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.

Usually the lama’s residence within a monastery, from which his affairs are conducted.

The graduated path. A presentation of Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings in a form suitable for the step-by-step training of a disciple. See also Atisha and three principal aspects of the path.

A spiritual guide or teacher. One who shows a disciple the path to liberation and enlightenment. See guru.

The practice usually called Ganden Lha Gyäma, the Hundred Deities of the Land of Joy.

The text that formed the basis for the lam-rim, written by Atisha in the 11th century.

The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. Lama Tsongkhapa’s most important work, a commentary on Atisha’s Lamp for the Path, the fundamental lam-rim text.

Ngawang Phuntsog, a highly learned lama from Drepung Monastery who remained in Tibet after 1959 and did not go into exile.

Dorje Senge. Author of the famous Eight Verses of Thought Transformation.

A recognized reincarnate lama and former abbot of the Shartse College of Ganden Monastery in South India. Rinpoche also taught Buddhism in the West, and was the author of important Buddhist texts.

A small area in the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal about three hours’ walk west from Namche Bazaar just above Mende. Site of the cave where the Lawudo Lama meditated for more than twenty years and now the Lawudo Retreat Centre. Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama.

The king who first wished Atisha to come to Tibet to regenerate the Dharma. Before he was able to, he was thrown into prison and died, leaving his nephew, Jangchub Ö to complete the task.

The highest of the geshe degrees awarded in the Tibetan Gelug tradition.

Arrived at Kopan Monastery to teach the young monks at Lama Yeshe’s request in 1973. He was acting abbot from 1984 to 2001, when he was officially appointed abbot and remained in that position until two months before he passed away in September 2011.

The state of complete freedom from samsara; the goal of a practitioner seeking his or her own escape from suffering (see also Hinayana). "Lower nirvana" is used to refer to this state of self-liberation, while "higher nirvana" refers to the supreme attainment of the full enlightenment of buddhahood. Natural nirvana (Tib: rang-zhin nyang-dä) is the fundamentally pure nature of reality, where all things and events are devoid of any inherent, intrinsic or independent reality.

The publishing house and research institute in Dharamsala foremost in preserving and publishing Tibetan Dharma texts.

A spiritual teacher who is in the line of direct guru-disciple transmission of teachings, from Buddha to the teachers of the present day.

The late Senior Tutor to His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama; the Ninety-seventh Ganden Tripa; a guru of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

A lay practitioner and important Kagyü teacher; the Drukpa Kagyü line originated from Lingrepa.

Mind and cognition (or mind and awareness), the study of the types of mind there are, in order to understand and control delusions.

Spiritual master or preceptor, person who give vows

A great Buddhist teacher and master of the Nyingma tradition who composed many major texts and practices.

In the context of the seven points of cause and effect, the wish for all beings to have happiness, with the added dimension of yi ong (beautiful or affectionate); often translated as “affectionate loving kindness.” Lama Zopa Rinpoche suggests this is the “loving kindness of seeing others in beauty.” 

The first of the three levels of practice or scopes, the lower capable being has the goal of a better future existence. See also middle and higher capable being and three levels of practice.

The three realms of cyclic existence with the most suffering: the hell, hungry ghost and animal realms.

One of the five major monasteries of the Gelug school in or around Lhasa; it was founded in 1433 by Je Sherab Senge, a disciple of Lama Tsongkhapa. Originally located in lower Central Tibet and then Lhasa, it has now been re-established in Hunsur, south India. See also Upper Tantric College.

Oral transmission of a text. Although spelt the same in transliteration, the pronunciation of the two “lungs” - wind and oral transmission - are slightly different.

Literally, wind. The state in which the winds within the body are unbalanced or blocked, thus causing various illnesses. Can also refer to an oral transmission.