HANDOUT: Glossary of Buddhist Terms
About This Resource
A glossary of key Buddhist terms from The International Dunhuang Project’s Buddhism Education Pack.
Note: Many Buddhist words come from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit. In these worksheets Sanskrit words have been written using the Roman alphabet. As with some other languages, Sanskrit words sometimes contain dashes, dots, or other symbols called diacritics which can change the sound, or the length, of the letter to which they are added. Sometimes, Sanskrit words are written without these marks, and the spelling may be changed to reflect the way the word is pronounced. You can see some examples of this in the glossary below. There are many different sounds in Sanskrit which are expressed by different symbols. Not all of these are explained here, but some common examples of diacritics in Sanskrit include:
ś (as in Avalokiteśvara), or ṣ (as in Lakṣaṇa) which both change the ‘s’ sound to ‘sh’. ā or ī (as in Hīnayāna), or ū (as in Ūrṇā) which all double the length of the vowel.