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   A View on Buddhism   


This glossary was compiled from glossaries found in different English books on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and edited by the webmaster.
Definitions and synonyms may differ in the various Buddhist traditions.
* : unpreferred term or term with incorrect connotation
(Skt): Sanskrit
(Tib): Tibetan A glossary with numbers (like "2 TRUTHS") can be found here.
A very extensive Buddhist Glossary can be found here on the Web.

ABHIDHARMA: Third part of the TRIPITAKA collection of Buddhist scriptures.
: Buddhist classic written by Vasubandhu; the earliest attempt at a systematic representation of Buddhist philosophy, psychology and cosmology.
ACTION MUDRA: A Highest Yoga #T consort who assists in generating great bliss.
: Mental or physical collection. See 5 AGGREGATES
AKSHOBYA (Skt.): Name of a DEITY. One of the 5 DHYANI BUDDHAS, representing the consciousness AGGREGATE of all Buddhas and their Dharmadhatu Wisdom.
AMITABHA: Name of a DEITY. One of the 5 DHYANI BUDDHAS, representing the discrimination AGGREGATE of all Buddhas and their Discriminating Wisdom.
AMOGHASIDDHI (Skt.): Name of a DEITY. One of the 5 DHYANI BUDDHAS, representing the compositional factors-AGGREGATE (or volition) of all Buddhas and their Wisdom of Accomplishing Activities.
ANGER: Definition: Being unable to bear the object, or the intention to cause harm to the object. Anger is defined as aversion with stronger exaggeration.
ARHAT (Skt.): Foe or Enemy Destroyer. One who has destroyed the enemy of dualistic ego-grasping/clinging, and thus accomplished LIBERATION of CYCLIC EXISTENCE. There are three types of Arhats: SRAVAKA, PRATYEKABUDDHA, BUDDHA.
ARYA (Skt.): Superior, High One. One who has gained direct meditational experience of EMPTINESS. See also ARHAT.
ASURA (Skt.): Anti/demi god , Titan*. Being living in the Asura-realm of CYCLIC EXISTENCE, within sight of the DEVAS
ATISHA: Great Indian scholar who arrived in Tibet in 1042 and caused a major purification of the Buddhism present at that time. Composer of the first LAM-RIM-text.
ATTACHMENT: Inability to separate from a person or thing, although it will ultimately lead to SUFFERING. Usually it exaggerates the good qualities of the object. It is one of the biggest mental DELUSIONS which prevents the achievement of ENLIGHTENMENT.
AVALOKITESHVARA (Skt.): 1. Name of a specific DEITY, representing the COMPASSION of all BUDDHAS = Chenrezig (Tib.) 2. One of the main disciples of SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA.
AVERSION: Exaggerated wanting to be separated from someone or something. (Exact opposite of ATTACHMENT)

BARDO (Tib.): Intermediate state of existence. The time between death and rebirth.
BHUMI (Skt.): Stage. Usually referring to a stage in the BODHISATTVA-training (BODHISATTVA-BHUMI).
BODHICITTA (Skt.): Enlightenment- mind. The mind dedicated to attain Buddhahood in order to help all SENTIENT BEINGS. "Conventional Bodhicitta" is either ENGAGING- or ASPIRING BODHICITTA. "Ultimate Bodhicitta" is a WISDOM motivated by Conventional Bodhicitta directly realising EMPTINESS.
BODHISATTVA (Skt.): Enlightenment being. Person who strives for Buddhahood in order to be of utmost benefit to all SENTIENT BEINGS. 1. General, someone who has taken the Bodhisattva-vows. 2. More specific, being who has taken that vow and also has attained spontaneous BODHICITTA.
BUDDHA (Skt.): Enlightened/Awakened/Omniscient One. One who has purified all DEFILEMENTS and developed all good qualities. "The Buddha" usually means  SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA.
BUDDHADHARMA (Skt.): 1. BUDDHA's teachings.  2. The inner REALISATIONS achieved by practising Buddha's teachings.
BUDDHA-NATURE: potential of all SENTIENT BEINGS to become a BUDDHA.
BUDDHISM: Religion, philosophy founded by SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA. All Buddhist schools agree on the 4 SEALS. Main doctrines: KARMA, rebirth, EMPTINESS.
BUDDHIST: Person who has taken REFUGE in the 3 JEWELS, and agrees on the philosophy of the 4 SEALS.

CENTRAL CHANNEL: Main energy channel in the body, starting at the browpoint, going backwards under the skull and then down to the level of the navel (or lower).
CHAKRA (Skt.): Wheel, circle. A focal centre where secondary (energy) channels branch out from the CENTRAL CHANNEL.
CHARYA-TANTRA (Skt.): Performance/behavioural class of TANTRA. See 4 TANTRIC CLASSES.
CITTAMATRA (Skt.): Mind-only-school. See 4 TENETS.
CLEAR LIGHT MIND: Very subtle MIND which, when manifest, perceives everything as clear, empty space.
COMMITMENT-BEING: In tantric practice: visualised BUDDHA (FRONT GENERATION) or oneself visualised as a Buddha (SELF-GENERATION). A WISDOM-BEING is an actual Buddha who is invited to unite with the commitment-being.
COMMITMENTS: Promises and pledges taken when engaging in spiritual practices.
COMPASSION: The wish that others may be free from SUFFERING and its' causes.
COMPLETION STAGE: Final stage in the practice of Highest Yoga TANTRA using methods that cause the energies (Prana in Skt. or Lung in Tib.) of the body  to enter, abide and dissolve within the CENTRAL CHANNEL and result in BUDDHAHOOD.
CONVENTIONAL TRUTH: All-false truth, relative truth (as opposed to ULTIMATE TRUTH), conventional existence; the interdependence of phenomena.
CYCLIC EXISTENCE: The cycle of death and rebirth, taking uncontrolled REBIRTH under the influence of DEFILEMENTS and karmic imprints. The process arises out of IGNORANCE and is marked by SUFFERING. See 3 REALMS & 6 REALMS.

DAKA (Skt.): Male equivalent of DAKINI.
DAKINI (Skt.): Female tantric DEITY who embodies enlightened activity, or woman who have achieved high realizations like direct REALIZATION of EMPTINESS with the CLEAR LIGHT MIND.
DEITY: The symbolic form of a pure being, manifested from BUDDHA's wisdom. Meditational BUDDHA form.
Misconceptions and their resultant afflicted states of MIND. Syn.: defilements, disturbing attitudes, mental afflictions, afflictive emotions. Contaminated mental functions which are obstacles to LIBERATION and the causes for SUFFERING, which disturb our mental peace and propel us to act harmful to others (and ourselves). The "Root DELUSIONS" are: IGNORANCE,  desire/ATTACHMENT, anger/hatred/aversion, pride, doubt and wrong views. .
DEPENDENT ORIGINATION: Doctrine concerning the interrelatedness of phenomena. Closely related to EMPTINESS. See 12 LINKS OF INTERDEPENDENT ORIGINATION.
DESIRE REALM: One of the 3 REALMS within CYCLIC EXISTENCE, where beings enjoy the five external sense objects (form, sound, smell, touch and taste) and where SUFFERING of suffering is experienced. Consists of the 6 REALMS.
DEVA (Skt.): "god", "angel", a being in CYCLIC EXISTENCE, temporarily abiding in a heavenly state (unlike the Christian God).
DEVADATTA (Skt.): Litt. Theodore; name of SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA'S evil cousin, seeing the BUDDHA full of faults.
DHARMA (Skt.): Doctrine, law, truth. 1. What prevents SUFFERING; usually BUDDHADHARMA. 2. Any objects of knowledge. 3. Religion or religious knowledge. 4. REALISATIONS of the path and the consequent cessation of SUFFERING.
DHAMMAPADA (Pali): most popular collection of sayings of the Buddha in the Pali canon.
: Location in South India where the BUDDHA is said to have taught the KALACHAKRA TANTRA.
DHARMAKAYA (Skt.): Truth Body of a BUDDHA, the pure, omniscient MIND of a Buddha, result of the transformation of the ordinary MIND. It can be divided into the SVABHAVI-KAKAYA and the "Jñana Dharmakaya". See 4 BUDDHA-BODIES.
DHARMA PROTECTOR: Guardian of the BUDDHA's teaching. 1. Worldly protectors: ordinary DEVAS, spirits etc., bound by a tantric GURU to protect Buddhism and its practitioners. 2. Non-worldly: manifestations of BUDDHAS or BODHISATTVAS in wrathful form who protect practitioners.
DHYANA (Skt.): Advanced form of concentration MEDITATION, after realising SHAMATHA.
DIVINE PRIDE: Non-deluded pride that regards oneself as a DEITY and one's surroundings and enjoyments as those of the DEITY. It is an antidote to ordinary conceptions.
DROPS: The essence of sperm and blood (egg), abiding in the ENERGY CHANNELS or nadis.
DZOGCHEN (Tib.): Profound practice of the NYINGMA tradition.

EMPTINESS: Full expression: "Emptiness of INHERENT EXISTENCE". The doctrine that all concepts and phenomena lack INHERENT EXISTENCE. See  ULTIMATE TRUTH
ENERGY CHANNEL: Veins within the body through which psychic energy (Tib. Lung, Skt. PRANA) flows.
ENLIGHTENMENT: Syn.: BUDDHAHOOD, full enlightenment/ awakening. Highest level of development, having forever eliminated all DEFILEMENTS and karmic IMPRINTS, and having developed all good qualities and WISDOM to their fullest extent. Enlightenment supersedes LIBERATION.

EON: "Great eon": lifetime of the universe (KALPA (Skt)). "Small eon": one 20th. of a great eon
EQUANIMITY: Unbiasedness. State of MIND in which one does not distinguish between friend, enemy and stranger.
EXAMPLE CLEAR LIGHT-MIND: A CLEAR LIGHT MIND that experiences EMPTINESS by means of a generic image, it is not just yet the 'real' realisation of emptiness with the MEANING CLEAR LIGHT.

FORM REALM: State of CYCLIC EXISTENCE where no SUFFERING of suffering is experienced. Beings here have renounced the enjoyment of external sense objects but still have ATTACHMENT to internal form (their own body and MIND).
FORMLESS REALM: Highest states of CYCLIC EXISTENCE. Beings here have renounced form and ATTACHMENT to form pleasures, and exist only within their mindstream. Their MIND is still bound by subtle desire and ATTACHMENT to mental states and ego. See 3 REALMS.
FRONT GENERATION: Practice in TANTRA, whereby the DEITY is visualised in front of oneself.

GANDHARVA (Skt.): Smell-eater. Celestial being.
GARUDA (Skt.): Name of a mythical bird.
GELUG(PA) (Tib.): 'Yellow-hats'. Biggest school in Tibetan tradition, founded by TSONGKHAPA, also known as "New KADAM". Main emphasis on ethics and sound scholarship prior to serious meditation. In 1642 the 5th. Dalai Lama, who was of the Gelugpa tradition, became secular and religious leader of Tibet.
GENERATION STAGE: Stage of practice in Highest Yoga TANTRA, wherein one mentally generates oneself as a DEITY, and one's surroundings as the deity's MANDALA.
GESHE (Tib.): 1. Degree like Doctor of Theology, awarded by the principal monastic colleges of the GELUGPA tradition. 2. Title of some masters of the Old KADAM tradition.
GOD REALM: DEVA-realm,"heaven". State within CYCLIC EXISTENCE. Some god realms are in the DESIRE REALM, others in the FORM and FORMLESS REALMS. See 3 REALMS and 6 REALMS
GURU (Skt.): Spiritual teacher/friend/mentor.
GURU-YOGA (Skt.): Practice of seeing one's GURU as BUDDHA.

HELL REALM: State within CYCLIC EXISTENCE in which much SUFFERING is experienced, joyless realm. See 6 REALMS.
HINAYANA (Skt.): Lesser/lower vehicle (as opposed to MAHAYANA). Buddhist path leading to individual LIBERATION from CYCLIC EXISTENCE (as SHRAVAKA or PRATYEKABUDDHA).
HERO and HEROINE: A hero is a male tantric DEITY, embodying method. A HEROINE is a female tantric DEITY, embodying WISDOM.

IGNORANCE: Unawareness, lack of ENLIGHTENMENT. 1. Worldly: Not knowing the principles of KARMA. 2. Transworldly: Not knowing/realising EMPTINESS.
IMPRINT (on the mind): 1. Karmic imprint; potentiality to experience certain effects in the future. 2. Imprint of DEFILEMENT; obstructions to Buddhahood which remain even after abandonment of the DEFILEMENTS themselves.
IMPUTE: To label/name or give meaning to an object.
INDESTRUCTIBLE DROP: Most subtle DROP, located at the heart, formed from the essence of sperm and egg of the parents. It does not melt until death, when it opens and allows the very subtle MIND and wind to take REBIRTH.
INHERENT EXISTENCE: Syn.: true / objective / ultimate / self-powered / self-sufficient / independent / intrinsically / existence. Existence - from the side of the object, - by the way of the object's own character, - from within the basis of designation, - as its own suchness, - as its own reality, - as its own mode of subsistence, - by way of its own entity. 'Inherent existence' is a misconception, a non-existent quality that we project onto persons and phenomena, and does not exist even conventionally. It describes existence which is independent of: causes and conditions, parts, or the MIND IMPUTING it.
INITIATION: Empowerment. Bestowal of permission and a special potential power to practice a specific part of TANTRA, given by a tantric GURU by means of a ritual.
INNER OFFERING: A MAHA-ANNUTARAYOGA-TANTRA offering, produced by mentally transforming 10 bodily substances into nectar.

KADAM(PA) (Tib.): Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, started by ATISHA. Before Lama TSONGKHAPA known as "Old KADAM", afterwards known as "New Kadam" or GELUGPA.
KALACHAKRA (Skt.) (also spelled as Kalacakra): Time-Wheel; name of a specific DEITY.
KALKI (Skt.): probably a misspelling of KULIKA.
KALPA (Skt.): Lifetime of a universe.
KANGYUR (Tib.): Collection of all translated SUTRAS and TANTRAS from Sanskrit into Tibetan. See also: TENGYUR.
KA(R)GYU (Tib.): School of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Marpa Chökyi & Khyungpo Nyaljor (11th. century). Meditation & philosophy lineage. Special practice: MAHAMUDRA.
KARMA (Skt.): Action. Intentional action, impulse. Also; the IMPRINT which the action leaves on one's mindstream. "The law of karma": the doctrine holding that all experiences are results of imprints on our mindstream of previous actions; simply said: virtuous actions lead to happiness, NEGATIVE ACTIONS to SUFFERING and unpleasant states.
KAYA (Skt.): Body, usually of a BUDDHA. See also 4 BUDDHA-BODIES.
KRIYA-TANTRA (Skt.): Purification class of TANTRA. See 4 TANTRIC CLASSES.
KULIKA (Skt.): "Holder of the Castes" or 'Shambala's Knowledge Holder' (Rigden in Tib.) from the KALACHAKRA TANTRA. Titles of the 8th. to the 24th. Kings of SHAMBALA
KUNDALINI (Skt): Psychic heat, inner heat generated in special tantric meditation practices.

LAMA (Tib.): See GURU (Skt.).
LAMAISM*: Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
LAM RIM (Tib.): Lamp on the Path. The stages of the Path to ENLIGHTENMENT. Systematic presentation of all BUDDHA's teachings. First presented in this form by ATISHA, preserved and further developed in the GELUG-school. The original translated text is available here.
LIBERATION: State after removing the DEFILEMENTS and KARMA which cause uncontrolled REBIRTH in CYCLIC EXISTENCE.
LOVE: The wish that beings have happiness and its causes.
LUNG (Tib.): Wind, energy, prana (Skt.). 1. Subtle (life-) wind/energy. In TANTRA these winds are the vehicle of consciousness. 2. Disease, energy disturbance/imbalance in the body. 3. Oral transmission of a DHARMA text.

MADHYAMIKA (Skt.): 'Middle-way school'. See 4 TENETS.
MAHA-ANNUTARAYOGA-TANTRA (Skt.): Highest yoga TANTRA. See 4 TANTRIC CLASSES. Tantric class that contains the method to transform sexual experience into the spiritual path.
MAHAMUDRA (Skt.): Great Seal. 1. According to SUTRA: Profound view of EMPTINESS. 2. According to TANTRA: the union of great bliss and EMPTINESS.
MAHAYANA (Skt.): 'Greater vehicle' (Maha = great, Yana = vehicle. (as opposed to the HINAYANA or smaller vehicle). Buddhist path which leads to Buddhahood, emphasising great COMPASSION for all SENTIENT BEINGS. Also called "BODHISATTVA-yana". It includes SUTRAYANA and TANTRAYANA.
MAITREYA: Loving-One. Name of the next coming BUDDHA, also both teacher and main disciple of SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA.
MANDALA (Skt.): Circle or sphere. 1. Symbolic representation of a meditation visualisation, usually in the form of a palace with one or more DEITIES present. 2. Symbolic representation of the universe (see MANDALA OFFERING).
MANDALA OFFERING: Mentally transforming the universe into a PURE REALM and offering it. "Inner mandala offering": offering one's body, wealth, happiness etc.
MANJUSHRI (Skt.): One of the main disciples of the BUDDHA. Name of DEITY; represents wisdom of all Buddhas.
MANJUSHRIKIRTI: The 8th. King of SHAMBALA (first KULIKA- king), who composed the condensed KALACHAKRA TANTRA.
MANTRA (Skt.): 'Tool for thinking'. 1. Prescribed syllables (in Sanskrit) to protect the mind (from DEFILEMENTS). They express the essence of specific energies. Recitation of mantras is always done with specific visualisations. 2. Often, Mantra is used as a synonym for VAJRA or TANTRA.
MARA (Skt.): Demon. Anything which interrupts the attainment of LIBERATION or ENLIGHTENMENT. See: 4 MARAS.
MARKS AND SIGNS: The 32 Major Marks and 80 Minor Signs of a BUDDHA - golden skin, webbed fingers & toes etc.
MEDITATION: (Tib.: gom) Habituating, familiarising. Habituating ourselves to positive and realistic states of mind
MERIT FIELD: The 3 JEWELS, usually Visualised in front, before which one accumulates VIRTUE  or merit. Merit fields used in tantric practices can very extensive.
MIGRATOR: (Or transmigrator) See SENTIENT BEING.
MILAREPA (Tib.): Great Tibetan practitioner (1040-1123), famed for his attainment of Buddhahood in one lifetime.
MIND: Def.:"That which is clear and knowing", mindstream. Non-physical phenomena which perceives, thinks, recognises, experiences and emotionally reacts to the environment. 1. Mental faculties (Tib.: thugs) 2. Ways of being conscious, conscious phenomena (Tib.:
MINDSTREAM: Continuity of the MIND, "that which is clear and knowing".
MOUNT MERU: Huge mountain in the centre of the universe.
MUDRA (Skt.): Seal. 1.Tantric hand gesture, 2. Tantric consort.

NAGA (Skt.): Type of living spirit living mainly in rivers, oceans or lakes, but can live anywhere which are generally invisible. Usually depicted with a serpent-like body.
NAGARJUNA (Skt.): Great Indian Buddhist Master who revived the MAHAYANA in the 1st. century AD, after its' virtual disappearance, by bringing to light the Perfection of Wisdom #S.
NEGATIVE ACTION: non-virtue, destructive action, black karmic IMPRINT, sin*. Action which leaves an imprint on the MINDSTREAM which will lead to SUFFERING in the future.
NIRMANAKAYA (Skt.): Emanation Body of a BUDDHA. The result of transformation of the ordinary body and experience of self. It is the transformation of the SAMBHOGAKAYA into ordinary physical form. (The Nirmanakaya is visible to those with pure KARMA, others will just see an ordinary being).
NIRVANA (Skt.): Beyond suffering/sorrow, transcendence of suffering, state beyond the causes for SUFFERING, unsatisfactoriness, troubles. State outside CYCLIC EXISTENCE attained by an ARHAT.
NGÖNDRO (Tib.): Something which precedes, goes before. Preliminary practice to the practice of TANTRA.
NYINGMA (Tib.): Oldest Tibetan Buddhist tradition, founded by PADMASAMBHAVA. Emphasis on tantric and DZOGCHEN-practice.

PADMASAMBHAVA: or "Guru Rinpoche": Great Indian tantric master, who came to Tibet in 817 AD With his SIDDHIS he dispelled evil forces which obstructed Buddhism in Tibet.
PARAMITAYANA (Skt.): Perfection vehicle. The MAHAYANA, but excluding the TANTRAYANA.
PERFECTION: Going beyond, reaching beyond limitation, (Skt.: paramita). See: 6 and 10  PERFECTIONS.
PRANA (Skt.): See LUNG.
PRATIMOKSHA (Skt.): Vows of individual liberation. Precepts established by SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA for Buddhist lay-persons, monks and nuns.
PRATYEKABUDDHA (Skt.): Solitary Buddha/Realiser. Follower of the HINAYANA tradition, concentrating on basic Buddhist teachings like the 12 LINKS OF INTERDEPENDENT ORIGINATION4 NOBLE TRUTHS etc. to attain LIBERATION (NOT Buddhahood).
PRETA (Skt.): Hungry ghost. A being obsessed by ATTACHMENT, living in the preta-realm within DESIRE REALM, mainly suffering from lack of food, drink and shelter.
PUJA (Skt.): Ceremony/act of worship, offering.
PUNDARIKA: second KULIKA King of SHAMBALA, best known for his famous commentary on the KALACHAKRA TANTRA called Vimalaprabha (stainless light).
a MAHAYANA tradition emphasising methods to be reborn in a PURE REALM. Mostly practiced in relation to AMITABHA BUDDHA
PURE REALM or LAND: Realm outside CYCLIC EXISTENCE where BUDDHAS, BOHISATTVAS and practitioners with sufficient VIRTUE abide. All conditions are conducive for practising DHARMA and attaining ENLIGHTENMENT.
PURIFICATION: Preventing negative KARMA to ripen and counteracting self-identification with negative energy.

RAHU (Skt.): the North node of the moon, where lunar eclipses occur. In Chinese astrology, it is 'the tail of the dragon'.
the highest attainment from the view of the DZOGCHEN tradition, in which the practitioner's corporeal body transforms into a body of rainbow light, which is accessible to people with high realizations.
(Skt.): Fierce, cannibalistic type of demon.
RATNASAMBHAVA (Skt.): Name of a DEITY. One of the 5 DHYANI BUDDHAS, representing the feeling AGGREGATE of all Buddhas and their Wisdom of Equality.
REALISATION: A deep and strong understanding / inner knowing, (beyond intellectual understanding) that becomes part of us and changes our perception of the world.
REFUGE: Taking refuge means entrusting one's spiritual development to the BUDDHAS, DHARMA and SANGHA. "Inner refuge" refers to refuge in our own BUDDHA-NATURE: our own natural WISDOM and the guidance we can give others.
RENUNCIATION: Determination to be free from all problems and SUFFERING (of CYCLIC EXISTENCE), not longer having ATTACHMENT to the pleasures of CYCLIC EXISTENCE which lead to more SUFFERING and DEFILEMENTS. It is inner WISDOM.
RINPOCHE (Tib.): Precious one. Referring to a TULKU, or sometimes just a title of respect.
Rigden Dragpo (Tib.) (2327 - 2427) "Wrathful One with the Wheel" the King of SHAMBALA who is predicted to defeat the "barbarians" in 2424 in a spiritual war.
RUPAKAYA (Skt.): Form (Rupa) Body (Kaya) of a BUDDHA. Physical manifestation of a BUDDHA. It can be further divided into the SAMBHOGAKAYA and the NIRMANAKAYA.

SADHANA (Skt.): A TANTRAYANA ritual text which sets out a particular MEDITATION practice.
SAKYA (Tib.): School of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Khon Könchok Gyelpo (11th. century). Main practice: "Lamdrey". Sakyas ruled in Tibet for over 100 yrs, before the secular power was handed to the Dalai Lama of the GELUGPA tradition. (13th.&14th. century)
SAMADHI (Skt): Meditative stabilisation, concentration. One-pointed involvement in MEDITATION where the meditation object and the practitioner are experienced as inseparable and indistinguishable. As there are many types of Samadhi, the term does not infer anything about the practitioner's REALISATION or accomplishment.
SAMBHOGAKAYA (Skt.): Enjoyment/bliss Body of a BUDDHA. The physical (psychic) form of BUDDHA's WISDOM. The transformation result of speech, communication and LUNG. In TANTRA known as the VAJRA of speech or the Buddha's voice.
SANGHA (Skt.): Spiritual community. 1. In the broadest sense; whole community of Buddhists: monks, nuns and lay people up to enlightened BODHISATTVAS (this is not the original meaning of Sangha). 2. More restricted: monks and nuns. 3. Most specific: ARYA-beings.
(Skt.): Sutra-school. See 4 TENETS.
SELF GENERATION: Practice in TANTRA whereby one imagines oneself to be the DEITY.
SENTIENT BEING: (Trans)-migrator. Being that possesses a MIND that is contaminated by DEFILEMENTS or their IMPRINTS, living within CYCLIC EXISTENCE (thus generally excluding plants).
SHAKTI (Skt.): Deity within the KALACHAKRA MANDALA. 10 Shaktis are present, although only 8 are visible in the mandala. Shaktis are common in Hinduism, but in Buddhism they only appear in the Kalachakra TANTRA.
SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA (Skt.): Name of the historical BUDDHA, living in the 6th. century BC
SHAMATA (Skt.): Calm abiding, Concentration. 1. MEDITATION method to achieve tranquility. 2. The resultant tranquil meditative state; the ability to remain single-pointedly on an object with a pliant and blissful MIND. Mental quiescence, stilled and settled state of awareness.
SHAMBALA (Skt.): "The Land held by Shiva". Mythical kingdom which is also called the pure land of KALACHAKRA.
SHRAVAKA (Skt.): Hearer. One who hears, practices and proclaims BUDDHA's teachings. Followers of the HINAYANA tradition, concentrating on RENUNCIATION and pacifying emotions, in order to attain LIBERATION.
SIDDHI (Skt.): Supernatural attainment/psychic power.
STUPA (Skt.): Buddhist reliquary object. Indian Buddhist Stupas are dome-shaped monuments containing relics of the BUDDHA or his disciples. Tibetan stupas are usually purely symbolic; any size or materials, but of carefully defined shape and proportions representing the BUDDHA's mind.
SUCHANDRA: King of SHAMBALA who requested the KALACHAKRA TANTRA from the BUDDHA.
SUFFERING: Any dissatisfactory condition, referring to physical and mental pain, and all problematic situations. See also 3 TYPES OF SUFFERING and 4 NOBLE TRUTHS.
SUTRA (Skt.): Discourse/ speech etc. of the BUDDHA, excluding teachings on TANTRA.
SUTRAYANA (Skt.): SUTRA vehicle. Also: "exoteric or common path". Name of the HINAYANA and PARAMITAYANA combined, thus excluding  the TANTRAYANA (the esoteric path).
SVABHAVIKAKAYA (Skt.): Nature Body of a BUDDHA. The empty nature of the Buddha's omniscient MIND (or wisdom).
(Skt.): Autonomy-school. Sub-school of MADHYAMIKA.

TANTRA (Skt.): Continuity, stream. (Continuity maintained throughout the practice.) 1. In general referring to the systems of MEDITATION described in the tantric texts; practices involving 4 PURITIES, meditation on ENERGY CHANNELS, CHAKRAS and energy drops within the body. These esoteric teachings are not found in the SUTRAYANA and require INITIATION of a tantric GURU. 2. More specific; a scripture describing a TANTRAYANA practice.
TANTRAYANA (Skt.):Syn.: Mantra/vajra/secret/uncommon/esoteric vehicle,  a MAHAYANA Buddhist path which leads to ENLIGHTENMENT. See also TANTRA.
TARA (Skt.): Saviouress; name of a specific DEITY, representing the enlightened activities of all BUDDHAS.
TATHAGATA (Skt.): One Thus Gone; title of a BUDDHA

TENET: Philosophical view/school. See 4 TENETS.
TENGYUR (Tib.): Collection of commentaries to BUDDHA's teachings translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan.
TERMA (Tib.): Hidden treasure teaching, usually from PADMASAMBHAVA
TERTON (Tib): one who rediscovers and reveals 'hidden treasure teachings' or TERMA.
THERAVADIN (Skt.): The tradition of the Elders. Buddhist tradition widespread in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. Generally, practices can be said to be HINAYANA.
TIRTHIKA (Skt.): One not following the Middle way, a non-Buddhist, usually referring to a Hindu.
TONG LEN (Tib.):  Giving and taking. MIND training to overcome selfishness and develop COMPASSION for others; giving one's own happiness and taking other's SUFFERING.
TORMA (Tib.): Ritual offering cake, used in tantric rituals.
TRIPITAKA (Skt.): Three baskets. Three collections of Buddhist scriptures; 1. VINAYA (Skt.): Discipline; 2.  SUTRA  3. ABHIDHARMA (Skt.): Knowledge/phenomenology.
TSATSA (Tib.): small clay replicas of DEITIES or STUPAS. The clay is often mixed with ashes from the remains of deceased individuals to transmit blessings to the deceased.
TSOG (Tib.): Tantric (food) offering.
TSONG KHAPA (Tib.): Great Tibetan Scholar (1357-1419), founder of the Tibetan GELUGPA-tradition.
TULKU (Tib.): Recognised reincarnation of a GURU.
TUMMO (Tib.): Psychic heat, inner heat generated in special tantric meditation practices, Kundalini (Skt).
TUSHITA (Skt.): Joyous Land. The BODHISATTVA PURE REALM of the 1000 BUDDHAS of this EON

ULTIMATE TRUTH: Synonyms: EMPTINESS, without INHERENT EXISTENCE, correct view, fundamental true nature, not truly existent, without self-existence, sphere of DHARMA, true nature, voidness, void of self-existence, universal law, level of truth that is the deepest fact of reality, total absence of fantasised ways of existing.
UPASAKA (Skt.): Buddhist lay-person holding 8 PRECEPTS.
USHNISHA (Skt.): The fleshy protrusion on the crown of a BUDDHA's head.
UTPALA (Skt.): Blue lotus flower.

VAIBASHIKA (Skt.): Great exposition school. See 4 TENETS.
VAIROCHANA (Skt.): Name of a DEITY. One of the 5 DHYANI BUDDHAS, representing the form (or body) AGGREGATE and Mirror-like Wisdom of all Buddhas.
VAJRA (Skt.): Indestructible/diamond/adamantine. 1. Tibetan ritual sceptre (dorje). 2. Anything used in the practice of TANTRA to differentiate it from everyday things. 3. used as synonym for TANTRA or MANTRA.
VAJRADHARA (Skt.): Name of DEITY, representing the SAMBHOGAKAYA- aspect of SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA. Vajradhara is the founder of TANTRAYANA.
VAJRAPANI (Skt.): Vajra-Holder. One of the main disciples of the BUDDHA. Name of wrathful DEITY, representing the power of all BUDDHAS.
VAJRA-POSTURE: Cross-legged posture with the feet on the opposite thighs. Mirror image of the Hindu lotus-posture.
VAJRASATTVA (Skt.): Name of a DEITY (Vajra-Being), specifically related to PURIFICATION practices.
VETALA (Skt.): Corpse revived by a bad spirit, zombie.
VIMALAPRABHA (Skt.): "Stainless Light", a commentary on the KALACHAKRA TANTRA by Pundarika (second KULIKA King of SHAMBALA.
VINAYA (Skt.): Discipline. Rules governing the conduct of the SANGHA (here usually monks and nuns).
VIPASHYANA (Skt.): Seeing beyond, superior or excellent seeing, insight. 1. Meditative technique which identifies and analyses the patterns of the MIND and the world it projects. 2. The resultant WISDOM or perfect knowledge, which thoroughly and clearly discriminates phenomena.
VIRTUE: Positive potential, merit. IMPRINTS on the mindstream of positive actions, leading to future happiness.

WISDOM: 1. Prajña(Skt.), shes.rab (Tib.); discriminative awareness. 2. Jñana (Skt.), ye.shes (Tib.); deep/pristine awareness, wisdom-knowledge, primal wisdom, gnosis.

YAMA (Skt.): Name of the Lord of (uncontrolled) Death.
YAMANTAKA: YAMA-Opponent. Name of a specific DEITY.
YANA (Skt.): Vehicle. Usually; specific path/system of Buddhist practice.
YIDAM (Skt.): Enlightened DEITY, or meditational Buddha-form, on whom one's personal tantric practice is centred.
YOGA (Skt.): Practice, endeavour, application. In the Tibetan system, generally a merely mental tradition.
YOJANA (Skt.): Distance measure, approx. 1 mile.

ZEN: Japanese variation of the Chinese word "Ch'an". A MAHAYANA Buddhist tradition originating from China, and further developed to be widespread in Japan.

The Number Glossary can be found here.
A very extensive Buddhist Glossary on the Web


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Last updated: June 24, 2002 1