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.

Glossary terms for "M"

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


upaya (Skt); thab (Tib); thabs (Wyl)

Method is associated with the development of loving kindness, compassion and bodhicitta, and supports the wisdom realizing emptiness. In order to attain buddhahood, practitioners must engage in both method and wisdom.

middle way

umäi tawa (Tib); dbu ma'i lta ba (Wyl)

The view presented in Shakyamuni Buddha's Prajnaparamita sutras and elucidated by Nagarjuna, that all phenomena are dependent arising, thereby avoiding the mistaken extremes of self-existence and non-existence, or eternalism and nihilism. See also Madhyamaka.

migtsema (Tib)

dmigs brtse ma (Wyl)

A short prayer which praises Lama Tsongkhapa as being Avalokiteshvara, Vajrapani, and Majushri, and having their associated qualities of compassion, power, and wisdom. It is usually recited within the Gelug tradition at the beginning and end of teachings or prayer sessions. 

Milarepa (1040–1123)

mi la ras pa (Wyl)

Tibet's great yogi, who achieved enlightenment in his lifetime under the tutelage of his guru, Marpa, who was a contemporary of Atisha. One of the founding fathers of the Kagyü school.


citta (Skt); sem (Tib); sems (Wyl)

Synonymous with consciousness (Skt: vijnana; Tib: nam shä) and sentience (Skt: manas; Tib: yi). Defined as that which is “clear and knowing”; a formless entity that has the ability to perceive objects. Mind is divided into six principal consciousnesses and fifty-one mental factors.

mind basis of all

alayavijana (Skt); kun zhi nam shä (Tib); kun gzhi rnam shes (Wyl)

The seventh main consciousness posited by the Cittamatra school, the consciousness they say is needed to carry karmic imprints. The other schools only posit six main consciousnesses , but the Cittamatra school posits two additional types—mind basis of all and afflictive mental consciousness.

mo (Tib, Wyl)

A system of divination often used by Tibetan lamas, and usually performed by throwing a couple of dice or counting beads on a mala.

momo (Tib)

mog mog (Wyl)

A fried or steamed dumpling, usually filled with meat; a favorite food of Tibetans.

Monlam Chenmo (Tib)

smon lam chen mo (Wyl)

The Great Prayer Festival, initiated by Lama Tsongkhapa and conducted over the fourteen days between Tibetan New Year and the Day of Miracles (Tib: Chotrul Düchen).

Mount Kailash

The sacred mountain in Tibet, also called Precious Snow Mountain (Tib: Kang Rinpoche). In Hinduism, said to be the home of Shiva.

Mount Meru

The mythical center of the universe in Buddhist cosmology.

mudra (Skt)

chag gya (Tib); phyag rgya (Wyl)

Literally, seal or token. A symbolic hand gesture, endowed with power not unlike a mantra. A tantric consort.