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 Please see our Content Disclaimer regarding English terms in LYWA publications that may be outdated and should be considered in context.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

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

Vaibhashika (Skt)

jedrag mawa (Tib); bye brag smra ba (Wyl)

The Great Exposition school, one of the two main Hinayana (Lesser Vehicle) philosophical schools. The Great Exposition school asserts truly established external objects but does not assert self-knowers. See also the four Buddhist philosophical schools.

Vairochana (Skt)

nampar nangdze, namnang (Tib); rnam par snang mdzad, rnam snang (Wyl)

One of the five buddha types (Dhyani Buddhas), white in color, representing mirror-like wisdom and the purification of the form aggregate.


The ancient capital of the Licchavis, located in modern Bihar. The Buddha visited the city many times and it was here that he turned the final wheel of Dharma.

vajra (Skt)

dorje (Tib); rdor rje (Wyl)

Literally, "adamantine", often translated as "thunderbolt" but usually left untranslated, the vajra is the four- or five-spoke implement used in tantric practice.

vajra and bell

Implements used during tantric rituals: the vajra, held in the right hand, symbolizes bliss and the bell, held in the left, emptiness.

Vajradhara (Skt)

Dorje Chang (Tib); rdo rje ‘chang (Wyl)

Male meditational deity; the form through which Shakyamuni Buddha revealed the teachings of secret mantra.

Vajrapani (Skt)

Chagna Dorje (Tib); phyag na rdo rje (Wyl)

The buddha of power. A male meditational deity embodying the power of all enlightened beings to accomplish their goals.

Vajrasattva (Skt)

Dorje Sempa (Tib); rdo rje sems dpa’ (Wyl)

A meditational deity embodying the purity of the enlightened mind. The practice of Vajrasattva uses the four opponent powers to remove obstacles caused by negative karma and broken vows.

Vajrayana (Skt)

dor je theg pa (Tib); rdo rje theg pa (Wyl)

The adamantine vehicle; the second of the two Mahayana paths. It is also called Tantrayana or Mantrayana. This is the quickest vehicle of Buddhism as it allows certain practitioners to attain enlightenment within a single lifetime. See also tantra.

valid awareness

pramana (Skt); tshema (Tib); tshad ma (Wyl)

A new non-deceptive cognition. There are two types: valid perception, such as the eye consciousness seeing a flower, and valid inference, such as inferring fire from seeing smoke.

valid inference

jepag tshema (Tib); rjes dpag tshad ma (Wyl)

A new non-deceptive outer cognition directly generated in dependence on its support, a correct reason.


The holiest town in India for Hindus; on the Ganges, very close to Sarnath, where the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths Sutra.

view of the changeable aggregates

satkayadrsti (Skt); jig tsog la ta wa (Tib); ‘jig tshogs la lta ba (Wyl)

One of the five extreme views where we see our constantly changing aggregates as permanent and without cause. Also called the “reifying view of the perishable aggregates” or “view of the transitory collection.”

Vinaya (Skt)

dul wa (Tib); ’dul ba (Wyl)

The Buddha's teachings on ethical discipline (morality), monastic conduct and so forth; one of the three baskets (Tripitaka) of the Buddhist canon. See also Sutra and Abhidharma.


kushala (Skt); gewa (Tib); dge ba (Wyl)

Positive karma; that which results in happiness.

virtuous friend

kalyana mitra (Skt); ge wä she nyen (Tib); dge ba’i bshes gnyen (Wyl)

The “noble friend” or “friend of virtue”, the term refers to the spiritual teacher or guru.

virtuous mental factors

kushala-chaitta (Skt); ge wä sem jung (Tib); dge ba’i sems byung (Wyl)

One of the six groups of mental factors, the virtuous mental factors are positive qualities of the mind that counteract the non-virtuous mental factors—the root delusions and secondary delusions. There are eleven: faith, shame (or self-respect), embarrassment (or consideration for others), non-attachment, non-hatred, non-ignorance, effort, pliancy, conscientiousness, equanimity, and non-harmfulness.


dom pa (Tib); sdom pa (Wyl)

Precepts taken on the basis of refuge at all levels of Buddhist practice. The pratimoksha vows (individual liberation vows) include the five lay vows and the vows taken by monks and nuns. There are also the eight Mahayana precepts, as well as bodhisattva vows, which are given in various Mahayana contexts, and tantric vows, which are given only with Highest Yoga Tantra initiations.

Vulture’s Peak

The mountain near Rajgir, India, where the Buddha taught the Heart Sutra.