This glossary contains an alphabetical list of Buddhist terms that you may find on this website. The glossary includes English, Sanskrit and Tibetan terms. The list of terms is expanding and new listings are added regularly. Search for the term you want by entering it in the search box, or browse through the listing by clicking on the letters below.

A tip or bribe to expedite getting what one wants. The term (and the custom) is common throughout Asia.

A Ladakhi lama, the reincarnation of one of the sixteen arhats, who served for many years in the Indian parliament and as Indian ambassador to Mongolia.

Meat; one of the two offering substances in a tantric offering, the other is madana (nectar).

The practice of visualizing or actually offering an ablution to the merit field in order to clear away obscurations and create merit.

Since the continuity of the mind has no beginning, our rebirths in samsara also have no beginning.

A Kadampa practitioner and follower of Atisha, he was a robber before he renounced his life of crime and ordained.

Epithet for a buddha; sometimes translated as Lord, Blessed One and so forth. One who has destroyed (chom) all the defilements, possesses all qualities (dän) and has transcended the world ().

Ground, or level, as in the ten bodhisattva levels. See ten grounds or stages.

The small town in the state of Bihar in north India where Shakyamuni Buddha became enlightened.

A principal consciousness that combines the two factors of wishing to free all beings from suffering and of wishing to attain enlightenment because of that; the spontaneous altruistic mind of enlightenment can be either aspirational or engaging.

One who possesses bodhicitta.

The vows taken when one enters the bodhisattva path.

The Bodhisattva’s Vehicle, another name for Paramitayana or Sutrayana; the non-tantric Mahayana path.

The religion in Tibet that preceded Buddhism. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has recognized Bön as the fifth tradition along with the four major traditions of Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyü and Gelug. Practitioners of Bön are called Bönpos.

A village just outside Kathmandu that is built around the Boudhanath Stupa, a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site.

The Hindu god of creation, one of the principal three deities with Vishnu and Shiva.

A member of the priest caste of Indian society.

In some ways synonymous with pure land, although it can also mean any pure environment, seen as a manifestation of wisdom.

The clear light nature of mind possessed by all sentient beings; the potential for all sentient beings to become enlightened by removing the two obscurations: to liberation and omniscience.

A fully awakened being. One who has totally eliminated (Tib: sang) all obscurations veiling the mind and has fully developed (Tib: gye) all good qualities to perfection. See also enlightenment, Shakyamuni Buddha.

The historical Buddha. See Shakyamuni Buddha.

The teachings of the Buddha. See also Dharma.

The eighth century Indian teacher who founded one of the Guhyasamaja systems; studied the Perfection of Wisdom teachings with Haribhadra.

One who has taken refuge in the Three Jewels of Refuge: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and who accepts the philosophical world view of the “four seals”: that all composite phenomena are impermanent, all contaminated phenomena are in the nature of suffering, all things and events are devoid of self-existence, and nirvana is true peace.

A ritual vase with a spout used in ceremonies and initiations.

The tantric practice of making offerings to Dorje Khadro, a deity generated within a fire. Sometimes called a fire puja.

A small town in West Bengal in eastern India, where most of the Tibetan monks who escaped to India in 1959 were accommodated.