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 Please see our Content Disclaimer regarding English terms in LYWA publications that may be outdated and should be considered in context.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

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

Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen (1713–93)

Tsechokling Rinpoche. A recent lineage lama of Mahamudra; tutor of the Eighth Dalai Lama; founded Tsechok Ling Monastery in Lhasa.

Kadam (Tib)

bka’ gdams (Wyl)

The order of Tibetan Buddhism founded in the eleventh century by Atisha, Dromtönpa and their followers, the "Kadampa geshes"; the forerunner of the Gelug School.

Kadampa geshe

A practitioner of the Kadam lineage. Kadampa geshes are renowned for their practice of thought transformation.

Kagyü (Tib)

bka’ brgyud (Wyl)

The order of Tibetan Buddhism founded in the eleventh century by Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa, and their followers. One of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Cf. Nyingma, Sakya and Gelug.


Slang for feces.

Kalachakra (Skt)

du kyi khor lo (Tib); dus kyi ‘khor lo (Wyl)

Literally, Cycle of Time. A male meditational deity of Highest Yoga Tantra. The Kalachakra Tantra contains instructions in medicine, astronomy and so forth.

Kalarupa (Skt)

shin je chö gyel (Tib); gshin rje chos rgyal (Wyl)

Wrathful male meditational deity connected with Yamantaka.

Kamalashila (740–795)

The great Indian scholar from Nalanda Monastery who accompanied Shantarakshita to Tibet to try to revitalize Buddhism there. He is noted for his three texts called Stages of Meditation (Skt: Bhavanakrama).

Kangyur (Tib)

bka’ ‘gyur (Wyl)

The part of the Tibetan Canon that contains the sutras and tantras; literally, "translation of the (Buddha's) word." It contains 108 volumes.

karma (Skt)

lä (Tib); las (Wyl)

Action; the working of cause and effect, whereby positive (virtuous) actions produce happiness and negative (non-virtuous) actions produce suffering.

Karmapa (Tib)

kar ma pa (Wyl)

The head of the Kagyü lineage, one of the four Tibetan traditions. The tradition of the Karmapa was founded in 1110. His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje is the seventeenth Karmapa.

karmic view

The way in which things appear to us influenced by karma created in the past.

Khadro-la (b. 1976)

Rangjung Neljorma Khadro Namsel Drönme, a female oracle to His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and highly realized being, now also teaching throughout the world.


The region of Tibet east of Lhasa and west of Amdo.

khangtsen (Tib)

khang tshan (Wyl)

In Tibetan monasteries, colleges are divided into houses (khangtsen), and monks are generally assigned to these houses according to the region of Tibet (or neighboring country) from which they come.

khatag (Tib)

kha btags (Wyl)

A white cotton scarf used by Tibetans for greetings and for offering to holy objects.

khatvanga (Skt)

ka tam ga (Tib); kha twam ga (Wyl)

A tantric implement, a trident with symbolic elements.

Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen (1894–1977)

Khunu Lama Rinpoche, Tenzin Gyaltsen, was born in the Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh, northern India. The people there revered him and called him “Khunu” Rinpoche (meaning “precious one from Kinnaur”). Also known as Negi Lama, he was an Indian scholar of Sanskrit and Tibetan and a great master and teacher of the Rime (non-sectarian) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He famously gave teachings to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Shantideva's Guide and was also a guru of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He composed a well-known text, The Jewel Lamp: A Praise of Bodhicitta, translated into English as Vast as the Heavens, Deep as the Sea.

King of Prayers

samantabhadracarya pranidhana (Skt); pag pa zang po chö pä mön lam gyi gyel po (Tib)

In full, The Extraordinary Aspiration of the Practice of Samantabhadra. A long prayer on the benefits of the mind of bodhicitta, one that Lama Zopa Rinpoche often suggests his students read.

Konchog, Geshe Lama (1927–2001)

A great meditator who spent over twenty years (including six years in strict austerity with chulen practice) in retreat in Tsum, a valley in Nepal, before becoming one of the main teachers at Kopan Monastery, Nepal.

Kopan Monastery

The monastery near Boudhanath in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal, founded in 1969 by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

kor (Tib)

dkor (Wyl)

A multi-layered term that can mean wealth or material offerings given to the Sangha and the Three Jewels, and can also have a negative connotation of misusing offerings. Read more about the term dkor here.

Krishnacharya (Skt)

Nagpo Chöpa (Tib); nag po spyod pa (Wyl)

Also known as Krishnachari and Kanhapa; one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas.