not have this concept of atta, but because of unawareness, there is a natural tendency to view the self as being in control and unchanging. As vipassana meditation develops, the meditator comes to see that the self is the result of cause and effect processes, and has no solid continuous existence.


A Stream-winner.


Lit. a seat. The Buddha would sit and give a discourse, and after it, a senior monk would compose a chant which was a summary of what the Buddha had said. Monks and nuns still spend a considerable amount of time reciting these chants in groups. The chanting is a combination of concentration meditation and education


One who has attained the first level of enlightenment. Defilements uprooted are: Doubt that the Eightfold Path will lead to total purification of the mind, belief that rites and rituals will result in enlightenment, and belief in the usual sense of self. In this book I define a Stream-winner as one who has permanently accessed the first stratum of the unconscious mind.


Thera means elder, and vada is the way of, so it is literally the way of the elders. The Theravadans regard the Pali record of the Buddha’s discourses, which were written two hundred years after the Buddha, and the Pali Commentaries, compiled by Buddhaghosa a thousand years after the time of the Buddha, as the only valid version of the Buddha’s teaching. The roots of the Theravada tradition comes from King Asoka who sponsored the writing of the Buddha’s discourses in Pali. Since Asoka richly patronized Buddhist monasteries, it became necessary to clearly define which traditions were true Buddhists and which were false. The Theravada tradition existed along with other traditions of Buddhism in India for a thousand years, but all forms of Buddhism were eliminated in India by Muslim invaders. However, King Asoka’s son, who was a monk and his daughter, who was a nun, established the Theravada tradition in Sri Lanka which survived and has spread throughout Southeast Asia.


To see clearly with great penetration and effort. When objects of consciousness are seen with enough penetrating awareness, they will be seen as being in a continuous state of change, because consciousness is continuously changing.


A branch of Mahayana Buddhism which was brought into China by Bodhidarma. From China it spread into Korea and Japan. Zen evolved and became deeply integrated with Chinese culture before it acquired many of the texts and traditions of older forms of Buddhism. A significant difference is that Zen monks follow a different set of rules than the ones prescribed by the Buddha for monks. The emperors of China placed great importance on acquiring more of the Buddha’s discourses and rewarded people who acquired them. Some of the books of discourses acquired have similar titles but different contents than older versions.