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
Buddhist classic written by Vasubandhu; the earliest attempt at a systematic
representation of Buddhist philosophy, psychology and cosmology.
ABSOLUTE TRUTH: See ULTIMATE TRUTH.
ACTION MUDRA: A Highest Yoga TANTRA consort who assists in generating
AGGREGATE: 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
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.
ANTI-GOD: See ASURA.
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,
ARYA (Skt.): Superior, High One. One who has gained direct meditational
experience of EMPTINESS. See also ARHAT.
ASPIRING BODHICITTA: A merely wishful BODHICITTA (as opposed to
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.
(Tib.): Intermediate state of existence. The time between death and rebirth.
BHUMI (Skt.): Stage. Usually referring to a stage in the BODHISATTVA-training
BODHI (Skt.): See ENLIGHTENMENT.
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.
In the KALACHAKRA TANTRA, the Deities
on the inner ledge of the MIND MANDALA.
BODY MANDALA: In the KALACHAKRA
TANTRA, the outermost area of the mandala, surrounding the SPEECH MANDALA.
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,
BUDDHIST: Person who has taken REFUGE in the 3 JEWELS, and agrees
on the philosophy of the 4 SEALS.
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
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.
CHENREZIG (Tib.): See AVALOKITESHVARA.
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: Visualised BUDDHA or oneself visualised as a
BUDDHA. A WISDOM-BEING is an actual BUDDHA who is invited to unite with
COMMITMENTS: Promises and pledges taken when engaging in spiritual
COMPASSION: The wish that others may be free from SUFFERING and
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.
In the KALACHAKRA practices, it is described in six stages.
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 &
(Skt.): Male equivalent of DAKINI.
DAKINI (Skt.): Female tantric BUDDHA and women who have achieved
direct REALISATION of EMPTINESS with the CLEAR LIGHT MIND.
DEFILEMENTS: see DELUSIONS
DEITY: The symbolic form of a pure being, manifested from BUDDHA's
wisdom. Meditational BUDDHA form.
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. .
DEMIGOD: See ASURA.
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
DHAMMAPADA (Pali): most popular collection of sayings of the Buddha
in the Pali canon.
in South India where the BUDDHA is said to have taught the KALACHAKRA
DHARMAKAYA (Skt.): Truth Body of a BUDDHA, the pure, omniscient
MIND of a BUDDHA, result of the transformation of the ordinary MIND. The
corpus of a Buddha that encompasses everything), referring to a Buddha's
omniscient mental activity and the nature of that activity. (Alex Berzin)
It can be divided into the SVABHAVI-KAKAYA and the "Jñana Dharmakaya".
See 4 BUDDHA-BODIES.
DHARMAPALA (Skt.): See DHARMA PROTECTOR.
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
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.
essence of sperm and blood (egg), abiding in the ENERGY CHANNELS or Nadis
(Skt.). In the KALACHAKRA TANTRA, these often refer to the 4 drops (of
the states of the waking state, deep sleep, dreaming and absorption of
DZOGCHEN (Tib.): Profound practice of the NYINGMA tradition.
BODY: See NIRMANAKAYA.
EMPTINESS: Full expression: "Emptiness of INHERENT EXISTENCE".
The doctrine that all concepts and phenomena lack INHERENT EXISTENCE.
See ULTIMATE TRUTH
EMPTY FORM BODY:
(or Body of Empty Form) Specific for Kalachakra practice, a non-material
'body' which appears in meditation and is developed into the RUPAKAYA
or 'form body' of a Buddha. Sometimes compared to the Rainbow Body of
other tantra practices, but these are described as being of subtle matter,
the Empty Form Body is a production of mind and is non-material
EMPOWERMENT: See INITIATION.
ENERGY CHANNEL: Veins within the body through which psychic energy
(Tib. Lung, Skt. PRANA) flows.
ENGAGING BODHICITTA: A BODHICITTA held by the BODHISATTVA vows.
(As opposed to ASPIRING BODHICITTA).
ENJOYMENT BODY: See SAMBHOGAKAYA.
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 aeon": lifetime of the universe (KALPA (Skt)). "Small
aeon": one 20th. of a great aeon
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 realises EMPTINESS
by means of a generic image.
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
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.
(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
GENERATION STAGE: Stage of practice in Highest Yoga TANTRA, wherein
one mentally generates oneself as a DEITY, and one's surroundings as the
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: See DEVA.
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 and 6 REALMS
GOLDEN AGE OF SHAMBALA:
A period of 1,000 or 1,800 years following the 'defeat of the barbarians'
by King Rudra Chakrin, in which the DHARMA and the KALACHAKRA TANTRA will
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: (Vira and Virini in Skt.) A hero is a male tantric
DEITY, embodying method. A HEROINE is a female tantric DEITY, embodying
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
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.
INTERMEDIATE STATE: See BARDO.
(Tib.): Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, started by ATISHA. Before Lama
TSONGKHAPA known as "Old Kadam", afterwards known as GELUGPA.
KALACAKRA (Skt.): see KALACHAKRA
name of a specific DEITY of the MAHA-ANNUTTARA YOGA TANTRA class.
KALAGNI (Skt.): In the KALACHAKRA system, Kalagni is the South
node of the moon, where solar eclipses occur, or 'the head of the dragon'
in Chinese astrology. It is also the yellow disc on which KALACHAKRA stands.
KALAPA: capital of the country of SHAMBHALA.
KALKI (Skt.): see 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 and 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; virtuous actions lead to happiness, NEGATIVE ACTIONS
to SUFFERING and unpleasant states.
KAYA (Skt.): Body of a BUDDHA. See also 4 BUDDHA-BODIES.
KRIYA-TANTRA (Skt.): Purification class of TANTRA. See 4 TANTRIC
KULIKA (Skt.): "Holder
of the Castes" or Shambala's Knowledge Holder (Rigden in Tib.). Titles
of the 8th. to the 24th. Kings of SHAMBHALA
(Skt.), or better: the 'Kalachakra Laghutantra';
this is an abridged form of the original text;
the Kalachakra MULATANTRA which is only existant in Shambhala. The Laghutantra
was written by SHAMBALA King MANJUSHRIKIRTI (or
Manjushri Yashas). This text fullfills the function of root tantra
for us, as the Mulatantra is not available.
LAMA (Tib.): See GURU.
Buddhism, an unpreferred term, based on misunderstandings by early western
contacts with Tibetan Buddhism.
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. Presently mainly used in the GELUG-school.
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.
(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
Manjushri Yashas): 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.
MEANING CLEAR LIGHT: A CLEAR LIGHT MIND that directly realises
MEDITATION: (Tib.: gom) Habituating, familiarising. Habituating
ourselves to positive and realistic states of mind
MEDITATIVE CONCENTRATION: See SHAMATA.
MERIT: See VIRTUE.
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.: shes.pa).
MIND MANDALA: In the KALACHAKRA
TANTRA, the central, uppermost levels of the Mandala, containing the central
GREAT BLISS MANDALA, the EXALTED WISDOM MANDALA and the surrounding Mind
MIND-STREAM: 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.
or better: 'Kalachakra Mulatantra'; this is the original KALACHAKRA root
tantra. An abridged commentary to this was composed by Shambala King SUCHANDRA,
but both texts are not available outside Shambala. The two basic texts
we use are the Lughatantra (which fulfills the function of root tantra)
by MANJUSHRIKIRTI, and the commentary the 'VIMALAPRABHA' by Pundarika.
(Skt.): See ENERGY CHANNEL.
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 SUTRAS.
Tenfold powerful one: the Kalachakra "logo" composed of 10 symbols.
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. a network of grosser
forms, emanated from sambhogakaya, which some ordinary persons can see
as well (Alex Berzin) (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.
NGONDRO (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.
or "Guru Rinpoche": G.reat Indian tantric master, who came to Tibet in
817 AD With his SIDDHIS he dispelled evil forces which obstructed Buddhism
PARAMITA (Skt.): PERFECTION, see 6 and 10 PERFECTIONS.
PARAMITAYANA (Skt.): Perfection vehicle. The MAHAYANA, but excluding
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 ORIGINATION, 4 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.
second KULIKA King of SHAMBALA, best known for his famous commentary on
the KALACHAKRA TANTRA called Vimalaprabha (stainless light).
PURE REALM: Realm outside CYCLIC EXISTENCE where BUDDHAS, BOHISATTVAS
and practitioners with sufficient VIRTUE abide. All conditions are conducive
for practising DHARMA and attaining ENLIGHTENMENT. "Pure-Land Buddhism"
is a MAHAYANA tradition emphasising methods to be reborn there.
PURIFICATION: Preventing negative KARMA to ripen and counteracting
self-identification with negative energy.
(Skt.): the North node of the moon, where lunar eclipsses occur. In
Chinese astrology, it is 'the tail of the dragon'.
RAKSHA (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
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
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
RINPOCHE (Tib.): Precious one. Referring to a TULKU, or sometimes
just a title of respect.
RUDRA CHAKRIN (Skt.):
Rigden Dragpo (Tib.) (2327
- 2427 CE) "Wrathful One with the Wheel" the King of SHAMBHALA 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.
Tantric method of actualization, actualization of oneself as the Buddha-figure
for which one has received INITIATION, also a TANTRAYANA ritual text which
sets out a particular MEDITATION practice.
SADHANGA YOGA (Skt.): Six-fold COMPLETION STAGE practices to achieve
the state of KALACHAKRA
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. A network
of subtle forms that make full use of the bodhisattva teachings and which
only arya bodhisattvas can perceive (Alex Berzin). 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.
SAMSARA (Skt.): See CYCLIC EXISTENCE.
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.
SAUTRANTIKA (Skt.): Sutra-school. See 4 TENETS.
SELF GENERATION: Practice in TANTRA whereby one imagines oneself
to be the DEITY.
SELFLESSNESS: See EMPTINESS.
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).
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.
"The Land held by Shiva". Mythical kingdom which is also called the pure
land of KALACHAKRA. King SUCHANDRA of Shambala requested the Buddha to
teach this tantra; the Kalachakra teachings are kept and practiced there.
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.
SHUNYATA (Skt.): See EMPTINESS.
SIDDHI (Skt.): Supernatural attainment/psychic power.
SKANDHA (Skt.): See AGGREGATE.
SOLITARY REALIZER: See PRATYEKABUDDHA.
SPEECH MANDALA: In the KALACHAKRA
TANTRA, the area of the MANDALA between the central MIND MANDALA and the
surrounding BODY MANDALA.
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
SHAMBHALA 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
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).
Continuity, stream. (Continuity maintained throughout the practice.) 1.
In general referring to the systems of MEDITATION described in the TANTRAYANA
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.
(Skt.): One Thus Gone; title of a BUDDHA. In the KALACHAKRA TANTRA, also
referring to the Tathagatas
of the EXALTED WISDOM MANDALA.
TENET: Philosophical view/school. See 4 TENETS.
TENGYUR (Tib.): Collection of commentaries to BUDDHA's teachings
translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan.
SVATANTRIKA (Skt.): Autonomy-school. Sub-school of MADHYAMIKA.
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.
TRANSMIGRATORS: See SENTIENT BEINGS.
TRIPITAKA (Skt.): Three baskets. Three collections of Buddhist
scriptures; 1. Vinaya (Skt.): discipline; 2. SUTRA 3. Abhidharma
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
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
UTPALA (Skt.): Blue lotus flower.
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
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.
wrathful aspect of KALACHAKRA.
VAJRAYANA (Skt.): See TANTRAYANA.
VASE: implement of DEITIES, usually symbolising INITIATION. In
the KALACHAKRA MANDALA, vases are represented in the Exalted Wisdom Mandala
as well as on top of the roofs of the Gates and the central roof.
VETALA (Skt.): Corpse revived by a bad spirit, zombie.
"Stainless Light", a commentary on the KALACHAKRA TANTRA by PUNDARIKA
(second KULIKA King of SHAMBALA. Together with the Laghutantra, which
forms the basis of our knowledge of the Kalachakra tantr.
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.
(Skt.): Consort of KALACHAKRA.
VOIDNESS: See EMPTINESS.
WISDOM: 1. Prajña(Skt.),
shes.rab (Tib.); discriminative awareness. 2. Jñana (Skt.), ye.shes
(Tib.); deep/pristine awareness, wisdom-knowledge, primal wisdom, gnosis.
WISDOM-BEING: See COMMITMENT BEING.
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
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.
YOGA-TANTRA (Skt.): Union TANTRA. See 4 TANTRIC CLASSES.
Female practitioner; in the KALACHAKRA TANTRA usually referring to the
80 Yoginis of the Speech Mandala.
YOJANA (Skt.): Distance measure, approx. 1 mile.
variation of the Chinese word "Ch'an". A MAHAYANA Buddhist tradition originating
from China as Ch'an, and further developed in Japan.
The Number Glossary can be found here.
If you really cannot find a word, try this extensive
list of Buddhist Dictionaries