What does that Buddhist word mean?

Pali and Sanskrit are two languages in which the original teachings of meditation were recorded in Southern Asia. These are some common words you might hear teachers using when describing practice, and their basic translations to English. 

  • anattā (anātman in Sanskrit): not self
  • anicca (anitya in Sanskrit): impermanence
  • dāna (in both Pali and Sanskrit): giving, generosity
  • dukkha (duhkha in Sanskrit): suffering, unsatisfactoriness, or stress  
  • Dhamma (dharma in Sanskrit): teachings of the Buddha
  • karuṇā (in both Pali and Sanskrit): compassion
  • mettā (maitrī in Sanskrit): loving-kindness
  • muditā (in both Pali and Sanskrit): sympathetic joy
  • nibbāna (nirvana in Sanskrit): freedom or liberation
  • paññā (in both Pali and Sanskrit): wisdom
  • papañca (prapañca in Sanskrit): mental proliferation
  • samādhi (in both Pali and Sanskrit): concentration
  • samatha (śamatha in Sanskrit): tranquillity, calmness
  • sangha (in both Pali and Sanskrit): community
  • sati (smṛti in Sanskrit): mindfulness
  • upekkhā (upekṣā in Sanskrit): equanimity
  • vedanā (in both Pali and Sanskrit): feeling tone
  • vipassana (vipashyana in Sanskrit): insight meditation
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