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 monk taking the five root vows of not killing, not lying, not stealing, not committing sexual misconduct and not becoming intoxicated and the three renunciate vows of committing to leave behind lay clothes and signs, wear the robes of an ordained person and shave the head, and follow the teachings of the Buddha.

A nun taking the same five root vows and the three renunciate vows as a rabjung.

The learned Gelugpa lama who was a religious assistant to His Holiness the Dalai Lama before moving to Switzerland in 1975; a guru of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Lama Yeshe’s and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s first Western student, she helped them to establish Kopan Monastery and died in retreat in Solu Khumbu.

A town in Bihar, northern India; the ancient capital of Magadha kingdom. Vulture's Peak is nearby.

Human-like beings, usually depicted as being very evil, even man-eaters.

One of the five buddha types (Dhyani Buddhas), yellow in color, representing the wisdom of equality and the purification of the feeling aggregate.

The I that appears to exist from its own side without depending on anything—such as causes and conditions, parts or the mind’s imputation. It is the object to be refuted.

A mind that holds a stable, correct understanding of a Dharma subject, such as emptiness, that effects a deep change within the continuum of the person. The effortless experience resulting from study, contemplation and meditation that is ripened and nurtured by purification and positive merit and supported by guru devotion practices. Realization begins with a conceptual understanding then progresses towards a non-conceptual direct experience where the mind and its object become indistinguishable, like water into water.

Also known as Dorje Drakpa; the “moon-like” disciple of Milarepa.

The door to the Dharma path. Having taken refuge from the heart we become an inner being or Buddhist. There are three levels of refuge—Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana—and two or three causes necessary for taking refuge: fearing the sufferings of samsara in general and lower realms in particular; faith that Buddha, Dharma and Sangha have the qualities and power to lead us to happiness, liberation and enlightenment; and (for Mahayana refuge) compassion for all sentient beings. See also absolute refuge, causal refuge, conventional refuge, resultant refuge.

Small, pearl-like pills that manifest spontaneously from holy objects such as statues, stupas or the cremated bodies of great practitioners.

Literally “definite emergence". The state of mind not having the slightest attraction to samsaric pleasures for even a second and having the strong wish for liberation. The first of the three principal aspects of the path to enlightenment. Cf. bodhicitta and emptiness.

The potential of our own mind to achieve the absolute refuge, to become a buddha ourselves (resultant Buddha), to actualize the true path within our mental continuum (resultant Dharma) and to attain the state of an arya being (resultant Sangha). To achieve resultant Buddha, Dharma and Sangha we need to first practice causal refuge by relying on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha already achieved by others. See also conventional refuge.

Recognized as a reincarnation by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama; a geshe of Sera Me; suffered under Chinese oppression for twenty-one years; a guru of Lama Zopa Rinpoche; lived in the USA and taught in many Western countries.

Literally, "precious one." Epithet for an incarnate lama, that is, one who has intentionally taken rebirth in a human form to benefit sentient beings on the path to enlightenment.

One of the four ways we can experience the results of an action, the ripening result is the actual realm we are born into when we take rebirth.

The valley in Solu Khumbu were Lama Zopa was sent as a young boy to study.

One of the six groups of mental factors, these are the afflicted or nonvirtuous minds that subsequently lead to the secondary delusions. There are six: attachment, anger, pride, ignorance, afflicted doubt and afflicted view. 

The teacher who has had the greatest influence upon a particular disciple's entering or following the spiritual path.

The form body of a fully enlightened being; the result of the complete and perfect accumulation of merit. It has two aspects - sambhogakaya, (enjoyment body), in which the enlightened mind appears to benefit highly realized bodhisattvas, and nirmanakaya, (emanation body), in which the enlightened mind appears to benefit ordinary beings. See also dharmakaya, nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya, three kayas and four kayas.