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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
label

A name applied to the knowable objects that the name signifies – whether or not those objects are validly knowable. Compare: name.


J. Hopkins' translation: "terminology; term."

Tib: brda
label, mental

See: label

labeling

See: mental labeling

labeling, mental

See: mental labeling

labored

A state of mind, such as bodhichitta, generated by working oneself up to it, with deliberate effort, through a series of steps, each of which entails a line of reasoning.

Tib: rtsol-bcas
lack of a hope

The voidness or total lack of truly existent results of any phenomenon; literally, the lack of any truly existent results that one could hope for from a phenomenon.


J. Hopkins' translation: "wishlessness{N}."

Tib: smon-pa med-pa
lack of an action’s affecting variables

The voidness or total lack of true existence of the three affecting variables (three circles) involved with any action: an act to be done, an agent and an action that occurs.

Tib: mngon-par ‘du-byed med-pa
lack of an impossible "soul"

(1) With respect to the five aggregate factors of an individual being, the total absence (voidness) of something findable inside the aggregates that is static, a partless monad, separable from the body and mind, and self-sufficiently knowable. (2) With respect to all validly knowable phenomena, the total absence (voidness) of an impossible mode of existence that establishes the existence of a phenomenon by the power of something findable inside that phenomenon. Often translated by others as "selflessness" or "identitylessness."


J. Hopkins' translation: "selflessness."

Tib: bdag-med
Skt: anatman
lack of an impossible "soul" of all phenomena

The total absence (voidness) of an impossible mode of existence that establishes the existence of a phenomenon by the power of something findable inside that phenomenon. Often translated by others as "selflessness of all phenomena" or "identitylessness of all phenomena."


J. Hopkins' translation: "selflessness of phenomena."

Tib: chos-kyi bdag-med
Skt: dharma-anatman
lack of an impossible soul of a person

The total absence (voidness) of something findable inside the five aggregate factors of an individual being that is static, a partless monad, separable from the body and mind, and self-sufficiently knowable. Often translated by others as "selflessness of a person" or "identitylessness of a person."

Tib: gang-zag-kyi bdag-med
Skt: pudgala-anatman
lack of a sign

The voidness or total lack of truly existent causes for any phenomenon; literally, the lack of any sign of truly existent causes from which a phenomenon arose.


J. Hopkins' translation: "signlessness."

Tib: mtshan-ma med-pa
lack of naivety

The discriminating awareness that is aware of the individual details concerning behavioral cause and effect or concerning reality, and which acts as the opponent for naivety about them.


J. Hopkins' translation: "non-bewilderment; non-ignorance."

Tib: gti-mug med-pa
Skt: amoha
lack of true identity

See: lack of an impossible "soul"

lamrim

See: lam-rim

lam-rim

Graded path; graded stages of the path; graded stage of motivation; graded stages of pathway minds. A course of training in the Mahayana sutra teachings through which one makes progress by developing graded stages of motivation, which act as pathway minds leading to enlightenment.


J. Hopkins' translation: "stages of the path."

Tib: lam-rim
latency

See: karmic latency

latency, karmic

See: karmic latency

leap-ahead

The practice, and resultant stage of the practice, in dzogchen during which one "leaps ahead" from the attainment of break-through, and during which effulgent rigpa gives rises to and cognizes itself as a rainbow body. During this stage, effulgent rigpa becomes increasingly more prominent, while essence rigpa is also prominently maintained. This stage is equivalent to an accustoming pathway of mind (path of meditation).


J. Hopkins' translation: "Leap-over."

Tib: thod-rgal
leap-ahead stage

See: leap-ahead

legacy

See: karmic legacy

legacy, karmic

See: karmic legacy

Lesser Vehicle

See: Hinayana

level, basis

See: basis level

level, pathway

See: pathway level

level, resultant

The level of a fully enlightened Buddha, attained as the result of Mahayana practice.


J. Hopkins' translation: "effect."

Tib: 'bras-bu
libation, golden

See: golden libation

liberated being

See: arhat

liberates itself in its own place

See: automatically releases itself in its own place

liberation

The state of an arhat; the state in which one has attained a true stopping of true suffering and the true origins of suffering, and thus a true stopping of samsara; the state in which one has attained a true stopping of the emotional obscurations.

Tib: thar-pa
Skt: moksha
light diffusion

also translated as: increase, red appearance

Tib: mched
light-diffusion

One of the three subtle appearance-making minds.


J. Hopkins' translation: "increase."

Tib: mched-pa
limited awareness

See: sem

limited being

A being still having limited awareness. Any being other than a Buddha. Often rendered as "sentient being."


J. Hopkins' translation: "sentient being."

Tib: sems-can
Skt: sattva
lineage, distant

See: distant lineage

lineage, near

See: near lineage

link of affecting impulses

The second of the twelve links of dependent arising. A karmic impulse that will affect future lives; synonymous with "throwing karma." Some translators render the term as the "link of karmic formations."

Tib: 'du-byed-kyi yan-lag
Skt: samskara-anga
link of aging and dying

The twelfth of the twelve links of dependent arsing. In a particular rebirth, the period starting immediately after the moment of conception and ending with the moment of death.

Tib: rga-shi'i yan-lag
Skt: jara-marana-anga
link of an obtainer

The ninth link in the twelve links of dependent arising. The set of four obtainer disturbing emotions and disturbing attitudes, any one of which, together with craving, activates throwing karma at the time of death and thus brings about the "obtaining" of a future samsaric rebirth. For the list of the four, see: obtainer. Most other translators render the term as "link of grasping."

Tib: nyer-len-gyi yan-lag
Skt: upadana-anga
link of becoming

See: link of further existence

link of conception

The eleventh of the twelve links of dependent arising, equivalent to the first moment of the link of nameable mental faculties with or without gross form. The moment when the consciousness of a bardo being enters its next rebirth. In the case of rebirth as a human or an animal, the moment in which it enters the sperm and egg of its next parents.

Tib: skye-ba'i yan-lag
Skt: jaty-anga
link of contacting awareness

The sixth of the twelve links of dependent arising. The subsidiary awareness (mental factor) of contacting awareness during the period of time in the development of a foetus when the distinguishing aggregate and such other affecting variables as contacting awareness are functioning, but the feeling aggregate is not yet functioning. During this period, one experiences contacting awareness of objects as pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral, but does not feel happy, unhappy, or neutral in response to this.

Tib: reg-pa'i yan-lag
Skt: sparsha-anga
link of craving

The eighth of the twelve links of dependent arising, one of the mental factors that activate the karmic aftermath of throwing karma at the time of death. The three types of craving that occur at the time of death: (1) craving in relation to what is desirable, (2) craving because of fear, (3) craving in relation to further existence.

Tib: sred-pa'i yan-lag
Skt: trshna-anga
link of feeling a level of happiness

The seventh of the twelve links of dependent arising. The subsidiary awareness (mental factor) of feeling a level of happiness starting at the time in the development of a foetus, and continuing for the rest of that lifetime, during which the person experiences happiness in response to pleasant contacting awareness, unhappiness in response to unpleasant contacting awareness, and a neutral feeling in response to neutral contacting awareness.

Tib: tshor-ba'i yan-lag
Skt: vedana-anga
link of further existence

The tenth of the twelve links of dependent arising. A karmic impulse, brought on by craving and an obtainer disturbing emotion or attitude, that activates the karmic aftermath of throwing karma just before one dies, thus enabling that throwing karma to ripen into the bardo existence, conception existence, predeath existence, and death existence of a next rebirth.

Tib: srid-pa'i yan-lag
Skt: bhava-anga
link of grasping

See: link of an obtainer

link of loaded consciousness

The third of the twelve links of dependent arising. A mental continuum containing the karmic aftermath of throwing karma, both during the lifetime in which the karmic action producing it has occurred. and during the future lifetime produced by that throwing karma.

Tib: rnam-shes-kyi yan-lag
Skt: vijnana-anga
link of loaded consciousness at the time of the cause

The first phase of the third of the twelve links of dependent arising, the link of loaded consciousness. A mental continuum containing the karmic aftermath of throwing karma during the lifetime in which the karmic action producing it has occurred. The first part of the third link of dependent arising, the link of loaded consciousness.

Tib: rgyu-dus-kyi rnam-shes-kyi yan-lag
link of loaded consciousness at the time of the result

The second phase of the third of the twelve links of dependent arising, the link of loaded consciousness. A mental continuum containing the karmic aftermath of throwing karma during the future lifetime produced as a result of that throwing karma.

Tib: 'bras-dus-kyi rnam-shes-kyi yan-lag
link of nameable mental faculties with or without gross form

The fourth of the twelve links of dependent arising. The four mental aggregates -- consciousness, feeling a level of happiness, distinguishing, and other affecting variables -- some of which are merely potentials -- together with the aggregate of forms of physical phenomena during a rebirth on the plane of sensory desires or the plane of ethereal forms, or without this aggregate during a rebirth on the plane of formless beings, during the period of time in the development of a foetus from the moment of conception up until the moment just before the cognitive faculties of seeing, hearing, and so on are differentiated.

Tib: ming-dang gzugs-kyi yan-lag
Skt: namarupa-anga
link of stimulators of cognition

The fifth of the twelve links of dependent arising. The stimulators of cognition during the period of time in the development of a fetus from when the six different stimulators of cognition are differentiated up until but just before the aggregate of distinguishing is differentiated.

Tib: skye-mched-kyi yan-lag
Skt: ayatana-anga
link of unawareness

The first of the twelve links of dependent arising. Both doctrinally based and automatically arising forms of not knowing how persons exist. Some translators render the term as the "link of ignorance."

Tib: ma-rig-pa'i yan-lag
Skt: avidya-anga
listener

See: shravaka

listening

At the time when the Buddhist teachings were only available in oral form, hearing the recitation of the teachings. Nowadays, also reading the teachings. By means of listening to the teachings, one learns about them.


J. Hopkins' translation: "hearing."

Tib: thos-pa
Skt: shruta
loaded consciousness

See: link of loaded consciousness

loaded consciousness, link of

See: link of loaded consciousness

loaded consciousness at the time of the cause, link of

See: link of loaded consciousness at the time of the cause

loaded consciousness at the time of the result, link of

See: link of loaded consciousness at the time of the result

lojong

See: attitude-training


J. Hopkins' translation: "mind-training."

Tib: blo-sbyong
longdey

See: open space division

Tib: klong-sde
longing desire

The disturbing emotion that exaggerates the good qualities of an object that one does not possess and wishes to obtain it.


J. Hopkins' translation: "desire."

Tib: 'dod-chags
Skt: raga
love

(1) The wish for someone to be happy and to have the causes for happiness. (2) In Theravada, when conjoined with a bodhichitta aim, the ninth of the ten far-reaching attitudes -- the attitude to work to bring about the welfare and happiness of others, even when doing so requires self-sacrifice.

Tib: byams-pa
Skt: maitri
love, caring

See: love

love, cherishing concerned

See: cherishing concerned love

love, great

See: great love

love, heartwarming

See: heartwarming love

loving-kindness

The subsidiary awareness (mental factor) with which one not only wishes others to be happy and to have the causes for happiness, but with which one also acts towards others in a helpful manner.


J. Hopkins' translation: "noun: mercy; love; kindness verb: feel mercy; pity; love."

Tib: brtse-ba
lucidity

A quality of a well-concentrated mind with which the mind remains fresh in each moment.

Tib: dvangs

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