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 "S"

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

seven points of cause and effect

One of two methods used in Tibetan Buddhism for developing bodhicitta. The seven points are: 1) seeing all beings as your mother; 2) remembering the kindness of the mother; 3) wishing to repay the kindness; 4) love; 5) compassion; 6) special intention; 7) generating the mind of enlightenment. The other method is equalizing and exchanging the self with others.

seven precious objects of a universal monarch

gyälsi dün (Tib); rgyal srid bdun (Wyl)

Symbolizing the seven factors of enlightenment, they are: the precious wheel (mindfulness), the precious elephant (wisdom) the precious horse (energy), the precious jewel (joy), the precious queen (tranquility), the precious minister (concentration) and the precious general (equanimity).

seven-limb practice

The seven limbs are: prostrating, making offerings, confession, rejoicing, requesting to turn the Dharma wheel, requesting the teachers to remain in the world and dedicating.

seven-point meditation posture of Vairochana

namnang chödün (Tib); rnam snang chos bdun (Wyl)

They are: 1) legs in vajra (full lotus) position or crossed; 2) hands in meditation mudra; 3) back straight; 4) jaw relaxed, tongue against pallet; 5) head tilted forward; 6) eyes slightly open, gaze directed downwards; 7) shoulders level and relaxed.

Shakya (Skt)

The clan of Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha, located in present-day Nepal.

Shakya Shri Bhadra (1127–1225)

The last of the great Indian scholars to travel to Tibet. He remained in Tibet for ten years, where he taught many Buddhist texts and founded four major monastic centres in Ü and Tsang regions.

Shakyamuni Buddha (563-483 BC)

Fourth of the one thousand founding buddhas of this present world age. Born a prince of the Shakya clan in north India, he taught the sutra and tantra paths to liberation and enlightenment; founder of what came to be known as Buddhism. (From the Skt: buddha—"fully awake.")


An eighth century Indian scholar and disciple of Shantarakshita, Shakyaprabha was learned in the Vinaya (ethical discipline). He is usually thought to be one of the Two Supreme Ones.

shamatha (Skt)

zhi nä (Tib); zhi gnas (Wyl)

Calm abiding; a state of concentration in which the mind is able to abide steadily, without effort and for as long as desired, on an object of meditation. There are nine stages in its development.


Zhiwa lha (Tib); zhi ba lha (Wyl)

Eighth century Indian Buddhist philosopher and bodhisattva who propounded the Madhyamaka Prasangika view. Wrote the quintessential Mahayana text, A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life (Skt: Bodhicarayavatara; Tib: jang chub sem pä chö pa la jug pa).

shemthab (Tib)

sham thabs (Wyl)

The lower part of a Tibetan monk’s or nun’s robes.


A native of the Everest region of Nepal. Two famous Sherpas are Sherpa Tenzin, the first person to climb Mt. Everest, and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

shravaka (Skt)

nyen thö (Tib); nyan thos (Wyl)

A hearer; a Hinayana practitioner who strives for nirvana on the basis of listening to teachings from a teacher. There are four divisions: stream-enterer, once-returner, non-returner and arhat. Each of these divisions has two stages, a developing level and a resultant level, thus there are eight levels in total. Cf. solitary realizer.

Shravakayana (Skt)

nyen thö kyi thegpa (Tib); nyan thos kyi theg pa (Wyl)

The Hearer Vehicle. One of the branches of the Hinayana. Practitioners (hearers, or shravakas) strive for nirvana on the basis of listening to teachings from a spiritual guide or teacher. See also Pratyekabuddhayana.

Shugden (Tib)

Dorje Shugden, also known as Dolgyal, is a worldly spirit previously practiced by many followers of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has stated that Shugden is a spirit, not an enlightened being or Dharma protector, as claimed by some, and strongly advises against it. See Lama Zopa Rinpoche's advice on Shugden.

Siddhartha, Prince

The prince of the Shakya clan who became Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha.

sindura (Skt)

A red powder used in tantric practices, especially Vajrayogini.

single-pointed concentration

samadhi (Skt); tin nge dzin (Tib); ting nge 'dzin (Wyl)

A state of deep meditative absorption; single-pointed concentration on the actual nature of things, free from discursive thought and dualistic conceptions. See also analytical meditation.

six abodes of the desire realm gods

From the lowest to the highest, they are: 1) The heaven of the four great kings (Tib: gyalchen rizhi; Wyl: rgyal chen ris bzhi); 2) The heaven of the thirty-three (Tib: sumchu tsa sum; Wyl: sum cu rtsa gsum); 3) Free from conflict (Tib: thab dräl; Wyl: 'thab bral); 4) Joyful (Tib: ganden; Wyl: dga' ldan); 5) Joyful emanation (Tib: trulga; Wyl: 'phrul dga'); and 6) Power over others' emanations (Tib: zhentrul wangje; Wyl: gzhan 'phrul dbang byed). See also desire realm, which is one of three realms of samsara.

six equanimities

ro nyom kor drug (Tib); ro snyonyms skor drug (Wyl)

The six equanimities are defined in The Great Gomde Dictionary as a tradition of Mahamudra practice advice coming from the Drukpa Kagyu lineage of Tsangpa Gyarey (1161-1211) and so forth. The six are: taking discursive thoughts onto the path (rnam rtog lam 'khyer), taking afflictions onto the path (nyon mongs lam 'khyer), taking sickness onto the path (na tsha lam 'khyer), taking deities and demons onto the path (lha 'dre lam 'khyer), taking suffering onto the path (sdug bsngal lam 'khyer), and taking death onto the path ('chi ba lam 'khyer). This practice was concealed as a terma by Jetsun Rechungpa and revealed by Drogon Tsangpa Gyarey.

six helpful attitudes

The practitioner is like the patient, the Dharma is medicine, the guru is like a skilled doctor and the Sangha are like nurses, Dharma practice is like the cure, the guru is as holy as the buddhas, the Dharma should remain a long time.

six perfections

paramita (Skt); pha rol tu chin pa drug OR pharchin drug (Tib); pha rol tu phin pa drug OR phar phyin drug (Wyl)

The practices of a bodhisattva. On the basis of bodhicitta, a bodhisattva practices the six perfections: generosity, morality, patience, enthusiastic perseverance, concentration and wisdom. See also Paramitayana.

six preparatory practices before meditation

1) Cleaning the space and preparing the altar; 2) making offerings on the altar; 3) sitting comfortably, checking the state of the mind, taking refuge and generating bodhicitta; 4) visualizing the merit field; 5) offering the seven-limb prayer and a mandala; 6) requesting the guru for inspiration.

six realms

The general way that Buddhism divides the whole of cyclic existence; there are three lower realms (hell, hungry ghost and animal) and three upper realms (human, demigod and god).

six types of suffering

A six-fold classification of how sentient beings suffer. They are: nothing is definite in samsara, nothing gives satisfaction in samsara, we have to leave this samsaric body again and again, we have to take rebirth again and again, we forever travel between higher and lower in samsara, we experience pain and death alone. See also eight types of suffering and three types of suffering.