Dedication of Merit: See Transference of Merit.
Degenerate Age: See Dharma Ending Age.
Delusion (Ignorance): Unawareness of the meaning of existence, or the true nature – Buddha nature – of things.
Demons: Influences which disturb the mind and hinder cultivation.
Devas: Literally, "shining one". Deities, gods.
Dharma: Sanskrit; dhamma (Pali). The central idea of Buddhism, and the cosmic law underlying all existence and, therefore, the teaching of the Buddha. One of the three "jewels" of Buddhism, and often used as a general name for Buddhism.
Dharma Discourse (Dharma Talk): Formal discussion of a koan by a spiritual teacher.
Dharma Ending Age: Present age. The time following Sakyamuni Buddha's age is divided into (1) the Perfect Age of the Dharma, which lasted 500 years, (2) the Dharma Semblance Age, which lasted about 1000 years, and (3) the Dharma Ending Age, lasting about 10,000 years.
Dharma Nature: The nature of all things. "Emptiness" and "Reality". See also Buddha Nature.
Dharmakara: The Bodhisatva who became Amitabha Buddha. See the Longer Amitabha Sutra, famous for its 48 vows. The 18th vow promises rebirth in the Pure Land to those who recite His name with utmost sincerity and faith at the time of death.
Diamond Sutra: A self-contained section of the Prajnaparamita Sutra. It shows that phenomenal appearances are not the ultimate reality, but rather illusions of one's own mind.
Dogen (1200-1253): Brought the Soto school of Zen Buddhism to Japan. He emphasized meditation as the means to Enlightenment.
Dukkha: Suffering and discontent. Duhhka is central to human life, and one of the Three Marks of Existence.
Dusts: All mundane things that can cloud our otherwise bright self-nature, including form, sound, scent, taste, touch, and external opinion. Dusts correspond to the six senses.
Dzogchen: Tibetan; literally, "great perfection". The supreme teachings of the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Adherents believe that these teachings are superior, and that no other means are necessary.