Dictionary of Buddhist Doctrinal and Technical Terms

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Item Code: IDF366
Author: Binayendra Nath Chaudhury
Language: English
Edition: 2014
ISBN: 9789381574133
Pages: 508
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.5" X 7.8"
Weight 1.02 kg
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Book Description

From the Jacket:

The present volume Dictionary of Buddhist Doctrinal and Technical Terms based on the Pali and Sanskrit-Buddhist literature has been compiled by Professor Binayendra Nath Chaudhury. The most important Buddhist doctrinal terms such as Cattari Ariya-saccani (Four Noble Truths), viz., Dukkha (Suffering), Dukkhasamudaya (Cause of Suffering), Dukkanirodha (Cessation of Suffering), Dukkhanirodha-gamini-patipada (Way to Cessation of Suffering) otherwise called Ariya Atthangika Magga (Noble Eight-fold Path) or Majjhima Patipada (Middle Path), Paticcasamuppada (Law of Dependent Origination), Paccaya (Casual Relation), Nibbana (Nirvana), Anatta (Soullessness), Anicca (Impermanence), Jhana or Dhyana (Meditation), Samvrti-satya (conventional truth), Paramartha-satya (Absolute truth), Alayavijnana (Store of Consciousness), etc. and doctrines of different Buddhist sects such as Theravada, Mahasanghika, Sarvastivada, Yogacara, or Vijnanavada, Madhhyamika or S unyavada, Vaibhasika, Sautrantika, Mantrayana, Vajrayana and so on have been treated critically and analytically in accordance with the interpretation of the term in question by the Buddha himself or by later famous commentators like Buddhadatta, Buddhaghosa and Dhammapala along with interpretations and explanations of the modern scholars. Thus the Dictionary reflects fair and true understanding of the entire Buddhist doctrine to the readers.

About the Author:

Professor Bainayendra Nath Chaudhury (born on 2nd March, 1931) passed the B.A. (with Honours in Pali) and M.A. Examinations standing first in the first class from the University of Calcutta as a student of the Presidency College, Kolkata. He was selected as Premchand Roychand Scholar (P.R.S.) for his thesis entitled 'Buddhism in Ancient Magadha' in 1961 and obtained Ph.D. Degree in 1964. He joined the Sanskrit College, Kolkata in 1959 and remained there till retirement as Professor of Pali. For sometime he acted as Principal of College and published many research books and for many years he was associated with the Department of Pali, University of Calcutta as teacher and faculty member. He served the Asiatic Society, Kolkata for five years as Dr. B.M. Barua Research Professor in Pali. He was a collaborator for compiling the Critical Dictionary of Royal Danish Academy, Copenhagen (1966-86). The Sanskrit College conferred the title Sambuddhagamavaridhi on him.

He has written many books and contributed research papers on Buddhism published in Indian and foreign Journals. Books written by him are as follows: Buddhist Centres in Ancient India, Abhidhamma Terminology in Ruparupa ibhaga, Bauddhasahitya (in Bengali), Pali Nikaya (III), edited by Dr. B.M. Barua's edited 12 Papers of Dr. Barua under the title 'Studies in Buddhism'.



The Dictionary of Buddhist Doctrinal and Technical Terms, a voluminous and well-documented work, was authored by the adept scholar of Pali and Buddhism, Dr Binayendra Nath Chaudhury who was associated with the Asiatic Society as a Research Professor for a long time. First published in April, 2005, this high-valued treatise has drawn the attention of intellectuals in India and abroad where the life of Buddha and his philosophy are nurtured very seriously. Doctrinal terms and phrases have been collected in this work from original Pali and Buddhist-Sanskrit texts and have been interpreted by Dr Chaudhury, occasionally in the light of available commentaries. As a result, the book has taken the form of a Buddhist encyc1opeadia. Dr Chaudhury has always become successful in finding out the original sources of the terms and fancy has never dominated him. The present scholar-Professor has attempted to discharge a strenuous job, and his mission under any circumstance never stopped. Even his ailing health could not refrain him from completing this serious work.

It has been widely evidenced that innumerable students and researchers engaged in Buddhistic studies have been benefited by the treatment of terms, many of which are very difficult as well as obscure, in this book, and so we have felt it very necessary to bring out its reprinted edition for the betterment of merit and intellect of the old and also new scholars of Indology.


(To the 1st edition)

It gives me immense pleasure in presenting to the world of scholars and particularly, Buddhist scholars, the magnum opus, "Dictionary of Buddhist Doctrinal and Technical Terms" by a noted scholar of Pali and Buddhism, Professor Dr. Binayendra Nath Chaudhury. Dr. Chaudhury through this painstaking and laborious research attempted to cover in depth Buddhist doctrinal and philosophical terminology,

This volume, I am sure, would greatly encourage and inspire discerning readers to go for further studies in Buddhism based on Pali and Sanskrit texts.

I would also like to thank Dr. Chaudhury for his sincere efforts through this volume to resuscitate academic excellence which was and still is the hallmark of the Asiatic Society.



It gives me genuine pleasure to write the note as Introduction to the voluminous work entitled Dictionary of Buddhist Doctrinal and Technical Terms prepared by Professor Binayendra Nath Chaudhury, a veteran scholar of Pali and Buddhism. A dictionary of an encyclopaedic nature, the work, as the title indicates, treats of the doctrinal terms culled from original Pali and Sanskrit- Buddhist texts critically explaining the terms in the light of various bhasyas, commentaries and above all the interpretations given by the Master himself on different occasions in his own discourses. The self-imposed task of Professor Chaudhury has indeed been a very difficult and complicated one, but any serious and knowledgeable reader will agree that Chaudhury has been successful in a large measure in bringing out the essence, meaning and significance of the terms he has dealt with. I find that the compiler-author has spared no pains to go through all possible original texts selecting the doctrinal terms having bearing on the doctrine arid philosophy of Buddhism and that has added to the bulk of the work. He could perhaps, as I feel it, leave some of the terms or deal them with lesser detail, nevertheless his treatment has been really comprehensive and always with a comparative bias. I am happy to note that Chaudhury has always referred to his sources and has not indulged in fanciful explanations.

Buddhavacana has often been invested with terms of abstruse nature and difficult connotations, even the 'bhikkhus' of the early days had often much difficulty in properly understanding them, and they had to seek the guidance of senior bhikkhus like Ananda. This one fact will explain the difficult nature of the work undertaken by Professor Chaudhury. The work, I am sure, will prove itself much helpful in the furtherance of Buddhist studies on a scientific basis. I hope Professor Chaudhury will enjoy the appreciable compliments of his readers.



Buddhism played a significant role in the life and culture of India and other Asian countries and covers a vast expanse, both in time and space. It is very difficult to give a comprehensive account of the origin and development of Buddhism that have taken place during a period of more than two thousand five hundred years. To deal with Buddhism is to deal with a whole civilisation which has been influencing countless human beings of Asia, nay even the world in their forms of life, thoughts and cultures. A satisfactory study of this vast civilisation comprising various aspects such as the doctrines of Buddhism, their growth and development, its spread and expansion, division and appearance of numerous schools and their activities, history of rites and ceremonies, arts and architecture, shrines and monasteries and, last but not the least of all the vast literature produced by the Buddhists, it is too difficult and lengthy to be completed in one generation.

When I had an opportunity of getting Dr. B. M. Barua Research Fellowship awarded by the Asiatic Society; Kolkata, I thought it better to deal with a single branch of Buddhistic studies and proposed to undertake a project of compiling a Dictionary of Buddhist Doctrinal and Technical Terms contained in the Pali and Sanskrit-Buddhist Literature even though it is very difficult to complete the subject exhaustively within a stipulated time. Sakyamuni Gautama Buddha's teachings were transmitted orally during his lifetime and even after a long time of his parinirvana by his disciples who kept those teachings in memory till a late date when they were given final shapes either in Pali or Sanskrit. The Buddha's sermons which were initially categorised into two parts viz. Dhamma and Vinaya in the First Buddhist Council, later on developed another part viz. Abhidhamma, these three parts, as a whole, became known as Tripitaka.

The suttas delivered by the Buddha embody a good number of doctrinal and technical terms. These were very often unintelligible to the common people, though accessible to his learned disciples who already made a steady progress in respect of wisdom (Panna) and Sila practices. Even during the lifetime of Gautama Buddha, the devotees had to run to Ananda, the most favourite disciple of the Buddha, for having the clarification of the suttas taught. Thus the enquiries about difficult as well as the abstruse nature of words perhaps resulted in the growth of a vast size of commentary and bhasya and vyakhya literature where the technical terms were interpreted precisely.

In our modern age a few books on technical terms have been worked out both by the European and Asian scholars in dictionary form. To mention a few of them are Buddhist Dictionary of Nyanatiloka (Colombo), Dictionary of Buddhist Monastic Terms by C.S. Upasak (India), A Critical Pali Dictionary by Trenckner (Copenhagen), Pali English Dictionary by Rhys Davids (London), Dictionary of Pali Language by Childers, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary by F. Edgerton, etc.

All these works are devoted to find out various meanings of the Pali and Sanskrit words along with inclusion of some technical terms. A few lexicons and kosas (kosa) in Pali and Sanskrit also deserve mention in this connection. These are: Abhidhanappadlpika, Mahavyutpatti, Ekakkharakosa, etc.

While compiling I have utilised all the available Pali and Sanskrit texts, their translations and commentaries and bhasyas, old and modern dictionaries and also the works of modern scholars to make the interpretation of terms more precise and critical as far as practicable. I have dealt with almost all Pali and Sanskrit doctrinal and technical terms large or small according to their degree of importance, A bhidhammik and monastic, except a few terms left out.

I express my sincere gratitude and thanks to all the members of the Council of the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, headed by Prof. Biswanath Banerjee, President, who has kindly consented to write the Introduction and steered by Prof. Dilip Coomer Ghose, General Secretary, The Asiatic Society, Kolkata. I am also indebted and thankful to Prof. Dipak Kr. Barua, Prof. Sukornal Chaudhuri, Dr. Sadhan Chandra Sarkar, Prof. Satyaranjan Banerjee, Prof. S. K. Pathak, Prof. Bela Bhattacharya, Dr. Asha Das, Prof. Amalendu De, Prof. Debaprasad Guha, Prof. Manabendu Banerjee and Dr. Manikuntala Halder (De) for their suggestions rendered to me. I am also thankful to the staff-members of the Publication Department, The Asiatic Society, Kolkata.


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