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 Highest Yoga Tantra practice where the practitioner awakens visualizing him- or herself as the guru-deity in the mandala in order to make it easier to attain the clear light mind. In the generation stage, without the realization of emptiness, this is called “with fabrication” or “with sign”; in the completion stage, with a realization of emptiness this is called “without fabrication” or “without sign.” See also sleeping yoga.

Initiation, where a disciple is given permission to practice a particular tantric deity.

The depiction of cyclic existence, showing the six realms cycling around the hub of ignorance, greed and hatred symbolized by a pig, a rooster and a snake, with the twelve links of dependent origination as the outer rim, all in the jaws and claws of Yama, the Lord of Death.

There are four days of the Tibetan lunar calendar considered especially auspicious, when extensive prayers are made. They are: the Day of Miracles, two weeks after the Tibetan New Year, Saka Dawa on the 15th of the 4th month, commemorating Shakyamuni Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana, the First Turning of the Dharma Wheel on the 4th of the 6th month and the Buddha’s Descent from Heaven on the 15th of the 9th month.

A king who rules over all four continents, according to Buddhist cosmology, with love and ethics, according to the Dharma. Ashoka is a prime example of a wheel-turning king.

Virtuous and nonvirtuous actions respectively. See also karma.

A female form of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. She has a thousand eyes that watch over living beings and a thousand arms that protect and assist them, thus she symbolizes the power of active compassion. The White Umbrella Deity practice is recommended for healing sickness, dispelling spirit harm and bringing auspiciousness.

Energy-winds. Subtle energies that flow in the channels in the body, which enable the body to function and which are associated with different levels of mind.

Different levels of insight into the nature of reality. There are, for example, the three wisdoms of hearing, contemplation and meditation. Ultimately, there is the wisdom realizing emptiness, which frees beings from cyclic existence and eventually brings them to enlightenment. The complete and perfect accumulation of wisdom results in dharmakaya. Cf. merit.

A tantric consort.

Also called “wish-fulfilling jewel”. A jewel that brings its possessor everything that they desire.

Any mistaken or deluded understanding, as opposed to deluded minds such as the three poisons, that leads to suffering. In Buddhism there are various ways of defining wrong views. The most common one is as the last of the ten nonvirtues, also known as heresy (Tib: log-ta) but it can also be either all five of the afflicted views among the unwholesome mental factors—the view of the transitory aggregates, extreme views, views of superiority of belief, the views of superiority of morality and discipline and mistaken or wrong views—or the last one alone.