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|
One of the New Translation traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, deriving from the reforms made by Tsongkhapa.
J. Hopkins' translation: "Ge-luk."
A follower of the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
J. Hopkins' translation: "Ge-luk-pa."
In the Karma Kagyu system, the aspect of mental activity that gives rise to and is aware of the appearing (the arising in general) of an awareness of an object and an object that one is aware of. In a looser sense, awareness of the general features of an entire sensory or mental field that one cognizes, so that one gets an overview.
J. Hopkins' translation: "Intellect/mentality."
See: conceptual category
J. Hopkins' translation: "stage of generation."
(1) In Theravada, the mental factor of wishing to give material things to all beings, so that they may be happy, without investigating whether or not they are worthy to receive them. (2) In Mahayana, the mental urge that leads one to wish to give to others all that is one's own – one's body, material wealth, and the roots of one's constructive actions. When conjoined with a bodhichitta aim, it becomes a far-reaching attitude. Also translated as "giving."
J. Hopkins' translation: "donation; verb: give; bestow; present noun: giving; gift; present; alms."
(1) In the Kadam tradition, a title given to a spiritual mentor and friend, especially those that are masters of attitude-training (lojong). (2) In the Gelug tradition, a title given to those who have completed the monastic education system.
J. Hopkins' translation: "ge-shay."
|giving and taking|
With love, giving one's happiness to others, and with compassion, taking on their suffering. Often practiced with visualizations and in coordination with the breath, this is a practice done in conjunction with exchanging one's attitudes about self with others. Often called by the Tibetan term "tonglen."
|giving rise to|
See: making arise
|giving rise to appearances|
|go for refuge to the Three Gems|
|golden libation||Tib: gser-skyems|
Helpful aspects or beneficial talents of a person that are corrections of inadequacies.
J. Hopkins' translation: "good qualities; good quality; virtue; attainment; quality."
See: dangerous gorges
|grasping for true existence|
|grasping for truly established existence|
(1) Both to cognize (literally, take as a cognitive object) the appearance of the world as having truly established existence, which the habits of this grasping cause the mind to fabricate and project, as well as believing this deceptive appearance to correspond to how things actually exist, (2) simply cognizing the appearance of the world as having truly established existence, without actually believing this deceptive appearance to correspond to how things actually exist. Gelug asserts both definitions, while non-Gelug asserts only the first. Abbreviated as "grasping for true existence."
|great approximation retreat||Tib: bsnyen-chen|
The wish for everyone to be free from suffering and from the causes for suffering.
|Tib: snying-rje chen-po|
The wish for everyone to be happy and to have the causes for happiness.
|Tib: byams-pa chen-po|
The subsidiary awareness (mental factor) that investigates something roughly, such as detecting if there are mistakes on a page. According to Asanga, one of the four changeable subsidiary awarenesses. Also translated as "investigation."
|gross impermanence||Tib: mi-rtag-pa rags-pa|
Beneficial practical advice concerning spiritual practice.
J. Hopkins' translation: "instruction, preceptual instruction."
Honorific for guideline instructions. See: guideline instructions.