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 Please see our Content Disclaimer regarding English terms in LYWA publications that may be outdated and should be considered in context.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

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


The wrong conception of the self; the mistaken belief that "I am self-existent." The fundamental ignorance that has caused us to circle through cyclic existence since beginningless time.


dagdzin (Tib); bdag 'dzin (Wyl)

The ignorant compulsion to regard one's self, or I, as permanent, self-existent, and independent of all other phenomena.

eight auspicious substances

tashi dzegyä (Tib); bkra shis rdzas brgyad (Wyl)

These items represent a group of offerings presented to the Buddha as symbols of the Eightfold Path. They are the mirror, precious medicine, yoghurt, long-life (durva) grass, bilva fruit, the right-turning conch, cinnabar (vermilion powder) and mustard seeds.

eight auspicious symbols

tashi tag gyä (Tib); bkra shis rtags brgyad (Wyl)

Or eight symbols of good fortune. They are the right-turning conch, glorious endless knot, golden fishes, lotus, parasol, treasure vase, wheel and victory banner.

eight bodhisattvas

nyese gyä (Tib); nye sras brgyad (Tib)

The close entourage of Shakyamuni Buddha: Manjushri, Vajrapani, Avalokiteshvara, Ksitigarbha, Sarvanivaranviskambini, Akashadarbha, Maitreya and Samantabhadra.

eight cold hells

The hell of blisters, the hell of bursting blisters, the hell of a-choo, the moaning hell, the clenched-teeth hell, the hell of cracking like an upali flower, the hell of cracking like a lotus, the hell of great cracking like a lotus.

eight common siddhis

astasadharanasiddhi (Skt); thun mong gi ngö drub gyä (Tib); thun mong gi dngos grub brgyad (Wyl)

As opposed to the supreme siddhi (enlightenment), these mundane attainments are usually listed as: the sword of invincibility (Tib: rel dri ngö drub), the eye potion enabling one to see the gods (Tib: mig mem gyi ngö drub),swift footedness—the ability of being able to cover great distance extremely quickly (Tib: kang gyog kyi ngö drub), invisibility (Tib: mi nang bä ngö drub), the art of extracting the essence (rejuvenation) (Tib: chü len gyi ngö drub), becoming a sky-traveler—the ability to fly (Tib: kha chö kyi ngö drub), the ability to make medicinal [invisibility] pills (Tib: ril bü ngö drub), the power of perceiving treasures under the earth (Tib: sa og ngö drub). See also common siddhi and siddhi.

eight dissolutions

The eight stages that are passed through at the time of death, where the consciousness becomes progressively more and more subtle until it absorbs into the indestructible drop at the heart chakra immediately before separating from the body.

eight fears

Fears that Tara is able to dispel, each external fear relating to an internal state; they are the fear of: lions (pride), wild elephants (ignorance), fire (anger), snakes (jealousy), floods (attachment), imprisonment (miserliness), thieves (wrong views) and cannibals (doubt).

eight freedoms

dalwa gyä (Tib); dal ba brgyad (Wyl)

The eight states from which a person with perfect human rebirth is free: being born as a hell being, hungry ghost, animal, long-life god or barbarian or in a dark age when no buddha has descended; holding wrong views; being born with defective mental or physical faculties. See also ten richnesses.

eight hot hells

The hell of being alive again and again, the black-line hell, the gathered and crushed hell, the hell of crying, the hell of great crying, the hot hell, the extremely hot hell and the inexhaustible hot hell.

eight Mahayana precepts

thegchen sojong (Tib); theg chen bso sbyong (Wyl)

One-day vows to abandon killing; stealing; lying; sexual contact; intoxicants; high seats; eating at the wrong time; and singing, dancing and wearing perfumes and jewelry. The eight Mahayana precepts ceremony and tradition comes from a lineage of Action Tantra, not from the pratimoksha or Vinaya lineage.

eight offerings

Traditional offerings to the Three Jewels (the Three Rare Sublime Ones), they are: water for drinking (Skt: argham), water for cleaning the feet (Skt: padyam), flowers (Skt: pushpe), incense (Skt: dhupe), light (Skt: aloke), perfume (Skt: gandhe), food (Skt: naivedya), music (Skt: shabda).

eight remedies

The antidotes to the five faults when trying to attain single-pointed concentration. Faith, aspiration, effort, and pliancy are the antidotes to laziness; mindfulness is the antidote to forgetfulness; introspection is the antidote to laxity and excitement; application (of an antidote) is the antidote to non-application; and equanimity is the antidote to over-application.

eight ripening qualities

Eight qualities that are said to be most conducive to developing spiritually. They are: long life, handsome or beautiful body, noble caste, wealth, power and fame, trustworthy speech, a male body and a strong body and mind. See also the four Mahayana Dharma wheels.

eight worldly dharmas

jig ten chö gyä (Tib); ‘jig rten chos brgyad (Wyl)

The worldly concerns that generally motivate the actions of ordinary beings: being happy when given gifts and unhappy when not given them; wanting to be happy and not wanting to be unhappy; wanting praise and not wanting criticism; wanting a good reputation and not wanting a bad reputation.

eighteen constituents

dhatu (Skt); kham (Tib); khams (Wyl)

The six sense powers, the six consciousnesses and the six objects.

eighty conceptions

The subtle minds that exist below the conscious level, controlling our conscious mental activities. These minds dissolve during the latter stages of the death process.

eleven points of comparison of eight worldly dharmas and holy Dharma

Asanga's eleven-point analysis whereby the advantages of following the mind of attachment to the eight worldly dharmas is compared to following the holy Dharma. They are: worldly pleasure 1) it doesn't satisfy the whole body, the Dharma does; 2) it depends on external conditions, the Dharma doesn't; 3) it doesn't exist in all three realms, the Dharma does; 4) it is not the cause for the seven treasures of the aryas, the Dharma is; 5) its pleasure finishes by enjoying it, the Dharma's never finishes; 6) it can be destroyed by external enemies, the Dharma cannot; 7) It cannot be carried into future lives, the Dharma can; 8) it cannot bring full satisfaction, the Dharma can; 9) it is the cause of suffering, the Dharma generates no suffering; 10) it is merely labeled on a false base, the Dharma isn't; 11) it causes attachment and delusions to arise, the Dharma doesn't.

eleven ways of working for others

Within the perfection of morality, these are eleven ways of benefiting others. They are working for: those living in poverty, those suffering and ignorant of the right method, those who benefit us, those threatened with danger and fear, those afflicted with miseries, those who are deserted, those who are homeless, those without like-minded people, also, helping beings enter the right path, helping those on the wrong path, helping all through psychic powers.

eleven-round contemplation

A synthesis of the two main systems for generating bodhicitta, the seven points of cause and effect and equalizing and exchanging self and others. They are: 1) equanimity; 2) recognizing all beings as our mother; 3) recollecting their kindness; 4) repaying their kindness; 5) equalizing yourself with others; 6) reflecting on the disadvantages of self-cherishing; 7) reflecting on the advantages of cherishing others; 8) the practice of "taking" with compassion; 9) the practice of "giving" with love; 10) special intention; 11) generating the mind of bodhicitta.


shunyata (Skt); tong pa nyi (Tib); stong pa nyid (Wyl)

Literally “emptiness only.” The absence, or lack, of true existence. Ultimately, every phenomenon is empty of existing truly, or from its own side, or independently. Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains the importance of the syllable nyi (Tib) or “only” in cutting off ordinary emptiness, for example, a purse that is empty of having money. Without this final syllable the term falls short of indicating the total lack of inherent existence. See also merely labeled.


bodhi (Skt); jang chub (Tib); byang chub (Wyl)

Full awakening; buddhahood; omniscience. The ultimate goal of a Mahayana Buddhist, attained when all obscurations have been removed and all the qualities of the mind have been fully actualized. It is a state characterized by perfect compassion, wisdom and power. Lama Zopa Rinpoche points out that the Tibetan, jang chub, is much more precise than the English as the two syllables encompass what enlightenment is: jang meaning “elimination” as in the elimination of all gross and subtle obstacles and chub meaning “development” as in the development of all perfect qualities.


kalpa (Skt)

A world period, an inconceivably long period of time. The life span of the universe is divided into four great eons which are themselves divided into twenty lesser eons.