Tuesday, May 25, 2010

List of terms for our test next Thursday (Vedanta, Jaina & Yoga)


Atman/Brahman: The two-in-one idea of the universal Self. As a monad, it’s the real immortal soul of human beings. Atman is hidden deep, but it can be known by discipline and meditation.
Brahman: An essence without attributes, or beyond attributes: The Universal principle of selfhood.
Brahma: God as creator, one of the trinity in Hinduism, the other two Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer.
Bhakti: Devotion, worship, love.
Maya: Illusion, what we take for “reality” but it’s not. It’s similar to Plato’s “forms.”
Avidya: Ignorance: that is, the path of evil and alienation from true selfhood.
Moksha: The final liberation and release from all worldly bonds. Moksha is the highest of the four human goals: artha (wealth), kama (pleasure) and dharma (duty)
Dharma: (skt: “carrying, holding”): That which determines a true essence. Righteousness; the basis of human morality; the lawful order of the universe and the foundation of all religions. Dharma is inseparable from one’s karma since dharma can be realized only to one’s karmic situation.
Karma: (skt: “deed”) 1- A mental or physical action, 2- The consequence of a mental or physical action, 3-The sum of all consequences of an individual in this or in previous life. Each karma is created by each person’s samskara (or impressions= mental formations forces)
Jñana: Wisdom, higher knowledge.
OM: The cosmic sound, heard in deep meditation; Holy word taught in the Upanishads.
Samsara: The constant and endless cycle of life and death.
Yajna: Sacrifice


Karman: Bits of material, generated by the person's actions, that bind themselves to the life-monad or soul through many births. This has the effect of thwarting the full realization and freedom of the soul.
Kalpa: A world cycle. A period of time comprising 4,320,000 yrs. Pali-kappa is an endlessly long period of time. The metaphor is that of a piece of silk rubbed one on a solid piece of rock one cubic mile in size every 1000 yrs. When this wears the rock away, a kalpa has passed.
Jiva: “One who lives in the body,” a mortal being. The embodied self, which identifies with the mind as ego. It creates the notions of duality and causality and thereby becomes bound to the cycle of birth and death. It has been defined as a life-monad.
Ajiva: Non-soul, inanimate substance. Ajiva is divided in two categories: non-sentient (i.e. a feeling being) material and non-sentient and non-material.
Kevala: State of omniscience. Kevala is necessarily accompanied by freedom from karmic obstruction by direct experience of the soul's pure form, unblemished by its attachment of matter.
Ratnatraya: The basis of Jaina ethics. It comprises 1- the right knowledge, 2- right faith and 3- right conduct. They must be cultivated at once. Right faith leads to calmness and tranquility, but right faith leads to perfection only when followed by right conduct. Knowledge without faith and conduct is futile. Right conduct is spontaneous, not a forced mechanical quality. Attainment of right conduct is a gradual process. The process to achieve this is ahimsa.
Ahimsa: Skt (non-harming) Jaina doctrine of non-violence. Since thought gives rise to action, non-violence of thought is more important than non-violence of action. It is also one of the five virtues in Raja-Yoga.

Pakriti: The matter-principle, uncaused cause.
Purusha: The supreme self.
Dukkha: Sorrow or basic condition of existence because of the essential nature of the
unrealized man.
Gunas: the primary qualities of Nature. They are three in number: 
Sattvas: The goodness in matter, that which can be realized only through the knowledge of the enlightened subject. Tamas: The opacity, the dark quality of matter, its propensity to destruction. Rajas: The tension, dynamic force behind matter.
Yama: Restraint, the fixing of the path, to curb, to bridle.
Niyama: Spiritual discipline.
Asana: Posture.
Pranayama: Controlled breathing.
Pratyahara: Abstraction of the senses.
Dharana: (One-point concentration) or total stillness.
Dhyana: Sustained attention, chan, jhana, or zen; the eightfold path of self- absorption.
Samadhi: Simple and total overtaking of the mind by the cosmic mind.