English Glossary of Buddhist Terms
This glossary is only a partial list of technical terms found on the pages of the website. From time to time, as work progresses on the glossary project, new terms will be added to the list. Sanskrit equivalents for Tibetan terms have been provided only for select terms and all diacritical marks for transliterated Sanskrit have been omitted, for ease of display on all browsers.
Choose one of the letters below to see the glossary entries that start with this letter:
|English||Definition||Tibetan / Sanskrit|
A Hinayana school of Indian Buddhism that does not assert reflexive awareness and does assert external phenomena; a subdivision of the Sarvastivada school of Hinayana. One of the four Indian Buddhist tenet systems studied by all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
J. Hopkins' translation: "Vaibhāṣhika, Great Exposition School."
|Tib: Bye-brag smra-ba|
See: Vajra Corpus
|Vajra Body, Immutable|
|Vajra Corpus||Tib: rdo-rje-i sku|
|Vajra Corpus, Immutable|
J. Hopkins' translation: "Vajra Vehicle."
|Tib: rdo-rje theg-pa|
|valid bare cognition||Tib: mngon-sum tshad-ma|
(1) According to Gelug Sautrantika, Gelug Chittamatra, and Gelug Svatantrika-Madhyamaka, a fresh, nonfallacious cognition. (2) According to Gelug Prasangika and all tenet systems according to non-Gelug, a nonfallacious cognition.
J. Hopkins' translation: "valid cognition, prime cognition, epistemology and logic."
|validly knowable phenomena|
Phenomena that can be the objects of valid cognition. Synonymous with "existents."
J. Hopkins' translation: "object of knowledge."
A phenomenon that is validly knowalble now.
J. Hopkins' translation: "existence."
|valid straightforward cognition||Tib: mngon-sum tshad-ma|
|Vanquishing Master Surpassing All|
An epithet of a Buddha - one who has conquered (vanquished) all obstacles, attained (mastered) all good qualities, and gone beyond (surpassed) any of the Hindu gods for whom the epithet Bhagavan has also been applied. Some translators render the term as "Blessed One."
J. Hopkins' translation: "Supramundane Victor."
An adjective used to describe a Mahayana practice, practitioner, person, aim, or motivation. It implies something that involves a mind that is aimed at the vastest goal (enlightenment) for the vastest number of beings (everyone).
See: Vast Vehicle of Mind
|Vast Vehicle of Mind|
See: vehicle of mind
|Vehicle of Far-reaching Attitudes|
|vehicle of mind|
A level of state of mind that acts as either (1) a vehicle for bringing one to the spiritual goal of either liberation or enlightenment, or (2) the resultant goal of liberation or enlightenment to which one is brought.
J. Hopkins' translation: "vehicle."
See: melodic verses
See: metered verses
See: special verses
|vertical mental synthesis||Tib: gong-ma'i spyi|
|very nature of reality|
J. Hopkins' translation: "Suchness, reality."
See: Triumphant One
In the description of a Buddhist system in terms of the view of reality, a way of meditating, and way of behaving that it espouses, the main way for regarding and understanding reality. See also: outlook.
See: distorted outlook
|view of reality, way of meditating, and way of behaving||Tib: lta-sgom-spyod gsum|
See: rules of discipline
Vipassana (Pali for vipashyana) is a state of mind that cognizes clearly, distinctly and directly the true nature of the breath, thoughts, and all other affecting variables -- namely their being nonstatic (impermanent), suffering, and, in relation to them, the lack of an impossible soul. Also, the Theravada practices leading to this state of mind. See also: exceptionally perceptive state of mind.
J. Hopkins' translation: "hero; intrepid person; ShUra."
See: devoid form
An absence of an impossible way of existing. The impossible way of existing has never existed at all. Translators often render the term as "emptiness."
J. Hopkins' translation: "emptiness."
See: realize voidness
(1) In the Sautrantika, Chittamatra, and Madhyamaka schools other than Gelug Prasangika, the subsidiary awareness (mental factor) to restrain from a certain type of detrimental behavior, which, during a specific ceremony, one has formally promised to restrain from. (2) In the Vaibhashika and Gelug-Prasangika systems, a non-revealing form on a person's mental continuum that performs the same function as in (1) by shaping one's behavior.
J. Hopkins' translation: "vow/discipline."
A spiritual mentor who has kept one or more of the sets of pratimoksha vows purely for a certain number of years and who confers on disciples one of the sets of pratimoksha vows that he or she has kept purely.
See: bodhisattva vows
See: tantric vows
|vows for individual liberation|
See: pratimoksha vows