Glossary
Arahat Mahinda Thero
Arahat Mahinda Thero An eminent disciple of the Buddha, son of the Indian Emperor Dhammasoka who introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka, at state level, in 249 BC.
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Ata-pirikara
The eight requisites of a Buddhist monk – the outer robe, inner robe, belt, begging bowl, razor, needle, thread and cloth strainer.
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Bhikkhu
Mendicant monk (dependent on alms for a living)
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Bōdhi
Bōdhi signifies the highest level of intellectual or spiritual attainment that a being can reach. This is the state that Buddhas attain. The last known Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, attained this state when he was meditating under a tree known in Sinhala as ǽsatu, botanical name being Ficus religiosa. Henceforth the tree came to be known as the Bōdhi Tree or Bō tree, because it was under one such that the Buddha attained enlightenment.
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Buddha Sāsana
The dispensation of the Buddha
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Caitya
Literally, caitya means an open space or clearing. In the current context caitya or cetiya signifies such places meant to remember Gautama Buddha. There are usually three types of ‘reminders’ or memorials in honour of the Buddha. Shārìrika Dhātu or actual bone, smithereens of the bones, a tooth, hair or a pinch of the ashes of the Buddha’s body enshrined in a Stūpa or Dāgoba, a dome-shaped structure with a pinnacle, built on a raised stage. Originally Stūpas were mounds of heaped earth covering the dead or coffins, graduating into stylised structures according to the extraordinary status of the dead person, in this case the Buddha. Dāgoba or Dāgǽba is the Sinhala and Pāli for the Sanskrit Dhātu-Garbha, meaning the ‘womb that holds and protects’ the bodily Dhātu of the Buddha enshrined in its chambers. Dhātu is best translated as ‘relics’, derived from the Latin ‘reliquiae’, meaning ‘remains’. These are meant to remind people ‘that the Buddha was a real person’ (not a god or other being), that enlightenment is possible for any person who but tries in the prescribed manner. The second type is Pāribhogika Dhātu. These are objects that the Buddha used or utilised. Obviously his begging bowl, robes etc. have disintegrated. The best known item he ‘used’ or ‘utilised’ was the
Bōdhi Tree, under a specimen of which he attained Enlightenment. Even places where he left his footprint fall into this category. Third is Uddhēsika or Uddhēsaka Dhātu. These are representations of the Buddha such as images, statues and other votive objects. Even objects such as the Dhamma Cakka or Wheel of the Dhamma fall into this category as ‘reminders of Buddhist insight’. The Kalutara Bōdhiya premises or Caitya Bhūmi too accommodate a Dāgoba (Shārìrika), a Bō Tree (Pāribhogika) and a shrine room with a Buddha Image (a votive object – Uddhēsika), a set each on the Upper and the Lower Compound.
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Dāgoba
See Caitya above
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Dāné
Generosity – almsgiving
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Deshabandu
Literally, ‘friend of the nation’. It is in Sri Lanka a title bestowed on individuals who are deemed by the political authorities of the day, to have contributed to the development of the nation in spheres such as the economy, politics, education,etc.
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Dhamma Dēshanā
Preaching the Dhamma or the Doctrine of the Buddha
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Dhammapada
The Dhammapada is an anthology of 423 stanzas in the Buddha’s own words, in Pāli, which is the language he spoke. They were addressed to specific individuals or specific groups on various occasions under different circumstances. But the teachings are of universal validity. They are arranged under 26 categories according to subject matter such as Mind, Old Age, etc. and compiled as the last of five collections (nikāyas) forming part of the Khuddaka Nikāya or Minor Collection of the Khuddaka Sutta Pitaka one of the three ‘baskets’ into which all of the Buddha’s preaching fall. They were so presented because of their beauty, relevance, their chic, quotable style and as they demonstrate the plan preached by the Buddha to end pain or suffering by removing its cause, which is craving, thereby ending the otherwise eternal cycle of repeated birth and death.
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Ganga
River
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Gilanpasa
Light drinks served to Buddhist monks
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Itivuttaka
The Itivuttaka consists of 112 brief teachings, each with a verse and a paraphrased or complementary prose section. They are said to be the Buddha’s words, (vuttaka) as heard or recalled (iti) by a female disciple, Khujjuttarā, a domestic aide of King Udēna's consort, Sāmāvatie, who in turn introduced the teachings to the Queen, demonstrating also that a servant could in other ways be superior to a mistress. This section is part of the Khuddaka Nikāya or Minor Collection but some of the stanzas are repeated in the Anguttara Nikāya.
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Jaya Sri Maha Bōdhi*
Sanctified name of a fig tree (see Bōdhi above), a sapling from which was planted in Anuradhapura, capital of Sri Lanka (4 B.C. to 11 A.D.) The original tree was destroyed, making this the only tree (of any kind) with a date and age. A second feature is that it survived for over 2000 out of a predicted 5000 years, despite many attempts at its destruction. A third feature is that the sapling was removed by painting a mark round a selected branch using a telikūra, a type of paint brush dipped in rat siriyel, a kind of arsenic. Eight fruits with four saplings each burst forth giving credence to the high level of botanical knowledge prevalent at the time. Knowledge and technology – virtually indeed an entire culture – was transferred to Sri Lanka with the skills which Sanghamitta Therani’s entourage brought along with the Bō sapling. A most cardinal feature is that she fortified her brother, Arahant Mahinda's mission of introducing Buddhism at state level making it the state
religion, during the reign of Devānampiya Tissa, the Sinhala King and Dhammāsoka, the Indian Emperor. * Great Resplendent Tree of Triumph/Victory. (Jaya – triumph or victory, Sri – Resplendent, Mahā – Great, Bōdhi Tree under which the Prince attained the state of Bōdhi or Buddhahood.)
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Pahala Maluva
Lower compound
 
Pahan
Pahan refers to lamps. It also means light. Lamps are lit in homage to the Buddha. Traditionally clay lamps fuelled by coconut oil were used. Today electricity, batteries or other sources are tapped for the purpose. They are also pahan. When one lamp is lit with the light of another, the donor lamp does not lose its light, but sharing the light enhances the general glow. Just so, when knowledge is shared the ‘giver’ of knowledge loses naught but the general mass of knowledge is enhanced. Again the offering of light or lamps in homage to the Buddha constitutes a meditative act on the brevity and the impermanence of life and things. Life, like the light of a pahana flickers, always on the verge of being blown out and is snuffed out with one brief puff. Pahan also signifies ‘dawn’. The term is used to connote the ‘dawn of insight or of knowledge, etc.’
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Pāli
Literally, Pāli means ‘line’. It meant a line in a canonical text. As a language it belongs to the Indo-Aryan group of languages. Scholars hold that the language that the Buddha spoke would have been Magadha, closely akin to Pāli. Some early Buddhists refer to Pāli as Magadhan. However, the entirety of the Buddha’s teachings as codified, written down and preserved is in Pāli. As translation can affect authenticity and accuracy, scholars and Buddhist monks are expected to learn Pāli and use it.
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Perahera
Religous or cultural pageant/procession
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Pirith
Literally pirith means protection or preservation. The term refers to the chant of the Buddha Dhamma in a traditional, lyrical tone and style. The words are strung together stanza style using combinations of sounds that are auspicious, soothing and harmonious and are in the original Pāli. Preaching the Dhamma or bana is, on the contrary, in prose and in the language used by the audience. On occasion monks are invited to chant the stanzas throughout the night continuously, with a duo or a few taking turns. At other times, they are invited to chant selected sections for a shorter period of time.
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Pirivena
School where the Doctrine of the Buddha is taught in a structured, traditional manner to Buddhist monks. These are conducted in the temples or monasteries and traditionally on Poya days (see note on ‘Poya’ below), now on Sundays, after Sundays were declared the weekly holiday.
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Pooja
Religious offering
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Poya Day
Four days of the month when the waxing and the waning of the moon is observed i.e. when there is no moon, a quarter moon, a half moon and a full moon. Today the emphasis is on full moon days, which are deemed to be ‘holy or ‘sacred’ days and Buddhist religious practices and rituals are observed and Buddhist festivals held very specially on these days.
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Relics
See Caitya above
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Sāmanera
Novice or trainee monk
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Sangha
The fraternity of Buddhist monks
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Sanskrit
Sanskrit is one of the most ancient languages if not the most ancient one, broadly meaning ‘perfectly refined or formed’ (‘sans’ – perfect or refined; ‘krit’ – formed). The Sinhala word for culture itself is sanskrtiya. It is the liturgical language of Hinduism just as Pāli is the liturgical language of Buddhism. Sanskrit, the progenitor of Pāli as well as of Sinhala, received fresh recognition with the recent declaration (September 2010) as the second official language of the State of Uttarakhand in India.
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Seema-mālakaya
A Seemā Mālakaya, literally ‘demarcated’ (seemā) ‘platform’ (mālakaya), is built like a float upon the waters of a river or lake, consecrated or declared to be sacred, on which senior novice monks (not below the age of twenty) are ritually or ceremonially admitted to the higher level of graduation as a monk, by conferment of Upasampadā.
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Sil
Sil or Seela is basically moral or ethical conduct. The Eightfold Path that the Buddha expounded as would lead to Nirvāna falls into three ‘sections’ – Seela, Samādhi and Paññā (Morality, ethical or moral conduct. Mental discipline, one-pointedness of mind or concentration. Insight, discernment, wisdom). The observance of each set of steps in the Path leads increasingly and respectively to the three states of mind Sotāpanna, Sakadāgāmi and Anāgāmi leading to the state of Arahat, broadly the highest reach beyond which there is no re-entry into the cycle of births and deaths. Of the eight steps Sil is engagement in (1) Right Speech (abstention from lying, gossiping, fruitless speech, harsh speech etc.), (2) Right Action (abstention from killing, taking what is not given, immoral behaviour including sexual misconduct), (3) Right Livelihood (making an honest living, specifically refraining from dealing in arms, intoxicants, live beings etc.). The others are Samādhi (4) Right Effort, (5) Right Mindfulness and (6) Right Concentration and Paññā (7) Right View and (8) Right Intention.
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Stūpa
See Caitya above
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Tripitaka
Tripitaka (Tri=Three+Pitaka=Baskets) refer to the three main canonical divisions of the Buddha’s teaching or Pāli Canon – Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka. It is in the totality of the Tripitaka that the Buddha’s teachings of 45 years are fully enshrined. These are teachings handed down orally by monks who had reached the state of Arahant and had developed the highest powers of retention by memory. The Pitakas were finally committed to writing by 500 Arahants in 29 B.C. at Ālokavihara or Aluvihāra in Matale, Sri Lanka. The Vinaya Pitaka contains all the rules set down for monks and nuns, the Sutta Pitaka contains all the Discourses and the Abhidhamma Pitaka the metaphysics.
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Uda Maluva
Upper compound
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Upasampadā
Advanced level or higher stage of graduation in the scale of observance of the code of conduct and discipline prescribed for monks by the Buddha. The code includes innumerable rules and regulations for monks. See Seemā Mālakaya above.
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Vesak
The Full Moon day of the month of May, the day on which the Birth, Enlightenment and Death of the Buddha occurred and is commemorated by Buddhists the world over.
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Vatadāge
Architectural feature built round a Stūpa to symbolically
protect it. See Caitya above.
 
 
 
The Kalutara Bōdhi Trust (KBT) was established in 1951 by Sir Cyril de Zoysa
 
The library at Kalutara Bhodi trust, houses a large number of valuable Buddhist literature.
 
The essence of true charity is to give something without expecting anything in return for the gift. Donating blood is one such thing.
The legacy of Sir Cyril de Zoysa, the founder of the Kalutara Bōdhi
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