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.


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dependent origination

pratityasamutpada (Skt); ten drel (Tib); rten ‘brel (Wyl)

Also called dependent arising. The way that the self and phenomena exist conventionally as relative and interdependent. They come into existence in dependence upon: 1) causes and conditions; 2) their parts; and, most subtly, 3) the mind imputing, or labeling, them. See also twelve links.

twelve links of dependent origination

pratitya samutpada (Skt); ten drel yen lag chu nyi (Tib); rten ‘brel yan lag bcu gnyis (Wyl)

Also called the twelve dependent-related limbs or branches; the twelve steps in the evolution of cyclic existence: 1) ignorance; 2) karmic formation; 3) consciousness; 4) name and form; 5) sensory fields; 6) contact; 7) feelings; 8) craving; 9) grasping; 10) becoming (existence); 11) birth; 12) and aging and death. This is Shakyamuni Buddha’s explanation of how delusion and karma bind sentient beings to samsara, causing them to be reborn into suffering again and again; depicted pictorially in the Wheel of Life.