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a Contemplative's Pali to English Dictionary

(a work in progress)

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(updated 11-01-05 with 18 Pali terms & 51 English terms defined)

I: aha.m. pro.

Icchati: (isu) wishes, desires.

Idáni: ind. now.

iddhi: 'power', 'magical power'. The magical powers constitute one of the 6 kinds of higher spiritual powers (abhiññá, q.v.). One distinguishes many kinds of magical powers: the power of determination (adhitthán' iddhi), i.e. the power of becoming oneself manifold; the power of transformation (vikubbana iddhi), i.e. the power of adopting another form; the power of out-of-body (OOB) travel (manomaya iddhi), i.e. the power of letting issue from this body another mentally produced body; the power of penetrating knowledge (ñána-vipphara iddhi), i.e. the power of inherent insight to remain unhurt in danger; the power of penetrating absorption (samádhivipphará iddhi) producing the same result. The magical powers are treated in detail in Vis.M. XII; Pts.M., Vibh. - (App.). They are not a necessary condition for final deliverance, however, they are seen as the fruits of the contemplative life (D 2. M 119) editor's commentary.

'Noble power' (ariyá-iddhi) is the power of controlling one's ideas in such a way that one may consider something not repulsive as repulsive and something repulsive as not repulsive, and remain all the time imperturbable and full of equanimity. This training of mind is frequently mentioned in the Suttas (e.g. M. 152, A.V. 144), but only once the name of ariyá-iddhi is applied to it (D. 28). See further Pts.M., Iddhi-kathá, Vis.M. XII.

iddhi-páda: 'roads to power' (or success) (D 26) are the 4 following qualities, "for as guides, they indicate the road to power connected therewith; and because they form, by way of preparation, the roads to the power constituting the fruition of the path" (Vis.M. XII), namely: "intention arising from absorption (chanda-samádhi) accompanied by effort of will (padhána-sankhára-samannágata), energy arising from absorption (viriya-samádhi) ... cognition arising from absorption (citta-samádhi) ... and investigation arising from absorption (vimamsa-samádhi) accompanied by effort of will."

As such, they are supramundane (lokuttara, i.e. as tehy are connected with the path or the fruition of the path (magga phala); s. ariya puggala). But, commentary erroneously considers them mundane (lokiya, q.v.) as predominant factors (adhipati; s. paccaya 3), for it is said: "Because the monastic, through making intention a predominant factor, reaches absorption, it is intention arising from absorption (chanda-samádhi)" (Vis.M. XII), however, since they arise due to absorption (samádhi), they are nonetheless supramundane (lokuttara).

"These 4 roads of power lead to the attaining and acquiring of magical power, to the power of magical transformation, to the generation of magical power, and to mastery and skill therein" (Pts.M. II. 205, PTS). For a detailed explanation, (D 2. M 119) editor's commentary s. Vis.M. XII.
"Once the monastic has thus developed and often practised the 4 roads to power, he enjoys various magical powers, ... hears with the divine ear heavenly and human sounds, ... perceives with his mind the mind of other beings ... remembers many a former existence ... perceives with the divine eye beings passing away and reappearing, ... attains, after the extinction of cankers, deliverance of mind and deliverance through wisdom, free from. cankers.... . For a detailed explanation of these 6 higher powers, s. abhiññá (D 2. M 119) editor's commentary (S. LI, 2).
"Whosoever, o monastics, has missed the 4 roads to power, he has missed the right path leading to the extinction of suffering; but whosoever, o monastics, has reached the 4 roads to power, he has reached the right path leading to the extinction of suffering" (S. LI, 2).

See the chapter on Iddhipáda in The Requisites of Enlightenment by Ledi Sayadaw (WHEEL 169/172).

Idha: ind. here.

ignorance: avijjá (q.v.); further s. paticcasamuppáda (1).

Ignorance: bálatta. n.

ill-humour, heavenly beings who come to grief through: mano-padosika-deva (q.v.).

ill-will: vyápáda, is a synonym of dosa (s. múla) and patigha and is one of the 10 fetters (samyojana, q.v.), 5 hindrances (nívarana, q.v.) and 10 unwholesome courses of action (s. kammapatha, I).

illness: affliction, infirmity, sickness, Sick: (gilána).

Ima: this.

image, mental: s. nimitta, samádhi, kasina.

immaterial sphere: arúpávacara: cf. avacara, jhána (5-8); Tab. I.

immaterial world: arúpa-loka; s. loka.

immediacy: an alternative rendering for contiguity-condition, samanatara-paccaya, which is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya, q.v.)

immediate, the: ánantariya (q.v.).

Immediately: khippa.m. ind.

immortality: s. amata.

imperfections: s. upakkilesa.

impermanence: anicca (q.v.). - Contemplation of leading to: i., cf. vipassaná (1).

impersonality of existence: s. anattá. - Contemplation of leading to: s. vipassaná (3).

imperturbable karma-formations: áneñjábhisankhára; s. sankhára.

impression, sensorial or mental: phassa (q.v.).

impulsion: javana (q.v.).

impurities: s. upakkilesa.

impurity of the body, contemplation of the: s. asubha, sívathiká.

In: anto. ind.

inclinations: s. anusaya.

Indeed: have, hi, eva. ind.

independently enlightened: Pacceka-Buddha (q.v.).

indifferent feeling cf. vedaná, incorrectly assigned to upekkhá.

individual: puggala (q.v.).

indriya: 'faculties', is a name for 22, partly physical, partly mental, phenomena often treated in the Suttas as well as in the Abhidhamma. They are:

6 Bases (áyatana, q.v.):



















Sex (bhava, q.v.):










5 Sensing (vedaná, q. v.)


bodily pleasant feeling



bodily pain











5 Spiritual Faculties (s. bala)
















3 Supermundane Faculties (lokuttara)


the assurance: 'I shall know what I did not yet know!'

aññátañ-ñassámít' indriya


the faculty of highest knowledge



the faculty of him who knows


(1-5, 7-8) are physical; (9) is either physical or mental. All the rest are subjective. - (14) (s. upekkhá) is a sensation that is 'neither pleasant nor unpleasant' (= adukkha-m-asukhá vedaná) and is identical with the signs of absorption (jhaná-nimitta) and arises at the moment of entering the Sotápatti-Path (sotápatti-magga), (21) on reaching the Sotápatti-Fruition (sotápatti-phala), (22) at attaining the Arahat-Fruition (arahatta-phala). For the three last, s. ariya-puggala.

The faculties, excepting (7) and (8), form one of the 24 conditions (paccaya 16, q.v.).

In Vibh. V all these faculties are treated in the above order, whereas S. XLVIII enumerates and explains them by way of the above indicated groups, leaving only 20-22 unexplained. See Vis XVI; Path 138ff. - For the 5 spiritual faculties (15-19), s. The Way of Wisdom (WHEEL 65/66).

indriya-paccaya: s. paccaya 16.

indriya-samatta: 'equilibrium, balance, or harmony of faculties', relates to the 5 spiritual faculties: faith, energy, mindfulness, absorption and wisdom (s. indriya 15-19). Of these there are two pairs of faculties, in each of which both faculties should well counter-balance each other, namely: faith and wisdom (saddhá, paññá, q.v.) on the one hand and energy and absorption (viriya, samádhi, q.v.) on the other. For excessive faith with deficient wisdom leads to blind belief, whilst excessive wisdom with deficient faith leads to cunning. In the same way, great energy with weak absorption leads to restlessness, whilst strong absorption with deficient energy leads to indolence. Though for both faculties in each of the 2 pairs a balanced degree of intensity is desirable, mindfulness should be allowed to develop to the highest degree of strength. Cf. Vis.M. III- (App.).

indriya-samvara-síla: 'morality consisting of purity of restraint of the senses'; s. síla.

indriyesu gutta-dváratá: 'guarding the sense-doors' is identical with sense-control (indriya-samvara; s. síla).

in-and-out-breathing watching over: ánápána-sati (M 118) (q.v.).

inducement: an alternative rendering for decisive-support condition, upanissaya, is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya; q.v.).

indulging (in joy, sadness etc.): s. manopavicára.

ineffective karma: s. karma.

infatuation: cf. mada, moha (s. múla), avijjá.

inference of meaning: an 'expression the meaning of which is to be inferred': neyyattha-dhamma (q.v.). - Antonym: 'expression with an established meaning': nítattha-dhamma (s. neyyattha-dhamma).

inferiority-conceit: s. mána.

infirmity: affliction, illness, sickness, Sick: (gilána).

Informs: ároceti.

influxes (cankers), the 4: ásava (q.v.).

inoperative cognitive state, karmically; s. kiriyacitta.

inseparable mental factors, the 7 i. m. f. in all cognitive states: s. cetaná, phassa, náma.

insight: cf. paññá, vipassaná, ñána.

intelligent-natured: s. carita.

intention: chanda (q.v.) .

interest: píti (q.v.); cf. Tab. II.

intimation: cf. viññatti.

intoxicants: s. ásava.

Intoxicating: majja.

intoxicating drinks, the evil effect of taking: s. surámeraya.

investigating function (of cognition): santírana; s. viññána-kicca.

investigation, full understanding through: tíranapariññá, s. pariññá. - 'Investigation' (vímamsá) is one of the 4 roads to power (iddhipáda, q.v.) and one of the 4 predominants (adhipati; s paccaya 3). - i. of truth: dhamma-vicaya, is one of the 7 factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga, q.v.).

iriyá-patha (lit. 'ways of movement'): 'bodily postures', i.e. going, standing, sitting, lying. In the Satipatthána-sutta (s. satipatthána), they form the subject of a contemplation and an exercise in mindfulness.

"While going, standing, sitting or lying down, the monastic knows 'I go', 'I stand', 'I sit', 'I lie down'; he understands any position of the body." - "The disciple understands that there is no living being, no real ego, that goes, stands, etc., but that it is by a mere figure of speech that one says: 'I go', 'I stand', and so forth." (M 10) (Com.).

Iron: aya. n.

Iron-made: ayomaya

Isi: m. sage. 

issá: 'envy', is a karmically unwholesome (akusala) mental factor, which is occasionally associated with hate-rooted cognitive states (s. Tab. I. 30, 31,). Explained in Pug. 55.

Itara: adj. different, the remaining.

Ito: ind. hence. ago, from here.

itthindriya: 'femininity'; s. bháva.

Iva: ind. like.

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