Difference between revisions of "Glossary to Advice from the Lotus-Born"

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=== Glossary to Advice from the Lotus-Born===
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Needs to '''insert hyperlinks''' before making separate entry/pages. Check to see if they already exist first, since some of them are dupplicated in other glossaries. [Erik Pema Kunsang]
Published in '''"[[Advice from the Lotus-Born]]"''' by [[Erik Pema Kunsang]]
===A - B===
*[[25 attributes of fruition]] ([['bras chos nyer lnga]]). The five kayas, fivefold speech, five wisdoms, five qualities, and five activities. Also called the 'continuity adorned with inexhaustible body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities.'  [RY]  
*[[25 attributes of fruition]] ([['bras chos nyer lnga]]). The five kayas, fivefold speech, five wisdoms, five qualities, and five activities. Also called the 'continuity adorned with inexhaustible body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities.'  [RY]  
*[[Abhidharma]] ([[chos mngon pa]]). One of the three parts of the Tripitaka, the Words of the Buddha. Systematic teachings on metaphysics focusing on developing discriminating knowledge by analyzing elements of experience and investigating the nature of existing things.  [RY]  
*[[Abhidharma]] ([[chos mngon pa]]). One of the three parts of the Tripitaka, the Words of the Buddha. Systematic teachings on metaphysics focusing on developing discriminating knowledge by analyzing elements of experience and investigating the nature of existing things.  [RY]  
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*[[Accomplishment]]. 1) ([[dngos grub]]), Skt. [[siddhi]]. The attainment resulting from Dharma practice usually referring to the 'supreme accomplishment' of complete enlightenment. It can also mean the 'common accomplishments,' eight mundane accomplishments such as clairvoyance, clairaudiance, flying in the sky, becoming invisible, everlasting youth, or powers of transmutation. The most eminent attainments on the path are, however, renunciation, compassion, unshakable faith and realization of the correct view. See also 'supreme and common accomplishments.' 2) ([[sgrub pa]]). See also 'approach and accomplishment.' [RY]  
*[[Accomplishment]]. 1) ([[dngos grub]]), Skt. [[siddhi]]. The attainment resulting from Dharma practice usually referring to the 'supreme accomplishment' of complete enlightenment. It can also mean the 'common accomplishments,' eight mundane accomplishments such as clairvoyance, clairaudiance, flying in the sky, becoming invisible, everlasting youth, or powers of transmutation. The most eminent attainments on the path are, however, renunciation, compassion, unshakable faith and realization of the correct view. See also 'supreme and common accomplishments.' 2) ([[sgrub pa]]). See also 'approach and accomplishment.' [RY]  
*[[Accumulation]] ([[tshogs]]). Provisions for the path. See 'two accumulations.' [RY]  
*[[Accumulation]] ([[tshogs]]). Provisions for the path. See 'two accumulations.' [RY]  
*Akanishtha ([['og min]]). The 'highest;' the realm of Vajradhara, the enlightened sphere the dharmakaya buddha. Often used as a synonym for 'dharmadhatu.' [RY]  
*[[Akanishtha]] ([['og min]]). The 'highest;' the realm of Vajradhara, the enlightened sphere the dharmakaya buddha. Often used as a synonym for 'dharmadhatu.' [RY]  
*[[All-ground]] ([[kun gzhi]]), [[alaya]]. Literally, the 'foundation of all things.' The basis of mind and both pure and impure phenomena. This word has different meanings in different contexts and should be understood accordingly. Sometimes it is synonymous with buddha nature or dharmakaya, the recognition of which is the basis for all pure phenomena; other times, as in the case of the 'ignorant all-ground,' it refers to a neutral state of dualistic mind that has not been embraced by innate wakefulness and thus is the basis for samsaric experience. [RY]  
*[[All-ground]] ([[kun gzhi]]), [[alaya]]. Literally, the 'foundation of all things.' The basis of mind and both pure and impure phenomena. This word has different meanings in different contexts and should be understood accordingly. Sometimes it is synonymous with buddha nature or dharmakaya, the recognition of which is the basis for all pure phenomena; other times, as in the case of the 'ignorant all-ground,' it refers to a neutral state of dualistic mind that has not been embraced by innate wakefulness and thus is the basis for samsaric experience. [RY]  
*Amrita ([[bdud rtsi]]). Same as 'Nectar Quality,' the heruka of the ratna family among the Eight Sadhana Teachings and the tantric teachings connected with that deity.  [RY]
*[[Amrita]] ([[bdud rtsi]]). Same as 'Nectar Quality,' the heruka of the ratna family among the Eight Sadhana Teachings and the tantric teachings connected with that deity.  [RY]
*Amrita and rakta ([[sman rak]]). Two types of blessed substance used on the shrine in Vajrayana rituals. [RY]
*[[Amrita and rakta]] ([[sman rak]]). Two types of blessed substance used on the shrine in Vajrayana rituals. [RY]
*Ananda ([[kun dga' bo]]). One of the ten close disciples of the Buddha; the Buddha's personal attendant, who recited the sutras at the First Council and served as the second patriarch in the oral transmission of the Dharma. [RY]
*[[Ananda]] ([[kun dga' bo]]). One of the ten close disciples of the Buddha; the Buddha's personal attendant, who recited the sutras at the First Council and served as the second patriarch in the oral transmission of the Dharma. [RY]
*Anu Yoga ([[rjes su rnal 'byor]]). The second of the Three Inner Tantras, Maha, Anu and Ati. It emphasizes knowledge ([[prajna]]) rather than means ([[upaya]]) and the completion stage rather than the development stage. The view of Anu Yoga is that liberation is attained through growing accustomed to the insight into the nondual nature of space and wisdom. The Anu Yoga mandala is regarded as contained within the vajra body. Anu means 'subsequent.' [RY]
*[[Anu Yoga]] ([[rjes su rnal 'byor]]). The second of the Three Inner Tantras, Maha, Anu and Ati. It emphasizes [[knowledge]] ([[prajna]]) rather than [[means]] ([[upaya]]) and the completion stage rather than the development stage. The view of Anu Yoga is that liberation is attained through growing accustomed to the insight into the nondual nature of space and wisdom. The Anu Yoga mandala is regarded as contained within the vajra body. Anu means 'subsequent.' [RY]
*Aperture of Brahma ([[tshangs bug]]). The opening at the top of the head, eight fingers above the hairline. [RY]
*[[Aperture of Brahma]] ([[tshangs bug]]). The opening at the top of the head, eight fingers above the hairline. [RY]
*Approach and accomplishment ([[bsnyen sgrub]]). Two aspects of sadhana practice, in particular, phases in
*[[Approach and accomplishment]] ([[bsnyen sgrub]]). Two aspects of sadhana practice
Published in '''[[Advice from the Lotus-Born]]'''
Published in '''[[Advice from the Lotus-Born]]''', Rangjung Yeshe Publications. ISBN 962-7341-20-7

Latest revision as of 20:02, 7 July 2009

Published in "Advice from the Lotus-Born" by Erik Pema Kunsang

A - B

  • 25 attributes of fruition ('bras chos nyer lnga). The five kayas, fivefold speech, five wisdoms, five qualities, and five activities. Also called the 'continuity adorned with inexhaustible body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities.' [RY]
  • Abhidharma (chos mngon pa). One of the three parts of the Tripitaka, the Words of the Buddha. Systematic teachings on metaphysics focusing on developing discriminating knowledge by analyzing elements of experience and investigating the nature of existing things. [RY]
  • Abhidharma Pitaka (chos mngon pa'i sde snod). The 'Collection of Abhidharma Teachings.' See under 'Tripitaka.' [RY]
  • Abhisambodhikaya (mngon par byang chub pa'i sku). The fifth of the five kayas of buddhahood, defined by Jamgon Kongtrul in his Treasury of Knowledge as 'manifold manifestation in accordance with the karma of those to be influenced, without departing from dharmakaya, that (appears) because the (other four kayas are) spontaneously complete within awareness wisdom.' [RY]
  • Ananda - The Buddha's personal attendant, who recited the Sutras at the First Council and served as second patriarch [RY]
  • Anu Yoga - First of the three inner tantras of the Nyingma tradition [RY]
  • Accomplishment. 1) (dngos grub), Skt. siddhi. The attainment resulting from Dharma practice usually referring to the 'supreme accomplishment' of complete enlightenment. It can also mean the 'common accomplishments,' eight mundane accomplishments such as clairvoyance, clairaudiance, flying in the sky, becoming invisible, everlasting youth, or powers of transmutation. The most eminent attainments on the path are, however, renunciation, compassion, unshakable faith and realization of the correct view. See also 'supreme and common accomplishments.' 2) (sgrub pa). See also 'approach and accomplishment.' [RY]
  • Accumulation (tshogs). Provisions for the path. See 'two accumulations.' [RY]
  • Akanishtha ('og min). The 'highest;' the realm of Vajradhara, the enlightened sphere the dharmakaya buddha. Often used as a synonym for 'dharmadhatu.' [RY]
  • All-ground (kun gzhi), alaya. Literally, the 'foundation of all things.' The basis of mind and both pure and impure phenomena. This word has different meanings in different contexts and should be understood accordingly. Sometimes it is synonymous with buddha nature or dharmakaya, the recognition of which is the basis for all pure phenomena; other times, as in the case of the 'ignorant all-ground,' it refers to a neutral state of dualistic mind that has not been embraced by innate wakefulness and thus is the basis for samsaric experience. [RY]
  • Amrita (bdud rtsi). Same as 'Nectar Quality,' the heruka of the ratna family among the Eight Sadhana Teachings and the tantric teachings connected with that deity. [RY]
  • Amrita and rakta (sman rak). Two types of blessed substance used on the shrine in Vajrayana rituals. [RY]
  • Ananda (kun dga' bo). One of the ten close disciples of the Buddha; the Buddha's personal attendant, who recited the sutras at the First Council and served as the second patriarch in the oral transmission of the Dharma. [RY]
  • Anu Yoga (rjes su rnal 'byor). The second of the Three Inner Tantras, Maha, Anu and Ati. It emphasizes knowledge (prajna) rather than means (upaya) and the completion stage rather than the development stage. The view of Anu Yoga is that liberation is attained through growing accustomed to the insight into the nondual nature of space and wisdom. The Anu Yoga mandala is regarded as contained within the vajra body. Anu means 'subsequent.' [RY]
  • Aperture of Brahma (tshangs bug). The opening at the top of the head, eight fingers above the hairline. [RY]
  • Approach and accomplishment (bsnyen sgrub). Two aspects of sadhana practice, in particular, phases in the recitation stage according to Mahayoga Tantra. [RY]
  • Asura Cave (a su ra'i brag phug). The cave where Guru Rinpoche subdued the evil forces of Nepal through the practice of Vajra Kilaya. Situated near Pharping in the Kathmandu Valley. [RY]
  • Ati Yoga (shin tu rnal 'byor). The third of the Three Inner Tantras. According to Jamgon Kongtrul the First, it emphasizes the view that liberation is attained through growing accustomed to insight into the nature of primordial enlightenment, free from accepting and rejecting, hope and fear. The more common word for Ati Yoga nowadays is 'Dzogchen,' the Great Perfection. Ati means 'supreme.' [RY]
  • Awakened mind (byang chub kyi sems), bodhichitta. See under 'bodhichitta.' [RY]
  • Barchey Kunsel (bar chad kun sel). See under 'Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel.' [RY]
  • Bardo (bar do), antarabhava. 'Intermediate state.' Usually refers to the period between death and the next rebirth. For details of the four bardos, see Mirror of Mindfulness and Bardo Guidebook, Rangjung Yeshe Publications. [RY]
  • Bhikshu (dge slong). A practitioner who has renounced worldly life and taken the pledge to observe the 253 precepts of a fully ordained monk in order to attain liberation from samsara. [RY]
  • Bhumi (sa). The bodhisattva levels; the ten stages a bodhisattva proceeds through on the quest for complete and perfect enlightenment. These ten stages correspond to the last three of the five paths of Mahayana. See also 'ten bhumis.' [RY]
  • Bliss, clarity, and nonthought (bde gsal mi rtog pa). Three temporary meditation experiences. Fixation on them plants the seeds for rebirth in the three realms of samsara. Without fixation, they are adornments of the three kayas. [RY]
  • Blissful Realm (bde ba can), Sukhavati. The pure land of Buddha Amitabha in which a practitioner can take rebirth during the bardo of becoming through a combination of pure faith, sufficient merit, and one-pointed determination. [RY]
  • Bodhichitta (byang sems), (byang chub kyi sems). 'Awakened state of mind,' 'enlightened attitude.' 1) The aspiration to attain enlightenment for the sake of all beings. 2) In the context of Dzogchen, the innate wakefulness of awakened mind; synonymous with nondual awareness. [RY]
  • Bodhisattva (byang chub sems dpa'). Someone who has developed bodhichitta, the aspiration to attain enlightenment in order to benefit all sentient beings. A practitioner of the Mahayana path; especially a noble bodhisattva who has attained the first level. [RY]
  • Bodhisattva precepts (byang sdom). [RY]
  • Buddhahood (sangs rgyas). The perfect and complete enlightenment dwelling in neither samsara nor nirvana; the state of having eradicated all obscurations, endowed with the wisdom of seeing the nature of things as it is and with the wisdom of perceiving all that exists. [RY]
  • Burnt offerings (gsur). Smoke produced by burning flour mixed with pure food and sacred substances. This smoke, offered during a meditation on Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, can nourish the bardo consciousness as well as hungry ghosts. [RY]

C - D

  • Causal and resultant vehicles (rgyu dang 'bras bu'i theg pa). The teachings of Hinayana and Mahayana that regard the practices of the path as the causes for attaining the fruition of liberation and enlightenment and the Vajrayana system of taking fruition as the path by regarding buddhahood as inherently present and the path as the act of uncovering the basic state. The great master Longchenpa defined them as follows: "The causal vehicles are so called because of accepting a sequence of cause and effect, asserting that buddhahood is attained by increasing the qualities of the nature of the sugata essence, which is merely present as a seed, through the circumstance of the two accumulations. The resultant vehicles are so called because of asserting that the basis for purification is the]] (sugata) essence endowed with qualities that are spontaneously present as a natural possession in sentient beings, just as the sun is endowed with rays of light; that the objects of purification are the temporary defilements of the eight collections (of consciousnesses), like the sky being (temporarily) obscured by clouds; and that one realizes the result of purification, the primordially present nature, by means of that which purifies, the paths of ripening and liberation. Besides this, there is no difference (between the two) in sequence or quality." [RY]
  • Central channel (dbu ma), avadhuti. The central subtle channel within the body, running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. [RY]
  • Channel (rtsa). See 'nadi.' [RY]
  • Chetsun Nyingtig (lce btsun snying tig). One of the most important Dzogchen instructions, based on a transmission from Vimalamitra. Jamyang Khyentse had a vision of Chetsun Senge Wangchuk which inspired him to write the precious teaching known as Chetsun Nyingtig. Senge Wangchuk (11th-12th century]]) is among the lineage gurus in the Nyingtig transmission, which he received from his root guru, Dangma Lhungyal, as well as directly from Vimalamitra. As a result of his high level of realization, his physical body disappeared in rainbow light at the time of death. In a later reincarnation as Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, he remembered the Dzogchen teachings which Senge Wangchuk had transmitted to the dakini Palgyi Lodro and wrote them down as the terma Chetsun Nyingtig, the 'Heart Essence of Chetsun.' [RY]
  • Cho (gcod). Literally 'cutting.' A system of practices based on Prajnaparamita and set down by the Indian siddha Phadampa Sangye and the Tibetan female teacher Machig Labdron for the purpose of cutting through the four Maras and ego-clinging. One of the Eight Practice Lineages of Buddhism in Tibet. [RY]
  • Chokgyur Lingpa (mchog gyur gling pa). (1829-1870). A treasure revealer and contemporary of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul. Regarded as one of the major tertons in Tibetan history, his termas are widely practiced by both the Kagyu and Nyingma schools. For more details see The Life and Teachings of Chokgyur Lingpa (Rangjung Yeshe Publications). Chokgyur Lingpa means 'Sanctuary of Eminence.' [RY]
  • Clarity (gsal ba). See 'bliss, clarity and nonthought.' [RY]
  • Coemergent ignorance (lhan cig skyes pa'i ma rig pa). Ignorance that is coemergent with our innate nature and remains present as the potential for confusion to arise when meeting with the right conditions. [RY]
  • Cognitive obscuration (shes bya'i sgrib pa). The subtle obscuration of holding on to the concepts of subject, object and action. It is temporarily purified in the moment of recognizing the nature of mind, and utterly purified through the vajra-like samadhi at the end of the tenth bhumi. [RY]
  • Completion stage (rdzogs rim). See 'development and completion.' [RY]
  • Conceptual ignorance (kun brtags kyi ma rig pa). In Vajrayana, conceptual ignorance is the mind apprehending itself as subject and object; conceptual thinking. In the Sutra system, conceptual ignorance means superimposed or 'learned' wrong views; gross general beliefs that obscure the nature of things. [RY]
  • Conditioned virtue (zag bcas kyi dge ba). Spiritual practice in which a dualistic point of reference is used. Includes the preliminaries, seven branches and so forth. Unconditioned virtue is the recognition of buddha nature, often called 'threefold purity.' These two aspects of virtue gather the two accumulations, remove the two obscurations, manifest the twofold knowledge, and actualize the two kayas. [RY]
  • Constructs (spros pa). Any mental formulation. A conceptual fabrication that is not innate to the nature of mind. [RY]
  • Dakini (mkha' 'gro ma). 1) Spiritual beings who fulfill the enlightened activities; female tantric deities who protect and serve the Buddhist doctrine and practitioners. Also one of the 'Three Roots.' 2) Female enlightened practitioner of Vajrayana. [RY]
  • Dakini Teachings: Padmasambhava's Oral Instructions to Lady Tsogyal (Rangjung Yeshe Publications). A collection of the great master's advice from the revelations of Nyang Ral, Sangye Lingpa and Dorje Lingpa. Covers the topics of taking refuge, bodhisattva vows, the vajra master, yidam practice, retreat, and the qualities of fruition. [RY]
  • Dathim (brda' thim). Literally 'sign dissolved,' this word often occurs at the end of a terma. [RY]
  • Dakini (mkha' 'gro ma). 1) Spiritual beings who fulfill the enlightened activities; female tantric deities who protect and serve the Buddhist doctrine and practitioners. Also one of the 'Three Roots.' 2) Enlightened female practitioner of Vajrayana. [RY]
  • Denma Tsemang (ldan ma rtse mang). Important early Tibetan translator of the Tripitaka. Extremely well-versed in writing, his style of calligraphy has continued to the present day. Having received Vajrayana transmission from Padmasambhava, he had realization and achieved perfect recall. He is said to be the chief scribe who wrote down many termas, including the Assemblage of Sugatas, connected to the Eight Sadhana Teachings. [RY]
  • Dependent origination (rten cing 'brel bar 'byung ba). The natural law that all phenomena arise 'dependent upon' their own causes 'in connection with' their individual conditions. The fact that no phenomena appear without a cause and none are made by an uncaused creator. Everything arises exclusively due to and dependent upon the coincidence of causes and conditions without which they cannot possibly appear. [RY]
  • Development and completion (bskyed rdzogs). The two main aspects, 'means and knowledge,' of Vajrayana practice. Briefly stated, development stage means positive mental fabrication while completion stage means resting in the unfabricated nature of mind. The essence of the development stage is 'pure perception' or 'sacred outlook,' which means to perceive sights, sounds and thoughts as deity, mantra and wisdom. 'Completion stage with marks' means yogic practices such as tummo, inner heat. 'Completion stage without marks' is the practice of Dzogchen and Mahamudra. [RY]
  • Development stage (bskyed rim). See 'development and completion.' [RY]
  • Dharma protector (chos skyong). Nonhumans who vow to protect and guard the teachings of the Buddha and its followers. Dharma protectors can be either 'mundane' (virtuous samsaric beings) or 'wisdom Dharma protectors' (emanations of buddhas or bodhisattvas). [RY]
  • Dharmadhatu (chos kyi dbyings). The 'realm of phenomena;' the suchness in which emptiness and dependent origination are inseparable. The nature of mind and phenomena which lies beyond arising, dwelling and ceasing. [RY]
  • Dharmakaya (chos sku). The first of the three kayas, which is devoid of constructs, like space. The 'body' of enlightened qualities. Should be understood individually according to ground, path and fruition. [RY]
  • Dharmaraja, the Lord of Death (gshin rje chos rgyal). Our mortality; a personification of impermanence and the unfailing law of cause and effect. [RY]
  • Dharmata (chos nyid). The innate nature of phenomena and mind. [RY]
  • Dhyana (bsam gtan). The state of concentrated mind and also the name for god realms produced through such mental concentration. See also under 'four dhyana states.' [RY]
  • Disturbing emotions (nyon mongs pa). The five poisons of desire, anger, delusion, pride, and envy which tire, disturb, and torment one's mind. The perpetuation of these disturbing emotions is one of the main causes of samsaric existence. [RY]
  • Don (gdon). A negative force; a type of evil spirit. [RY]
  • Dorje Dudjom of Nanam (sna nam pa rdo rje bdud 'joms). One of king Trisong Deutsen's ministers, sent to Nepal to invite Padmasambhava to Tibet. A mantrika who had reached perfection in the two stages of development and completion, he could fly with the speed of the wind and traverse solid matter. Rigdzin Godem (1337-1408) and Pema Trinley (1641-1718), the great vidyadhara of Dorje Drak monastery in central Tibet, are both considered reincarnations of Dorje Dudjom. Dorje Dudjom means 'Indestructible Subduer of Mara.' [RY]
  • Drenpa Namkha (dran pa nam mkha'). Tibetan translator and disciple of Padmasambhava, originally an influential Bonpo priest. Later he studied with Padmasambhava and also learned translation. He is said to have tamed a wild yak simply by a threatening gesture. He offered numerous Bonpo teachings to Padmasambhava who then concealed them as terma treasures. Drenpa Namkha means 'Space of Mindfulness.' [RY]
  • Drib (grib). Defilement, obscuration caused by contact with impure people or their things. [RY]
  • Drubchen ceremony (sgrub chen). Great accomplishment practice; a sadhana practice undertaken by a group of people which goes on uninterruptedly for seven days. [RY]
  • Dzongsar Khyentse Chokyi Lodro (rdzong gsar mkhyen brtse chos kyi blo gros). One of five reincarnations of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. He was a great master upholding the Rimey (nonsectarian) tradition, as well as being one of the two main root gurus of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse. His three reincarnations live presently at Bir, Himachal Pradesh; in Dordogne, France; and in Boudhanath, Nepal. Dzongsar means 'New Castle,' Khyentse means 'Loving Wisdom,' and Chokyi Lodro means 'Intellect of the Dharma.' [RY]

E - F

  • Early Translations (snga 'gyur). A synonym for the Old School, the Nyingma tradition. The teachings translated before the great translator Rinchen Sangpo, during the reigns of the Tibetan kings Trisong Deutsen and Ralpachen. [RY]
  • Earth terma (sa gter). A revelation based on physical substance, often in the form of dakini script, a vajra, a statue, etc. Compare with 'mind terma.' [RY]
  • Eight collections of consciousnesses (rnam shes tshogs brgyad): the all-ground consciousness, the defiled mental consciousness, the mental cognition, and the cognitions of eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body. [RY]
  • Eight Lingpas (gling pa brgyad). Sangye, Dorje, Rinchen, Padma, Ratna, Kunkyong, Do-ngag and Tennyi Lingpa. [RY]
  • Eight Sadhana Teachings (sgrub pa bka' brgyad). Eight chief yidam deities of Mahayoga and their corresponding tantras and sadhanas: Manjushri Body, Lotus Speech, Vishuddha Mind, Nectar Quality, Kilaya Activity, Liberating Sorcery of Mother Deities, Maledictory Fierce Mantra, and Mundane Worship. Often the name refers to a single practice involving complex mandalas with numerous deities. [RY]
  • Eight worldly concerns ('jig rten chos brgyad). Attachment to gain, pleasure, praise and fame, and aversion to loss, pain, blame and bad reputation. [RY]
  • Enhancement (bogs 'don). Various practices with the purpose of stabilizing insight. According to Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, the main enhancement practice is the cultivation of devotion and compassion. [RY]
  • Essence kaya (ngo bo nyid kyi sku); Skt. svabhavikakaya. The 'essence body,' sometimes counted as the fourth kaya, and constituting the unity of the three kayas. Jamgon Kongtrul defines it as the aspect of dharmakaya which is 'the nature of all phenomena, emptiness devoid of all constructs and endowed with the characteristic of natural purity.' [RY]
  • Essence mantra (snying po'i sngags). The short form of the mantra of a yidam deity as opposed to the longer dharani mantra; for example 'om mani padme hung.' [RY]
  • Essence, nature, and capacity (ngo bo rang bzhin thugs rje). The three aspects of the sugata-garbha according to the Dzogchen system. Essence is the primordially pure wisdom of emptiness. The nature is the spontaneously present wisdom of cognizance. The capacity is the all-pervasive wisdom of indivisibility. This is, ultimately, the identity of the Three Roots, the Three Jewels and the three kayas. [RY]
  • Eternalism (rtag lta). The belief that there is a permanent and causeless creator of everything; in particular, that one's identity or consciousness has a concrete essence which is independent, everlasting and singular. [RY]
  • Father Tantra (pha rgyud). One of the three aspects of Anuttara Yoga which place emphasis on the development stage. [RY]
  • Feast offering (tshogs kyi 'khor lo), Skt. ganachakra. A feast assembly performed by Vajrayana practitioners to accumulate merit and purify the sacred commitments. [RY]
  • Five king-like tertons (gter ston rgyal po lnga). One list of the Five Terton Kings contains Nyang Ral Nyima Özer (1124-1192), Guru Chokyi Wangchuk (1212-1270), Dorje Lingpa (1346-1405), Pema Lingpa (1445/50-1521), and (Padma Ösel Do-ngak Lingpa (Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo) (1820-1892). Sometimes the list also includes the great terton Rigdzin Godem (1337-1408). [RY]
  • Five paths (lam lnga). The five paths or stages on the way to enlightenment: the path of accumulation, joining, seeing, cultivation, and consummation or no more learning. [RY]
  • Five poisons (dug lnga). Desire, anger, delusion, pride, and envy. [RY]
  • Formless Realms (gzugs med kyi khams). The abodes of unenlightened beings who have practiced formless meditative states, dwelling on the notions: Infinite Space, Infinite Consciousness, Nothing Whatsoever, and Neither Presence Nor Absence (of conception). These beings remain in these four subtle types of conceptual meditation for many aeons after which they again return to lower states within samsara. [RY]
  • Four dhyana states of serenity (snyoms 'jug gi bsam gtan bzhi). The first dhyana is a state with both concept and discernment. The second dhyana is a state without concept but with discernment. The third dhyana is a state without delight but with bliss. The fourth dhyana is a state of equanimity. [RY]
  • Four formless states of serenity (gzugs med kyi snyoms 'jug bzhi). See 'Formless Realms.' [RY]
  • Four modes (tshul bzhi). Four levels of meaning: the literal, the general, the hidden, and the ultimate. [RY]
  • Four root precepts (rtsa ba bzhi). To refrain from killing, stealing, lying, and sexual misconduct. [RY]
  • Freedoms and riches (dal 'byor). See under 'precious human body.' [RY]
  • Fruition ('bras bu). The result, usually the end of a spiritual path. One of the three levels of enlightenment of a shravaka, pratyekabuddha or bodhisattva. In Mahayana the state of complete and perfect buddhahood; in Vajrayana the 'unified state of a vajra-holder,' in this book expressed as the '25 attributes of fruition.' See also 'view, meditation, action and fruition.' [RY]


  • Garab Dorje (dga' rab rdo rje), Skt. Surati Vajra, Prahevajra, Pramoda Vajra. The incarnation of Semlhag Chen, a god who earlier had been empowered by the buddhas. Immaculately conceived, his mother was a nun, the daughter of King Uparaja, Dhahenatalo or Indrabhuti, of Uddiyana. Garab Dorje received all the tantras, scriptures and oral instructions of Dzogchen from Vajrasattva and Vajrapani in person and became the first human vidyadhara in the Dzogchen lineage. Having reached the state of complete enlightenment through the effortless Great Perfection, Garab Dorje transmitted the teachings to his retinue of exceptional beings. Manjushrimitra is regarded as his chief disciple. Padmasambhava is also known to have received the transmission of the Dzogchen tantras directly from Garab Dorje's wisdom form. Garab Dorje means 'Indestructible joy.' [RY]
  • Glorious Mountain in Chamara / Glorious Copper Colored Mountain (rnga g.yab zangs mdog dpal ri). The terrestrial pure land of Guru Rinpoche situated on the subcontinent Chamara to the south-east of the Jambu Continent. Chamara is the central of a configuration of nine islands inhabited by savage rakshas. In the middle of Chamara rises the majestic red colored mountain into the skies. On its summit lies the magical palace Lotus Light, manifested from the natural expression of primordial wakefulness. Here resides Padmasambhava in an indestructible bodily form transcending birth and death for as long as samsara continues and through which he incessantly brings benefit to beings through magical emanations of his body, speech and mind. [RY]
  • Gongpa Sangtal (dgongs pa zang thal). A tantric scripture in five volumes concealed by Guru Rinpoche and revealed by Rigdzin Godem, the master who founded the Jangter tradition of the Nyingma school. Contains the renowned 'Aspiration of Samantabhadra.' Gongpa Sangtal means 'Unimpeded realization,' and is an abbreviation of 'Showing Directly the Realization of Samantabhadra']] (kun tu bzang po'i dgongs pa zang thal du bstan pa). [RY]
  • Great Cave of Puri / Crystal Cave of Puri Phugmoche (spu ri phug mo che shel gyi brag phug). The treasure site of Sangye Lingpa in the Puwo district bordering Assam, where he revealed the Lama Gongdu cycle. [RY]
  • Great Perfection (rdzogs pa chen po, Skt. mahasandhi. The third of the Three Inner Tantras of the Nyingma School. The Great Perfection is the ultimate of all the 84,000 profound and extensive sections of the Dharma, the realization of Buddha Samantabhadra, exactly as it is. See also 'Dzogchen' or 'Ati Yoga.' [RY]
  • Guhyasamaja (gsang ba 'dus pa). Literally, 'Assembly of Secrets.' One of the major tantras and yidams of the New School. [RY]
  • Guru Chowang (gu ru chos dbang). One of the Five Terton Kings. (1212-1270). For details, see the H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche's The Nyingma Lineage, its History and Fundamentals, Wisdom Publications. Guru Chowang means 'Master Lord of the Dharma.' [RY]
  • Gyalpo spirits (rgyal po). A type of mischievous spirit, sometimes counted among the 'eight classes of gods and demons.' When subdued by a great master, they can also act as guardians of the Buddhadharma. [RY]
  • Gyalwa Cho-yang of Nganlam (ngan lam rgyal ba mchog dbyangs). A close disciple of Guru Rinpoche who attained accomplishment through the practice of Hayagriva and was later incarnated as the Karmapas. [RY]
  • Gyalwa Jangchub of Lasum (la gsum rgyal ba byang chub). One of the first seven Tibetans to receive full ordination as a monk by Shantarakshita, he was exceedingly intelligent, visited India several times and translated many sacred scriptures. A close disciple of Padmasambhava, he attained siddhi and could fly through the sky. Rigdzin Kunzang Sherab, the founder of the great Palyul Monastery in Kham, is considered one of his reincarnations. Gyalwa Jangchub means 'Victorious enlightenment.' [RY]
  • Gyalwey Lodro of Drey ('bre rgyal ba'i blo gros). Beginning as Gonpo, a trusted attendant of Trisong Deutsen, he became one of the first Tibetans to take ordination, taking the name Gyalwey Lodro, Victorious Intelligence. He became erudite in translation and attained accomplishment after receiving transmission from Hungkara in India. It is said that he visited the land of Yama, the Lord of the Dead, and saved his mother from the hell realms. After receiving teachings from Padmasambhava, he performed the feat of transforming a zombie into gold, some of which was later revealed in terma treasures. He achieved the vidyadhara level of longevity and is reputed to have lived until the era of Rongzom Pandita Chokyi Sangpo]] (rong zom chos kyi bzang po) (1012-1088), to whom he gave teachings. Gyalwey Lodro means 'Victorious wisdom.' [RY]

H - J

  • Hayagriva (rta mgrin). Tantric deity shown with a horse's head within his flaming hair; wrathful aspect of Buddha Amitabha. Here identical with Padma Heruka, Lotus Speech, among the Eight Sadhana Teachings. [RY]
  • Hearing Lineage (nyan brgyud). The lineage of oral teachings from master to disciple as distinct from scriptural lineage of textual transmission. The Hearing Lineage emphasizes the key points of oral instruction rather than elaborate philosophical learning. [RY]
  • Heart Essence (snying thig). In general identical with the Instruction Section, the third of three division of Dzogchen. In particular it refers to the Innermost Unexcelled Cycle of Heart Essence]] (yang gsang bla na med pa'i snying thig gi skor), the fourth of the four divisions of the Instruction Section according to the arrangement of Shri Singha. All lineages of the Innermost Essence passed through Shri Singha and continued in Tibet through his personal disciples, Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra. In the 14th century these two lineages passed through Rangjung Dorje, the third Karmapa, and his close Dharma friend Longchen Rabjam (1308-1363), the latter of which systematized these teachings in his great body of writings. The Nyingtig teachings have also appeared through many other lines of transmission; for instance, each major terton reveals an independent cycle of Dzogchen instructions. The practice of the innermost Heart Essence is continued to this very day. [RY]
  • Heat of samadhi (ting nge 'dzin gyi drod). Sign of progress or accomplishment in meditation. [RY]
  • Higher perceptions (mngon par shes pa). See 'superknowledges.' [RY]
  • Hinayana (theg pa dman pa). The vehicles focused on contemplation of the four noble truths and the twelve links of dependent origination, the practice of which brings liberation from cyclic existence. When used in a derogative sense, the Hinayana attitude refers to the narrow pursuit of a spiritual path simply for the sake of individual liberation rather than for the enlightenment of all sentient beings. [RY]
  • Hundred syllable mantra (yig brgya). The mantra of the buddha Vajrasattva consisting of one hundred syllables. [RY]
  • Ignorant all-ground / ignorant aspect of the all-ground (kun gzhi ma rig pa'i cha). Synonymous with coemergent ignorance. [RY]
  • Innate nature (chos nyid). See under 'dharmata.' [RY]
  • Innermost Unexcelled Cycle of the Great Perfection (rdzogs pa chen po yang gsang bla na med pa'i skor). [RY]
  • Jamgon Kongtrul ('jam mgon kong sprul). (1813-1899). Also known as Lodro Thaye, Yonten Gyamtso, Padma Garwang and by his terton name Padma Tennyi Yungdrung Lingpa. He was one of the most prominent Buddhist masters in the 19th century and placed special focus upon a non-sectarian attitude. Renowned as an accomplished master, scholar and writer, he authored more than 100 volumes of scriptures. The most well known are his Five Treasuries, among which are the 63 volumes of the Rinchen Terdzo, the terma literature of the one hundred great tertons. [RY]
  • Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo ('jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse'i dbang po). (1820-1892). A great master of the last century. He was the last of the Five Great Tertons and was regarded as the combined reincarnation of Vimalamitra and King Trisong Deutsen. He became the master and teacher of all the Buddhist schools of Tibet and the founder of the Rimey movement. There are ten volumes of his works in addition to his termas. Jamyang means 'Manjushri, gentle melodiousness,' Khyentse Wangpo means 'Lord of loving wisdom.' [RY]
  • Jnana Kumara of Nyag (gnyag jna na ku ma ra),]] (ye shes gzhon nu). Jnana Kumara means 'Youthful Wakefulness.' Early Tibetan monk and expert translator who received the Four Great Rivers of Transmission from Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra, Vairotsana and Yudra Nyingpo. He worked closely with Vimalamitra in translating tantras of Mahayoga and Ati Yoga. He is also known as Nyag Lotsawa and by his secret initiation name Drimey Dashar, 'Flawless Moonlight.' His initiation flower, along with Trisong Deutsen's, fell on Chemchok Heruka. Subsequently, he received the transmission of Nectar Medicine from Padmasambhava. He practiced in the Crystal Cave of Yarlung, where he drew water from solid rock; it is said this water still flows today. Among his later incarnations is Dabzang Rinpoche, a 19th-century contemporary of Jamgon Kongtrul the First. Jnana Kumara means 'Youthful Wakefulness.' [RY]
  • Joyous bhumi (sa rab tu dga' ba). The first of ten bodhisattva stages; liberation from samsara and realization of the truth of reality. [RY]


  • Kadag Rangjung Rangshar (ka dag rang byung rang shar). The title of one of the five volumes contained in Gongpa Sangtal. Kadag Rangjung Rangshar means 'self-existing and self-manifest primordial purity.' [RY]
  • Karma Pakshi (karma pakshi). (1204-1283). The second in the line of Karmapa incarnations and is regarded as the first recognized Tibetan tulku. The name Pakshi is Mongolian for 'master,' a title he became renowned under after being given a high religious position by the Mongolian emperor. Among his disciples is the great siddha Orgyenpa Rinchen Pal (1230-1309). [RY]
  • Kawa Paltsek (ska ba dpal brtsegs). Direct disciple of both Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita; important contributor to the translation of the Tibetan Tripitaka and the Nyingma Gyubum. Born in Phen Valley, he became an eminent translator in accordance with a prophecy by Padmasambhava, and was among the first seven Tibetan monks ordained by Shantarakshita. He received Vajrayana teachings from the great master Padma and attained unimpeded clairvoyance. Kawa is a place name and Paltsek means 'Mountain of resplendence.' [RY]
  • Kayas (sku). 'Body' in the sense of a body or embodiment of numerous qualities. When speaking of two kayas: dharmakaya and rupakaya. The three kayas are dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya. See also 'three kayas.' [RY]
  • Khandro Nyingtig (mkha' 'gro snying thig). Khandro Nyingtig means 'Heart Essence of the Dakinis.' A profound collection of Dzogchen teachings transmitted through Padmasambhava to Princess Pema Sal. Is included within the famous Nyingtig Yabshi. [RY]
  • Khenpo (mkhan po). A title for one who has completed the major course of studies of about ten years' duration of the traditional branches of Buddhist philosophy, logic, Vinaya and so forth. Can also refer to the abbot of a monastery or the preceptor from whom one receives ordination. [RY]
  • Khenpo Ngakchung alias Khenpo Ngawang Palsang (mkhan po ngag dbang dpal bzang). (1879-1941). A khenpo at Katok and a very important reviver of the scholastic lineage of expounding the Dzogchen scriptures. Considered to be incarnation of both Vimalamitra and Longchenpa. Chadral Sangye Dorje is one of his last living disciples. [RY]
  • Kilaya (phur pa). The tantras about and the tantric deity Vajra Kilaya. [RY]
  • Konchok Chidu (dkon mchog spyi 'dus). The 'Embodiment of the Precious Ones.' A terma cycle revealed by the great Jatson Nyingpo (1585-1656) focused on Padmasambhava. He transmitted this set of teachings first to Dudul Dorje (1615-1672). Large portions of this material are translated into English by Peter Roberts. [RY]
  • Konchok Jungney of Langdro (lang gro dkon mchog 'byung gnas). At first a minister at the court of Trisong Deutsen, he later became one of Padmasambhava's close disciples and attained accomplishment. The great tertons Ratna Lingpa (1403-1471) and Longsal Nyingpo (1625-1692) are considered to be among his reincarnations. Konchok Jungney means 'Source of the Precious Ones.' [RY]
  • Kriya Yoga (bya ba'i rnal 'byor). The first of the three outer tantras which places emphasis on cleanliness and pure conduct. The scriptures of Kriya Tantra appeared first in Varanasi. [RY]
  • Kunzang Tuktig (kun bzang thugs thig). The 'Heart Essence of Samantabhadra.' A collection of terma teachings revealed by Chokgyur Lingpa focused on the peaceful and wrathful deities. [RY]


  • Lama Gongdu (bla ma dgongs 'dus). Cycle revealed by Sangye Lingpa (1340-96) in 18 volumes of approximately 700 pages each. Lama Gongdu means 'embodiment of the master's realization.' [RY]
  • Lama Sangdu (bla ma gsang 'dus). A terma discovered by Guru Chowang (1212-1270), one of the earliest and most important tertons. It focuses on the guru principle as Padmasambhava's sambhogakaya form of the fivefold mandala of Totreng Tsal. Lama Sangdu means 'embodiment of the master's secrets.' [RY]
  • Learning, reflection and meditation (thos bsam sgom gsum). 'Learning' means receiving oral teachings and studying scriptures in order to clear away ignorance and wrong views. 'Reflection' is to eradicate uncertainty and misunderstanding through carefully thinking over the subject. 'Meditation' means to gain direct insight through applying the teachings in one's personal experience. [RY]
  • Lobpon Bodhisattva, alias Shantarakshita (zhi ba 'tsho), 'Guardian of Peace.' The Indian pandita and abbot of Vikramashila and of Samye who ordained the first Tibetan monks. He was an incarnation of the bodhisattva Vajrapani and is also known as Khenpo Bodhisattva or Bhikshu Bodhisattva Shantarakshita. He is the founder of a philosophical school combining Madhyamika and Yogachara. This tradition was reestablished and clarified by Mipham Rinpoche in his commentary on the Madhyamaka Alamkara. [RY]
  • Lokyi Chungpa (lo ki chung pa). A close disciple of Padmasambhava who became a Buddhist translator while very young, hence his name. He is also known as Khyeu-chung Lotsawa, 'Boy Translator.' Among his later incarnations are the terton Dudul Dorje (1615-1672), Dudjom Lingpa (1835-1903), and H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje (1904-1987). [RY]
  • Longchenpa alias Longchen Rabjam (klong chen pa),]] (klong chen rab 'byams). (1308-1363) An incarnation of Princess Pema Sal, the daughter of King Trisong Deutsen, to whom Guru Rinpoche had entrusted his own lineage of Dzogchen known as Khandro Nyingtig. He is single-handedly regarded as the most important writer on Dzogchen teachings. His works include the Seven Great Treasuries, the Three Trilogies and his commentaries in the Nyingtig Yabshi. A more detailed account of his life and teachings is found in Buddha Mind by Tulku Thondup Rinpoche]] (Snow Lion Publications), 1989. Longchenpa means 'Great expanse.' [RY]
  • Lord of Death (gshin rje). 1) A personification of impermanence and the unfailing law of cause and effect. 2)]] ('chi bdag) The demon with this name is one of the four Maras; see under 'Mara.' [RY]
  • Luminosity ('od gsal). Literally 'free from the darkness of unknowing and endowed with the ability to cognize.' The two aspects are 'empty luminosity,' like a clear open sky, which is the cognizant quality of the nature of mind; and 'manifest luminosity,' such as five-colored lights, images, and so forth. Luminosity is the uncompounded nature present throughout all of samsara and nirvana. [RY]


  • Machig Labdron (ma gcig lab sgron). (1031-1129). The great female master who set down the Cho practice, cutting through ego-clinging. Disciple and consort of the Indian master Phadampa Sangye. Machig Labdron means 'Only Mother Lamp of Dharma.' [RY]
  • Mahayana (theg pa chen po). 'Greater vehicle.' When using the term 'greater and lesser vehicles,' Mahayana and Hinayana, Mahayana includes the tantric vehicles while Hinayana is comprised of the teachings for shravakas and pratyekabuddhas. The connotation of 'greater' or 'lesser' refers to the scope of aspiration, the methods applied and the depth of insight. Central to Mahayana practice is the bodhisattva vow to liberate all sentient beings through means and knowledge, compassion and insight into emptiness. Mahayana's two divisions are known as Mind Only and Middle Way. The sevenfold greatness of Mahayana mentioned in Maitreya's Ornament of the Sutras are explained by Jamgon Kongtrul in his All-encompassing Knowledge: "The greatness of focus on the immense collection of Mahayana teachings, the greatness of the means of accomplishing the welfare of both self and others, the greatness of wisdom that realizes the twofold egolessness, the greatness of diligent endeavor for three incalculable aeons, the greatness of skillful means such as not abandoning samsaric existence and enacting the seven unvirtuous actions of body and speech without disturbing emotions, the greatness of true accomplishment of the ten strengths, the fourfold fearlessness, and the unique qualities of the awakened ones, and the greatness of activity that is spontaneous and unceasing." [RY]
  • Mahayoga (rnal 'byor chen po). The first of the 'Three Inner Tantras.' Mahayoga as scripture is divided into two parts: Tantra Section and Sadhana Section. The Tantra Section consists of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras while the Sadhana Section is comprised of the Eight Sadhana Teachings. Jamgon Kongtrul says in his Treasury of Knowledge: "Mahayoga emphasizes means]] (upaya), the development stage, and the view that liberation is attained through growing accustomed to the insight into the nature of the indivisibility of the superior two truths." The superior two truths in Mahayoga are purity and equality - the pure natures of the aggregates, elements and sense factors are the male and female buddhas and bodhisattvas. At the same time, everything that appears and exists is of the equal nature of emptiness. [RY]
  • Mamo (ma mo). Abbreviation of 'Mundane Mother Deities']] ('jig rten ma mo). One of the Eight Sadhana Teachings. Female divinities manifested out of dharmadhatu but appearing in ways that correspond to mundane appearances through the interrelationship between the mundane world and the channels, winds, and essences within our body. They have both an ultimate and relative aspect. The chief figure in this mandala is Chemchok Heruka, the wrathful form of Buddha Samantabhadra in the form known as Ngondzok Gyalpo, the King of True Perfection. [RY]
  • Mandala (dkyil 'khor). 1) 'Center and surrounding.' Usually a deity along with its surrounding environment. A mandala is a symbolic, graphic representation of a tantric deity's realm of existence. 2) A mandala offering is an offering visualized as the entire universe, as well as the arrangement of offerings in tantric ritual. [RY]
  • Mandarava (man da ra ba me tog). Princess of Zahor and close disciple of Guru Rinpoche. One of his five main consorts. Her name refers to the coral tree, Erythrina Indica, one of the five trees of paradise, which has brilliant scarlet flowers. She is said to be identical with the dakini Niguma and the yogini by the name Adorned with Human Bone Ornaments. In The Precious Garland of Lapis Lazuli, Jamgon Kongtrul says, "Born as the daughter of Vihardhara, the king of Zahor, and Queen Mohauki accompanied by miraculous signs, (and because of her great beauty), many kings from India and China vied to take her as their bride. Nevertheless, she had an unshakable renunciation and entered the gate of the Dharma. Padmasambhava perceived that she was to be his disciple and accepted her as his spiritual consort, but the king, fearing that his bloodline would be contaminated, had the master burned alive. When Padmasambhava showed the miracle of transforming the mass of fire into a lake, the king gained faith and without hesitation offered his entire kingdom and the princess. When the king requested teachings, Padmasambhava showered upon twenty-one disciples the great rain of the Dharma by transmitting the tantras, scriptures and oral instructions of Kadu Chokyi Gyamtso, the Dharma Ocean Embodying All Teachings. Thus, the master established the king and his ministers on the vidyadhara levels. Guru Rinpoche accepted her as his consort and in Maratika, the Cave of Bringing Death to and End, both master and consort displayed the manner of achieving the unified vajra body on the vidyadhara level of life mastery. Mandarava remained in India and has directly and indirectly brought a tremendous benefit to beings. In Tibet, she appeared miraculously at the great Dharma Wheel of Tramdruk where she exchanged symbolic praises and replies with Guru Rinpoche. The details of this are recorded extensively in the Padma Kathang. An independent life story of Mandarava is found in the collected writings of Orgyen Lingpa. Mandarava was a wisdom dakini among whose different names and manifestations are counted the yogini Adorned with Human Bone Ornaments, Mirukyi Gyenchen, at the time of Lord Marpa, Risulkyi Naljorma at the time of Nyen Lotsawa, and Drubpey Gyalmo at the time of Rechungpa. Mandarava is also accepted as being Chushingi Nyemachen, the consort of Maitripa, as well as the dakini Niguma. Her compassionate emanations and her blessings are beyond any doubt and since she attained the indestructible rainbow body she is surely present (in the world) right now." [RY]
  • Mantra (sngags). 1) A synonym for Vajrayana. 2) A particular combination of sounds symbolizing and communicating the nature of a deity and which lead to purification and realization, for example OM MANI PADME HUNG. There are chiefly three types of mantra: guhya mantra, vidya mantra and dharani mantra. [RY]
  • Mantra vehicle (sngags; sngags kyi theg pa). Same as Mantrayana. See under Vajrayana. [RY]
  • Mantrayana (sngags kyi theg pa). Syn. for Secret Mantra or Vajrayana. [RY]
  • Mantrika (sngags pa). A practitioner of Vajrayana. [RY]
  • Mara (bdud). Demon or demonic influence that creates obstacles for practice and enlightenment. Mythologically said be a powerful god who dwells in the highest abode in the Realm of Desire; the master of illusion who attempted to prevent the Buddha from attaining enlightenment at Bodhgaya. For the Dharma practitioner, Mara symbolizes one's own ego-clinging and preoccupation with the eight worldly concerns. Generally, there are four maras or obstructions to practice of the Dharma: those of defilements, death and the aggregates, and the godly mara of seduction. Sometimes the four maras are mentioned by name; Lord of Death, Godly Son, Klesha and Skandha. [RY]
  • Master (bla ma). In the Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo, Padmasambhava says: "The vajra master, the root of the path, is someone who has the pure conduct of samaya and vows. He is fully adorned with learning, has discerned it through reflection, and through meditation he possesses the qualities and signs of experience and realization. With his compassionate action he accepts disciples." In short, someone with the correct view and genuine compassion. [RY]
  • Master of Uddiyana (o rgyan gyi slob dpon). Another name for Padmasambhava. [RY]
  • Means and knowledge (thabs dang shes rab); Skt. prajna and upaya. Buddhahood is attained by uniting means and knowledge; in Mahayana, compassion and emptiness, relative and ultimate bodhichitta. In Vajrayana, means and knowledge are the stages of development and completion. According to the Kagyu schools, means refers specifically to the 'path of means,' the Six Doctrines of Naropa and knowledge to the 'path of liberation,' the actual practice of Mahamudra. According to Dzogchen, 'knowledge' is the view of primordial purity, the Trekcho practice of realizing the heart of enlightenment in the present moment, while 'means' is the meditation of spontaneous presence, the Togal practice of exhausting defilements and fixation through which the rainbow body is realized within one lifetime. [RY]
  • Meditation (sgom pa). In the context of Mahamudra or Dzogchen practice, meditation is the act of growing accustomed to or sustaining the continuity of the recognition of our buddha nature as pointed out by a qualified master. In the context of learning, contemplating and meditating, it means the act of assimilating the teachings into one's personal experience, then growing accustomed to them through actual practice. [RY]
  • Milarepa (mi la ras pa). (1040-1123). One of the most famous yogis and poets in Tibetan religious history. Much of the teachings of the Karma Kagyu schools passed through him. For more details read The Life of Milarepa and The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa]] (Shambhala Publications). His name means 'Cotton-clad Mila.' [RY]
  • Mind Only School (sems tsam pa), Chittamatra. A Mahayana school of Buddhist philosophy propagated by the great master Asanga and his followers. Founded on the Lankavatara Sutra and other scriptures, its main premise is that all phenomena are only mind, i.e. mental perceptions that appear within the all-ground consciousness due to habitual tendencies. Positively, this view relinquishes the fixation on a solid reality. Negatively, there is still clinging to a truly existing 'mind' within which everything takes place. [RY]
  • Mind terma (dgongs gter). A revelation directly within the mind of a great master, without the need for a terma of material substance. The teachings revealed in this way were implanted within the 'indestructible sphere' at the time when the master in a former life was one of Padmasambhava's disciples. [RY]
  • Mother Tantra (ma rgyud). One of the three aspects of Anuttara Yoga which places emphasis on completion stage or prajna. Sometimes equivalent to Anu Yoga. [RY]
  • Mount Sumeru and the four continents, Mount Sumeru (ri rab lhun po gling bzhi dang bcas pa). The mythological giant mountain at the center of our world-system surrounded by the four continents, where the two lowest classes of gods of the Desire Realm live. It is encircled by chains of lesser mountains, lakes, continents, and oceans and is said to rise 84,000 leagues above sea-level. Our present world is situated on the southern continent called Jambudvipa. [RY]

N - O

  • Nadi (rtsa). The channels in the vajra body through which the energy currents move. [RY]
  • Nadi-knots (rtsa mdud). Sometimes the equivalent of chakra, a major junction or meeting point of channels, sometimes a subtle blockage that needs to be untied through yogic practices. [RY]
  • Namkhai Nyingpo of Nub (gnubs nam mkha'i snying po). Born in the district of Lower Nyal, he was one of the first Tibetans to take ordination. An adept translator, he journeyed to India where he received transmission from Hungkara and attained the body of nondual wisdom. [RY]
  • Nanam Yeshe, alias Yeshe Dey of Nanam (sna nam ye shes sde). Also known as Bandey Yeshe Dey of Shang]] (zhang gi bhan dhe ye shes sde). A prolific translator of more than 200 scriptures and a disciple of Padmasambhava, this learned and accomplished monk once exhibited his miraculous powers, attained through mastery of Vajra Kilaya, by soaring through the sky like a bird. Yeshe mean 'original wakefulness.' [RY]
  • Nihilism (chad lta). Literally, 'the view of discontinuance.' The extreme view of nothingness: no rebirth or karmic effects, and the nonexistence of a mind after death. [RY]
  • Nine gradual vehicles (theg pa rim pa dgu). Shravaka, Pratyekabuddha, Bodhisattva, Kriya, Upa, Yoga, Maha Yoga, Anu Yoga, and Ati Yoga. The first two are Hinayana; the third is Mahayana; the next three are the Three Outer Tantras; and the last three are called the Three Inner Tantras. [RY]
  • Nine serene states of successive abiding (mthar gyis gnas pa'i snyoms par 'jug pa dgu). The four dhyanas, the four formless states, and the shravaka's samadhi of peace, also known as the serenity of cessation. [RY]
  • Nirmanakaya (sprul sku). 'Emanation body,' 'form of magical apparition.' The third of the three kayas. The aspect of enlightenment that can be perceived by ordinary beings. [RY]
  • Nonarising nature of mind (sems nyid skye ba med pa). In the aspect of ultimate truth, all phenomena are devoid of an independent, concrete identity and have therefore no basis for such attributes as 'arising, dwelling or ceasing' i.e. coming into being, remaining in time and place, and ceasing to exist. [RY]
  • Nonthought (mi rtog pa). See 'bliss, clarity and nonthought.' [RY]
  • Nyang Ral (nyang ral). Short for Nyang Ral Nyima Özer. [RY]
  • Nyang Ral Nyima Özer (nyang ral nyi ma 'od zer). (1124-1192). The first of the Five Terton Kings and a reincarnation of King Trisong Deutsen. Several of his revealed treasures are included in the Rinchen Terdzo, among which the most well known is the Kagye Deshek Dupa, a cycle of teachings focusing on the Eight Sadhana Teachings, and the biography of Guru Rinpoche called Sanglingma, now published as The Lotus-born]] (Shambhala). Nyang Ral means 'Braided one from Nyang,' and Nyima Özer means 'Ray of sun light.' [RY]
  • Nyingtig Yabzhi (snying thig ya bzhi). One of the most famous collections of Dzogchen scriptures. [RY]
  • Original wakefulness (ye shes). Usually translated as 'wisdom.' Basic cognizance independent of intellectual constructs. [RY]

P - Q

  • Padma Garwang Lodro Thaye (padma gar dbang blo gros mtha' yas). Another name for Jamgon Kongtrul. Padma Garwang means 'Lotus Lord of the Dance,' and Lodro Thaye means 'Boundless Wisdom.' [RY]
  • Palgyi Dorje Wangchuk of Lhalung alias Lhalung Palgyi Dorje (lha lung dpal gyi rdo rje). Born in Upper Drom, he served as a border guard but developed renunciation and together with his two brothers received ordination from Vimalamitra. He received the bodhisattva vow from Padmasambhava as well as empowerment and oral instructions in Vajrayana. He practiced meditation in the White Gorge of Tsib and at Yerpa, where he reached the accomplishment of being able to move freely through solid rock. Years later he assassinated the evil king Langdarma. Palgyi Dorje means 'Resplendent Vajra.' [RY]
  • Palgyi Senge of Lang (rlangs dpal gyi seng ge). His father was Amey Jangchub Drekhol, a mantrika powerful enough to employ the eight classes of gods and demons as his servants. Palgyi Senge of Lang was one of the eight chief disciples of Padmasambhava when the empowerment of the Assemblage of Sugatas was conferred. He attained both the common and supreme accomplishments at Paro Taktsang through the practice of the Tamer of All Haughty Spirits. The Dzogchen Rinpoches are regarded as his reincarnations. Palgyi Senge means 'Glorious Lion.' [RY]
  • Palgyi Senge of Shubu (shud bu dpal gyi seng ge). One of the ministers of King Trisong Deutsen, sent among the first emissaries to invite Padmasambhava to Tibet. He learned translation from Padmasambhava and rendered numerous teachings of Mamo, Yamantaka and Kilaya into Tibetan. Having attained accomplishment through Kilaya and Mamo, he could split boulders and divide the flow of rivers with his dagger. His reincarnations include the great Terton Mingyur Dorje of the Namcho tradition. Palgyi Senge means 'Glorious Lion.' [RY]
  • Palgyi Wangchuk of Kharchen (mkhar chen dpal gyi dbang phyug). In the Sanglingma biography he is the father of Yeshe Tsogyal; elsewhere he is described as her brother, a close disciple of Padmasambhava who attained siddhi through the practice of Vajra Kilaya. Palgyi Wangchuk means 'Resplendent Lord.'. [RY]
  • Palgyi Wangchuk of O-dren ('o dran dpal gyi dbang phyug). A great scholar and tantrika, he attained siddhi through practicing Guru Drakpo, the wrathful aspect of Padmasambhava. Palgyi Wangchuk means 'Resplendent Lord.' [RY]
  • Palgyi Yeshe of Sogpo (sog po dpal gyi ye shes). Disciple of Padmasambhava and Jnana Kumara of Nyag. Palgyi Yeshe means 'Glorious Wisdom.' [RY]
  • Pandita (mkhas pa). A learned master, scholar or professor in Buddhist philosophy. [RY]
  • Paramita (pha rol tu phyin pa). Literally, 'paramita' means 'reaching the other shore.' Particularly, it means transcending concepts of subject, object and action. The Paramita vehicle]] (phar phyin gyi theg pa) is the Mahayana system of the gradual path through the five paths and ten bhumis according to the Prajnaparamita scriptures. See also 'six paramitas.' [RY]
  • Path of accumulation (tshogs lam). The first of the five paths which forms the foundation for the journey towards liberation and involves gathering a vast accumulation of merit dedicated towards this attainment. On this path one gains an intellectual and conceptual understanding of egolessness through learning and reflection. By means of cultivating the four applications of mindfulness, the four right endeavors, and the four legs of miraculous action, one succeeds in eliminating the gross defilements that cause samsaric suffering and in attaining the virtuous qualities of the superknowledges and the 'samadhi of the stream of Dharma' leading to the path of joining. [RY]
  • Path of consummation (thar phyin pa'i lam). The fifth of the five paths and the state of complete and perfect enlightenment. [RY]
  • Path of cultivation (sgom lam). The fourth of the five paths on which one cultivates and trains in the higher practices of a bodhisattva, especially the eight aspects of the path of noble beings. [RY]
  • Path of seeing (mthong lam). The third of the five paths which is the attainment of the first bhumi, liberation from samsara and realization of the truth of reality. [RY]
  • Paths (lam). See under 'five paths.' [RY]
  • Pema Ledrel Tsal (padma las 'brel rtsal) (1291-1315). The reincarnation of Pema Sal, the daughter of King Trisong Deutsen. The revealer of the Dzogchen teachings of Guru Rinpoche renowned as Khandro Nyingtig. His immediate rebirth was as Longchenpa. Pema Ledrel Tsal means 'Lotus Power of Karmic Link.' [RY]
  • Pema Sal / Princess Pema Sal (lha lcam padma sal). The daughter of King Trisong Deutsen, to whom Padmasambhava entrusted his own lineage of the Great Perfection known as Khandro Nyingtig. She died at an early age, after which Padmasambhava miraculously called her back to life. When her father asked why someone with the great merit to be both a princess and a disciple of the Lotus-Born master had to die while still a child, Padmasambhava told the story of how she had been a bee who stung one of the four brothers during the completion of the Great Stupa of Boudhanath. Pema Sal means 'Radiant Lotus.' [RY]
  • Perception-sphere (skye mched). A state of meditative absorption, possibly lasting many aeons. See under 'Formless Realms.' [RY]
  • Philosophical Vehicles (mtshan nyid kyi theg pa). A collective name for Hinayana and Mahayana; includes the three vehicles for shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas. [RY]
  • Pointing-out instruction (ngo sprod). The direct introduction to the nature of mind. A root guru is the master who gives the 'pointing-out instruction' so that the disciple recognizes the nature of mind. [RY]
  • Prajna and upaya (thabs dang shes rab). Prajna is knowledge or intelligence; in particular, the knowledge of realizing egolessness. Upaya is the method or technique that brings about realization. See also under 'means and knowledge.' [RY]
  • Prana-mind (rlung sems). Prana here is the 'wind of karma' and 'mind' the dualistic consciousness of an unenlightened being. These two are closely related. [RY]
  • Pratyekabuddha (rang rgyal),]] (rang sangs rgyas). 'Solitarily Enlightened One.' A Hinayana Arhant who attains Nirvana chiefly through contemplation on the twelve links of dependent origination in reverse order, without needing teachings in that lifetime. He lacks the complete realization of a buddha and so cannot benefit limitless sentient beings as a buddha does. [RY]
  • Precious human body (mi lus rin po che). Comprised of the eight freedoms and ten riches. The freedoms are to avoid rebirth in the eight unfree states: three lower realms, a long-living god, having wrong views, a savage, a mute, or born in an age without buddhas. The riches are five from oneself and ten from others. The five riches from oneself are: to be a human, centrally born, with intact sense powers, having unperverted livelihood and faith in the right place. The five riches from others are: a buddha appeared and he taught the Dharma, the teachings remain and have followers and]] (teachers) who compassionately benefit others. [RY]
  • Preliminaries (sngon 'gro). The general outer preliminaries are the Four Mind Changings: reflections on precious human body, impermanence and death, cause and effect of karma, and the shortcomings of samsaric existence. The special inner preliminaries are the Four Times Hundred Thousand Practices of refuge and bodhichitta, Vajrasattva recitation, mandala offering, and guru yoga. See Torch of Certainty]] (Shambhala Publications), and The Great Gate]] (Rangjung Yeshe Publications). [RY]
  • Prince Murub (lha sras mu rub). The second son of King Trisong Deutsen. [RY]
  • Pure Abodes (gnas gtsang ma). The five highest heavens among the 17 abodes of the Realms of Form. They are called 'pure' because only noble beings, achievers of the path of seeing, can take birth there. Rebirth here is caused by a pure training in the fourth dhyana depending upon whether this cultivation is lesser, medium, great, greater, or extremely great. [RY]
  • Pure perception (dag snang). The Vajrayana principle of regarding the environment as a buddhafield, self and others as deities, sounds as mantras, and thoughts as the display of wisdom. [RY]


  • Rangnang / personal experience (rang snang). Exemplified by the dream experience, this term is sometimes translated as 'one's own projection' or 'self-display.' [RY]
  • Realms of Desire ('dod khams). Comprised of the abodes of hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, asuras, and the gods of the six abodes of Desire gods. It is called 'desire realm' because the beings there are tormented by the mental pain of desire and attachment to material substance. [RY]
  • Realms of Form (gzugs khams). Seventeen samsaric heavenly abodes consisting of the threefold four Dhyana Realms and the five Pure Abodes. A subtle divine state of samsaric existence between the desire realm and the formless realm, where sense of smell, sense of taste and sexual organs are absent. The beings there have bodies of light, long lives and no painful sensations. Unwholesome mental factors such as attachment cannot arise. [RY]
  • Resultant vehicles ('bras bu'i theg pa). Same as Vajrayana. For details, see 'causal and resultant vehicles.' [RY]
  • Rigdzin Godem (rig 'dzin rgod kyi ldem phru can). Alias Ngodrub Gyaltsen]] (dngos grub rgyal mtshan), (1337-1408). The great treasure revealer of the Jangter Tradition. Among his termas are the Dzogchen teachings Kadag Rangjung Rangshar and the better known Gongpa Sangtal. When he was 12 years old three vulture feathers grew on his head, and five more when he was 24. He passed away at the age of 71 amidst miraculous signs. Rigdzin Godem means 'Vidyadhara Vulture Feathers.' [RY]
  • Rigdzin Gokyi Demtru Chen (rig 'dzin rgod kyi ldem phru can). Same as 'Rigdzin Godem.' [RY]
  • Rinchen Chok of Ma (rma rin chen mchog). Early Tibetan translator, among the first seven Tibetans to take ordination from Shantarakshita and the chief recipient of the Magical Net of Mahayoga. He is known for translating the Essence of Secrets Guhyagarbha Tantra, the chief tantra of Mahayoga. Through the teachings he received from Padmasambhava he attained the level of a vidyadhara. Rinchen Chok means 'Sublime Jewel.' [RY]
  • Rinchen Terdzo (rin chen gter mdzod). 'The Great Treasury of Precious Termas,' a collection of the most important revealed termas of Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra, Vairotsana and their closest disciples, gathered by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye with the help of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. [RY]
  • Ripening and liberation (smin grol). Two vital parts of Vajrayana practice: the empowerments which ripen one's being with the capacity to realize the four kayas and the liberating oral instructions enabling one to actually apply the insight introduced through the empowerments. [RY]
  • Rongzompa, Rongzom Pandita, Rongzompa Chokyi Sangpo (rong zom pa chos kyi bzang po). (1012-1088). Together with Longchenpa, he is regarded as the Nyingma scholar of outstanding brilliance. [RY]
  • Roots of virtue (dge ba'i rtsa ba). A good deed; a moment of renunciation, compassion, or faith. Virtuous deeds created in the present or in former lives. [RY]


  • Sadhana (sgrub thabs). 'Means of accomplishment.' Tantric liturgy and procedure for practice usually emphasizing the development stage. The typical sadhana structure involves a preliminary part including the taking of refuge and arousing bodhichitta, a main part involving visualization of a buddha and recitation of the mantra, and a concluding part with dedication of merit to all sentient beings. [RY]
  • Saha World (mi mjed kyi 'jig rten) Our known world system; the 'World of Endurance,' because the sentient beings here endure unbearable suffering. Saha can also mean 'Undivided' because the karmas and disturbing emotions, causes and effects, are not separately divided or differentiated. [RY]
  • Samadhi (ting nge 'dzin). 'Adhering to the continuity of evenness.' A state of undistracted concentration or meditative absorption which in the context of Vajrayana can refer to either the development stage or the completion stage. [RY]
  • Samantabhadra (kun tu bzang po). The 'Ever-excellent One.' 1) The primordial dharmakaya buddha. 2) The bodhisattva Samantabhadra used as the example for the perfection of increasing an offering infinitely. [RY]
  • Samaya (dam tshig). The sacred pledges, precepts or commitments of Vajrayana practice. Samayas essentially consist of outwardly, maintaining harmonious relationship with the vajra master and one's Dharma friends and, inwardly, not straying from the continuity of the practice. At the end of a chapter, the single word 'samaya' is an oath that confirms that what has been stated is true. [RY]
  • Sambhogakaya (longs spyod rdzogs pa'i sku). The 'body of perfect enjoyment.' In the context of the 'five kayas of fruition,' sambhogakaya is the semi-manifest form of the buddhas endowed with the 'five perfections' of perfect teacher, retinue, place, teaching and time which is perceptible only to bodhisattvas on the ten levels. [RY]
  • Samye (bsam yas). The wondrous temple complex, modeled after the Indian monastery Odantapuri, built by King Trisong Deutsen]] ([[790-844) and consecrated by Guru Rinpoche in 814. A major center of the early transmission of Buddhism in Tibet. It is situated in Central Tibet close to Lhasa. It is also known as Glorious Temple of Samye, the Unchanging and Spontaneously Fulfillment of Boundless Wishes. Its three stories are of Indian, Chinese and Tibetan designs. See The Lotus-born]] (Shambhala Publications). [RY]
  • Samye Chimphu (bsam yas chims phu). The sacred place of Padmasambhava's speech. A mountain retreat situated four hours walk above Samye. During the last twelve centuries numerous great masters have meditated in the caves at this hermitage. [RY]
  • Sangye Lingpa (sangs rgyas gling pa). (1340-1396). A reincarnation of the second son of King Trisong Deutsen; a major terton and revealer of the Lama Gongdu cycle in 13 volumes. Sangye Lingpa means 'Sanctuary of Awakening.' [RY]
  • Sangye Yeshe of Nub (gnubs sangs rgyas ye shes). One of the twenty-five disciples of Padmasambhava, he was the chief recipient of the Anu Yoga teachings as well as the Yamantaka of Mahayoga. [RY]
  • Secret Mantra (gsang sngags), Skt. guhyamantra. Synonymous with Vajrayana or tantric teachings. 'Guhya' means secret, both concealed and self-secret. 'Mantra' in this context means eminent, excellent, or praiseworthy. [RY]
  • Self-entity (rang bzhin). An inherently existent and independent entity of the individual self or of phenomena. [RY]
  • Self-nature (rang bzhin). See 'Self-entity.' [RY]
  • Sengchen Namtrak (seng chen nams brag). One of the 25 sacred places of Kham opened by Chokgyur Lingpa. Sengchen Namtrak means 'Great Lion Sky Cliff.' [RY]
  • Sense bases (skye mched). The twelve sense factors are the organs of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind consciousness as well as their corresponding objects which are visual form, sound, smell, taste, texture, and mental object. [RY]
  • Serenity of cessation ('gog pa'i snyoms 'jug). The meditative state entered by an arhant after all disturbing emotions, sensations and thinking have ceased. It is not considered the ultimate goal by the Mahayana schools. [RY]
  • Seven Line Supplication (tshig bdun gsol 'debs). The famous supplication to Padmasambhava beginning with "On the northwest border of the country of Uddiyana, ." [RY]
  • Seven ways of transmission (bka' babs bdun). Canonical or oral lineage, revealed treasure, rediscovered treasure, mind treasure, recollection, pure vision and hearing lineage. [RY]
  • Sevenfold purity (dag pa bdun). Same as the seven branches: Prostrating, making offerings, confessing, rejoicing, requesting to turn the Wheel of the Dharma, beseeching not to pass into nirvana, and dedicating the merit for the welfare of all beings. [RY]
  • Shamatha (zhi gnas) 'calm abiding' or 'remaining in quiescence' after thought activity has subsided; or, the meditative practice of calming the mind in order to rest free from the disturbance of thought. [RY]
  • Shramana (dge sbyong). A spiritual practitioner. Often has the connotation of an ascetic or mendicant monk. [RY]
  • Shravaka (nyan thos). 'Hearer' or 'listener.' Hinayana practitioner of the First Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma on the four noble truths who realizes the suffering inherent in samsara, and focuses on understanding that there is no independent self. By conquering disturbing emotions, he liberates himself, attaining first the stage of Stream Enterer at the Path of Seeing, followed by the stage of Once-Returner who will be reborn only one more time, and the stage of Non-returner who will no longer be reborn into samsara. The final goal is to become an Arhant. These four stages are also known as the 'four results of spiritual practice.' [RY]
  • Shri Guhyasamaja (dpal gsang ba 'dus pa). Literally, 'Assembly of Secrets.' One of the major tantras and yidams of the New School. [RY]
  • Shri Singha (Skt). The chief disciple and successor of Manjushrimitra in the lineage of the Dzogchen teachings. He was born in the city of Shokyam in Khotan and studied with the masters Hatibhala and Bhelakirti. Among Shri Singha's disciples were four outstanding masters: Jnanasutra, Vimalamitra, Padmasambhava and the Tibetan translator Vairotsana. [RY]
  • Shurma (shur ma). A Tibetan script, half way between printed and written script. [RY]
  • Sindhura (Skt). Red or deep orange substance often used in tantric rituals. [RY]
  • Six classes of beings ('gro ba rigs drug). Gods, demigods, human beings, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell beings. [RY]
  • Six limits (mtha' drug). The views of the expedient and definitive meaning, the implied and the not implied, the literal and the not literal. Together with the 'four modes' they form the indispensable keys for unlocking the meaning of the tantras. [RY]
  • Six paramitas (phar phyin drug). The six transcendent actions of generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, concentration, and discriminating knowledge. [RY]
  • Six superknowledges (mngon par shes pa drug). The capacities for performing miracles, divine sight, divine hearing, recollection of former lives, cognition of the minds of others, and the cognition of the exhaustion of defilements. [RY]
  • Sukhavati (bde ba can). See 'Blissful Realm.' [RY]
  • Sutra (mdo), (mdo sde). 1) A discourse by or inspired by the Buddha. 2) A scripture of the Sutra pitaka within the Tripitaka. 3) All exoteric teachings of Buddhism belonging to Hinayana and Mahayana, the causal teachings that regard the path as the cause of enlightenment, as opposed to the esoteric, tantric teachings. [RY]
  • Sutra on the Furtherance of Virtue (mdo dge rgyas). [RY]
  • Sutra Pitaka (mdo'i sde snod). See under 'Sutra.' [RY]
  • Sutra Requested by Unending Intelligence (blo gros mi zad pas zhus pa'i mdo). [RY]


  • Tantra (rgyud). The Vajrayana teachings given by the Buddha in his sambhogakaya form. The real sense of tantra is 'continuity,' the innate buddha nature, which is known as the 'tantra of the expressed meaning.' The general sense of tantra is the extraordinary tantric scriptures also known as the 'tantra of the expressing words.' Can also refer to all the resultant teachings of Vajrayana as a whole. [RY]
  • Tantra of the Immaculate King of Confession (dri med bshags rgyud kyi rgyal po). [RY]
  • Tarpaling in Bumtang ('bum thang thar pa gling). Temple in eastern Bhutan founded by Longchen Rabjam. [RY]
  • Tawa Long-yang (lta ba klong yangs). A treasure cycle of the Father Tantra aspect of the Great Perfection revealed by Dorje Lingpa (1346-1405). Tawa Long-yang means 'Vast Expanse of the View.' [RY]
  • Ten nonvirtues (mi dge ba bcu). The physical misdeeds are killing, taking what is not given, and engaging in sexual misconduct. The verbal misdeeds are lying, uttering divisive talk, harsh words, and gossiping. The mental misdeeds are harboring covetousness, ill-will, and wrong views. [RY]
  • Ten spiritual activities (chos spyod bcu). Copying scriptures, making offerings, giving alms, listening to discourses, memorizing, reading, expounding, reciting, reflecting upon and training in the meaning of the Dharma. [RY]
  • Ten topics of tantra (rgyud kyi dngos po bcu). View, conduct, mandala, empowerment, samaya, activity, accomplishment, samadhi, offering puja, mantra and mudra. These are the ten aspects of the path of a tantric practitioner, as well as the ten primary topics to be explained. [RY]
  • Ten virtues (dge ba bcu). Generally, to refrain from the above ten nonvirtues. In particular, to engage in their opposites; for example, to save life, be generous, etc. [RY]
  • Tengam (rten gam). Room of sacred objects. [RY]
  • Tenma Goddesses or Twelve Tenma Goddesses - (brtan ma bcu gnyis). Important female protectors of the Nyingma lineage, semi-mundane semi-wisdom protectors. (RY)
  • Tenth Day Practice in Eight Chapters (tshe bcu le'u brgyad pa). [RY]
  • Terma (gter ma). 'Treasure.' 1) The transmission through concealed treasures hidden, mainly by Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal, to be discovered at the proper time by a 'terton,' a treasure revealer, for the benefit of future disciples. It is one of the two chief traditions of the Nyingma School, the other being 'Kama.' This tradition is said to continue even long after the Vinaya of the Buddha has disappeared. 2) Concealed treasures of many different kinds, including texts, ritual objects, relics, and natural objects. [RY]
  • Terton (gter ston). A revealer of hidden treasures, concealed mainly by Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal. [RY]
  • Testament of Padma (padma'i bka' chems). Revealed by the great terton Nyang Ral, and presumably identical with the medium-length version of the Sanglingma biography of Padmasambhava, an English translation of which is published as The Lotus-Born]] ([[Shambhala Publications, 1993). [RY]
  • Three doors (sgo gsum). Body, speech and mind; thought, word and deed. [RY]
  • Three Jewels (dkon mchog gsum). The Precious Buddha, the Precious Dharma and the Precious Sangha. In The Light of Wisdom (Shambhala Publications), Jamgon Kongtrul explains: "The Buddha is the nature of the four kayas and five wisdoms endowed with the twofold purity and the perfection of the twofold welfare. The Dharma is what is expressed, the unconditioned truth of total purification comprised of cessation and path, and that which expresses, the two aspects of statement and realization appearing as the names, words and letters of the teachings. The Sangha consists of the actual Sangha, the sons of the victorious ones abiding on the noble bhumis who are endowed with the qualities of wisdom and liberation, and the resembling Sangha who are on the paths of accumulation and joining as well as the noble shravakas and pratyekabuddhas." [RY]
  • Three kayas (sku gsum). Dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya. The three kayas as ground are 'essence, nature, and expression,' as path they are 'bliss, clarity and nonthought,' and as fruition they are the 'three kayas of buddhahood.' The three kayas of buddhahood are the dharmakaya which is free from elaborate constructs and endowed with the 'twenty-one sets of enlightened qualities;' the sambhogakaya which is of the nature of light and endowed with the perfect major and minor marks perceptible only to bodhisattvas on the levels; and the nirmanakaya which manifests in forms perceptible to both pure and impure beings. [RY]
  • Three roots (rtsa ba gsum). Guru, Yidam and Dakini. The Guru is the root of blessings, the Yidam of accomplishment, and the Dakini of activity. [RY]
  • Three sets of vows (sdom pa gsum). The Hinayana vows of individual liberation, the Mahayana trainings of a bodhisattva, and the Vajrayana samayas of a vidyadhara, a tantric practitioner. [RY]
  • Threefold Excellence (dam pa gsum). The excellent beginning of bodhichitta, the excellent main part without conceptualization and the excellent conclusion of dedication. Also called the three excellencies. For a detailed explanation, see Repeating the Words of the Buddha]] (Rangjung Yeshe Publications). [RY]
  • Tidro Cave at Shoto (sho stod sti sgro). Sacred place of Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal near Drigung Til in Central Tibet. Opened by Padmasambhava for future practitioners, this important pilgrimage site also has hot springs with healing properties. [RY]
  • Torma (gtor ma). An implement used in tantric ceremonies. Can also refer to a food offering to protectors of the Dharma or unfortunate spirits. [RY]
  • Treasury of Precious Termas (rin chen gter mdzod). See under 'Rinchen Terdzo.' [RY]
  • Tripitaka (sde snod gsum). The three collections of the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni: Vinaya, Sutra, and Abhidharma. Their purpose is the development of the three trainings of discipline, concentration and discriminating knowledge while their function is to remedy the three poisons of desire, anger and delusion. The Tibetan version of the Tripitaka fills more than one hundred large volumes, each with more than 600 large pages. In a wider sense all of the Dharma, both Sutra and Tantra, is contained within the three collections and three trainings. To paraphrase Khenpo Ngakchung in his Notes to the Preliminary Practices for Longchen Nyingtig: "The three collections of Hinayana scriptures, namely Vinaya, Sutra, and Abhidharma, respectively express the meaning of the training in discipline, concentration and discriminating knowledge. The teachings describing the details of precepts for the bodhisattva path belong to the Vinaya collection while the meaning expressed by these scriptures are the training in discipline. The sutras expressing the gateways to samadhi are the Sutra collection while their expressed meaning, reflections on precious human body and so forth, are the training in concentration. The scriptures on the sixteen or twenty types of emptiness are the Abhidharma collection while their expressed meaning is the training in discriminating knowledge. Scriptures expounding the details of the samayas of Vajrayana are the Vinaya collection while their expressed meaning is the training in discipline. The scriptures teaching the general points of development and completion belong to the Sutra collection, while their expressed meaning is the training in samadhi. All the scriptures expressing the Great Perfection belong to the Abhidharma collection, while their expressed meaning is the training in discriminating knowledge." [RY]
  • Trisong Deutsen (khri srong de'u btsan).]] ([[790-844) The second great Dharma king of Tibet who invited Guru Rinpoche, Shantarakshita, Vimalamitra, and many other Buddhist teachers including Jinamitra and Danashila. In The Precious Garland of Lapis Lazuli, Jamgon Kongtrul dates Trisong Deutsen as being born on the eighth day of the third month of spring in the year of the Male Water Horse]] ([[802). Other sources state that year as his enthronement upon the death of his father. Until the age of seventeen he was chiefly engaged in ruling the kingdom. He built Samye, the great monastery and teaching center modeled after Odantapuri, established Buddhism as the state religion of Tibet, and during his reign the first monks were ordained. He arranged for panditas and lotsawas to translate innumerable sacred texts, and he established a large number of centers for teaching and practice. Among his later incarnations are Nyang Ral Nyima Özer (1124-1192), Guru Chowang (1212-1270), Jigmey Lingpa (1729-1798), and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1892). [RY]
  • Troma Nagmo (khros ma nag mo). A wrathful black form of the female buddha Vajra Yogini. Troma Nagmo means 'Black Lady of Wrath.' [RY]
  • Tsen (btsan). A type of evil spirit. [RY]
  • Tsogyal (mtsho rgyal). See under 'Yeshe Tsogyal.' [RY]
  • Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel (thugs sgrub bar chad kun sel). A cycle of teachings revealed by Chokgyur Lingpa together with Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo consisting of about ten volumes of texts. Belong to the principle of Guru Vidyadhara. For details, see foreword to The Great Gate]] (Rangjung Yeshe Publications). Tukdrub means 'Heart practice,' Barchey Kunsel means 'dispeller of all obstacles.' [RY]
  • Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche (sprul sku u rgyan rin po che). A contemporary master of the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, who lives at Nagi Gompa in Nepal. [RY]
  • Two accumulations (tshogs gnyis). The accumulation of merit with concepts and the accumulation of wisdom beyond concepts. [RY]
  • Two obscurations (sgrib gnyis). The obscuration of disturbing emotions and the cognitive obscuration. [RY]
  • Two truths (bden pa gnyis). Relative truth and ultimate truth. Relative truth describes the seeming, superficial and apparent mode of all things. Ultimate truth describes the real, true and unmistaken mode. These two aspects of reality are defined by the Four Philosophical Schools as well as the tantras of Vajrayana in different ways, each progressively deeper and closer to describing things as they are. [RY]

U - Z

  • Udumvara (Skt.) 'Especially eminent' or 'supremely exalted.' This flower is said to appear and bloom only accompanying the appearance of a fully enlightened buddha. [RY]
  • Upasaka (dge bsnyen). A Buddhist layman, bound by the five vows to avoid killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and intoxicating liquor. The Tibetan equivalent, genyen, means 'pursuer of virtue.' [RY]
  • Upaya (thabs). See 'means and knowledge.' [RY]
  • Vairotsana (Skt.). The great translator who lived during the reign of King Trisong Deutsen. Among the first seven Tibetan monks, he was sent to India to study with Shri Singha. Along with Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra, he was one of the three main masters to bring the Dzogchen teachings to Tibet. [RY]
  • Vajra body (rdo rje'i lus) /]] (rdo rje'i sku). The human body, the subtle channels of which resemble the structure of a vajra. [RY]
  • Vajra Hell (rdo rje'i myal ba). The lowest hell of Incessant Pain. [RY]
  • Vajra Seat (rdo rje gdan), Skt. vajrasana. The 'diamond throne' under the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya where Buddha Shakyamuni attained enlightenment. [RY]
  • Vajra Totreng (rdo rje thod phreng). 'Vajra Garland of skulls.' One of Padmasambhava's names. [RY]
  • Vajra-holder (rdo rje 'dzin pa). 1) Respectful title for an accomplished master. 2) The state of enlightenment. [RY]
  • Vajradhara (rdo rje 'chang). 'Vajra-holder.' The dharmakaya buddha of the Sarma Schools. Can also refer to one's personal teacher of Vajrayana or to the all-embracing buddha nature. [RY]
  • Vajradhatu Mandala (rdo rje dbyings kyi dkyil 'khor). An important sadhana of Mahayoga containing the 42 peaceful deities. [RY]
  • Vajrakaya (rdo rje'i sku). The unchanging quality of the buddha nature. Sometimes counted among the five kayas of buddhahood. [RY]
  • Vajrapani (phyag na rdo rje). 'Vajra Bearer.' One of the eight great bodhisattvas and the chief compiler of the Vajrayana teachings. Also known as 'Lord of Secrets.' [RY]
  • Vajrayana (rdo rje theg pa). The 'vajra vehicle.' The practices of taking the result as the path. Same as 'Secret Mantra.' [RY]
  • Vidyadhara (rig pa 'dzin pa). 'Knowledge-holder.' Holder]] (dhara) or bearer of knowledge]] (vidya) mantra. A realized master on one of the four stages on the tantric path of Mahayoga, the tantric equivalent of the eleven levels. Another definition is: Bearer of the profound method, the knowledge which is the wisdom of deity, mantra and great bliss. [RY]
  • View, meditation, conduct and fruition (lta ba sgom pa spyod pa 'bras bu). The philosophical orientation, the act of growing accustomed to that - usually in sitting practice, the implementation of that insight during the activities of daily life, and the final outcome resulting from such training. Each of the nine vehicles has its particular definition of view, meditation, conduct and fruition. [RY]
  • Vimalamitra (dri med bshes gnyen). A Dzogchen master who was invited to Tibet by King Trisong Deutsen. One of the three main forefathers of the Dzogchen teachings, especially Nyingtig, in Tibet. Vimalamitra means 'Flawless Kinsman.' [RY]
  • Vinaya ('dul ba). 'Discipline.' One of the three parts of the Tripitaka. The Buddha's teachings showing ethics, the discipline and moral conduct that is the foundation for all Dharma practice, both for lay and ordained people. [RY]
  • Vinaya Pitaka ('dul ba'i sde snod). See 'Tripitaka.' [RY]
  • Vipashyana (lhag mthong). 'Clear' or 'wider seeing.' Usually referring to insight into emptiness. One of the two main aspects of meditation practice, the other being shamatha. [RY]
  • Vows and precepts (bslab sdom). See under 'Three sets of vows.' [RY]
  • Wheel of the Dharma (chos kyi 'khor lo). To turn the wheel of Dharma is poetic for giving teachings. In specific, the cycle of teachings given by the Buddha; three such cycles, known as the Three Turnings of the Wheel of the Dharma, were taught by Shakyamuni Buddha during his lifetime. [RY]
  • Wisdom (ye shes). In this book this word is usually translated as 'original wakefulness.' There are also the five wisdoms, aspects of how the cognitive quality of buddha nature functions: the dharmadhatu wisdom, mirror-like wisdom, wisdom of equality, discriminating wisdom and all-accomplishing wisdom. [RY]
  • Yamantaka (gshin rje gshed). A wrathful form of Manjushri, representing wisdom that subdues death. Among the Eight Sadhana Teachings he is the wrathful buddha of the Body Family. Yamantaka means 'Slayer of Yama,' the Lord of Death. [RY]
  • Yana (theg pa). 'That which carries,' 'vehicle.' A set of teachings which enable one to journey towards rebirth in the higher realms, liberation from samsara or complete buddhahood. [RY]
  • Yeshe Tsogyal (ye shes mtsho rgyal). [RY]
  • Yeshe Yang of Ba (sba ye shes dbyangs). Tibetan translator predicted by Padmasambhava. The chief scribe for writing down the termas of Padmasambhava, he was an accomplished yogi, able to fly like a bird to the celestial realms. Also known as Atsara Yeshe Yang. Yeshe Yang means 'Melodious Wisdom.' [RY]
  • Yidam (yi dam). A personal deity and the root of accomplishment among the Three Roots. The yidam is one's tutelary deity; a personal protector of one's practice and guide to enlightenment. Traditionally, yidam practice is the main practice that follows the preliminaries. It includes the two stages of development and completion and is a perfect stepping stone for, or the bridge to approaching, the more subtle practices of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Later on, yidam practice is the perfect enhancement for the view of these subtle practices. [RY]
  • Yoga (rnal 'byor). 1) The actual integration of learning into personal experience. 2) The third of the three outer tantras: Kriya, Upa and Yoga. It emphasizes the view rather than the conduct and to regard the deity as being the same level as oneself. [RY]
  • Yogic discipline (rtul shugs). Additional practices for a tantrika in order to train in implementing the view of Vajrayana during activities; for example Cho practice in frightening places. It can be pursued by the practitioner who has strong familiarity with the view and stability in meditation practice. Carries the connotation of 'courageous conduct.' [RY]

Published in Advice from the Lotus-Born, Rangjung Yeshe Publications. ISBN 962-7341-20-7