Glossary of terms

Words and terms used in MIDL and Theravadin Buddhist meditation



MIDL has its own meditation language in order to convey meaning of meditation experience between the MIDL community members.

Allowing Stillness: The Third MIDL Pillar that arises through the Softening skill of using the abandonment of effort within the body to enter abandonment of participation within the mind by 'allowing' the mind to return to Stillness.

Flexible Attention: The First MIDL Pillar of unification and flexibility of awareness through the balanced development of investigation, mindfulness and momentary concentration. allowing the ability to be self aware.

Four Elemental Qualities: The sensations that allow you to experience your body, senses and your mind during mindfulness meditation.

1. Earth: a range of softness to hardness.

2. Fire: A range of coolness to warmth.

3. Water: A range of dryness to wetness.

4. Wind: A range of contraction to expansion; movement.

Heaviness: The experience that arises within your body when it totally relaxes and your muscles no longer hold your weight.

MIDL: Mindfulness in Daily Life.

Six Sense Doors (or six senses): The six doorways through which the mind is aware of sensory experience in order to make sense of the world around it:

1. Eye door: sights.

2. Ear door: sounds.

3. Nose door: smells.

4. Tongue door: taste.

5. Body door: touch.

6. Mind door: mental experiences.

Softening Into: The Second MIDL Pillar that arises through the skill of abandoning participation through deeply relaxing 'into'   physical and mental resistance.

Three Pillars of MIDL: The three skills of Flexible Attention, Softening Into and Allowing Stillness.

Viewing Platform: The foundation from which to watch the habitual interaction between your mind and your six senses. 



The Buddha used an oral meditation language called Pali, which is a variant of Sanscript with some changes in meaning to describe meditation experience.

Anapanasati (ana pana = in out (breathing), sati = mindfulness): Mindfulness of in and out breathing.

Anatta: The understanding that arises through observing the impersonal and uncontrollable nature of experience within the realm of the six senses.

Anicca: The understanding that arises through observing the impermanent, momentary and insubstantial nature of experience within the realm of the six senses.

Dukkha: The suffering that arises when we perceive that which is impermanent as being permanent and that which is impersonal as being personal and cling to this permanent and personal perception as if it is real. (fear of losing control).

Five Hindrances (Nivarana): The five hindrances to the development of one-pointed concentration and the expression of Dukkha within daily life: 

1. Attraction. 

2. Aversion.

3. Mental Sluggishness.

4. Restlessness.

5. Doubt. 

These Five Hindrances are not hindrances in MIDL but rather they are known as the Five Characteristics of Distraction as they are the content of the meditation practice on which Wisdom is developed.

Four Noble Truths ( Chattari-ariyasaccani): The view that arises within the mind of a cultivated meditator starting at the first stage of realization Stream Enterer (Sotapanna) through systematic observing of the Four Satipattahanas: Bodily Sensations, Feeling Tones, Mind and Conditional Processes.

1. Dukkha (suffering) is understood.
2. How Dukkha arises is understood.
3. How Dukkha ceases is understood.
4. The Path that leads to the cessation of Dukkha is realised. (Noble Eightfold Path). 

Jhana: Eight stages of mental absorption based on the development of one-pointed concentration lit: Samadhi (unification).

Noble Eightfold Path ( ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga): This is the Four Noble Truth referring to the path of practice in Satipatthana Vipassana (Mindfulness meditation [MIDL]).

1. Right View.

2. Right Intention

3. Right Speech.

4. Right Action.

5. Right Livelihood.

6. Right Effort

7. Right Mindfulness.

8. Right Concentration.

Sotapanna Stream Enterer: Considered the first stage of Enlightenment in Theravadin Buddhism; has experienced a glimpse of Nibbana (lit: going out of a fire). Characteristics of Sotapanna:

1. Clear knowing of the Noble Eightfold Path.

2. Weakening of view of self.

3. No attachment to rites and rituals.

4. Full Saddha (verified faith) in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

The Three Characteristics: Anicca (impermanence), Dukkha (suffering) and Anatta (not-self). The specifics characteristics inherent in all sense experience. When viewed through a mind with attraction and aversion the characteristics of  impermanence, suffering and not self arise. When viewed through a mind free from attraction and aversion the characteristics of impermanence and not-self arise. (individual characteristic explanation above).