This glossary contains an alphabetical list of Buddhist terms that you may find on this website. Many of the terms now include phoneticized Sanskrit (Skt) as well as two forms of Tibetan—the phonetic version (Tib), which is a guide to pronunciation, and transliteration using the Wylie method (Wyl). Search for the term you want by entering it in the search box or browse through the listing by clicking on the letters below.

Glossary terms for "Y"

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W Y Z

yabyum (Tib)

yab yum (Wyl)

Literally, “father mother,” the image of a male and female tantric deity in union, signifying the union of method and wisdom.

yaksha (Skt)

nö jin (Tib); gnod sbyin (Wyl)

Spirits, usually described in Tibetan Buddhism as blood-drinking, flesh-eating cannibals, but in other forms of Buddhism they can be either malevolent or benevolent.

Yamantaka (Skt)

shin je shä (Tib); gshin rje gshed (Wyl)

Also known as Vajrabhairava. A wrathful meditational deity from the father tantra class of Highest Yoga Tantra.

yana (Skt)

Literally, vehicle; a spiritual path that  leads to an awakened state. The vehicle and spiritual journey depends on the attitude of the practitioner. See also Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana.

Yangsi Rinpoche (b. 1968)

Recognised as a reincarnation of Geshe Ngawang Gendun, Yangsi Rinpoche became a lharampa geshe at Sera Je Monastery in south India and completed his studies at Gyüme Tantric College. Having a particular wish to benefit Western students, he founded Maitripa College in 2005 in Portland, Oregon.

Yeshe Karda (Tib)

Transcendental Wisdom Star-Arrow, a deity used in water offering practices.

Yeshe, Lama (1935–1984)

Born and educated in Tibet, he fled to India, where he met his chief disciple, Lama Zopa Rinpoche. They began teaching Westerners at Kopan Monastery in 1969 and founded the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) in 1975.

yidam (Tib)

ishtadevata (Skt); yid dam (Wyl)

Literally, "mind-bound." One's own personal, main—or, as Lama Yeshe used to say, favorite—deity for tantric practice. The deity with which a practitioner has the strongest connection.

yoga (Skt)

jor (Tib); 'byor (Wyl)

Literally, “to yoke” or “to unite.” In Tibetan Buddhism, yoga refers to the spiritual discipline a practitioner commits to in order to attain realizations, for example, deity yoga.

yoga with sign

tsen che kyi nel jor (Tib); mtshan bcas kyi rnal ‘byor (Wyl)

Within the lower tantras, the practice that involves conceptuality (“sign”), before the realization of emptiness, comparable to the generation stage in Highest Yoga Tantra.

yoga without sign

tsen ma mä pen nel jor (Tib); mtshan ma me pa’i rnal ‘byor (Wyl)

Within the lower tantras, when the practice is imbued with a realization of emptiness and hence beyond conceptuality (“sign”), comparable to the completion stage in Highest Yoga Tantra.

Yogachara (Skt)

A branch of Svatantrika Madhyamaka school; its followers assert a coarse selflessness of phenomena that is the same as the Cittamatrins' subtle selflessness of phenomena—the lack of difference in entity between subject and object.

yogi (Skt)

nal jor pa (Tib); rnal 'byor pa (Wyl) 

A highly realized meditator.

yojana (Skt)

A measure of distance used in ancient India, said to be somewhere between six and fifteen km (four to nine miles).

yum (Tib)

Literally, "mother"; a female consort of a male tantric deity (the "father"; Tib: yab), as in Yum Dorje Nyemma Karmo, the consort of Heruka Vajrasattva.