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.


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

yoga with signs

tsän chä kyi näljor (Tib); mtshan bcas kyi rnal ‘byor (Wyl)

Within the lower tantras, the practice that involves conceptuality (“sign”), before the realization of emptiness, comparable to the generation stage in Highest Yoga Tantra.

yoga without signs

tsänma me päi näljor (Tib); mtshan ma med pa’i rnal ‘byor (Wyl)

Within the lower tantras, when the practice is imbued with a realization of emptiness and hence beyond conceptuality (“sign”), comparable to the completion stage in Highest Yoga Tantra.

Yogachara (Skt)

näljor chöpa (Tib); rnal 'byor spyod pa (Wyl)

Often used as a synonym for the Cittamatra school, it can also refer to a subdivision of the Svatantrika Madhyamaka school. Its followers assert a coarse selflessness of phenomena that is the same as the Cittamatrins' subtle selflessness of phenomena—the lack of difference in entity between subject and object.

yogi (Skt)

näljor pa (Tib); rnal 'byor pa (Wyl) 

A highly realized meditator.

yojana (Skt)

A measure of distance used in ancient India, said to be somewhere between six and fifteen km (four to nine miles).

yum (Tib)

Literally, "mother"; a female consort of a male tantric deity (the "father"; Tib: yab), as in Yum Dorje Nyemma Karmo, the consort of Heruka Vajrasattva.

zen (Tib)

gzan (Wyl)

The upper robe of a monk or nun.

zhi dag (Tib)

gzhi bdag (Wyl)

Landlord; place owner. Tibetan Buddhism teaches that each place has associated with it a sentient being who considers that he owns it. Offerings are made to this being to request the temporary use of that place for, e.g., retreat.

Zong Rinpoche (1905–1984)

A powerful Gelugpa lama renowned for his wrathful aspect, who had impeccable knowledge of Tibetan Buddhist rituals, art and science.

Zopa Rinpoche, Kyabje Lama Thubten (b. 1945)

Born in Thangme, near Mt. Everest, and recognized as the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche became the heart disciple of Lama Thubten Yeshe, the founder of the FPMT. He is now its spiritual director.