Saddharma-pundarika Sutra (Saddharma-puṇḍarīka Sūtra) “The Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law,” the Sanskrit title of the Lotus Sutra.
Sagara (Sāgara) A dragon king whose daughter plays an important role in chapter twelve of the Lotus Sutra.
saha (sahā) world Our present world, which is full of sufferings to be endured. The Sanskrit word saha means “endurance.”
sal tree The sal or shala grows in northern India, reaching a considerable height and bearing light yellow blossoms. Shakyamuni passed away in a grove of sal trees on the outskirts of Kushinagara.
samadhi (samādhi) A state of intense concentration of the mind that produces a sense of inner serenity.
Samgha (Saṃgha) The Buddhist Order, one of the three treasures, namely, the Buddha, the Dharma (Law), and the Samgha.
samyak-sambuddha (samyak-saṃbuddha) A being “of right and universal knowledge,” one of the ten epithets for a buddha.
seven buddhas Shakyamuni and the six buddhas who are said to have preceded him. The seven are Vipashyin (Vipaśyin), Shikhin (Śikhin), Vishvabhu (Viśvabhū), Krakucchanda, Kanakamuni, Kashyapa (Kāśyapa), and Shakyamuni.
seven treasures Seven precious substances mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures. The list varies from text to text. In the Lotus Sutra the seven are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl, and carnelian.
Shakra (Śakra) Originally the god of thunder in Indian mythology, he was later incorporated into Buddhism as a protective deity.
Shakyamuni (Śākyamuni) The “sage of the Shakyas,” the historical founder of Buddhism. He is also known by his family name Gautama.
Shariputra (Śāriputra) One of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples, known as foremost in wisdom. The third chapter of the Lotus Sutra predicts that he will become a buddha named Flower Glow.
Shikhin (Śikhin) One of the great Brahma kings.
shikshamana (śikṣamāṇā) A female novice in the Buddhist Order.
shramana (śramaṇa) In India the word originally referred to any ascetic, recluse, or religious practitioner who had renounced the world in order to seek the way. Later it came to mean chiefly one who had renounced the world to practice Buddhism.
shramanera (śrāmaṇera) A male novice in the Buddhist Order who has vowed to uphold the ten precepts.
shuramgama samadhi (śūraṃgama samādhi) Resolute meditation.
six days of purification Six days designated monthly on which lay followers purify their bodies and minds by observing the eight precepts. They are the 8th, 14th, 15th, 23rd, 29th, and 30th days of the month.
six faculties The faculties of the six sense organs: the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind.
six paramitas (pāramitās) Six practices required of Mahayana bodhisattvas in order to attain buddhahood. The Sanskrit word paramita means “perfection” or “having reached the other shore,” that is, having crossed over from the shore of delusion to that of enlightenment. The six practices are (1) almsgiving, which includes material almsgiving, almsgiving of the Law, and almsgiving of fearlessness; (2) keeping of the precepts; (3) forbearance or bearing up patiently under opposition and hardship; (4) assiduousness or diligence in practice; (5) meditation; and (6) wisdom. Sometimes four more are added: (7) skill in expedient means, (8) vows, (9) power, and (10) knowledge, to make ten paramitas.
six paths The six realms or worlds in which unenlightened beings transmigrate. Counting up from the lowest level, they are the realms of (1) hell, (2) hungry spirits, (3) beasts, (4) asuras, (5) human beings, and (6) heavenly beings.
six sense organs The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind.
six transcendental powers Powers that buddhas, bodhisattvas, and arhats are said to possess. They are the power of being anywhere at will; power of seeing anything anywhere; power of hearing any sound anywhere; power of knowing the thoughts of all other minds; power of knowing past lives; and power of eradicating illusions.
Snow Mountains A reference to the Himalayas.
stream-winner (Skt srota-āpanna) One of the four kinds of voice-hearers. A stream-winner is a voice-hearer who has entered the way to enlightenment. See also four-stage enlightenment.
stupa (stūpa) A shrine, usually dome-shaped, built to house the relics of Shakyamuni or other holy persons.
Subhuti (Subhūti) One of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples, depicted in the Wisdom sutras as foremost in the understanding of nondualism. The sixth chapter of the Lotus Sutra predicts that he will become a buddha named Rare Form.
Sumeru A huge mountain that stands at the center of the world. The god Shakra, or Indra, resides on the top, while the four heavenly kings live halfway down the four sides. At its base are four continents, the most important of which is that lying to the south called Jambudvipa, where Buddhism spreads.
Summit of Being heaven Another name for the Akanishtha heaven, the highest heaven in the world of form.
supreme perfect enlightenment (Skt anuttara-samyak-sambodhi) The enlightenment of a buddha.
sweet dew (Skt amṛta) In ancient Indian lore, a wonderful sweet nectar that makes the drinker an immortal. In the Mahayana sutras, the teachings of the Buddha are often likened to such sweet dew.