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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:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z everything

EnglishDefinitionTibetan / Sanskrit
real

A nontechnical term for what actually exists.

reality

A nontechnical term for what actually exists.

reality, true

See: true reality

realization

A stable, correct understanding of some point in the Dharma, such as voidness, which brings about a lasting attainment and change in the person who has it. Compare: "attainment".

Tib: rtogs-pa
realization, subsequent

See: subsequent attainment

realization and liberation, simultaneous

See: simultaneous realization and liberation

realize

To understand correctly, in a stable manner, some point in the Dharma, such as voidness, such that it brings about a lasting attainment and change in the person who has gained it.

realize voidness

To gain a stable, correct understanding of voidness, either conceptually or nonconceptually, such that it brings about a lasting attainment and change in the person who has it.

Tib: stong-nyid rtogs-pa
realms of existence, six

See: six realms of existence

real-thing Dharma

A full presentation of the Dharma, in the traditional manner, in terms of beginningless uncontrollably recurring rebirth.

rebirth states, better

See: better rebirth states

rebirth states, three better

See: three better rebirth sates

rebirth states, three worse

See: three worse rebirth states

rebirth states, worse

See: worse rebirth states

recitation practice

In tantra, the meditation practice with which one recites a ritual meditation text describing the self-visualization process and a complex series of further practices based on that self-generation, such as reciting mantras and making offerings.

Tib: kha-'don
recognition

The mental factor (subsidiary awareness) of distinguishing an object as being something specific, such as when studying the Dharma, oneself as being a sick person, one's spiritual teacher as being a doctor, and the Dharma as being medicine.


J. Hopkins' translation: "discrimination."

Tib: 'du-shes
Skt: samjna
recognitions, three

See: three recognitions

recognizable

See: identifiable

recurring existence

See: samsara

recurring samsara

See: samsara

referent aim, without a

See: without a referent aim

referent object

The validly knowable phenomena that the names and concepts for them, imputed on a basis for labeling, refer to.


J. Hopkins' translation: "designated phenomenon{N}; phenomenon imputed."

Tib: btags-chos
referent thing

The actual "thing" referred to by a name or concept, corresponding to the names or concepts for something, and which is findable, establishing its own existence by its own power, on the side of the referent object of the name or concept. In Gelug, according to Prasangika it is nonexistent and according to lower tenet systems it is existent.


J. Hopkins' translation: "designated object."

Tib: btags-don
reflection

See: mental derivative

reflection, mental

See: mental derivative

reflexive

Turned in on itself.

reflexive appearance

An appearance of a cognitive object that arises automatically from a person's clear light mind itself. Such an appearance may be either impure (with an appearance of truly established existence) or pure (without such an appearance).

Tib: rang-snang
reflexive awareness

(1) The cognitive faculty within a cognition, asserted in the Sautrantika and Chittamatra tenet systems, that takes as its cognitive object the consciousness within the cognition that it is part of. It also cognizes the validity or invalidity of the cognition that it is part of, and accounts for the ability to recall the cognition. (2) In the non-Gelug schools, this cognitive faculty becomes reflexive deep awareness -- that part of an arya's nonconceptual cognition of voidness that cognizes the two truths of that nonconceptual cognition.


J. Hopkins' translation: "self-knowing."

Tib: rang-rig
reflexive deep awareness

(1) In Kagyu and Sakya, that aspect of an arya's nonconceptual cognition of voidness that cognizes its own two-truth nature. (2) In Nyingma, that aspect of pure awareness (rigpa) that cognizes its own two truths or its own threefold nature. Synonymous with self-arising deep awareness.

Tib: rang-rig ye-shes
refuge

See: safe direction

refuge, take

See: take safe direction

refuge preceptor

A spiritual mentor who has kept one of the sets of pratimoksha vows purely for a certain number of years and in whose presence spiritual seekers formally take refuge (put a safe direction in their lives), thus committing themselves to the Buddhist path.

refutation

See: negation phenomenon

regard

See: firm conviction

regret

The subsidiary awareness (mental factor) of not wishing to repeat doing something, either proper or improper, that one did or that someone else made one do.


J. Hopkins' translation: "contrition."

Tib: 'gyod-pa
relating to a spiritual mentor in a healthy manner

Entrusting oneself, through mind and actions, to a fully qualified spiritual mentor. Also called: relying on a spiritual mentor, entrusting oneself to a spiritual mentor, whole-hearted commitment to a spiritual mentor. Often translated as: guru-devotion.

Tib: bshes-gnyen bsten-pa
relative bodhichitta

See: conventional bodhichitta

relative true phenomenon

See: superficial true phenomenon

relative truth

See: superficial truth

release itself in its own place

See: automatically releases itself in its own place

reliance

See: something that supports something else

reliquary monument

See: stupa

remembering kindness

Remembering the kindness of motherly love, remembering all the beneficial things that all beings have shown us when they were our mothers. The second of the six part cause and effect quintessence teaching for developing bodhichitta.

Tib: drin-dran
renunciation

(1) The definite determination to be free of samsara and to gain liberation, and with which one is willing to give up true suffering and true causes. Also translated as "determination to be free." (2) In Theravada, the mental factor to give up all attachment to worldly possessions, social status, and even one's body. When conjoined with a bodhichitta aim, it becomes a far-reaching attitude.


J. Hopkins' translation: "thought definitely to leave cyclic existence."

Tib: nges-'byung
Skt: naishkramya
renunciation, short-lived all-excited

See: short-lived all-excited renunciation

repaying kindness

Appreciating the beneficial things that all beings have shown us when they were our mothers and wishing to benefit them in return. The third of the seven part cause and effect quintessence teaching for developing bodhichitta.

Tib: drin-gso
representation, mental

See: mental representation

repudiation

A conceptual denial of something that is true or is present.


J. Hopkins' translation: "deprecation; depreciation; denial; underestimation."

Tib: skur-'debs
resolution

One of the ten far-reaching attitudes in the Theravada tradition. An attitude of determination with which a bodhisattva never abandons what he or she needs to do in order to benefit others.

Tib: byin-rlabs
Skt: adhisthana
resolve, exceptional

See: exceptional resolve

respect

See: appreciation

respite

A temporary rest or a break from a state of no leisure for Dharma practice, such as the worst states of rebirth. Some translators render the term as a "freedom" or a "liberty."


J. Hopkins' translation: "leisure."

Tib: dal-ba
responsive awareness

See: responsiveness

responsiveness

The influencing nature of pure awareness (rigpa) - namely, that it responds to others effortlessly and spontaneously with compassionate communication. See: responsive awareness.


J. Hopkins' translation: "compassion."

Tib: thugs-rje
result, commanding

See: dominating result

result, comprehensive

See: dominating result

result, dominating

See: dominating result

result, man-made

See: man-made result

result, overlord

See: dominating result

result, overriding.

See: dominating result

result, ripened

See: ripened result

resultant level

In the context of basis, pathway, and resultant levels of something being specified, the level of something, for instance Buddha-nature, in the state of a Buddha when it is fully purified.


J. Hopkins' translation: "effect."

Tib: 'bras-bu
resultant links of what has been thrown

In the twelve links of dependent arising, the three and a half links of resultant loaded consciousness, nameable mental faculties with or without gross form, stimulators of cognition, and contacting awareness, which occur during the development of an embryo in the womb in the life that is thrown by the activated karmic aftermath of throwing karma.

Tib: 'phangs-pa'i 'bras-bu'i yan-lag
resultant links of what is actualized

In the twelve links of dependent arising, the two links of conception and aging and dying in a future rebirth thrown by the activated karmic aftermath of throwing karma.

Tib: mngon-par grub-pa'i 'bras-bu'i yan-lag
resultant taking of safe direction

A taking of safe direction (refuge) that takes as its sources of safe direction the Triple Gem that one will attain oneself in the future, based on actualizing one's own Buddha-nature. Synonymous with "special taking of safe direction."

Tib: 'bras-bu'i skyabs-'gro
result that corresponds to its cause

A result that in some way resembles its cause, either in the wish to repeat its causal action or in the experience of something happening back to one that resembles what one did.


J. Hopkins' translation: "causally concordant effect."

Tib: rgyu-mthun-gyi 'bras-bu
Skt: nishyandaphalam
result that corresponds to its cause in one's behavior

The subsidiary awareness (mental factor) of liking or wishing to do an action, in a particular moment, similar to what one has done in the past. Also translated as "result that is similar to its cause in one's behavior" and "result that is similar to its cause in one's instinctive behavior."


J. Hopkins' translation: "functionally causally concordant effect."

Tib: byed-pa rgyu-mthun-gyi 'bras-bu
result that corresponds to its cause in one's experience

The experience of a situation in which something similar to one's previous action happens back to oneself. Also translated as "result that is similar to its cause on one's experience."


J. Hopkins' translation: "experientially causally concordant effect."

Tib: myong-ba rgyu-mthun-gyi 'bras-bu
result that is a state of being parted

A static state that is attained by means of effort, but which is neither produced by nor ripens from that effort.


J. Hopkins' translation: "effect of separation."

Tib: bral-'bras
Skt: visamyogaphalam
result that is similar to its cause in one's experience

See: result that corresponds to its cause in one's experience

result that is similar to its cause on one's behavior

See: result that corresponds to its cause in one's behavior

result that is similar to its cause on one's instinctive behavior

See: result that corresponds to its cause in one's behavior

retreat, serviceability

See: serviceability retreat

revealing form

A form of physical phenomenon, asserted in the Vaibhashika and Gelug Prasangika schools, that shows (reveals) the motivation behind it, and which may be a constructive, destructive or unspecified phenomenon. Examples are the shape of one's body when performing an action, the sound of the words when one speaks, the expression on someone's face, and so on. In general, such a phenomenon may be either one of the five sensory objects or one of the five sensory cognitive sensors.

Tib: rnam-par rig-byed-kyi gzugs
Skt: vijnaptirupa
revelatory accounts

One of the twelve scriptural categories. (1) Buddha's revelations of what has happened in the past or prophesies of what will occur in the future. (2) According to some explanations, scriptures of definitive meaning.


J. Hopkins' translation: "prophesy; prophesied{BJ 8.3}; taught in scripture; scriptural teaching."

Tib: lung-bstan-pa
Skt: vyakarana
riddance

A static state in which an emotional obscuration or a cognitive obscuration has been removed forever from a mental continuum. Equivalent to a true stopping (true cessation). Translated by others as "abandonment."


J. Hopkins' translation: "abandon; eliminate; give up; dispel; abandonment{N}."

Tib: spong-ba
Skt: hani
rigpa

See: pure awareness

rigpa, appearance-making basis rigpa

See: appearance-making basis rigpa

rigpa, basis

See: basis rigpa

rigpa, effulgent

See: effulgent rigpa

rigpa, essence

See: essence rigpa

rigpa of all-embracing spontaneous presence

Pure awareness (rigpa) from the point of view of its resultant level as the Dharmakaya of a Buddha.

Tib: lhun-grub sbubs-kyi rig-pa
ripen

(1) A karmic cause developing or growing to the point at which it can bear fruit, which means produce its result. This is ripening in its definitional sense. (2) A karmic causal factor on a mental continuum exhausting and finishing its presence there as it produces its fruit.


J. Hopkins' translation: "ripen; mature; fructify; maturation; ripening; matured; ripened."

Tib: smin-pa
Skt: vipaka
ripened result

A nonobstructive unspecified item conjoined with the mental continuum of a limited being, such as the body, consciousness, and feelings of happiness and unhappiness, and which comes from a ripening cause that was also conjoined with his or her mental continuum.


J. Hopkins' translation: "fruitional effect."

Tib: rnam-smin-gyi 'bras-bu
Skt: vipakaphalam
ripening

The process whereby a karmic cause gives rise to its result. See: ripen.


J. Hopkins' translation: "ripen; mature; fructify; maturation; ripening; matured; ripened."

Tib: smin-pa
Skt: vipaka
ripening cause

A destructive or tainted constructive phenomenon that, unless one has rid one's mental continuum forever of craving, has the power to produce the nonobstructive unspecified items contained in the five aggregate factors of future rebirth states, such as the body, the types of consciousness, and the feelings.


J. Hopkins' translation: "fruitional cause."

Tib: rnam-smin-gyi rgyu
Skt: vipakahetu
ritual, expiation

See: expiation ritual

ritual, offering

See: offering ritual

ritual bountiful feast

A specially consecrated torma offered to one's tantric master, inseparable from the Buddha-figure, during a tantra ceremonial round of offering.


J. Hopkins' translation: "collection; stock; assembly; gathering; group; accumulation; community."

Tib: tshogs
ritual ceremony

Also called puja. See: offering ritual.

ritual trainer

A teacher who instructs one in how to perform Buddhist rituals.

root bodhisattva vows

The eighteen primary bodhisattva vows which, if kept purely, act as a root for attaining enlightenment, and which, if fully transgressed, act as a root for rebirth in one of the worse rebirth states.

root downfall

A transgression of a root bodhisattva or root tantric vow, which, if it is a full transgression, acts as a root for falling to rebirth in one of the worse rebirth states.

Tib: rtsa-ltung
root downfall, Kalachakra tantra

See: Kalachakra tantra root downfall

root guru

The spiritual teacher that inspires one the most, such that his or her inspiration serves as the root giving sustenance to one's spiritual growth.

Tib: rtsa-ba'i bla-ma
roots of constructive force

See: roots of positive force


J. Hopkins' translation: "virtuous/wholesome root(s); roots of virtue."

Tib: dge-rtsa
roots of positive force

The network of positive force (collection of merit), described from the point of view of it serving as the "root" for one to grow into a Buddha.


J. Hopkins' translation: "virtuous root."

Tib: dge-ba'i rtsa-ba
roots of virtue

See: roots of positive force

root tantric vows

The fourteen primary tantric vows which, if kept purely, act as a root for attaining enlightenment, and which, if fully transgressed, act as a root for rebirth in one of the worse rebirth states.

rules of discipline

(1) The scriptural texts that discuss the ethical discipline and vows for the monastic community of monks and nuns. (2) The subject matter discussed in the above texts.


J. Hopkins' translation: "Discipline."

Tib: 'dul-ba
Skt: vinaya
Rupakaya

See: Corpus of Forms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z everything