I don't know that the term, "instructual term" is the best way to describe what I'm trying to say, but basically, I'm curious as to what things such as "the four noble truths", "the ten factors", "the eightfold path", "the ten worlds", or "the five desires" are called. All that they have in common is that they have a number of parts -as indicated in their title- and then some sort of philosophical name for an abstract idea. Basically, I am justwondering if there is a term that broadly referes to things like what I listed above.

3 Answers 3


All these are collectively referred as the Dhamma.

  • 1
    And this page is titled "Dhamma Lists".
    – ChrisW
    Apr 13, 2016 at 9:06

They might be called mātikā (Pali) or mātṛkā (Sanskrit), as defined e.g. here or here.

Or this article on Buddhist Lists says,

Towards the close of the Nikaya period, Buddhist literature begins to employ the term matika to signify composite matrices for lists. The careful analysis of these complex lists and their sub-categories becomes the basis and literary characteristic of the third basket of the Pali Canon, the Abhidhamma-pitaka, and of the particular system of thought set out in those texts and their commentaries, i.e., the Abhidhamma.

Andrei has used the word occasionally in his answers.


These are mnemonic lists to assist in the bulk memorization of huge dialogs without the help of writing.

Manjushri's mantra (Om A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhih), is suspected of being a mneumonic for a list of items, but the original details are lost to history.

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