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 Please see our Content Disclaimer regarding English terms in LYWA publications that may be outdated and should be considered in context.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

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

labrang (Tib)

bla brang (Wyl)

Usually the lama’s residence within a monastery, from which his affairs are conducted.

lama (Tib)

guru (Skt); bla ma (Wyl)

A spiritual guide or teacher. One who shows a disciple the path to liberation and enlightenment. See guru.

Lamrim Chenmo (Tib)

lam rim chen mo (Wyl)

The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. Lama Tsongkhapa's most important work, a commentary on Atisha's Lamp for the Path, the fundamental lamrim text.

Lamrimpa, Geshe (1922–97?)

Ngawang Phuntsog, a highly learned lama from Drepung Monastery who remained in Tibet after 1959 and did not go into exile.

Lati Rinpoche (1922–2010)

A recognized reincarnate lama and former abbot of the Shartse College of Ganden Monastery in south India. Rinpoche also taught Buddhism in the West and was the author of important Buddhist texts.


A small area in the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal about three hours' walk west from Namche Bazaar just above Mende. Site of the cave where the Lawudo Lama meditated for more than twenty years and now the Lawudo Retreat Centre. Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama.


styana (Skt); mukpa (Tib); rmugs pa (Wyl)

A foggy mind which causes sleepiness, apathy and the inability to focus on the object of meditation. Lethargy, which is a grosser mind than sinking thought, is an afflictive mental state which occurs in ordinary people as well as meditators. See also scattering.

Lha Lama Yeshe Ö (Tib)

lha byang chub ye shes’ od (Wyl)

The king who first wished Atisha to come to Tibet to regenerate the Dharma. Before he was able to, he was thrown into prison and died, leaving his nephew, Jangchub Ö to complete the task.

Lhundrup Rigsel, Khen Rinpoche Lama, (1941–2011)

Arrived at Kopan Monastery to teach the young monks at Lama Yeshe's request in 1973. He was acting abbot from 1984 to 2001, when he was officially appointed abbot and remained in that position until two months before he passed away in September 2011.


nirvana (or moksha) (Skt); nyang dä (or thar pa) (Tib); nya ngeb de la pa (or thar pa) (Wyl)

The state of complete freedom from samsara; the goal of a practitioner seeking his or her own escape from suffering. "Lower nirvana" is used to refer to this state of self-liberation, while "higher nirvana" refers to the supreme attainment of the full enlightenment of buddhahood. Natural nirvana (Tib: rang zhin nyang dä) is the fundamentally pure nature of reality, where all things and events are devoid of any inherent, intrinsic or independent reality. See also Hinayana.

lineage lama

A spiritual teacher who is in the line of direct guru-disciple transmission of teachings, from the Buddha to teachers of the present day.

Ling Rinpoche (1903–83)

The late Senior Tutor to His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama; the Ninety-seventh Ganden Tripa; a guru of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

lobpon (Tib)

slob dpon (Wyl)

Spiritual master or preceptor, person who give vows.

lorig (Tib)

blo rig (Wyl)

Awareness and knowledge, the study of mind and mental factors, in order to understand and control the delusions.

loving kindness

maitri (Skt); yi ong jam pa (Tib); byams pa (Wyl)

In the context of the seven points of cause and effect, the wish for all beings to have happiness, with the added dimension of yi ong (beautiful or affectionate); often translated as “affectionate loving kindness.” Lama Zopa Rinpoche suggests this is the “loving kindness of seeing others in beauty.”

lower realms

ngen dro (Tib); ngan ‘gro (Wyl)

The three realms of cyclic existence with the most suffering: the hell, hungry ghost and animal realms.