A General Dharma Glossary from Matthieu Ricard

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General Dharma Glossary

A General Dharma Glossary from Matthieu Ricard

For more works of Matthieu Ricard, H.H. Dilgo Khyentse, Sechen Rabjam Rinpoche visit: http://www.shechen.org

To be used for making individual pages, with hyperlinks. All entries should be marked with "[MR]"

Arhat (arhat): in Tibetan Drachompa (dgra bcom pa), means `the one who has defeated the enemy' with the same meaning as above. [MR]

Bardo (bar do), "intermediate" or "transition" state, commonly refers to the state and lapse of time occurring between death and the next rebirth. More precisely one can recognize six bardos: the bardo of birth and life (skye gnas bar do), of meditative concentration (sam gtan bar do), of dream (rmi lam bar do), of the instant of death ('chi kha bar do), of the absolute nature (chos nyid bar do), and of seeking a new existence (srid pa bar do). [MR]

Bodhisattvas (byang chub sems dpa') are beings who have realized the empty nature of phenomena and the non-existence of individual self. They are free from the Klesha(s) (klesas), or ordinary emotions. There are ten bodhisattva levels or bhumis. The eleventh bhumi is that of consummate buddhahood, which is realized when both obscurations, that of the klesas and that which veils total wisdom, have been cleared in an irreversible way. In a broader sense a bodhisattva is a being engaged in practicing the mahayana teachings. [MR]

Changteu, da ma ru: Made of Sengdeng wood, with monkey skin, and tied with goose's tendons, making 64 tying strings (the number of deities of Demchog's mandala). Would be tied up and losen to make various sounds. [MR]

kun 'byung 'dren pa'i theg pa: the "omnipresent vehicle which leads out", thus called because the teachings of Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas and Mahayana appears ('byung) and is taught in all (kun) the Buddhafields, and is able to lead (dren) beings out of samsara. [MR]

dka' thub rig byed kyi theg pa: The "vehicle of ascetic practices which bring understanding." Thus called because it involves hardships and great efforts, as result of which one's awareness and understanding increase.[MR]
dbang bsgyur thabs kyi theg pa: The "mastering vehicle of means", thus called because the skillful "means" of the Vajrayana enable the practitioner to "master" the klesas.[MR]

Channels are the subtle veins (rtsa), in which circulate the various energies (rlung) of the body, energies which carry along these veins the white and red essences (thig le). In the deluded state these three are related to the three poisons: attachment, hatred and ignorance; in the wisdom state they are related to the Three Kayas (see note below). [MR]

Eight Classes of Herukas (vocab. of Shiecha Dzö translation) brgyad:sgrub pa bka' brgyad
1) che mchog (bdud rtsi yon tan), the deity of qualities
2) 'jam dpal sku (gzhin rje), the deity of body
3) padma gsung (rta mgrin), the deity of speech
4) yang dag thugs, the deity of mind
5) phur pa 'phrin las, the deity of action
6) ma mo rbod gtong, the deity of inciting and dispatching
7) bla ma rig 'dzin, the Master (when added these become nine)
8) 'jigs rten mchod bstod, the worldly deities of offering and praise.
9) dmdo pa drag sngags, the wordly deities of exorcism. [MR]

Eight extraodinary qualities of a Buddha -- tshig mdzod chen mo

[[thun min gyi dbang phyug gi yon tan brgyad de bzhin gshegs pa'i thun mong ma yin pa'i dbang phyug brgyad de sku yi dbang phyug dang gsung gi dbang phyug thugs kyi dbang phyug rdzu 'phrul gyi dbang phyug kun 'gro'i dbang phyug gnas kyi dbang phyug ci 'dod kyi dbang phyug phrin las kyi dbang phyug rnams so]]. [MR]

The three confidences (yid ches gsum), according to H.H. Khyentse Rinpoche's dpal chen 'dus pa rnam bshad:

{dang po bsgrub bya rang la bzhugs pa yid ches/,,gnyis pa sgrub pa bla med rgyud sde kun gyi mthar thug sgrub byed kyi man ngag la yid ches/,,gsum pa bla ma la yid ches/ [MR]

Eight ordinary accomplishments (grub pa brgyad)

gur las/,,mi sman dang ni rkang mgyogs dang/,,/ral gri dang ni sa 'og grub/,,/rib bu grub dang mkha' spyod nyid/,,/mi snang ba dang bcud kyis len/ [MR]

Eight freedoms and ten favorable conditions conducive to practicing the dharma. (dal ba brgyad and 'byor ba bcu)
The eight obstacles to practicing the dharma are:
1. To be born in a hell realm
2. To be born among the pretas, or tortured spirits
3. To be born an animal
4. To be born among savages
5. To be born a long-life god
6. To hold totally erroneous views
7. To be born in a dark Kalpa, where no Buddha has appeared in the world.
8. To be born with impaired sense faculties. [MR]

Among the ten favorable conditions, there are five conditions that depend on ourselves (rang 'byor lnga):
1. To be born as a human being
2. in a place where the dharma flourishes,
3. with complete sense faculties,
4. without the karma of living in a way totally opposite to the dharma,
5. and having faith in what deserves it. [MR]

And five that depend upon others (gzhan 'byor lnga):
1. A buddha should have appeared in the world,
2. and have taught the dharma.
3. The dharma should have remained until our days.
4. We should have entered the dharma,
5. and have been accepted by a spiritual teacher. [MR]

Eight outer classes of gods and rakshas (phyi'i gi ba'i lha srin sde brgyad)[MR]

Eight inner classes of gods and rakshas (nang gi ba'i lha srin sde brgyad) [MR]

Eight secret classes of gods and rakshas (gsang ba'i lha srin sde brgyad) [MR]

Eight qualities of loving kindness, (byams pa'i yon tan brgyad):

If you have gentle love
(1) Gods and men will rejoice
(2) they will protect you
(3) You can't be harmed by poison and
(4) by weapons
(5) You will have a happy mind
(6) You will experience manifold happiness
(7) You will effortlessly accomplish your aspirations
(8) and even if you don't achieve liberation immediately, you will be reborn in the highest realm. [MR]

Eight consciousnesses -- (rnam shes tshogs brgyad): 1) The undetermined and amorphous ground consciousness, already obscured by ignorance but undetermined with respect to virtue and non-virtue.
2 to 6) The consciousnesses associated with each of the five sense organs.
7) Mind consciousness, or intellectual cognition of the senses.
8) Intellection which is predominantly tainted by the negative emotions (klesas).
The first six do not accumulate karma, while the last two do. [MR]

The Eighteen kind of spiritual treasures -- (gter rigs bco brgyad) (according to Tralek Tulku in Commentary on Khanshag Dorje Tholu):
1. gsan gter: secret treasures, which the Tertön will practice secretly for many years before telling anyone of its existence and spreading it to others.
2. zab gter: profound treasures, which contains profound pith instructions.
3. thugs gter: mind treasures, which arises in the Tertön's heart-mind.
4. dgong gter: wisdom-mind treasures, which surge from the Tertön's wisdom-mind, without there being a material support such as a Yellow Parchemin.
5. rdzas gter: material treasures-- blessed objects (phurba, vajra, etc..) or subtances.
6. bla gter: exalted /august treasures, intended to Kings, rulers, or important persons at a specific time for the sake of the country or of some major task.
7. gter phreng: minor treasures, such as longevity pills, small objects, etc..
8. gter smyon: crazy /extemporaneous treasures, which suddenly arise in someone's mind for a specific benefit to beings.
9. rgya gter: Indian treasures, found in India
10. bod gter: Tibetan treasures, found in Tibet.
11. rje gter: lordly treasures, related to King Trisong Detsen.
12. yab gter: father treasures, related to fater-tantras (or to Guru Rinpoche)
13. yum gter: mother treasures, related to mother-tantras (or to Yeshe Tsogyal)
14. ma ning gter ma: neuter treasures, related to the non-dual tantras
15. phyi gter: outer treasures, intended to all disciples in general
16. nang gter: inner treasures, intended to close disciples with pure samaya.
17. bar gter: intermediate treasures, intended to disciples in between the two former ones.
18. nor gter: treasures of wealth, which consist of material treasures. [MR]

Eleven Stainless Lingpa -- (dri med gling pa bcu gcig)
Orgyen, Sangye, Rinchen, Ratna, Padma, Karma, Kunkyong, Ledro (las 'phro), Samten..... (see byang gter rig 'dzin dung sgrub) [MR]

Five Degenerations -- (rnyigs ma lnga): Shortening of lifespan, degeneration of the environment, degeneration of the views of beings, decline of their faculties, and increase of negative emotions.
tshe'i rnyigs ma mar 'grib tshe lo brgya pa
dus kyi rnyigs ma rtsos ldan
nyon mong pa'i rnyigs ma drag la rgyun ring ba
sems can gyi rnyigs ma rgyud dbang po 'dul dka' ba [MR]

Five Dry Skulls -- (thod skam lnga) Skulls of bdud, srin po, btsan, rgyal po, and mu stegs [MR]

Five Demons -- (bdud lnga) The demon of proliferating thoughts, the demon of indifferent laziness, the demon of scattering pleasures, the demon of weapon-like harsh words, and the demon of short tempered irritability. [MR]

Five Guru Kutsap -- (sku tshab sde nga) [MR]

Five heart sons, lord, subjects, and consort of Guru Padmasambhava: (thugs sras rje 'bangs lnga)
The King Trisong Detsen
Yeshe Tsogyal,
Gyalwa Chog Yang,
and Vairotsana [MR]

Five aggregates
Form, feeling, perception, mental constructions, and consciousnesses. [MR]

Five main disturbances to samatha meditation:
(1) Laziness,
(2) forgetfulness,
(3) dullness or wildness,
(4) lack of effort, and
(5) excessive effort.

The nine anditodes for disturbances to samatha meditation:
Counteract laziness with inspiration, endeavor, faith, and refinement achieved through training.
Counteracts forgetfulness with sustained presence.
Dullness and wildness are counteracted by using awareness that knows the condition of your state of mind.
Counteract lack of effort by urging yourself to apply the right antidote when defects occur in the meditation.
Counteract excessive effort by ceasing to apply antidotes when they are no longer necessary and letting the mind rest easily in its natural state. [MR]

Five Major Sacred Places - gnas chen lnga): Vajra Asana, Five Peaked Mountain, Potala Mountain, Oddiyana, and Shambala. [MR]

Five Sciences - (rigs pa'i gnas lnga):
sgra (or gtan tshigs lnga)
tshad ma
bzo ba
gso ba
nang gi rig pa

See also rig gnas chung lnga and rigs pa'i gnas bco brgyad [MR]

Five similes illustrating the five steps of the gradual pacification of mind:
- Meditation which is like a water falling from a cliff: Thoughts continuously following one after the other. They seem to be even more numerous than before, because you have become aware of mind's movements.

- Like a river rushing through gorges: The mind alternates between periods of rest and activity.

- Like a wide river flowing easily: The mind moves when disturbed by circumstances, and otherwise rests calmly.

- Like an lake with a few ripples on the surface: The mind is slightly agitated on the surface but remains calm and present in the depth.

- Like a still ocean: An unshakable and effortless concentration that does not need to resort to antidotes against thoughts. [MR]

Five trainings in aspiration Bodhicitta: (smon sems kyi bslab bya lnga) [MR]

The Fivefold Mahamudra of the Drigungpas (phyag chen lnga ldan)
1- Meditate on Bodhicitta
2- Meditate on the Yidam deity
3- Meditate on the Guru Yoga
4- Meditate on the Mahamudra
5- Seal the practice with the dedication.

NOTE: Although these five are basic practices for all the Kagyu lineages and other schools, it is the Drigungpas who presented this as a five-fold system of practice. [MR]

Four certainties about karma: There are four things to remember regarding the karmic law of cause and result:

(1) That karma is certain,
(2) that it tends to increase,
(3) that you will never experience something of which you have not enacted the cause,
(4) that karmic impulse set in motion by your actions is never wasted and never disappear on its own. [MR]

Four Demons, or Maras (bdud bzhi):

phung po (tshang pa ser po)
nyon mong (dbang phyug dkar po)
lha bu (lha dbang kham ser)
'chi bdag (phyab 'jug nag po) [MR]

Four dharmas of the Kadampas (dka' gdams chos bzhi): Base your life on the dharma,
Base your dharma on a humble life,
Base your humble life on the thought of death,
Base your death on a lonely cave. [MR]

Four Great Wheels: ('khor lo chen po bzhi) To dwell in an place in harmony with oneself.
To rely on a holy being.
To make prayers of aspiration.
To accumulate merit. [MR]

Four Ornaments rgyan bzhi):
The elephant Hastina symbolizing strength, who purified jealousy;
the deer Sharana symbolizing compassion, who purified anger;
the sea makara Patrana who purified desire and *** (chos ma 'dres pa'i chu srin);
the Garuda Karuna who purified ignorance and *** (srung ba ma 'dres pa'i bya khyung) [MR]

Four Rivers of Samsara:
Whatever is born will die,
Whatever is gathered will be dispersed,
Whatever is joined will come apart,
Whatever ascends will fall down. [MR]

Four Rivers of the Transmission: (bka'i chu bo bzhi):
1) dkyus bshad gzhung gi chu bo which comprises 'grel ba, ti ka and stong thun
2) snyan brgyud gdams ngag gi chu bo, which comprises gnad yig and dmar khrid
3) byin rlabs dbang gi chu bo, which comprises the ways to bestow the empowerment (bskur thabs) and the introduction to the nature (ngo sprod).
4) phyag bzhes phrin las kyi chu bo, which comprises bstan srung and drag sngags. (shes bya mdzod [MR]

Four Vajrayana Masters: (slob dpon bzhi)
dam tshig dbang gi slob dpon
man ngag lung gi slob dpon
shes rab rgyud kyi slob dpon
nyams chag skong ba'i slob dpon (see byang gter rig 'dzin dung sgrub) [MR]

Four ways of reciting mantras: ('dzab kyi dgongs pa bzhi) CN 107
rgyal po'i pho nya lta bu
zla ba skar phreng lta bu
'gal mi klad skor lta bu
bung ba tshang grol lta bu

Great Perfection: (rdzogs pa chen po)- The ninth and ultimate vehicle. It refers to the primordial purity of all phenomena and the spontaneous presence of the Buddha's qualities in all beings. It is called "Great Perfection" because all phenomena are included in this primal perfection. There are three main lineages for the Great Perfection:
the Khandro Nyingthig (mkha 'gro snying thig) which came from Guru Rinpoche;
the Vima Nyingthig (bi ma snying thig), which came through Vimalamitra;
and the Vairo Nyingthig (bai ro snying snying thig), which came through Vairocana. [MR]

Gyalwa Longchenpa, Longchen Rabjam also explains Eight conditions that cause one to drift away from the dharma ('phral byung rkyen gyi mi khom rnam pa brgyad and Eight conditions that limit one's natural potential to attain freedom (ris chad blo yi mi khom rnam pa brgyad):
The first ones are:
(1) To be greatly disturbed by the five poisonous emotions
(2) To be extremely stupid
(3) To fall prey to evil influences
(4) To be distracted by laziness
(5) To lead a wrong way of life
(6) To be enslaved or controlled by others
(7) To practice only for the sake of protection from dangers
(8) To practice a mere semblance of the dharma for the sake of gain and fame.

The second ones are:
(1) To be fettered by one's family, wealth and occupations so that one does not have the leisure to practice the dharma.
(2) To have a wicked nature that leads to extremely bad conduct, so that even when one meets a spiritual teacher it is very hard for one to turn one's mind to the dharma.
(3) To have no fear of the suffering of samsara and therefore no feeling of renunciation or no weariness at all of samsara.
(4) To lack the jewel of faith and therefore have no inclination whatsoever to meet a spiritual teacher and enter the threshold of the teachings.
(5) To delight in negative actions and have no compunction about them, thus turning one's back to the dharma.
(6) To have no more interest in the dharma than a dog for grass and therefore to be unable to develop any positive quality.
(7) To have spoiled one's vows and mahayana precepts, and therefore to be doomed to the lower realms of existence where there is no leisure to practice the dharma.
(8) Having entered the extraordinary path of the vajrayana, to have broken one's samaya with one's teacher and vajra brothers and sisters, and thus have no chance of achieving any realization. [MR]

The meditation on impermanence has three roots, nine considerations, and leads to three definite conclusions:
The three roots to consider are:

(1) Death is certain.
(2) There is no certainty what will cause it.
(3) Anything other than the dharma is totally useless at the moment of death.

The nine considerations are:

For the first root
(1) No one in the past ever escaped death.
(2) The body is a compounded and bound to disintegrate.
(3) Life runs out second by second.

For the second root:
(1) Life is incredibly fragile.
(2) The body is without any enduring essence.
(3) Numerous circumstances can cause death; few circumstances prolong or support life.

For the third root:
(1) Relatives and friends will be of no use at the moment of death.
(2) Wealth and food will be of no use.
(3) My own body will be of no use.

The three definite conclusions are:
(1) We should practice the dharma, since it will definitely help us at death.
(2) We must practice it right now since we do not know when we will die.
(3) We should devote our time exclusively to practicing the dharma since nothing else is of any use. [MR]

Kayas (sku): Various aspects, or states of buddhahood. One recognizes two, three, four or five kayas:

Two Kayas: Dharmakaya, the absolute body, and Rupakaya, the body of form.
Three Kayas: The Dharmakaya, or absolute body, the Sambhogakaya, or body of divine enjoyment, and the Nirmanakaya, or manifested body. These correspond to the mind, speech and body of an enlightened buddha, and are expressed as the five wisdoms.
Four Kayas: the Svabavikakaya, or essential body, is to be added to the three former ones, and represents their inseparability.
Five Kayas: To the Three Kayas one adds the avikaravajrakaya, "Unchanging Vajra Body," and the Abhi SamBodhi Kaya, "Body of Total Enlightenment." [MR]

Kleshas klesas (Skt.), ...and beliefs, (nyon mongs), includes rather a large variety of obscured states of mind.
The 5 principal ones are: desire, aggression, ignorance, pride, and jealousy.

Ignorance includes:
(a) basic ignorance (ma rig pa), the non-recognition of primordial awareness and of the empty nature of phenomena.
(b) a dense mental state (thi mug), chiefly a lack of discernment regarding what should be accomplished and what should be discarded in order to gain freedom from samsara.
(c) doubt (the tsom), regarding the truth of karma (the law of cause and effect, the existence of past and future lives, etc.) for instance.
(d) obscured view (lta ba nyon mong can), believing that the aggregates (Skt. skhandas) form an individual self, and that phenomena have a real, inherent, and autonomous existence, for instance. [MR]

Nine kinds of shastras (bstan bcos dgu):

1) don dang ldan pa'i bstan bcos -
2) don log pa'i bstan bcos -
3) thos pa lhur len pa'i bstan bcos -
4) don med pa'i bstan bcos -
5) rtsos pa lhur len pa'i bstan bcos -
6) sgrub pa lhur len pa'i bstan bcos -
7) ngan g.yo'i bstan bcos -
8) brtse ba dang bral ba'i bstan bcos -
9) sdug bsngal 'byin pa'i bstan bcos - (= ngan song dang ngan 'gro'i sdug bsngal 'bying par byed pa'i bstan bcos -) CN has sdug bsngal spong pa'i bstan bcos.

Out of these, six are to be discarded and three are valid (1, 6, and 10) [MR]

Nine moods of dance (gar gyi nyams dgu) sgeg pa, dpa' ba, mi sdug pa, drag shul, bzhad gad, 'jigs rung, snying rje, rngams pa, zhi ba. [MR]

Nine ways of settling the mind:
There are nine ways to place the mind in evenness and acquire stability:
- To place the mind on objects of concentration, according to the teachings you have received.
- To place it continually through reflection on and keeping the meaning of the teachings in mind.
- To place it recurrently by bringing it back swiftly to its object of focus whenever mind starts wandering off in distraction.
- To place it closely; when mind becomes stronger, your inspiration to practice increases greatly and you are increasingly drawn towards the practice.
- To tame it; when concentration sinks in dullness, revive alert awareness and encourage inspiration by considering the benefits of samadhi.
- To calm it: when alertness becomes too forced and concentration is shaken by wildness, considering the flaws of wildness and distraction calms the mind.
- To calm it completely by using sustained presence to give up all clinging to meditative states and experiences of bliss, clarity, non-thought, indifferent slackness, etc.
- To remain one-pointed; having eliminated dullness and wildness, remain focused one-pointedly for a complete session of meditation.
- To remain in total evenness; becoming familiar with one-pointed concentration, mind rests in a state of evenness which arises spontaneously and effortlessly. [MR]

Three: The Outer, the inner, and the other" (phyi nang gzhan gsum) The outer is the universe;
the inner is the body of beings;
the other is the dharmadhatu mandala (chos nyid dbyings kyi 'khyil 'khor) [MR]

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