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 / Pali|
|identitylessness of all phenomena|
|identitylessness of a person|
|illustrative accounts||Tib: rtogs-par brjod-pa|
|immeasurably magnificent palace|
A palace visualized in tantra practice as part of the supporting mandala. Each architectural feature of the palace represents one or another realization gained along the tantra path, and inside the palace reside one or more Buddha-figures.
|Tib: gzhal-yas khang|
|immediate causes||Tib: nye-ba'i rgyu|
|immediately preceding condition||Tib: de-ma-thag rkyen|
See: three immovables
|Immutable Vajra Body|
|Immutable Vajra Corpus||Tib: mi-'gyur rdo-rje'i sku|
See: nonstatic phenomenon
See: nonstatic phenomenon
The constructive mental factor of not wishing to cause harm in response to limited beings (sentient beings), one's own suffering, or situations entailing suffering that may arise from either of the two or which may simply be the situations in which the suffering occurs. Sometimes translated as "non-anger."
|Tib: zhe-sdang med-pa|
|implicative negation phenomenon|
An exclusion of something else in which, after the sounds of the words that exclude the object to be negated have negated that object, they leave behind in their wake, explicitly or implicitly, something else. Some translators render the term as "affirming negation."
|Tib: ma-yin dgag|
In the Gelug system, apprehension of a cognitive object in which a cognitive appearance (mental hologram) of the involved object itself does not arise; only a cognitive appearance of the basis for imputation of the involved object arises. Compare: explicit apprehension.
|Tib: shugs-la rtogs-pa|
|implicit suggested meaning|
One of the six alternative meanings. When an expression in a root tantra text has two dissimilar meanings, the meaning that is dissimilar to the literal, evident, or face value meaning of the expression. It is the meaning suggested by the literal (explicit suggestive) meaning and to which one is led by that literal meaning.
See: conceptually cling
|impossible "soul," lack of|
(1) With respect to the five aggregate factors of an individual being, 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, an impossible mode of existence that establishes the existence of a phenomenon by the power of something findable inside that phenomenon.
|impossible "soul" of all phenomenon||Tib: chos-kyi bdag|
|impossible "soul" of all phenomenon, lack of|
|impossible "soul" of a person||Tib: gang-zag-kyi bdag|
|impossible "soul" of a person, lack of|
|impossible mode of existence|
An invalid manner of establishing the existence something.
|impure appearance||Tib: ma-dag-pa'i snang-ba|
|imputably knowable phenomenon||Tib: btags-yod|
See: mental labeling
See: mental labeling
|imputedly existent phenomenon|
Equivalent to "imputably knowable phenomenon."
Also translated as "stimulating others' good qualities"
See: indecisive wavering
See: indecisive wavering
The mental factor (subsidiary awareness) that entertains two opinions about what is true – in other words, wavering between accepting or rejecting what is true. One of the six root disturbing emotions and attitudes. Sometimes translated as "doubt."
According to the non-Gelug presentation, the type of cognition that a present moment of sensory consciousness has of the immediately preceding moment of an external sense object, which no longer exists. Compare: direct cognition.
|Tib: shugs-la shes-pa|
|individual defining characteristic mark|
Something findable on the side of an object that establishes the identity or features of that object and which serves as the basis for that object being labeled by the names, words, and concepts for it, as well as for its qualities.
|Tib: rang-gi mtshan-nyid|
|individualizing deep awareness|
One of the five types of deep awareness that all beings have as an aspect of Buddha-nature. The deep awareness that singles out an object and is aware of it as a unique, individual item. Also called: deep awareness of the individuality of things.
|Tib: sor-rtog ye-shes|
|individually characterized object exclusions of something else|
In reference to an existent phenomenon "this," negation phenomena such as "nothing other than this" and "not that." (1) According to Gelug, they are nonstatic phenomena implicitly apprehended when a valid conceptual or nonconceptual cognition explicitly apprehends its involved object as "this." (2) According to non-Gelug, a static fact about "this" that is validly knowable only conceptually, separately from valid cognition of "this."
|Tib: don rang-mtshan-gyi gzhan-sel|
|inferential cognition||Tib: rjes-dpag|
|influencing nature||Tib: 'phrin-las|
The appearance of something as being sharp and clear, not blurry.
The English word "inherent" means something inside an object that is there by means of the nature of that object, It is used in Buddhism to mean something inside an object, by nature of that object, which, by its own power, establishes that the object exists in general and exists specifically as "this" or "that."
A world-system represented by parts of the human body and used as an object of offering.
|Tib: nang-gi dkyil-'khor|
An offering made of the flesh of various animals and various bodily fluids and wastes, representing either the five tainted aggregates and five bodily elements or the ten energy-winds, and which are specially "elevated" and transformed into pure nectar.
Two facts about the same attribute of an object are inseparable if, when one is the case, so is the other. The two facts may inseparably both be the case either naturally or made to be so through the power of meditation.
A nontechnical term for an understanding of a deeper level of meaning of something that one did not understand so deeply before or not at all before.
(1) A transformation that someone or something confers, literally by means of a "brightening," into a state of heightened power and ability resembling the position or status of the person or thing that confers it. (2) In the meaning of "elevation," transformation of one's body, speech, and mind, or offering substances, into pure aspects, done during a tantric ritual. Some translators render the term as "blessing."
|Tib: byin-gyis rlabs|
See: Dharma instructor
|intellectually derived||Tib: blos-byas|
The ability to discriminate between what is correct and what is incorrect, and between what is helpful and what is harmful.
The subsidiary awareness (mental factor) to obtain any object, to achieve any goal, or to do something with the object or goal once obtained or achieved, but based on prior deliberation and thus a stronger mental factor than intention .
The projection or superimposition, onto an object, of a quality or a conventional or ultimate identity that it doesn't have. For instance, to superimpose true existence onto the conventionally existent "me." Literally, the term means "sticking feathers on to something." Some translators render it as "exaggeration," but it is not the exaggeration of something present. Rather, it is the adding of something that is not there, as if it were present.
A passage in a sutra text that discusses any topic other than the most profound view of voidness, and which leads one on or points the way to the most profound view of voidness. Such passages require explanation, so that one does not confuse them as indicating the most profound view.
(1) According to Gelug Sautrantika, Gelug Chittamatra, and Gelug Svatantrika-Madhyamaka, a cognition that is not fresh, or one that is fallacious, or one that is both not fresh and fallacious. (2) According to Gelug Prasangika and all tenet systems according to non-Gelug, a fallacious cognition.
|invalid phenomenon||Tib: mi-srid-pa|
See: gross detection
See: engaged bodhichitta
The main object with which a particular cognition involves itself or engages. Equivalent to the object existing as cognitively taklen.
|items conceptually isolated by categories||Tib: spyi-ldog|
|items conceptually isolated by themselves||Tib: rang-ldog|