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 name applied to the knowable objects that the name signifies – whether or not those objects are validly knowable. Compare: name.
See: mental labeling
See: mental labeling
|lack of a hope||Tib: smon-pa med-pa|
|lack of an action’s affecting variables||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."
|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."
|Tib: chos-kyi bdag-med|
|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|
|lack of a sign||Tib: mtshan-ma med-pa|
|lack of naivety||Tib: gti-mug med-pa|
|lack of true identity|
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.
See: karmic latency
See: karmic latency
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).
See: karmic legacy
See: karmic legacy
See: basis level
See: pathway level
|level, resultant||Tib: 'bras-bu|
See: golden libation
|liberates itself in its own place|
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.
|light diffusion||Tib: mched|
|limited being||Tib: sems-can|
See: distant lineage
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|
|link of aging and dying||Tib: rga-shi'i yan-lag|
|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|
|link of becoming|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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.
|loaded consciousness, link of|
|loaded consciousness at the time of the cause, link of|
|loaded consciousness at the time of the result, link of|
See: open space division
|longing desire||Tib: 'dod-chags|
(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.
|love, cherishing concerned|
See: great love
See: heartwarming love