Abstinence:refraining by one’s own choice

Acceptance: to regard as true; to believe

Ahimsa: non-injury

Allah: God’s name of essential being in Islam

Amends: compensation; reparation, payment made in satisfaction for insult, injury or loss

Ananda: bliss

Anatta: no-thingness; no-self; nothing has a discrete, unchanging and everlasting essence

Anicca: impermanence; nothing is permanent

Arjuna: seeker of truth in Bhagavad Gita

Asana: a Hatha Yoga pose

Atman: the Eternal light of consciousness that illumines the mind

Avidya/Avijja: ignorance; the root cause of all suffering

Bhakti: devotion; love of god

Big Book: the text of the Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous written in 1939 by its members. It explains the Twelve Steps and how they work, as well as containing personal stories which illustrate addiction-related problems and solutions

Brahman: the Absolute One


Character Defects: behaviors and attitudes which create difficulty in our lives, such as pride, impatience, intolerance, envy, jealousy, selfishness, self-pity, self-centeredness, arrogance, sloth, dishonesty, lust, greed and anger

Compassion: empathy with the pain and suffering of all sentient beings

Consciousness: awareness

Dharmathe collective teachings of the Buddha

Dhikr: remembrance of Allah with repetitive phrases

Dhyana: meditation

Dukkha: dissatisfaction or suffering; desire for conditions to be different

: a group of people with common interests, experiences or and/or purpose.

Hadith: Collection of Muhammad’s sayings; the highest authority after the Qur’an

Hafiz: one who memorizes the Qur’an

Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca

Imam: spiritual leader in a local mosque

Islam: submission to the will of Allah

Guru: spiritual guide

Japa: mantra repetition

Jnana: wisdom; knowledge


Ka’aba: the “house of Allah”; a square building in Mecca which Muslims turn towards for prayer; it is believed to have been given to Gabriel and built by Abraham and Ishmael

Karma: action and reaction

Karma Yoga: performing acts of selfless service

Mahayana: “the greater vehicle”; one of the three major branches of Buddhism; the other two being Theravada and Vajrayana

Mantra: “that which makes the mind steady”; sound formula for meditation

Maya: illusion

Mecca: the birthplace of Muhammad in Saudi Arabia: the site of the hajj (pilgrimage)

Minaret: the prayer tower in the Mosque where the muezzin calls the rakats (prayer ritual)

Mindfulness: purposeful attention to an object; momentary absorption

Minyan: a quorum of ten

Moksha: liberation

Muezzin: leader who calls Muslims to prayer five times daily

Muhammad: Allah’s final and greatest prophet

Nirvana: state of liberation

OM: cosmic sound of vibration

Pali: scriptural and liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism

Prana: the vital energy

Qur’an: the collected texts of Allah’s revelation to Muhammad

Principle: a rule or code of conduct.

Raja Yoga: path of concentration and meditation based on ethics and control of the mind

Ramadan: the ninth month in the lunar calendar which commemorates the giving of the Qur’an to Muhammad


Sadhana: spiritual practice

Salat: the five prescribed daily prayers of Muslims

Samadhi: single-focused concentration

Samsara: endless cycle of suffering through repeated rebirths

Sangha: a Buddhist community

Sawm: fasting during Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam

Serenity: the state of being serene, calm or tranquil

Sponsee: Someone who is coached through the 12-Step program by a more experienced person.

Sponsor: Someone who assumes the responsibility to coach another through the 12-Steps

Sura: a chapter in the Qur’an

Theraveda: the doctrine or way of the Elders; one of the three branches of Buddhism, the others being Mahayana and Vajrayana

Vipassana: insight: knowledge of the true nature of things which is impermanence

Wudu: ablution before Islamic prayer

Yoga: paths to self-transformation

Zakat: almsgiving, Muslims give 1/40th of their worth