Terminology for Buddhism
- In the West, we call the religion founded by the Buddha Buddhism.
For example, "Buddhism is one of the world's largest religions."
- Buddhist is the term used to designate followers of
Buddhism. For example, "Many Buddhists revere the Buddha."
- Buddhist also functions as an adjective. For instance,
"The buddhist belief in the Four Noble Truths is the foundation of buddhist
- The phrase "the Buddha" almost always refers to the
Siddartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, even though some buddhist thought holds that
there are many buddhas.
- Buddhism developed in a region where a dialect of Sanskrit called
Pali was used. This has led to two ways of spelling many key terms, namely, the Sanskrit
way and the Pali way. For example, an "r" will often change to an "m,"
as in dharma/dhamma and karma/Kamma. Sometimes an "n" will also change to an
"m," as in sangha/samgha. The glossary will attempt to incorporate both
spellings, so that you can check any term you may be unsure of.