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. Please see our Content Disclaimer regarding English terms in LYWA publications that may be outdated and should be considered in context.

Glossary terms for "B"

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

Bakula Rinpoche (1917–2003)

A Ladakhi lama, the reincarnation of one of the sixteen arhats, who served for many years in the Indian parliament and as Indian ambassador to Mongolia.

basis of imputation

dag zhi, tag zhi (Tib); gdags gzhi, btags gzhi (Wyl)

Also called “basis of designation” or “basis for labeling”, the object or valid base on which a label is placed as part of the third and most subtle level of dependent arising.

beginningless rebirth

Since the continuity of the mind has no beginning, our rebirths in samsara also have no beginning.

Ben Gungyal, Geshe

A Kadampa practitioner and follower of Atisha, he was a robber before he renounced his life of crime and became ordained.

bhagavan (Skt)

chom den dä (Tib); bcom ldan ‘das (Wyl)

Epithet for a buddha; sometimes translated as Lord, Blessed One and so forth. One who has destroyed (chom) all the defilements, possesses all qualities (den) and has transcended the world ().


Dorjeden (Tib); rdo rje gdan (Wyl)

The small town in the state of Bihar in north India where Shakyamuni Buddha became enlightened.

Bodhicaryavatara (Skt)

jangchub sempä chöpa la jugpa, chöjug (Tib); byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa la 'jug pa, spyod 'jug (Wyl)

A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life by Shantideva.

bodhicitta (Skt)

jang chub sem (Tib); byang chub sems (Wyl)

A principal consciousness that combines the two factors of wishing to free all beings from suffering and of wishing to attain enlightenment in order to achieve that; the spontaneous altruistic mind of enlightenment can be either aspirational or engaging.

bodhisattva vows (Skt)

chang sem dom pa (Tib); byang sems sdom pa (Wyl)

The vows taken when one enters the bodhisattva path.

Bon (Tib)

The religion in Tibet that preceded Buddhism. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has recognized Bön as the fifth tradition along with the four major traditions of Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyü and Gelug. Practitioners of Bön are called Bönpos.


A village just outside Kathmandu that is built around the Boudhanath Stupa, a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site.

Brahma (Skt)

tsangpa (Tib); tshangs pa (Wyl)

The Hindu god of creation, one of the principal three deities with Vishnu and Shiva.


A member of the priest caste of Indian society.

buddha field

buddhakshetra (Skt); sang gye kyi zhing (Tib); sangs rgyas kyi zhing (Wyl)

In some ways synonymous with pure land, although it can also mean any pure environment, seen as a manifestation of wisdom.

buddha nature

sugatagarbha, tathagatagarbha (Skt); desheg nyingpo, dezhin shegpe nyingpo (Tib); bde gshegs snying po, de bzhin gshegs pa'i snying po (Wyl)

The clear light nature of mind possessed by all sentient beings; the potential for all sentient beings to become enlightened by removing the two obscurations: to liberation and omniscience.

buddha, a (Skt)

sang gye (Tib); sangs rgyas (Wyl)

A fully awakened being, who has totally eliminated (Tib: sang) all obscurations veiling the mind and has fully developed (Tib: gye) all good qualities to perfection. See also enlightenment, Shakyamuni Buddha.

Buddhajnana (Skt)

Sangye Yeshe (Tib); sangs rgyas ye shes (Wyl)

The eighth century Indian teacher who founded one of the Guhyasamaja systems; studied the Perfection of Wisdom teachings with Haribhadra.


nangpa (Tib); nang pa (Wyl)

One who has taken refuge in the Three Jewels of Refuge, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and who accepts the philosophical world view of the four seals: that all composite phenomena are impermanent, all contaminated phenomena are in the nature of suffering, all things and events are devoid of self-existence, and nirvana is true peace.

bumpa (Tib)

A ritual vase with a spout used in ceremonies and initiations.

burning offering practice

homa (Skt); jin seg (Tib); sbyin sreg (Wyl)

The tantric practice of making offerings to a deity generated within a fire, such as Dorje Khadro or Jigten Gyima Lha (which simply means “worldly fire deity”). This ritual is performed as part of the preliminary practices or at the conclusion of an approximation retreat. Often called a fire puja.

Buxa Duar

A small town in West Bengal in eastern India, where most of the Tibetan monks who escaped to India in 1959 were accommodated. Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche both resided here after arriving in India.