Dhamma Lists

Dhamma Lists

The Four Noble Truths

  1. Dukkha exists – unsatisfactoriness, suffering, discontent, stress (to be Investigated)
  2. The cause or origin of dukkha is craving (tanha-lit. thirst) or clinging (to be Abandoned)
  3. Dukkha ceases with the relinquishment of that craving (to be Realized)
  4. The path leading to the cessation of dukkha is the Noble Eightfold Path (to be Developed)

The Eightfold Path (ariya-magga)

Wisdom/Discernment (pañña)

  1. Wise or Right View/Understanding (samma-ditthi) – Knowledge of the Four Noble Truths
  2. Wise or Right Intention/Resolve (sammá-sankappa) – Renunciation, Loving-kindness, Harmlessness

Virtue (sila)

  1. Wise or Right Speech (sammá-vácá) – abstaining from lying, malicious or divisive speech, abusive or harsh speech, and idle chatter
  2. Wise or Right Action (sammá-kammanta) – abstaining from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct
  3. Wise or Right Livelihood (sammáájíva) – abstaining from dishonest and harmful means of livelihood

Concentration/Meditation (samadhi)

  1. Wise or Right Effort (samma-vayama) – the effort of avoiding and overcoming unskillful qualities, and of developing and maintaining skillful qualities
  2. Wise or Right Mindfulness (samma-sati) – The Four Foundations of Mindfulness
  3. Wise or Right Concentration (samma-samadhi)The Four Form Jhanas

Three Characteristics of Existence (of Conditioned Phenomena)

  1. Impermanence (anicca)
  2. Unsatisfactoriness (dukkha)
  3. Not-self (anatta) – empty of inherent existence; not “me”, “myself”, nor “what I am”

Three Pillars of Dhamma (dharma) or Grounds for Making Merit

  1. Generosity (dana)
  2. Moral restraint (sila)
  3. Meditation (bhavana) – consists of Concentration (samadhi) and Mindfulness (sati)

Three Poisons/Defilements (Kilesas – lit. torments of the mind)

  1. Greed (lobha) – mindfulness transforms this into Faith
  2. Aversion/hatred (dosa) – mindfulness transforms this into discriminating Wisdom
  3. Delusion (moha) – mindfulness transforms this into Equanimity

Three Refuges (Triple Gem, Three Jewels)

  1. Buddha – both the historical Buddha and one’s own innate potential for Awakening
  2. Dhamma – the Buddha’s teaching of liberation and the ultimate Truth towards which it points
  3. Sangha – the monastic community, those who have achieved at least some degree of Awakening, and more recently the community of followers of the Buddhist path (traditionally called the Parisa)

Three Types of Dukkha

  1. Dukkha as pain (dukkhadukkhata) – body or mental pain
  2. Dukkha that is inherent in formation (sankhara-dukkhata) – maintenance of body and things, oppressive nature of continuous upkeep
  3. Dukkha of change (viparinama-dukkhata) – pleasant and happy conditions in life are not permanent

Four Bases of Power or Success (Iddhipada)

  1. Desire (chanda)
  2. Persistence/Energy/Effort (viriya)
  3. Intention, Mind, Thoughtfulness (citta)
  4. Investigation/Discrimination (vimamsa or panna)

Four Brahma-viharas (Highest Attitudes/Emotions)

Heavenly or sublime abodes (best home). Near enemy is a quality that can masquerade as the original, but is not the original. Far enemy is the opposite quality.

  1. Lovingkindness, good-will (metta): Near enemy – attachment; far enemy – hatred
  2. Compassion (karuna): Near enemy – pity; far enemy – cruelty
  3. Sympathetic joy, Appreciation (mudita), joy at the good fortune of others: Near enemy – comparison,hypocrisy, insincerity, joy for others but tinged with identification (my team, my child); far enemy – envy
  4. Equanimity (upekkha): Near enemy – indifference; far enemy – anxiety, greed

Four Foundations of Mindfulness

(from the Satipatthana Sutta)

  1. Mindfulness of the body (kaya)
  2. Mindfulness of feeling (vedana)-pleasant, unpleasant, neutral; initial reactions to sensory input
  3. Mindfulness of mind/consciousness (citta), of the mind-states, moods (greed, aversion, delusion and their opposites)
  4. Mindfulness of mind objects-mental events (dharmas); Five categories of dhammas: Five hindrances, Five aggregates, 6 sense bases, Seven factors of enlightenment, Four Noble Truths

Four Form Jhanas (rupa jhanas) or Meditative Absorptions

  1. First Jhana, characterized by intense pleasure, has five jhanic factors: applied thought (vittaka), sustained thought(vicara), joy (piti), happiness (sukha), one-pointednesss (ekkagata)
  2. Second Jhana, characterized by joy, has 3 factors: joy (piti), happiness (sukha) , and onepointedness (ekkagata)
  3. Third Jhana, characterized by contentment, has 2 factors: contentment and one-pointedness (ekkagata)
  4. Fourth Jhana, characterized by equanimity and stillness, has 1 factor: one-pointedness (ekkagata)

Four Heavenly Messengers

  1. An old person
  2. A sick person
  3. A corpse
  4. A wandering monk

Four Right Efforts (sammappadhana)

  1. Not to let an unwholesome-unskillful thought arise, which has not yet arisen-Guarding
  2. Not to let an unwholesome-unskillful thought continue, which has already arisen-Abandon
  3. To make a wholesome-skillful thought arise, which has not yet arisen-Develop
  4. To make a wholesome-skillful thought continue, which has already arisen-Sustain

Four Taints (asavas)

Obstructions to Enlightenment (most suttas don’t include the 4th taint)

  1. attachment to sensuality
  2. attachment to existence/to becoming
  3. ignorance of the dhamma (of the way things are)
  4. attachment to opinions/views (most Suttas do not include this one-Abhidhamma does)

Five Aggregates (khandhas or skandas or heaps)

Physical and mental components of the personality (ego) and of sensory experience in general

  1. Form/physical phenomena, body (rupa )
  2. Feeling (vedana ) pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. Feelings arise when there is contact between the 6 internal organs and the 6 external objects: (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind & corresponding: sight, sound, odor, taste touch, mental object)
  3. Perception (sañña) – recognition
  4. Mental Formations (sankhara) – includes mental states, emotions, volition (fabrications)
  5. Consciousness (viññana) – grasps the characteristics of the 6 external objects

Five Faculties (indriya) and Five Strengths or Powers

Faith & Wisdom balance each other, as do Energy & Concentration.
The Five Faculties are ‘controlling’ faculties because they control or master their opposites.
The faculties and powers are two aspects of the same thing.

  1. Faith (saddha) – controls doubt
  2. Energy/Effort/Persistence (viriya) – controls laziness
  3. Mindfulness (sati); – controls heedlessness
  4. Concentration (samadhi) – controls distraction
  5. Wisdom (panna)/Discernment – controls ignorance

Five Hindrances (nivarana)

  1. Sensual Desire (kámacchanda)
  2. Aversion or Ill-will (vyápáda)
  3. Sleepiness – sloth (thina), torpor (middha), sluggishness
  4. Restlessness – worry about the future, regret of the past, anxiety (uddhacca-kukkucca)
  5. Doubt (skeptical doubt)(vicikicchá)

Five Precepts

  1. To refrain from killing
  2. To refrain from stealing (taking that which is not offered)
  3. To refrain from sexual misconduct
  4. To refrain from lying, harsh speech, idle speech, and slander
  5. To refrain from taking intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause heedlessness

Five Daily Recollections

  1. I am of the nature to grow old; I cannot avoid aging.
  2. I am of the nature to become ill or injured; I cannot avoid illness or injury
  3. I am of the nature to die; I cannot avoid death.
  4. All that is mine, dear and delightful, will change and vanish.
  5. I am the owner of my actions;
    I am born of my actions;
    I am related to my actions;
    I am supported by my actions;
    Any thoughts, words or deeds I do, good or evil, those I will inherit.

from AN V.57  Upajjhatthana Sutta: Subjects for Contemplation

Five Things that lead to Awakening

  1. Admirable friends
  2. Sila (morality, virtue)
  3. Hearing the dharma
  4. Exertion. Effort in abandoning unskillful qualities and cultivating skillful ones
  5. Awareness of impermanence (anicca) – Insight into impermanence

Six Senses

  1. Seeing
  2. Hearing
  3. Smelling
  4. Tasting
  5. Touching
  6. Thinking

Seven Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhanga)

Three arousing, Three calming, mindfulness is neutral


  1. Mindfulness (sati)


  2. Investigation of Phenomena (dhamma vicaya)-Wisdom Factor: seeing anicca, anatta, dukkha; how mind body operates
  3. Energy/Effort (viriya)
  4. Rapture, Joy-intense interest in object (piti)


  5. Calm/tranquility (passaddhi)
  6. Concentration (samadhi)
  7. Equanimity (upekkha)

Eight Worldly Dhammas (Conditions, Concerns)

These conditions are inconstant & impermanent.

  • Gain and Loss
  • Pleasure and Pain
  • Praise and Blame
  • Fame and Disrepute (status/disgrace)

Ten Perfections (Paramis/Paramitas)

Ten qualities leading to Buddhahood

  1. Generosity (dana)
  2. Morality (sila)-virtue, integrity
  3. Renunciation (nekkhamma)
  4. Wisdom (pañña)
  5. Energy/Strength (viriya)- effort
  6. Patience (khanti)
  7. Truthfulness (sacca)
  8. Resolution – determination (adhitthana)
  9. Lovingkindness (metta)
  10. Equanimity (upekkha)

Ten Fetters (samyojana)

Note: The first 3 fetters are cognitive (understanding), the next 2 are affective (emotional), the last 5 are Transcendent

  1. Self-identity beliefs
  2. Doubt
  3. Clinging to rites and rituals
  4. Sensual craving
  5. Ill will
  6. Attachment to the form
  7. Attachment to formless phenomena
  8. Conceit (mána, literally measuring-as measuring oneself and comparing to others)- (a subtle sense of self)
  9. Restlessness
  10. Ignorance (with regard to the Four Noble Truths)

Four Stages of Enlightenment

  1. The Stream-enterer (sotapanna)-has eradicated the first three fetters; will be enlightened in Seven lives or less (cognitive, understanding)
  2. The Once-returner (sakadagami) has eradicated the first three & weakened the fourth and fifth (affective, emotional)
  3. The Non-returner (anagami) has eradicated the first five fetters
  4. The Arahat has eradicated all ten fetters. (transcendent-has eliminated attachment to altered states)

Twelve Links of Dependent Origination-
Dependent Co-arising (Paticca-Samuppada)

The doctrine of the conditionality of all physical & mental phenomena; how ignorance conditions old age,disease and death

  • From ignorance (avijja) come karma formations/fabrications/volitional formations (sankhara)
  • From karma formations comes consciousness (viññana)
  • From consciousness comes mind and matter (nama-rupa)
  • From mind and matter come the six senses (salayatana)
  • From the six senses comes contact (phassa)
  • From contact comes feeling (vedana)
  • From feeling comes craving (tanha)
  • From craving comes clinging (upadana)
  • From clinging comes becoming/existence (bhava)
  • From becoming/existence comes birth (jati)
  • From birth, then aging & death

Twelve Links of Transcendental Dependent Arising

This continues from the 12 “mundane” links of dependent origination, the last one being dukkha (or suffering) instead of “birth, aging and death”.

  • Suffering (dukkha)
  • Faith (saddha)
  • Joy (pamojja)
  • Rapture (piti)
  • Tranquility (passaddhi)
  • Happiness (sukha)
  • Concentration (samadhi)
  • Knowledge and vision of things as they are (yathabhutañanadassana)
  • Disenchantment (nibbida)
  • Dispassion (viraga)
  • Emancipation (vimutti)
  • Knowledge of destruction of the cankers (asavakkhaye ñana)

37 Factors of Enlightenment or Wings of Awakening

The set of teachings that the Buddha himself said formed the heart of his message.

  • Four Foundations of Mindfulness (satipatthana)
  • Four Right Efforts (sammappadhana)
  • Four Bases of Power (iddhipada)
  • Five Faculties (indriya)
  • Five Strengths (bala)
  • Seven Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhanga)
  • Eight Fold Path (ariya-magga)

Pali Terms

anapanasati: mindfulness of breathing
anatta: not-self
anicca: impermanence; inconstancy
Arahat: Liberated one
bhavana: meditation
bhikku: monk
bhikkuni: nun
bodhi: awakening; enlightenment
bodhicitta: awakened heart-mind
Bodhisatta (Sanskrit-Bodhisattva) A future Buddha
Buddha: an Enlightened being
citta: mind, consciousness
Dhamma (Skt. dharma)-liberating law discovered by the Buddha, summed up in the Four Noble Truths, the Truth, Reality, natural law, all physical and mental phenomena
dosa: aversion
dukkha– unsatisfactoriness, suffering, pain, distress, discontent, stress,
jhana: (Skt. dhyana) meditative absorption, a state of strong concentration.
kalyana mitta– spiritual friend
kamma (Skt. karma): (lit.-action) The law of cause and effect; intentional acts
karuna: compassion
khanda (skandha):Five aggregates which form the raw material for one’s sense of self: form/body, feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness
kilesa (defilements)- greed, aversion, delusion
lobha: greed
magga: path
metta: Lovingkindness, good will
mindfulness (sati) the quality of noticing, of being aware of what’s happening in the moment, not allowing the mind to be forgetful
moha: (lit.-to be stupified) delusion
nibbana (Skt. nirvana): the cessation of suffering, enlightenment, liberation
pañña: wisdom
papañca: Complication, proliferation; tendency of the mind to proliferate issues from the sense of “self.”
parami: perfections, virtues necessary for the realization of Awakening
sacca: truth
saddha: faith, confidence (Lit.-to place one’s heart on)
samadhi: concentration; meditative absorption
sampajañña: clear comprehension, alertness
samsára: (lit.-perpetual wandering) ocean of worldly suffering; round of rebirth; pursuit of renewed existence
samvega– spiritual urgency
sangha: the community of Buddhist monks & nuns; recently: “the community of followers on the Buddhist path.”
sati: mindfulness, awareness
sila: moral conduct; precept; virtue; moral restraint
sukha: happiness; pleasure; ease; bliss
sutta: (lit. thread; Skt. sutra) discourse of the Buddha or one of his leading disciples
tanha: (lit. thirst) craving
Tathagata: (Lit. thus gone) an Enlightened person
Theravada: (Doctrine of the elders)- school of Buddhism that draws its inspiration from the Pali Canon, or Tipitaka, the oldest surviving record of the Buddha’s teachings. Has been the predominant religion of southeast Asia (Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma)
Tipitaka (Literally Three baskets)- The Pali Canon- has Three divisions:

  1. Sutta Pitaka- discourses of the Buddha, (Five collections-nikayas- 10,000 suttas)
  2. Abhidhamma Pitaka- treatises offering systematic treatment of topics in the suttas
  3. Vinaya Pitaka- rules for ordained monks and nuns

upekkha: equanimity
Vipassana: literally, “to see clearly”; insight; insight into the truth of anicca (impermanence), anatta (not-self), & dukkha (unstatisfactoriness), to see things as they really are
viriya: effort; persistence; energy

Tipitika: The Pali Canon

The Tipitaka (Pali ti, “three,” + pitaka, “baskets”), or Pali Canon, is the collection of primary Pali language texts which form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism.
Theravada (Pali: thera “elders” + vada “word, doctrine”), the “Doctrine of the Elders”

The 3 divisions of the Tipitaka are:

  1. Vinaya Pitaka : Rules and origin of rules for monks (bhikkhus) and nuns (bhikkhunis). There are 227 rules for the bhikkhus, 311 for the bhikkhunis.
  2. Sutta Pitaka: The collection of discourses, attributed to the Buddha and a few of his closest disciples, containing all the central teachings of Theravada Buddhism
  3. Abhidhamma Pitaka: The Buddhist analysis of mind and mental processes; a wide-ranging systemization of the Buddha’s teaching that combines philosophy, psychology, and ethics into a unique and remarkable synthesis. Consists of 7 books.


The Sutta Pitaka, the second division of the Tipitaka, consists of over 10,000 suttas, or discourses, delivered by the Buddha and his close disciples during the Buddha’s forty-five year teaching career, as well as verses by other members of the Sangha.

Grouped into 5 NIKAYAS or collections:

  1. Digha Nikaya – The “Long” Discourses
    Consists of 34 suttas, including the Maha-satipatthana Sutta (The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness-DN22), the Samaññaphala Sutta (The Fruits of the Contemplative Life-DN2), the Maha-parinibbana Sutta (The Buddha’s Last Days-DN16)
  2. Majjhima Nikaya – The “Middle-length” Discourses
    Consists of 152 suttas, including the Sabbasava Sutta (All the Taints/Fermentations-MN 2), Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta (Shorter Exposition of Kamma-MN 135), the Anapanasati Sutta (Mindfulness of Breathing-MN118), Kayagatasati Sutta (Mindfulness of the Body-MN119), Satipatthana Sutta (Foundations of Mindfulness-MN10), the Angulimala Sutta (MN86)
  3. Samyutta Nikaya – The “Connected or Grouped” Discourses
    Consists of 2,889 shorter suttas grouped together by theme into 56 samyuttas.
  4. Anguttara Nikaya – The Numerical or “Further-factored” Discourses
    Consists of 8,777 short suttas, grouped together into eleven nipatas according to the number of items of Dhamma covered in each sutta. (Book of ones to Book of elevens)
  5. Khuddaka Nikaya – The “Division of Short Books”
    Consists of 15 “books” (17 in the Thai edition; 18 in the Burmese), including the Dhammapada (Path of Dhamma,) Therigatha (Verses of the Elder Nuns), Theragatha (Verses of the Elder Monks), Sutta Nipata, Udana, Itivuttaka, Jataka stories, etc.