The Mahayana paths, or exalted mental states, along which beings progress to liberation and enlightenment: the path of merit, the path of preparation, the right-seeing path, the path of meditation and (the unification of) no more learning. As well as the five Mahayana paths, there are also five Hearer paths and five Solitary Realizer paths.
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 Please see our Content Disclaimer regarding English terms in LYWA publications that may be outdated and should be considered in context.
The five forces to be practiced both in this life and at the time of death. They are the power of motivation, the power of acquaintance, the power of the white seed (developing positive qualities) the power of destruction (of self-cherishing) and the power of prayer.
Within Tibetan Buddhist education, they are: grammar, logic, medicine, arts and crafts, and religious philosophy.
The five sufferings experienced by desire realm gods at the time of death: their bodies become unattractive, their thrones are no longer comfortable, their flower garlands wilt, their clothes stain and their bodies smell.
The wisdoms possessed by a buddha, they are: the mirror-like wisdom (Skt: adarsha-jnana; Tib: me long ta bü ye she; Wyl: me long lta bu'i ye shes), the wisdom of equality (Skt: samata-jnana; Tib: nyam nyi ye she; Wyl: mnyam nyid ye shes), the all-accomplishing wisdom (Skt: krty-anusthana-jnana; Tib: ja drup ye she; Wyl: bya grub ye shes), the wisdom of analysis (Skt: pratyaveksana-jnana; Tib: sor tog ye she; Wyl: sor rtogs ye shes), the dharmadhatu wisdom (Skt: tathata-jnana; Tib: chö kyi ying kyi ye she; Wyl: chos kyi dbyings ye shes).
Wrong livelihood for monastics means procuring requisites through flattery, hinting, bribery, coercion and hypocrisy. Wrong livelihood for lay people is trading in weapons, human beings, meat, intoxicants or poison
Four kinds of activities a buddha performs, replicated in a tantric practice; they are pacifying, increasing (or developing), controlling and subjugating.
The four ways karma will ripen, either in this life or a future life. They are: the ripening result, the possessed result, experiencing the result similar to the cause and creating the result similar to the cause.
Four actions that impede your spiritual progress. They are: 1) deceiving your guru or a holy being; 2) feeling misplaced regret; 3) criticizing or abusing a holy person; and 4) cheating others. See also four white dharmas.
The tenets propounded by the great Indian Buddhist masters and categorized by Tibetan Buddhist scholars into four main philosophical systems, each with a progressively subtle explanation of selflessness. The two Hinayana (Lesser Vehicle) schools are Vaibhashika (Great Exposition) and Sautrantika (Sutra), and the two Mahayana (Great Vehicle) schools are Cittamatra (Mind Only) and Madhyamaka (Middle Way).
According to Buddhist cosmology the four world systems clustered around Mount Meru, one for each cardinal point. Ours is the southern continent, Jambudvipa (Rose-apple Land; Tib: dzam bu ling), the others being Godaniya (Cattle Gift Land; Tib: ba lang chö) in the west; Kuru (Unpleasant Sound; Tib: dra mi nyän) in the north and Videha (Tall Body Land; Tib: lü phag po) in the east. These continents appear in the mandala offering and are part of the symbolic representation of the entire universe.
Mythical animals that represent various aspects of the bodhisattva attitude: dragon for power, tiger for confidence, snow lion for fearlessness and garuda for wisdom.
In Highest Yoga Tantra, they are the increasingly subtle minds experienced as the clear light is approached. They are empty, very empty, great empty and all empty. The term refers not to emptiness (shunyata) but to a lack of the previous grosser minds. They correspond to the white, red, dark and clear light appearances of the death dissolutions.
The four elements that make an action of body or speech complete so that the full result is experienced. They are the intention (Tib: sam pa; Wyl: bsam pa), object (Tib: shi; Wyl: gzhi), action (Tib: jor wa; Wyl: sbyor ba) and completion (Tib: tar tug; Wyl: mthar thug). Each of these four brings its own result and—if it is negative—can be purified by one of the four opponent powers. Actions that lack all four parts are weaker in strength and bring weaker results.
Also known as four close placements of mindfulness or four establishments of mindfulness, they are: contemplation of the body, feelings, mind and phenomena. These practices are the first four of the thirty-seven harmonies with enlightenment and are essential for the attainment of both liberation (nirvana) and full enlightenment.
Shariputra, known for his understanding of the Abhidharma; Maudgalyayana, known for his psychic powers; Mahakashyapa, the great ascetic; and Ananda, the personal attendant of the Buddha who recalled every word he spoke.
The four periods of a world system; they are the great eons of evolving, existing, decaying and being empty.
The protectors in the form of kings of the four cardinal directions always found at the entrance of monasteries and temples in China and Tibet; they are: Dhritarashtra of the east, Virudhaka of the south, Virupaksha of the west and Vaishravana of the north.
Four animals, an elephant, a monkey, a rabbit, and a bird, that lived in the forest and spread harmony to the other animals, creating peace and prosperity in the whole kingdom.
Also known as the four immeasurable thoughts or the four sublime attitudes (Skt: brahmavihara), these are four states of mind or aspirations: loving kindness (Skt: maitri; Tib: jam pa; Wyl: byams pa), compassion (Skt: karuna; Tib: nying je; Wyl: snying rje), sympathetic joy (Skt: mudita; Tib: ga ba; Wyl: dga' ba) and equanimity (Skt: upeksha; Tib: tang nyom; Wyl: btang snyoms). They are usually expressed in the prayer: may all sentient beings have happiness and its causes, be free from suffering and its causes, be inseparable from sorrowless bliss, and abide in equanimity—or longer variations of the same.
In the seven points of cause and effect technique for developing bodhicitta, the second, remembering the kindness of the mother, can include how the mother has been kind in four ways: 1) the kindness of giving her body; 2) the kindness of protecting our life from danger; 3) the kindness of bearing hardship; and 4) the kindness of leading us in the ways of the world. The lineage of this came to Lama Zopa Rinpoche from Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen Rinpoche.
The four external conditions conducive to spiritual development. They are: 1) relying on holy beings; 2) abiding in a harmonious environment; 3) having supportive family and friends; and 4) collecting merit and making prayers. See also the eight ripening qualities.
The four external and internal hindrances or obstacles to our spiritual progress. They are: 1) the mara of the (contaminated) aggregates (Skt: skhandha-mara); 2) the mara of delusions (Skt: klesha-mara); 3) the mara of the Lord of Death (Skt: mrityu-mara); and 4) the mara of the deva's son (Skt: devaputra-mara), the demon of desire and temptation. See also Mara.
Four hells surrounding the major hot hells, they are: the fiery trench (Skt: Kukulam; Tib: mema mur; Wyl: me ma mur), the putrid swamp (Skt: Kunapam; Tib: ronyag; Wyl: ro myags), the plain of swords (Skt: Kshuradharammargah; Tib: pa dri tam pä tang; Wyl: spa gri gtams pa'i tang), the uncrossable torrent (Skt: Vaitarani; Tib: chu wo rap me; Wyl: chu bo rap med).
Avoiding responding to: 1) anger with anger; 2) physical harm with physical harm; 3) criticism with criticism; and 4) verbal argument with verbal argument. These are said to distinguish real practitioners and are part of the secondary bodhisattva vows.
The subject of the Buddha's first turning of the wheel of Dharma. The truths of suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path to the cessation of suffering as seen by an arya.