Saha World: World of Endurance. It refers to this world of suffering and afflictions.
Sakyamuni (ca. 563-422 BCE): The historical Buddha. Theravadin Buddhists believe that He was the first person to attain Enlightenment in this age.
Sakyapa: One of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
Samadhi: Meditative absorption; usually the final stage of pure concentration.
Samantabhadra: A major Bodhisattva who personifies the transcendental practices of the Buddhas. Usually depicted as being seated on an elephant with six tusks, for the six paramitas.
Samatha (Vipasyana): Tranquility after stopping evil thoughts and meditating on truth.
Samsara: Sanskrit; the cyclic existence of birth, death, and rebirth, from which nirvana provides liberation.
Sangha: Sanskrit; the Buddhist monastic community, which has come to include all Buddhist practitioners. It is one of the three jewels of Buddhism, along with the Buddha and the Dharma.
Sariputra: One of the great disciples of Sakyamuni Buddha.
Satori: Enlightenment and the realization of truth, in Zen Buddhism.
Seven Treasures: Gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, agate, red pearl, and carnelian. They represent the seven powers of faith, perseverance, the sense of shame, avoidance of wrongdoings, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom.
Six Directions: North, South, East, West, above, and below.
Six Dusts: See Dusts.
Six Planes of Existence: The paths within the realm of birth and death. They include the three paths of evil (hells, hungry ghosts, animality), and the paths of humans, asuras, and celestials. These paths can be regarded as states of mind.
Sixth Patriarch: Hui Neng (638-713), the Sixth Patriarch of the Chinese Zen school, and author of the Platform Sutra.
Shinran (1173-1262): Founder of the Jodo-shin-shu school of Japanese Buddhism.
Skillful Means: See Expedient Means.
Soto: Japanese; Ts'ao-tung (Chinese). One of the two major schools of Zen Buddhism, brought to Japan by Dogen in the 13th century. Its emphasis is on zazen, or sitting meditation.
Sunyata: Sanskrit; sunnata (Pali). Literally, "emptiness". Sunyata is a core Buddhist idea which states that all phenomena are "empty". Theravadin Buddhists apply this idea to the individual, to assert the non-existence of a soul. Mahayanists expanded on the idea and declared that all existence is empty. Emptiness is the focus of the Madhyamika school.
Surangama Sutra (Heroic Gate Sutra): Emphasizes the power of Samadhi meditation through which Enlightenment can be attained.
Sutra: Sanskrit; a discourse attributed to the Buddha. Sutras comprise the first part of the Buddhist canon, or Tripitaka, and generally begin with "Thus have I heard". They are believed to have been recorded by the Buddha's disciple Ananda a hundred years after Sakyamuni Buddha's death.