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AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Christianity and Buddhism Glossary

The key vocabulary you need to learn for your AQA GCSE Religious Studies Christianity and Buddhism paper. Find all the terms and definitions you need to understand, from ‘12 Nidanas‘ to ‘zen’.

1 - A (12 Nidanas to anicca)
12 Nidanas
In Buddhism, the 12 Nidanas are the 12 factors that illustrate the process of samara (birth, death, and rebirth).

108 delusions
In Buddhism, the 108 delusions are the 108 causes of suffering.

An abortion is the removal of a foetus from the womb to end a pregnancy before the child is born.

Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone who is not their spouse (husband or wife).

The term afterlife refers to the belief that there is life in some form after the death of the physical body.

Agape is a word used in the Bible that describes selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love.

In Buddhism, ahimsa is the principle of not causing harm to other living things.

Amitabha Buddha
Amitabha Buddha is the Buddha worshipped by Pure Land Buddhists.

Anatta is the belief that people do not have a permanent, fixed self or soul.

Anicca is the belief in impermanence, or that everything changes.

A (Animal experimentation to awe)
animal experimentation
The term animal experimentation refers to testing new products or medicines on animals to check they are safe to be used by humans.

Annulled is when a marriage is declared legally invalid.

For Theravada Buddhists, an Arhat is someone who has become enlightened.

Ascension is the event, 40 days after the resurrection, when Jesus returned to God, the Father, in heaven.

Atakavacara are a collection of questions the Buddha designated unanswerable. One of these concerned the origins of the universe.

An atheist is a person who does not believe in God or gods.

Atonement refers to the restoring of the relationship between people and God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Awakening is becoming aware of something’s true nature/reality. In Buddhism, enlightenment is often referred to as awakening, and awoken people are called Buddhas.

Awe refers to a feeling of respect mixed with fear and wonder.

B (Baptism to Buddha-nature)
Baptism is an initiation ceremony using water through which people become members of the Christian Church.

believer’s baptism
Believer’s baptism refers to the initiation into the Christian Church by immersion in water of an adult, who is old enough to understand the ceremony and is willing to live a Christian life.

Big Bang
The Big Bang was a massive expansion of space that set in motion the creation of the universe.

biological weapon
A biological weapon contains living organisms or infective material, such as a virus, that can lead to disease or death.

Bodhicharya UK
Bodhicharya UK is a Buddhist charity that aims to advance the understanding and practice of the Buddhist faith and philosophy. Its work is guided by three main principles: healing, helping, and harmony.

For Mahayana Buddhists, a Bodhisattva is someone who has become enlightened but chooses to remain in the cycle of samsara to help others achieve enlightenment as well.

Buddha is a title given to someone who has achieved enlightenment and truly understands the nature of reality; the term Buddha is usually used to refer to Siddhartha Gautama.

Buddha rupa
Buddha rupa is a statue of the Buddha, often sitting cross-legged in a meditation pose.

Buddhacarita is a Sanskrit poem believed to be written by Indian philosopher and poet, Asvaghosa. It outlines the life of the Buddha.

Buddhahood is when someone achieves enlightenment and becomes a Buddha.

Buddha-nature is the belief that everyone has the essence of a Buddha inside them.

C (CAFOD to crucifixion)
CAFOD is the short form of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, which is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Charity is giving time or money to support those in need; the term can also refer to an organisation set up to achieve those aims. Charities are typically organisations that focus on a specific need; for example, the charity Shelter focuses on supporting those who are homeless.

To be chaste is to not have sex.

chemical weapon
A chemical weapon uses chemicals to poison, burn, or paralyse humans or destroy the natural environment.

Chorten is the term given to a stupa in Tibetan Buddhism.

Christian Aid
Christian Aid is a Christian charity aiming to eradicate poverty around the world.

Christmas is the day celebrating the incarnation, or the birth, of Jesus (25 December in most Churches).

A building in which Christians worship is called a church. The term Church refers to the body or organisation of religious believers, such as the whole body of Christians. The term also refers to the clergy, such as priests or vicars, of that religious body.

civil marriage
A civil marriage is a non-religious, legal marriage.

The term cohabitation refers to a couple living together and having a sexual relationship without being married to one another.

community service
Community service is a way of punishing offenders by making them do unpaid work in the community.

Conception occurs when a male sperm fertilises (fuses with) a female ovum (egg).

Confirmation is a Christian sacrament in which a person renews (confirms) the vows made at baptism.

The term contraception refers to methods used to prevent a pregnancy from taking place.

corporal punishment
Corporal punishment refers to the punishing of offenders by causing them physical pain.

The term creation refers to the act by which God brought the universe into being.

Crucifixion refers to the Roman method of execution by which criminals were nailed or bound to a cross; the term refers to the execution and death of Jesus on Good Friday.

D (Dana to duty)

For Buddhists, dana is the practice of giving.

death penalty
The death penalty is a form of capital punishment in which an offender is put to death for crimes committed.

A denomination is a distinct self-governing group within the Christian faith, with its own organisation and traditions. The Church of England is a denomination of Christianity.

Dependent Arising
Dependent Arising (or paticcasamupada) is the belief that all things exist because of other things, so everything is affected by something else.

dependent origination
Dependent origination suggests that everything in existence depends upon something else, so humanity arose when the necessary conditions were there.

Design argument
The Design argument is the belief that God designed the universe because everything is so intricately made in its detail that creation could not have happened by chance.

The term deterrence refers to the discouragement of an action or event by instilling fear or doubt of the consequences. Deterrence is an aim of punishment – to put people off committing crimes. Nuclear deterrence is the military doctrine that possession of nuclear weapons deters enemies from attacking.

Dhamma (Dharma)
Dhamma (or Dharma) is a concept without an agreed meaning in all religions emerging from the Indian subcontinent. According to Buddhism, Dhamma is the Buddha’s teaching, the path of training recommended by the Buddha, the truth about the nature of existence, and / or a guide for living and practice.

A disciple is a follower of Jesus, especially during his lifetime.

Discrimination refers to treating someone differently and negatively based on, for example, their race, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.

A divorce is the legal ending of a marriage.

The term dominion refers to having dominance or power over something.

Dukkha is often translated to mean suffering or dissatisfaction with life, although no exact translation into English is possible. Dukkha is also known as the First Noble Truth.

A duty is something that someone must do; a duty is a responsibility.

E (Easter to extended family)
Easter is the religious season celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus following his crucifixion on Good Friday.

Eightfold Path (magga)
The Eightfold Path (magga) refers to eight practices that Buddhists undertake to overcome suffering and achieve enlightenment. Also known as the Fourth Noble Truth.

Equality refers to the state of being equal, especially in terms of status, rights, and opportunities.

Eternity is a state of timelessness that never ends, including endless life (immortality) after death.

Eucharist is a Christian sacrament involving a service of thanksgiving in which the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus are celebrated, using bread and wine.

The term euthanasia refers to the painless killing of a patient who is in an irreversible coma or who is suffering from an incurable and painful disease.

Evangelism is the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.

Evil is the term that describes and refers to the opposite of good, a force or the personification of an immoral or wicked power that is seen in many traditions as sinful and against God.

evil and suffering
Evil is the term that describes and refers to the opposite of good, and suffering is when people experience unpleasant events or conditions. Examples of evil and suffering include painful illnesses or people fighting and killing each other. The existence of evil and suffering can be used as an argument that God does not exist.

excessive interest
Excessive interest is when somebody who borrows money is forced to pay back an extremely large amount due to very high interest rates.

To exploit someone is to misuse power or money to get them to do things for little or unfair reward.

extended family
The term extended family refers to a family that extends beyond parents and their children by including grandparents and other relatives as well.

F (Fair pay to free will)
fair pay
Fair pay is the term that refers to giving someone the appropriate amount of money they deserve for the value of their work.

family planning
Family planning refers to the ways in which couples control the number of children they have and when they have them. Family planning often involves using contraception.

First Cause argument
Also called the Cosmological argument, the First Cause argument refers to the belief that there has to be an uncaused cause that made everything else happen.

First Moral Precept
In Buddhism, the First Moral Precept is the principle that people should cause no harm to another living being.

Five Aggregates (skandhas)
The Five Aggregates (skandhas) are the five aspects that make up a person: form, sensation, perception, mental formations, and consciousness.

Five Moral Precepts (Pancha Sila)
Five Moral Precepts (Pancha Sila) are five principles that Buddhists try to follow to live ethically and morally, and to guide ethical decision making.

A foetus is a developing baby inside the womb before it is born.

food bank
A food bank is a place where people can get free food, usually due to poverty.

Forgiveness is showing compassion and pardoning someone for what they have done wrong.

Four Sights
The Four Sights are the four aspects of life that the Buddha saw which led to him leaving his life of luxury in the palace. The four sights are old age, illness, death, and a holy man.

free will
Free will is the belief that God gives people the opportunity to make decisions for themselves.

G - H (Garden of Eden to human rights)
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is the place described in Genesis where Adam and Eve lived.

gender prejudice
Gender prejudice refers to the thought that men and women should only do certain things and have certain jobs.

general (or indirect) revelation
A general (or indirect) revelation refers to God making himself known through ordinary, common human experiences.

The Genesis (meaning beginning) is the first book of the Bible. The book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible describes seven days of creation.

A gompa is a hall or building where Tibetan Buddhists meditate.

The term good describes something that is morally right or positively approved of; the opposite of evil.

hate crime
A hate crime is an offence, often including violence, that is usually targeted at a person because of their race, religion, sexuality, disability, or gender.

For Christians, heaven is a state of eternal happiness in the presence of God; the place of eternal peace ruled over by God.

For Christians, hell is the place of eternal suffering or the state of being without God; eternal separation from God.

To be heterosexual is to be sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex.

Holy Communion
Holy Communion is a Christian sacrament; a service of thanksgiving in which the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus are celebrated, using bread and wine.

holy war
A holy war is a war that is fought ‘for God’, in the name of a religion.

A homosexual is a person who is sexually attracted to members of the same sex.

human rights
Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which all human beings should be entitled.

I - J (Immanent to justice)

The term immanent refers to the idea that God is present in and involved with life on Earth and in the universe; immanence is a quality of God.

In religious use, the term impersonal refers to the idea that God has no ‘human’ characteristics, is unknowable and mysterious, more like an idea or force than a person.

Incarnation means to take on flesh. The term often relates to a divine being becoming human.

infant baptism
In Christianity, infant baptism is the sacrament through which babies and young children become members of the Church, and during which promises are taken on the infant’s behalf by adults; the infant is freed from sin and introduced to the saving love of God and the support of the Christian community.

informal prayer
Informal prayer is made up by an individual using his or her own words.

informal worship
informal worship is a type of non-liturgical worship, sometimes ‘spontaneous’ or ‘charismatic’ in nature.

Intention is the plan that someone makes before they act.

Iona is an island in Scotland and a place of pilgrimage for Christians.

Jataka 075
The Jatakas are popular stories about the lives of the Buddha. Jataka 075 outlines the story of the Four Sights.

To be just means that God is fair and treats humans fairly, with justice.

just war
A just war is one that meets internationally accepted criteria for fairness; a type of war that follows traditional Christian rules for a just war, and is now accepted by all other religions.

Justice means to bring about what is right and fair, according to the law, or making up for a wrong that has been committed.

K - L (Kamma to Lourdes)
Kamma (karma) equates with a person’s actions and the idea that skilful actions result in happiness and unskilful ones in suffering.

kammic merit
Kammic merit refers to the positive consequence of an action or intention.

Karuna (compassion in action) is feeling concerned for the suffering of other people and wanting to relieve their suffering.

Karuna Trust
The Karuna Trust is a charity inspired by Buddhist values. It works primarily to overcome discrimination towards excluded people in South Asia.

A kasina is used in meditation to give the meditator something to rest their attention on. The Buddha mentioned ten kasinas: earth, water, fire, wind, blue, yellow, red, white, space, and consciousness.

Kotsuage is an aspect of a Japanese funeral ceremony during which family members pick bones from cremated ash using a special pair of chopsticks.

A lama is a teacher in Tibetan Buddhism.

Last Supper
The Last Supper was the final meal that Jesus ate with his disciples before his crucifixion. He told them to remember his body with bread, and his blood with wine.

literal creation
Literal creation is the belief that God created the universe exactly as the account in Genesis 1 of the Bible describes.

The term liturgical describes a church service that follows a formal set of practices or ritual that remains the same.

Lord’s prayer
The Lord’s prayer was taught to the disciples by Jesus; this prayer is also known as the ‘Our Father’.

Lourdes is a town in France and a Christian place of pilgrimage.

M (Magga to murder)
The magga (Eightfold Path) refers to eight practices that Buddhists undertake to overcome suffering and achieve enlightenment. Also known as the Fourth Noble Truth.

Mahayana is an umbrella term to describe some later Buddhist traditions, including Pure Land, Nichiren, and Zen Buddhism.

mala beads
Mala beads are beads that Buddhists use to keep count of the number of recitations in a mantra.

In Buddhism, a mantra is a short sequence of sacred syllables.

In Buddhism, Mara is a demon that represents spiritual obstacles, especially temptation.

Meditating is the practice of calming and focusing the mind, reflecting deeply on specific teachings to penetrate their true meaning.

Metta (loving kindness) is showing a benevolent, kind, friendly attitude towards other people.

Middle Way
The Middle Way is a teaching by the Buddha that suggests people should aim for a moderate life between luxury and self-denial. Also known as the Fourth Noble Truth.

A miracle is a seemingly impossible event, usually good, that cannot be explained by natural or scientific laws, and is thought to be the action of God.

In Christianity, a mission is the vocation or calling of a religious organisation or individual to go out into the world and spread the faith.

Monastery is a place where Buddhist or Christian monks or nuns live.

The term multi-faith describes many different religions co-existing within a society.

Murder is the unlawful taking of life by deliberate intention.

N (Natural resource to nuclear weapon)
natural resource
A natural resource is a material that occurs in nature, such as oil or trees, which can be used by people.

nibbana (nirvana)
In Buddhism, nibbana (nirvana) is a state of complete enlightenment, happiness, and peace.

Nichiren is a form of Mahayana Buddhism based on the teachings of Japanese Buddhist priest Nichiren. It emphasises the chanting of Daimoku: nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

In Buddhism, nirodha is the idea that suffering can be stopped. It is the Third Noble Truth.

The term non-liturgical describes worship that is informal and does not follow a set text or ritual; this type of worship is sometimes ‘spontaneous’ or ‘charismatic’ in nature.

The term non-renewable refers to Earth’s natural resources that cannot be replaced, such as gas and oil.

non-voluntary euthanasia
Non-voluntary euthanasia is the painless killing of a patient who is unable to ask to die but others think it is what they would want; for example, when a person in a coma on a life-support machine cannot express a wish to die.

nuclear deterrent
The term nuclear deterrent refers to a country having nuclear weapons as a way of stopping enemies from attacking.

nuclear family
A nuclear family is a couple of parents and their dependent children regarded as a basic social unit.

nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon works by a nuclear reaction, devastates huge areas, and kills large numbers of people.

O - P (Omnibenevolent to Parinirvana Day)
Omnibenevolent means all-loving, having perfect or unlimited goodness; it is a quality of God.

Omnipotent means almighty, having unlimited power; it is a quality of God.

Omnipresent means present everywhere at the same time; it is a quality of God.

Omniscient means knowing everything; it is a quality of God.

origins of life
The term origins of life refers to how human life began on Earth.

origins of the universe
The term origins of the universe refers to how the universe began.

The term pacifism refers to the belief of people who refuse to take part in war and any other form of violence.

Pali Canon
The Pali Canon is a collection of texts that form the basis of Theravada Buddhism, although the canon is accepted by other schools. The Pali Canon is typically divided into three: rules concerning monastic behaviour, discourses of the Buddha, and philosophical principles.

Panna is wisdom. It is the section of the Eightfold Path that contains right understanding and right intention.

A parable is a story with a meaning or teaching, often about how to be a better person; Jesus told parables in the Bible.

Parinirvana Day
Parinirvana Day is a Mahayana festival that commemorates the Buddha’s passing away, when he attained enlightenment.

P (Passive euthanasia to poverty)
passive euthanasia
Passive euthanasia is when a patient refuses treatment that would keep them alive.

Paticcasamupada (or Dependent Arising) is the belief that all things exist because of other things, so everything is affected by something else.

Peace is an absence of conflict that, according to Buddhists, leads to happiness and harmony.

The term peace-making describes the action or process of trying to establish peace.

people trafficking
The term people trafficking refers to the illegal smuggling of people from country to country, typically for the purposes of forced labour or commercial sexual exploitation, and using force or trickery on the victims.

Persecution is hostility and ill treatment of someone or a group especially because of race, or political or religious beliefs.

In a religious sense, personal describes the idea that God is an individual or person with whom people are able to feel close to or have a relationship with.

A pilgrimage is a journey by a believer to a holy site for religious reasons; a pilgrimage is an act of worship and devotion.

The term pollution refers to the act of making something dirty and contaminated, especially the environment.

Polygamy is the practice or custom of having more than one wife at the same time.

positive discrimination
The term positive discrimination refers to treating people more favourably because they have been discriminated against in the past or have disabilities.

Poverty refers to being without money, food, or other basic needs of life (being poor).

P - Q (Prayer to Questions of King Milinda)
Prayer is a way of communicating with God, either silently or through words of praise, thanksgiving, or confession, or requests for God’s help or guidance.

Prejudice is unfairly judging someone before the facts are known, or holding biased opinions about an individual or group of people.

principle of utility
The principle of utility is a philosophical principle that an action is right if it promotes maximum happiness for the maximum number of people affected by the action.

In terms of abortion, the term pro-choice refers to the belief that every woman has the right to decide whether she wants to have a baby.

procreate / procreation
To procreate is to reproduce; procreation is the production of offspring.

In terms of abortion, the term pro-life refers to the belief that the life of the unborn baby (foetus) takes priority over other concerns, including those of the mother.

Prophecy is something communicated by a prophet, who is a person chosen by God to proclaim his message.

In Buddhism, puja is an act of worship, such as reciting a mantra.

Pure Land
Pure Land is a form of Mahayana Buddhism based on belief in Amitabha Buddha.

quality of life
The term quality of life refers to the general well-being of a person, in relation to their health and happiness; also, the theory that the value of life depends upon how good or how satisfying life is.

Questions of King Milinda
The Questions of King Milinda is a story told by the monk Nagasena to illustrate the concept of anatta.

R (Racial prejudice to right livelihood)
racial prejudice
The term racial prejudice refers to showing prejudice against someone because of their ethnic group, race, or nationality.

Rebirth is a belief held by many Buddhists that when somebody dies they are reborn.

A reconciliation is a sacrament in the Catholic Church; also, the term refers to the restoring of harmony after relationships have broken down.

Reformation is an aim of punishment; to reform is to improve someone’s behaviour.

Remarriage happens when someone marries again, after a previous marriage or marriages have come to an end.

The term renewable refers to Earth’s resources that can be renewed, such as wind or solar power, which is derived from sunlight.

Repentance is admitting you have done something wrong and being sorry about it (repenting).

A responsibility is a duty to care for, or having control over, something or someone.

Resurrection is rising from the dead; Jesus arose from the dead (was resurrected) on Easter Sunday; this event is recorded in all four gospels and is the central belief of Christianity.

Retribution is an aim of punishment, to make the criminal pay for what they have done wrong; to get your own back, as in ‘an eye for an eye’.

A revelation is God showing himself to believers; that is the only way anybody can really know anything about God.

right livelihood
Right livelihood is one aspect of the Eightfold Path. It encourages Buddhists to earn a living in a way that does not harm others or the planet.

S (Sacrament to single-parent family)
A sacrament is a rite or ritual through which a believer receives a special gift of grace; for Catholics, Anglicans, and many Protestants, sacraments are ‘outward signs’ of ‘inward grace’.

Salvation is the saving of the soul, deliverance from sin, and admission to heaven brought about by Jesus.

For Buddhists, samadhi is meditation. It is the section of the Eightfold Path that contains right effort, right meditation, and right concentration.

same-sex parent family
A same-sex parent family is people of the same sex who are raising children together.

For Buddhists, samsara is the repeating cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

In Buddhism, samudaya is the idea that there are causes of suffering. It is considered the Second Noble Truth.

sanctity of life
Sanctity of life is the belief that all life is holy because it is created and loved by God; since life is holy and given by God, therefore only God can take it away. Christians believe human life should not be misused or abused.

sanctity of marriage vows
The sanctity of marriage vows is the belief that the promises said during a wedding ceremony are special and holy, and should not be broken.

A Sangha is a monastic community of Buddhist monks and nuns; some Sangha are lay communities of Buddhists who are not monks or nuns.

Scripture is the sacred writings of a religion.

Secular describes something as non-religious.

set prayer
A set prayer has been written down and said more than once by more than one person, for example the Lord’s prayer.

In Buddhism, sila refers to ethics. It is the section of the Eightfold Path that contains right speech, right action, and right livelihood.

Sin is any action or thought that separates humans from God; a behaviour that is against God’s laws and wishes and against principles of morality.

single-parent family
A single-parent family is one in which a parent raises a child/children on his or her own.

S (Situation ethics to symbolic)
situation ethics
The term situation ethics refers to taking into account the specific situation when deciding if something is right or wrong.

Six Perfections
The Six Perfections are the six qualities or virtues that Mahayana Buddhists try to develop to live as Bodhisattvas.

social justice
The term social justice refers to ensuring that society treats people fairly whether they are poor or wealthy and protecting people’s human rights.

Son of God
The Son of God is a title used for Jesus, the second person of the Trinity; the term denotes the special relationship between Jesus and God the Father.

special revelation
A special revelation is God making himself known through direct personal experience or an unusual specific event.

A step-family is created when a divorced or widowed person, who has a child/children, remarries.

street pastors
Street pastors are Christian volunteers who patrol the streets in towns/cities looking to help those in need.

A stupa is a small building in a monastery that sometimes contains holy relics.

Suffering is when people experience unpleasant events or conditions and undergo pain, distress, or hardship.

Sukhavati is the paradise where Amitabha Buddha lives, and where Pure Land Buddhists aim to be reborn.

Sunyata is the Buddhist concept that nothing has a separate, independent ‘self’ or ‘soul’.

Supernatural describes something outside of nature or science.

Symbolic describes something representing something important, having a meaning beyond the immediate idea/image/words.

T (Tanha to Tzu Chi Foundation)
In Buddhism, tanha is craving, a key reason for suffering.

Tearfund (The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund) is a Christian charity that helps people in poverty through promoting sustainable development.

Terrorism is the unlawful use of violence, usually against innocent civilians, to achieve a political goal.

Tevijja refers to the Buddha’s possession of three superhuman knowledges; the Buddha acquired this knowledge during his enlightenment.

A thangka is a detailed painting of a Buddha or Bodhisattva.

Theft is taking what does not belong to you.

A theist is a person who believes in God.

theistic evolution
Theistic evolution is the belief that God is responsible for evolution (following the Big Bang).

Theravada (also known as ‘the school of the elders’) is an ancient Buddhist tradition in southeastern Asia.

Three Marks of Existence
The Three Marks of Existence (also known as the Universal Truths) are the three characteristics that are fundamental to all things: suffering (dukkha), impermanence (anicca), and having no permanent fixed self or soul (anatta).

Three Poisons
The Three Poisons are the main causes of suffering: greed/desire, anger/hatred, and ignorance.

Three Refuges
The Three Refuges are the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha (monasteries). The Three Refuges relieve suffering and help to give life meaning, purpose, and satisfaction.

Threefold Way
The Threefold Way is the Eightfold Path grouped into three sections of ethics (sila), meditation (samadhi), and wisdom (panna).

Transcendent describes something that is beyond and outside life on Earth and the universe; a quality of God.

The Trinity is the belief that there are three persons in One God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are separate but are also one being.

Tzu Chi Foundation
Tzu Chi Foundation is a Buddhist charity that helps victims of war.

V - W (Vajrayana to Zen)
Vajrayana is a form of Buddhism. Many Tibetan schools of Buddhism are Vajrayana. There is debate over Vajrayana being a separate form or an aspect of Mahayana.

Vassa is an annual three month ‘rain retreat’ undertaken by Theravada monastics.

Violence is using actions that threaten or harm others.

Vision is seeing something, especially in a dream or trance, that shows something about the nature of God or the afterlife.

Visualisation is the imagining or seeing of an object in one’s mind.

voluntary euthanasia
Voluntary euthanasia is when a patient asks someone, for example, a doctor, to end their life for them.

A vow is a formal promise (made during a wedding ceremony, for example).

Wealth is the money/possessions that someone has.

weapon of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction (WMD) can kill large numbers of people and/or cause great damage.

Wesak is a festival that celebrates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing away.

Wheel of Dhamma (Dharma)
Wheel of Dhamma (Dharma) is a symbol used to represent Buddhism.

Wheel of Life (Bhavacakra)
In Buddhism, the Wheel of Life (Bhavacakra) is a symbolic representation of the cycle of samsara – the cycle of rebirth.

To wonder is to marvel at the complexity and beauty of something.

the Word
The Word is the term used at the beginning of John’s gospel to refer to God the Son (Jesus).

Zazen is a type of seated meditation in Zen Buddhism that requires awareness of the present moment. The practitioner simply sits with their experiences, reflecting on reality while practising mindful breathing.

Zen is a form of Mahayana Buddhism. It has an emphasis on meditation.