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 Please see our Content Disclaimer regarding English terms in LYWA publications that may be outdated and should be considered in context.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

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

Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo (1871–1941)

An influential and charismatic lama of the Gelug order, Pabongka Rinpoche was the root guru of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Senior and Junior Tutors. He also gave the teachings compiled in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand.

Padampa Sangye (d. 1117)

Buddha Paramapita (Skt); pha dam pa sangs rgyas (Wyl)

A great Indian yogi who brought Buddhist teachings to China and Tibet. He taught in the Tingri region of Tibet and was the author of The Hundred Verses of Advice.

Padmasambhava (Skt)

Pemajungne (Tib); pad ma 'byung gnas (Wyl)

The eighth-century Indian tantric master who played a key role in establishing Buddhism in Tibet; he is revered by all Tibetans but especially by followers of the Nyingma tradition, which he founded. Often known in Tibetan as Guru Rinpoche.

padyam (Skt)

Water (for washing); one of the offering substances.

Palden Lhamo (Tib)

Shri Devi (Skt); dpal ldan lha mo (Wyl)

A protector, said to be the special protector of Tibet.

Pali Canon

Tripitaka (Skt)

The “three baskets” or Tripitaka; a collection of scriptures maintained orally by disciples of the Buddha and written down in the first century BCE, 450 years after his death. The Canon is the basis of the Theravada tradition.

Panchen Lama

A Gelug lineage of incarnations of Amitabha Buddha originally based in Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Shigatse; the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama are the two highest spiritual leaders of Tibet.

pandita (Skt)

khäpa (Tib); mkhas pa (Wyl)

Scholar; learned person. Often referred to as pandit, (without the final a), which is the Hindi pronunciation of the Sanskrit.

Parting from the Four Clingings

zhen pa zhi drä (Tib); zhen pa bzhi bral (Wyl)

A Sakya practice, the equivalent of the four aspects of the transformed mind in the Kagyü and Nyingma traditions and the three principal aspects of the path in the Gelug, where the renunciation of this life and of the whole of samsara are conjoined. They are: 1) if you cling to this life you are not a Dharma practitioner; 2) if you cling to future lives’ samsara, your mind is not in renunciation; 3) if you cling to cherishing the I, that is not bodhicitta; 4) if you cling to the I, that is not the right view.

path of merit

sambhara-marga (Skt); tsog lam (Tib); tshogs lam (Wyl)

The first of the five paths leading to buddhahood. Usually translated as path of accumulation. Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s preferred term is path of merit because the activity of this path is the accumulation of merit.

path of no more learning

ashaiksa-marga (Skt); mi lob pä lam (Tib); mi slob pa’i lam (Wyl)

The fifth and last path leading to buddhahood; buddhahood itself. See five paths.


A county in Tibet, near Lhasa.


Slang for urine.

possessed result

One of four ways we can experience the result of an action, also called environmental result; possessed result is the environment we find ourselves in when we take rebirth.

Potala (Tib)

po ta la (Wyl)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's former residence in Lhasa, Tibet.

Potowa Rinchen Sel, Geshe (1031–1105)

po to ba rin chen gsal (Wyl)

One of the three great disciples of Dromtönpa and a patriarch of the Kadampa Treatise lineage; he entered Reting Monastery in 1058 and became its abbot for a short time.

powa (Tib)

'pho ba (Wyl)

The Highest Yoga Tantra practice whereby the consciousness is forcibly ejected from the body into a pure land just before the moment of death.

Prajnaparamita (Skt)

sherab kyi pharol tu chinpa (Tib); shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa (Wyl)

The Perfection of Wisdom. The Prajnaparamita sutras are the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha in which the wisdom of emptiness and the path of the bodhisattva are set forth. These texts form the basis of Nagarjuna's philosophy. The three main Prajnaparamita texts are: the Prajnaparamita of 100,000 verses (Tib: bum; Wyl: 'bum), collected in twelve volumes; the Prajnaparamita in 25,000 verses (Tib: nyitri; Wyl: nyi khri), collected in three volumes, and the Prajnaparamita in 8,000 verses (Tib: gyetongpa; Wyl: brgyad stong pa), in one volume.

Pramanavarttika (Skt)

tshäma nam drel gyi tsik leur jä pa (Tib); tshad ma rnam 'grel gyi le'ur byas pa (Wyl)

Or Pramanavarttikakarika. Dharmakirti's Commentary on Dignaga's Compendium of Valid Cognition (Pramanasamuccaya); one of five major treatises studied in Tibetan monasteries.