A GLOSSARY OF FOREIGN TERMS
for reading The Virtue of Non-Violence
Note: For transliterating Chinese terms the Pin Yin system is used.
Advaita Ved~nta. A school of Ved~ntist philosophy founded by Ða¡kara, an 8th CE philosopher who believed that Brahman and }tman were completely identical and constituted the only true reality. In this book this position is also called absolute monism or nondualism (the literal meaning of advaita).
Aret‘. Greek for virtue in the board sense of a thing’s potential to function properly. Comparable to the Chinese de.
Ahi÷s~. Sanskrit for "noninjury," usually implying noninjury in thought, speech, and action.
Akrat‘s. Greek for "no will," identifying the person who does not have sufficient will power to overcome temptation.
Anatman. Sanskrit for "no self." For Pali Buddhists this meant a rejection of any soul substance (~tman) but not the self (j§va) that comes about because of the functions of the five skandhas (see below).
Anek~ntav~da. Sanskrit for "way of many sides." This is the Jain theory that knowledge is always relative to the individual knower and it therefore can never be absolute.
}tman. Sanskrit for the eternal, unchanging soul substance that for most Ved~ntist philosophers is identical with Brahman, the very substance (or Godhead) of the universe itself.
Avidy~. Sanskrit for ignorance, which for all Indian religions is the basic reason why most beings remain trapped in the cycles of death and rebirth.
Brahmacharya. Sanskrit for the basic vow of chastity taken by Indian ascetics, who then become brahmacharis. Gandhi broadens this vow to encompass self restraint in all areas of human activity.
Brahman. Sanskrit for the fundamental substance of the universe, which, according to the Upani¬ads, is found in the ~tman of all things.
Cetan~. Nearest Sanskrit equivalent to the English "will," but it is not separate either from the mind or the emotions.
D~na. Sanskrit for the moral virtue of benevolence, sometimes more specific as the giving of alms.
Dao. Chinese for the moral way in Confucianism but nature’s way in Daoism.
De. Chinese for a thing’s special function or power. Morally it means virtue or charisma.
Dharma. Sanskrit for moral law, but its metaphysical meaning is true reality. Gandhi’s translators usually translate dharma in his texts as religion.
Enkrat‘s. Greek for "having the will" to overcome temptation.
Ethos. Greek for general customs that through the context-specific use of phron‘sis constitute the particular character (‘thos) of any person. The Chinese equivalent is li.
Eudaimonia. Greek for "having a good spirit." Usually translated as happiness, but more accurately it is personal well-being or contentment.
Hundun. Chinese for the amorphous being that some Daoists believe represents the epitome of
wu wei (see below).
J§va. Sanskrit for empirical self as opposed to the Ved~ntist view that ~tman is the real self. Pali Buddhists accept j§va as the only self. Jains use j§va as an equivalent for ~tman, but it is an individual substantial self that is not part of a greater cosmic self such as Brahman.
Junzi. Chinese for the perfected person, viewed as even more excellent than the person of ren* (see below).
Li. Chinese for social customs or the proper acts, hence propriety as the best English translation.
Logos. Greek for cosmic order or more specifically as the logic of both things and thought. Equivalent to Chinese dao and Sanskrit dharma.
M~y~. Sanskrit for Brahman’s uncanny power. Means illusion only for followers of Advaita Ved~nta (see above).
Nous. Greek for reason from which both practical (phron‘sis) and theoretical (sophia) reason originates.
Qi. Chinese for the basic energy of the universe.
Phron‘sis. Greek for Aristotle’s concept of practical reason.
Po‘sis. Greek for Aristotle’s concept of productive knowledge.
Polis. Greek for the city-state, the basic political unit in ancient Greece.
Prohairesis. Greek for Aristotle’s concept of moral choice.
PrakÅti. Sanskrit for the material principle in S~÷khya-Yoga philosophy.
Prudentia. Latin for Aquinas’ translation of Aristotle’s phron‘sis. Also can mean the virtue of prudence as separate from the faculty of practical reason.
Puru¬a. Sanskrit for pure individual souls in S~÷khya-Yoga philosophy.
Ren*. Chinese for the highest Confucian virtue, variously translated as humanity, humaneness, human heartedness, love, and benevolence. The asterisk is used to distinguish the virtue from the homophonic character that simply means human being.
Ru. Chinese for the group of scholars we call Confucians.
Sallekhan~. Sanskrit for the Jain idea of spiritual suicide.
Saty~graha. Sanskrit for Gandhi’s unique idea of "soul force." A saty~grahi is one who practices saty~graha.
Ðakti. Sanskrit for feminine cosmic energy, the power of the Hindu Goddess.
Shen. Chinese for human life or for divine beings.
Sinngebung. German for the meaning that the cultural-historical world gives to every individual.
Skandhas. Sanskrit for the five constituents of the Buddhist self: body, feeling, perception, disposition, and awareness.
SÇphrÇn. Greek for Aristotle’s ideal of the person who lives in the mean without any effort. Wu wei might be seen as the Chinese equivalent.
Ðãnyat~. Sanskrit for Buddhist idea of all things being empty of substance.
Tapas~. Sanskrit for self-suffering of the yogi or Gandhi’s satyagr~his.
Techn‘. Greek for Aristotle’s concept of craft knowledge.
Tejas. Sanskrit for male power as a zero-sum game. Contrasts with Ñakti the power that the Hindu Goddess shares with all things.
TheÇria. Greek for Aristotle’s concept of theoretical knowledge.
T§rthaªkara. Sanskrit for the liberated saints of Jainism.
Übermensch. German for Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of the ideal person.
Ved~nta. Sanskrit for the Hindu philosophy that is drawn from the Upani¬adic teachings of }tman and Brahman.
V§rya. Sanskrit for male potency.
Wuwei. Chinese for "no action," but more accurately it means spontaneous action or action in accord with nature.
Xin. Chinese for the Confucian idea of heart-mind.
Zhi. Chinese for the Confucian concept of moral wisdom.