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The Buddhist Archives of Dr. Alexander Berzin

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Home > Glossary > Glossary English Terms

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:

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EnglishDefinitionTibetan / Sanskrit
ultimate bodhichitta

See: deepest bodhichitta

ultimate deepest level

See: ultimate level

ultimate level

The final, most profound level of something. Sometimes also translated as "deepest level" or "ultimate deepest level."

J. Hopkins' translation: "[end-to-meet] final; complete."

Tib: mthar-thug
ultimate phenomenon, denumerable

See: denumerable ultimate phenomenon

ultimate phenomenon, nondenumerable

See: nondenumerable ultimate phenomenon

ultimate source of safe direction

The Buddhas, as the only ones with full sets of true stoppings and true pathway minds on their mental continuums.

Tib: mthar-thug-gi skyabs-gnas
ultimate truth

See: deepest truth

ultimate vehicles of mind

According to the tenets of the Chittamatra Followers of Scripture, three vehicles of mind that lead to three different final goals -- shravaka arhatship, pratyekabuddha arhatship, and Buddhahood -- which, once one has been attained, do not allow for the person who has attained it to achieve one of the other two goals. Thus, shravaka arhats and pratyekabuddha arhats cannot attain enlightenment.

J. Hopkins' translation: "final vehicle."

Tib: mthar-thug theg-pa

See: unaffected phenomenon

unaffected phenomenon

A phenomenon that is not affected by causes or conditions. A synonym for static phenomenon. Often rendered by other translators as "unconditioned phenomenon."

J. Hopkins' translation: "uncompounded."

Tib: 'dus ma-byas
Skt: asamskrtadharma

See: uncontrived

unassociated with confusion

See: untainted


(1) According to Vasubandhu and Asanga, not knowing. (2) According to Dharmakirti, knowing in an inverted (incorrect) manner. In both cases, unawareness is of either behavioral cause and effect, or of the lack of an impossible "soul" or voidness. Translators often render the term as "ignorance."

J. Hopkins' translation: "ignorance."

Tib: ma-rig-pa
Skt: avidya
unawareness, automatically arising

See: automatically arising unawareness

unawareness, doctrinally based

See: doctrinally based unawareness

unawareness, link of

See: link of unawareness

uncommendable action

An action that ripens into the experience of suffering by the person who commits it or into a hindrance to his or her spiritual practice. An action that cannot be spoken about with praise.

J. Hopkins' translation: "unseemliness; fault; blemish; blame."

Tib: kha-na ma-tho-ba
Skt: avadya
uncommendable action, naturally

See: naturally uncommendable action

uncommendable action, naturally destructive

See: naturally uncommendable action

uncommendable action, prohibited

See: prohibited uncommendable action

uncommon equanimity

The mental factor of an equal attitude toward everyone, with which one has no feelings of close or far in the thoughts or actions involved in benefiting and helping all limited beings and eliminating their problems. The type of equanimity developed specifically in Mahayana in the context of equalizing and exchanging one's attitudes about self and other, and not taught in common with Hinayana. Also called "distinguished equanimity."

Tib: thun-mong ma-yin-pa'i btang-snyom
uncommon Mahayana equanimity

See: uncommon equanimity

unconditioned phenomenon

See: unaffected phenomenon


A state of mind not mentally constructed by conceptual thought. Also translated as "unartificial."

Tib: bcos-med
uncontrollably recurring existence

See: samsara

uncontrollably recurring samsara

See: samsara


That feeling which, when it arises, one wants to be parted from it.

J. Hopkins' translation: "unhappiness; difficult."

Tib: mi-bde-ba
Skt: du:kha (duhkha)
unified pair

A pair of items, joined inseparably, in which the initial attainment of both items occurs simultaneously. Sometimes used as a general term whether the initial attainment of both items occurs simultaneously or sequentially.

J. Hopkins' translation: "union."

Tib: zung-'jug
Skt: yuganaddha

See: true unimputed existence


See: conceptual category

universal, audio

See: audio category

universal, collection

See: collection mental synthesis

universal, kind

See: kind mental synthesis

universal, meaning

See: mental category

universal, object

See: object mental synthesis

universal, sound

See: audio category


A state of mind, such as bodhichitta, generated instantly without needing to work oneself up to it, with deliberate effort, through a series of steps, each of which entails a line of reasoning.

Tib: rtsol-med
unlabored bodhichitta

A bodhichitta aim that arises automatically and effortlessly, without need to build up to it through steps or by relying on lines of reasoning.

Tib: rtsol-med byang-sems
unmixed with confusion

See: untainted


See: unspecified phenomenon

unspecified phenomenon

A phenomenon that Buddha did not specify as being either constructive or destructive. Also called "ethically neutral."

J. Hopkins' translation: "not indicated in scripture; not prophesied; neutral."

Tib: lung ma-bstan
Skt: avyakrta
unspecified phenomenon, nonobstructive

See: nonobstructive unspecified phenomenon

unspecified phenomenon, obstructive

See: obstructive unspecified phenomenon


Something that does not derive from a disturbing emotion or attitude, or is not related in any way with a disturbing emotion or attitude. Also translated as "unmixed with confusion" or "dissociated from confusion." Many translators render this term as "uncontaminated."

J. Hopkins' translation: "uncontaminated."

Tib: zag-med
Skt: anashrava
untainted aggregates

Aggregate factors of someone's experience that do not include the causes that will obtain for that being any further samsaric rebirths.

Tib: zag-med-kyi phung-po

A way of being aware of something that shares five congruent features with craving for one's own tainted, obtainer aggregate factors of experience.

J. Hopkins' translation: "things; objects; disarranged; confused; various things."

Tib: zang-zing

See: mental urge

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