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.

The "sun-like" disciple of Milarepa and author of The Jewel Ornament of Liberation; also known as “The Physician from Dakpo”; guru of the first Karmapa.

The Hundred Deities of the Land of Joy, the Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga practice, performed daily in Gelug monasteries. See also guru yoga.

The first of the three great Gelugpa monastic universities near Lhasa, founded in 1409 by Lama Tsongkhapa. It was badly damaged in the 1960s and has now been re-established in exile in South India.

“Holder of the Throne of Ganden,” Lama Tsongkhapa’s representative, head of the Gelug tradition.

A celestial musician, often depicted holding a sitar-like instrument and having a horse’s head.

Perfume; one of the offering substances.

A deity associated with Vajrapani; a bird-like being with a snake in its mouth, symbolizing its ability to protect sentient beings from naga harm.

A disciplinarian in a Tibetan monastery.

A torma offering to harmful spirits or negative forces, often done at the beginning of an initiation.

A Gelug lama and lharampa geshe from Drepung Monastery, born in Tibet and a friend of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He is the founder and president of the Jewel Heart Dharma centers and programs.

A probationary nun, between the novice (getsulma) with 36 vows and the fully-ordained nun (gelongma) with 364 vows.

A fully ordained Buddhist monk.

A fully ordained Buddhist nun, holding 364 vows. See also gelobma and getsulma.

The Virtuous Order. The order of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Lama Tsongkhapa and his disciples in the early fifteenth century and the most recent of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Developed from the Kadam School founded by Atisha and Dromtönpa. Cf Nyingma, Kagyü and Sakya.

A follower of the Gelug tradition.

Literally, elder. A title of respect.

An ascetic meditator who was a close friend of Lama Yeshe and a guru of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

The first Dalai Lama.

The second Dalai Lama.

The first of the two stages of Highest Yoga Tantra, during which one cultivates the clear appearance and divine pride of one's chosen meditational deity.

Literally, a virtuous friend; derived from the Tibetan ge-wai she-nyen. The title conferred on those who have completed extensive studies and examinations at Gelug monastic universities. The highest level of geshe is the lharampa. 

A novice Buddhist monk.

A novice Buddhist nun, holding 36 vows. See also gelobma and gelongma.

In Tibetan Buddhism, a meditation that reviews the overall points of a broad lam-rim subject, rather than going into detail.


See deva.

A lay lama, guru of both Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, who taught at many FPMT centers, especially in Italy; passed away and reincarnated in Canada.

Usually refers to the main meditation hall, or temple, within a monastery.