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 Please see our Content Disclaimer regarding English terms in LYWA publications that may be outdated and should be considered in context.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

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


There are three kinds: 1) believing, or pure-hearted, faith; 2) lucid, or understanding, faith, which is faith based on logical conviction; and 3) yearning, or aspirational, faith.

five buddha types

[gyel pa] rig nga (Tib); [rgyal ba] rigs lnga (Wyl)

They are Vairochana, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi and Akshobhya. Each of the five types, representing a different aspect of enlightenment, is linked to the fully purified aggregates of form, feeling, discriminative awareness, compositional factors and consciousness. Lama Zopa Rinpoche advises that type is the correct translation of the Tibetan term rig, rather than family, lineage or Dhyani Buddhas. Read Rinpoche’s explanation here.

five certainties

pañcaniyata (Skt); ngepa nga (Tib); nges pa lnga Wyl)

The five definite attributes of the sambhogakaya, the enjoyment body of a buddha. They are: 1) giving only Mahayana teachings; 2) existing until samsara ends; 3)  being surrounded only by bodhisattvas; 4) abiding in the pure realm of Ogmin (Skt: Akanishtha); and 5) being adorned with the thirty-two perfect qualities and eighty minor perfections, the most sublime of Buddha’s qualities.

five chakras (Skt)

tsa khor nga (Tib); rtsa ‘khor lnga (Wyl)

Five energy wheels or focal points of energy along the central channel (Skt: sushumna) upon which one's concentration is directed, especially during the completion stage of Highest Yoga Tantra. The main chakras are the crown, throat, heart, navel, and secret place (the sex organ). In some systems, the first, at the brow, and the last, at the secret place, are omitted. See also channel.

five degenerations

The degenerations that occur as human beings evolve over the eon of existence; they are: the degeneration of disturbing thoughts, of lifespan, of time, of view and of sentient beings.

five forms of clairvoyance

Divine hearing, knowing others' thoughts, remembering past lives, knowing the various rebirths of sentient beings—these fall into common siddhis—and the knowledge of the exhaustion of contaminations, which only arhats and buddhas can know.

five great mantras

The five great mantras are: the mantra of Kunrig, the mantra of Buddha Mitukpa, the Stainless Pinnacle, the Wish-Granting Wheel mantra, and the mantras of Namgyälma. These and the ten great mantras are incredibly beneficial when a being is dying or dead. See also ten great mantras.

five great Sakya pandits

The five great masters (patriarchs) who founded the Sakya tradition: Sachen Küngya Nyingpo (1092–1158), Lobpön Sonam Tsemo (1142–82), Jetsün Drakpa Gyaltsen (1147–1216), Sakya Pandita (1182–1251) and Drogön Chögyal Phakpa (1235–80).

five great treatises

The five main texts studied in the great Gelug monasteries: the Abhisamayalamkara, Vinaya, Madhyamaka, Abhidharmakosha and Pramanavarttika.

five hindrances to meditation

Taught by the Buddha in the Satipatthana Sutta: desire (especially sense desires), ill-will, sloth and torpor, distraction and worry, doubt and wavering.

five immediate negativities

pancanantarya (Skt); tsam mä nga (Tib); mtshams med lnga (Wyl)

Also called the five uninterrupted negative karmas or actions, the five heinous crimes, the five actions without break or the five actions of immediate retribution. The five actions that are so heavy that they cause one to be reborn in hell immediately after death. They are: 1) killing one’s mother; 2) killing one’s father; 3) killing an arhat; 4) maliciously drawing blood from a buddha; and 5) creating a schism in the Sangha.

five lay vows

panchashila (Skt); ge nyen gi dompa nga (Tib); dge bsnyen gyi sdom pa lnga (Wyl)

The precepts taken by lay Buddhist practitioners for life: to abstain from killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct and taking intoxicants. See also pratimoksha vows.

five near immediate negativities

anantarya sabhagah (Skt); nye ba tsa mä nga (Tib)

Also called the five parallel actions of immediate retribution. The five actions that are similar to the five immediate negativities in that they cause rebirth in hell immediately after death. They are: 1) defiling one’s mother or a female arhat through sexual misconduct; 2) killing one definitely abiding as a bodhisattva; 3) killing an arya who has not yet reached the arhat stage; 4) stealing the property of the Sangha; and 5) destroying a stupa. Rinpoche mentions that acts such as stepping over the guru’s robes, shadow or seat without permission, stepping on the shadow of a stupa or removing relics from a stupa without a Dharma reason are also heavily negative.

five powers

The five forces to be practiced both in this life and at the time of death. They are the power of motivation, the power of acquaintance, the power of the white seed (developing positive qualities) the power of destruction (of self-cherishing) and the power of prayer.

five sciences

Within Tibetan Buddhist education, they are: grammar, logic, medicine, arts and crafts, and religious philosophy.

five signs of nearing death of the gods

The five sufferings experienced by desire realm gods at the time of death: their bodies become unattractive, their thrones are no longer comfortable, their flower garlands wilt, their clothes stain and their bodies smell.

five transcendental wisdoms

panchajnana (Skt); yeshe nga (Tib); ye shes lnga (Wyl)

The wisdoms possessed by a buddha, they are: the mirror-like wisdom (Skt: adarsha-jnana; Tib: me long ta bü ye she; Wyl: me long lta bu'i ye shes), the wisdom of equality (Skt: samata-jnana; Tib: nyam nyi ye she; Wyl: mnyam nyid ye shes), the all-accomplishing wisdom (Skt: krty-anusthana-jnana; Tib: ja drup ye she; Wyl: bya grub ye shes), the wisdom of analysis (Skt: pratyaveksana-jnana; Tib: sor tog ye she; Wyl: sor rtogs ye shes), the dharmadhatu wisdom (Skt: tathata-jnana; Tib: chö kyi ying kyi ye she; Wyl: chos kyi dbyings ye shes).

five wrong livelihoods

log tso nga (Tib); log ‘tsho lnga (Wyl)

Wrong livelihood for monastics means procuring requisites through flattery, hinting, bribery, coercion and hypocrisy. Wrong livelihood for lay people is trading in weapons, human beings, meat, intoxicants or poison

five-fold path of Mahamudra

An entire practice leading to buddhahood based on the Mahamudra practice of the Kagyü tradition. They are: meditation on bodhicitta, deity yoga, guru yoga, Mahamudra practice and dedication of merit.

form realm

rupadhatu (Skt); zug kham (Tib); gzug khams (Wyl)

The second of samsara’s three realms, with seventeen classes of gods. 

formless realm

arupyadhatu (Skt); zug me kham (Tib); gzugs med khams (Wyl)

The highest of samsara’s three realms, with four classes of gods involved in formless meditations. The four levels are limitless sky, limitless consciousness, nothingness and the tip of samsara.

four activities

Four kinds of activities a buddha performs, replicated in a tantric practice; they are pacifying, increasing (or developing), controlling and subjugating.

four aspects of karma

The four ways karma will ripen, either in this life or a future life. They are: the ripening result, the possessed result, experiencing the result similar to the cause and creating the result similar to the cause.

four black dharmas

nagpö chö zhi (Tib); nag po'i chos bzhi (Wyl)

Four actions that impede your spiritual progress. They are: 1) deceiving your guru or a holy being; 2) feeling misplaced regret; 3) criticizing or abusing a holy person; and 4) cheating others. See also four white dharmas.