84000 Glossary of Terms

Our trilingual glossary combining entries from all of our publications into one useful resource, giving translations and definitions of thousands of terms, people, places, and texts from the Buddhist canon.

མདོ། | Glossary of Terms

  • མདོ།

  • mdo
  • sūtra
  • Term
Publications: 13

In Sanskrit literally “a thread,” this is an ancient term for teachings that were memorized and orally transmitted in an essential form. Therefore, it can also mean “pithy statements,” “rules,” and “aphorisms.” In Buddhism it refers to the Buddha’s teachings, whatever their length. It is one of the three divisions of the Buddha’s teachings, the other two being Vinaya and Abhidharma. It is also used in contrast with the tantra teachings, though a number of important tantras have sūtra in their title. It is also classified as one of the nine or twelve aspects of the Dharma, in which context sūtra means “a teaching given in prose.”