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 "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

pratimoksha vows

pratimokshasamvara (Skt); so thar gyi dompa (Tib); so mthar gyi sdom pa (Wyl)

The various levels of individual liberation vows for lay and ordained, including the five lay vows, and the novice vows and full ordination that monks and nuns take.

pratyekabuddha (Skt)

rang sang gye (Tib); rang sangs rgyas (Wyl)

A solitary realizer or self-realizer; a Hinayana practitioner who attains liberation from cyclic existence autonomously, without relying on an external teacher or teachings. Cf. shravaka.

Pratyekabuddhayana (Skt)

rang sang gyä kyi thegpa, rang gyälwäi thegpa (Tib); rang sangs rgyas kyi theg pa, rang rgyal ba'i theg pa(Wyl)

The Solitary Realizer Vehicle. One of the branches of the Hinayana. The path of solitary realizers (pratyekabuddhas), practitioners who attain liberation from cyclic existence autonomously without relying on an external teacher or teachings. See also Shravakayana.

preliminary practices

ngondro (Tib); sngon ‘gro (Wyl)

The practices that prepare the mind for successful tantric meditation by removing hindrances and accumulating merit. These practices are found in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism and are usually done 100,000 times each; the four main practices are recitation of the refuge formula, mandala offerings, prostrations and Vajrasattva mantra recitation. The Gelug tradition adds five more: guru yoga, water bowl offerings, Damtsig Dorje purifying meditation, making tsatsas and the Dorje Khadro burning offering practice.

preta (Skt)

Hungry ghost, or spirit. The preta realm is one of the three lower realms of cyclic existence.

principal consciousness

vijnana (Skt); nam shë (Tib); rnam shes (Wyl)

The main cognition posited by means of apprehending the entity of its object. Synonymous with main mind, it is one of the two divisions of mind, the other being mental factors. There are six main minds, one for each sense consciousness (eye, ear and so forth) and mental consciousness.

proofs of reincarnation, four

They are: 1) the continuation of the consciousness; 2) the result must be similar to the cause; 3) the habitual tendencies that are there at birth; and 4) the experience of those who remember previous lives.


dharmapala (Skt); sungma OR chökyong (Tib); srung ma OR chos skyong (Wyl)

Also called “Dharma protector,” can be worldly or a manifestation of the enlightened mind who protects Buddhism and its practitioners. Often confused in prayers with the word gon which actually means savior, and refers to the guru.

puja (Skt)

chö pa (Tib); mchod pa (Wyl)

Literally, offering; a religious ceremony, usually used to describe an offering ceremony such as the Offering to the Spiritual Master (Guru Puja).

pure land

kshetra-zhuddhi (Skt); zhingdag (Tib); zhing dag (Wyl)

A pure land of a buddha is a place where there is no suffering. In some but not all pure lands, after taking birth, the practitioner receives teachings directly from the buddha of that pure land, actualizes the rest of the path and then becomes enlightened.


jongwa (Tib); sbyong ba (Wyl)

The eradication from the mind of negative imprints left by past non-virtuous actions, which would otherwise ripen into suffering. The most effective methods of purification employ the four opponent powers of regret, reliance, virtuous activity and resolve.