This glossary was compiled from glossaries
found in different English books on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and edited by
Definitions and synonyms may differ in the various Buddhist traditions.
* : unpreferred term or term with incorrect connotation
A very extensive
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2 BUDDHA BODIES: DHARMAKAYA and RUPAKAYA
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2 COLLECTIONS: Collections of VIRTUE and WISDOM.
2 EXTREMES: Views of eternalism and nihilism.
2 STAGES OF TANTRA: GENERATION STAGE AND COMPLETION STAGE
2 TRUTHS: CONVENTIONAL TRUTH and ULTIMATE TRUTH.
3 BUDDHA BODIES: DHARMAKAYA, SAMBHOGAKAYA and NIRMANAKAYA.
3 BASKETS: See: TRIPITAKA.
3 DELUSIONS/POISONS/NEGATIVITIES: IGNORANCE, aversion/anger, ATTACHMENT/desire.
3 DOORS: Body, speech and MIND.
3-FOLD MORALITY: Keeping one's vows, collecting VIRTUE and helping SENTIENT
3 HIGHER TRAININGS: Training in ethics, meditation and discriminating
3 JEWELS/GEMS: The three objects of REFUGE: BUDDHA, DHARMA and SANGHA.
At outer level: SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA, his teachings and community of ordained persons.
At inner level: BUDDHA NATURE, the all-pervading truth and ARYAS.
3 KAYAS: see 3 BUDDHA BODIES
3 PRINCIPLE ASPECTS OF THE PATH: RENUNCIATION, BODHICITTA and WISDOM
REALIZING EMPTINESS from a text by Lama TZONGKHAPA.
3 REALMS: DESIRE REALM, FORM REALM and FORMLESS REALM.
3 SCOPES: Levels of motivation of a practitioner: Low/initial/small scope:
achievement of good REBIRTH, Middle/intermediate scope: achievement of LIBERATION,
and Highest/great scope: achievement of Buddhahood for the sake of all SENTIENT
3 TIMES: Past, present and future.
3 TRAININGS: Training in morality/discipline, concentration and WISDOM/discrimination
(the essential trainings of the SUTRAYANA).
3 TYPES OF ACTIONS: actions of the mind, the speech and the body
3 TYPES OF SUFFERING: Suffering of suffering (pain, distress), suffering
of change and all-pervasive suffering (potential to suffer).
3 TYPES OF VOWS: PRATIMOKSHA, BODHISATTVA and TANTRIC vows
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4 ACTIVITIES: (in tantric practice) pacifying, increasing/developing,
controlling and subjugating/terrifying.
4 BUDDHA BODIES: SVABHAVIKAKAYA, jñana-DHARMAKAYA, SAMBHO-GAKAYA
4 CONTINENTS: East, Lüpagpo, Noble-body-land; south, Dzambuling,
Jambu-fruit-land (our human world); west, Balangchö, Cattle Enjoyments;
north, Dramiñän, Unpleasant Voice. These continents appear in the
MANDALA OFFERING, and are part of the symbolic representation of the entire
4 FOUNDATIONS OF MINDFULNESS: Mindfulness of body, feeling, mind and
4 HALLMARKS OF CORRECT VIEW: 4 Principles that constitute the basic insights
of the Buddhist path to enlightenment: 1. all conditioned existence is impermanent,
2. all deluded experiences are suffering, 3. all phenomena are EMPTY and lack
self-identity, 4.nirvana/liberation is true peace.
4 IMMEASURABLES: Immeasurable LOVE / loving kindness, COMPASSION, EQUANIMITY,
4 MARAS: Devaputra (actual SENTIENT BEING called Ishvara), death (YAMA),
DEFILEMENTS, contaminated AGGREGATES.
4 MEANS OF ATTRACTING (students): being generous, speaking kindly, giving
appropriate teachings, being consistent in word and deed.
4 NOBLE DISCIPLINES: Avoiding to respond to (1) anger with anger, (2)
physical harm with physical harm, (3) criticism with criticism, (4) verbal argumenting
with verbal argumenting. These disciplines are said to distinguish the real
practitioners, as they control the causes of anger and lack of patience. (This
is part of the secondary Bodhisattva vows.)
4 NOBLE TRUTHS: Truth of: SUFFERING, the cause of SUFFERING, the cessation
of SUFFERING, the 8-FOLD NOBLE PATH.
4 OPPONENT POWERS (for purification): taking REFUGE & generating
BODHICITTA, regret / repentence, actual positive practice (mantras, prostrations
etc.), promise not to repeat negativities.
4 PURITIES (in Tantric practice): Place (environment is seen as the DEITY'S
MANDALA), Body (ordinary body is imagined to be the DEITY'S body), Enjoyments
(sense enjoyments are seen as offerings to the DEITY), Action (all ones' actions
are regarded as the DEITY'S actions).
4 SEALS: All produced phenomena are impermanent, all contaminated products
are in the nature of SUFFERING, all phenomena are EMPTINESS, NIRVANA is peace.
4 TANTRIC CLASSES: Kriya-tantra (action-tantra), Charya-tantra (performance-tantra),
Yoga-tantra, Annutarayoga-tantra (highest yoga tantra).
4 TENETS: 4 philosophical schools, differing in their view of EMPTINESS:
Vaibhashika, Sautrantika, Cittamatra, Madhyamika. 1 & 2 are HINAYANA schools,
3 & 4 are MAHAYANA-schools
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5 AGGREGATES: Form (body), feeling, recognition (discrimination,
distinguishing awareness), volition (compositional factors), primary consciousness
(5 sense-consciousnesses and mental consciousness).
5 BUDDHA FAMILIES: see 5 DHYANI BUDDHAS
5 CHAKRAS: In Buddhism usually the energy centers at the brow, the crown
of the head, the throat, the heart and four finger widths under the navel.
5 DEGENERATIONS: Degeneration of: lifetime, era, beings, views, defilements.
5 DELUSIONS/POISONS: ATTACHMENT, ANGER, IGNORANCE, jealousy and doubt.
(Sometimes others are counted, the first 3 however are always present)
5 DHYANI BUDDHAS: AMITABHA, AKSHOBHYA, RATNASAMBHAVA, VAIROCHANA, AMOGHASIDDHI.
5-FOLD PATH OF MAHAMUDRA: entire practice to Buddhahood based on the
MAHAMUDRA practice of the KAGYU tradition of Tibet. The 5 paths are: 1. Meditation
on BODHICITTA, 2. DEITY YOGA, 3. GURU YOGA, 4. MAHAMUDRA practice, 5. dedication
5 HEINOUS CRIMES: Killing one's father, mother or an ARHAT; attempt to
wound (draw blood from) a BUDDHA, causing division amongst the SANGHA.
5 PATHS: Paths of: merit, preparation, insight, meditation and attainment.
The definitions of these paths differs in the HINAYANA and MAHAYANA.
5 SCIENCES: grammar, logic, medicine, arts & crafts, religious philosophy.
5 WISDOMS: gnosis or dharmadhatu, mirror-like, equality, discrimination
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6 CHAKRAS: Usually: browpoint (third eye), crown, throat,
heart, navel, genitals. (Sometimes browpoint & crown are considered as one
6 PERFECTIONS or VIRTUES: Giving, ethics, patience, effort, concentration
6 PREPARATORY PRACTICES: (Before meditation); cleaning up and setting
up the altar; make offerings on the altar; sit comfortably, check the state
of mind, taking REFUGE & generating BODHICITTA; visualize the merit field;
7-LIMBED PRAYER & MANDALA OFFERING; request the GURU for inspiration.
6 REALMS: HELL, PRETA, animal, human, ASURA and GOD REALM
6 SENSES: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, mental (apperception)
6-SESSION GURU YOGA: Set of daily tantric meditations intended to keep
the daily tantric commitments
6 YOGAS OF NAROPA: Tantric meditation system, comprising the heart of
the COMPLETION STAGE practice in the KAGYU school of Tibetan Buddhism
6 YOGAS OF NIGUMA: Meditation system similar to the 6 YOGAS OF NAROPA
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7 LIMBED PRAYER: Prostration, offering,
confession, rejoicing, requesting the Buddhas to remain and teach DHARMA,
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7 POINTS VAIROCHANA POSTURE: legs in VAJRA position; hands in MEDITATION
MUDRA; back straight; eyelids half open, look to ground in front; tongue against
upper pallet; shoulders straight; MIND relaxed
7 PRECIOUS OBJECTS: Possessions of a Universal Monarch (symbolizing
the 7 ENLIGHTENMENT factors): Precious; Wheel (mindfulness), Elephant (WISDOM),
Horse (Energy, LUNG), Jewel (Joy), Queen (tranquility), Minister (concentration)
and General (equanimity).
8 AUSPICIOUS SYMBOLS/LUCKY SIGNS: umbrella, fish, treasure
vase, lotus, conch, (long-life)-knot, banner of victory, Dharma wheel
8 BODHISATTVAS: (Close entourtage of SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA) MANJUSHRI, VAJRAPANI,
AVALOKITESHVARA, Kshitigarbha, Sarvanivaranaviskambini, Akashagarbha, MAITREYA,
8-FOLD NOBLE PATH: Correct: understanding, view, speech, action, livelihood,
effort, mindfulness, concentration.
8 LEISURES AND 10 ENDOWMENTS: 8 Leisures are freedom from: rebirth
as hell-being, preta, animal, demi-god or god, incomplete organs, 5 HEINOUS
CRIMES, no views opposite to 3 JEWELS. 10 Endowments: human, organs intact,
not having performed the 5 HEINOUS CRIMES, no views opposite 3 JEWELS, not crazy,
living in land with DHARMA, not living in a barbarian country, time when DHARMA
has appeared, DHARMA teachers/centers/practitioners are around, people appreciate
and help practitioners.
8 LUCKY SIGNS: see 8 AUSPICIOUS SYMBOLS
8 MAHAYANA PRECEPTS: Vows for not: killing, stealing, sexual activity,
lying, intoxicants, more than 1 meal in 24 hrs., sitting on high, expensive
seats or beds, wearing ornaments & dancing & playing music with ATTACHMENT.
These vows can be taken for various time spans.
8 VERSES OF THOUGHT TRANSFORMATION: Short essential text of the Kadampa
Master Langri Thangpa.
8 WORLDLY DHARMAS: Desire for: fame, worldly pleasure, material gain
and praise. Feeling unhappy when: loosing fame, worldly pleasure, material gain
and when hearing harsh or unpleasant criticism towards ourselves.
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9-ROUND BREATHING: Meditation technique using 9 in-
and exhalations and visualisations to calm and clear the mind
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10 BHUMIS (STAGES): stages on the path
10 NON-VIRTUES: 3 of body: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct; 4 of
speech: lying, slander, abusive speech, gossip; 3 of mind: covetousness, ill-will,
10 PERFECTIONS: 6 PERFECTIONS plus: method, prayer, power, exalted
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11-ROUND CONTEMPLATION: A synthesis of
the two main systems for generating BODHICITTA; the 'seven point cause and
effect' by ATISHA and Shantideva's method called 'Equality and exchange of
self with others'. The meditation steps are: 1. cultivating EQUANIMITY, 2.
recognising all beings as intimately connected with oneself, 3. recollecting
their kindness, 4. repaying their kindness, 5. special equanimity on the basis
of empathy with others, 6. the shortcomings of self-cherishing, 7. benefits
of cherishing others, 8. meditation on 'giving' - all of one's posessions
and merit to others, 9. meditation on 'taking' all others' suffering, 10.
taking the responisbility to help others, 11. realisation od BODHICITTA.
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11 WAYS OF HELPING SENTIENT BEINGS: Helping those who are SUFFERING;
are ignorant of KARMA; have previously helped you; are in danger; full of
grief; poor; homeless; already on the true Path; or on a wrong path;
helping skilfully and helping by using any SIDDHIS you possess.
12 LINKS OF (INTER)DEPENDENT ORIGINATION or CAUSATION:
ignorance, compositional factors causing misperception, consciousness, name
& form, the 6 SENSES, contact, feeling, craving, grasping, becoming, (re-)birth,
aging & death.
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16 EMPTINESSES: Explanation of EMPTINESS on the basis
of categorising 16 types of phenomena
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35 BUDDHAS OF CONFESSION: 35 BUDDHAS associated with
a specific confession/purification practice, usually combining recitation and
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37 FACTORS OF BUDDHAHOOD: Sequential aspects of the
path to enlightenment, although found in the Mahayana traditions, most commonly
present in the Hinayana schools
37 PRACTICES OF A BODHISATTVA: Set of practices which
embrace all aspects of the BODHISATTVA's path to enlightenment. Based on a text
by Tibetan Ngulchu Thogme Zangpo
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50 VERSES OF GURU DEVOTION: Important text by Ashvagosha
which describes the proper attitude towards one's tantric Master.