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|
The mental state of being neither overly or underly attentive and neither overly, underly, or inappropriately responsive, both with feelings and actions, to either the situation of others or oneself, or the effect of one's behavior on others or on oneself.
|bardo existence||Tib: bar-do'i srid-pa|
|bare absence||Tib: stong-sang|
|bare cognition||Tib: mngon-sum|
See: bare absence
|bases for conceptually isolated items|
In Gelug, equivalent to individually characterized object exclusions of something else, which serve as the bases for imputation of the corresponding conceptually isolated items. For instance, the nonstatic negation phenomenon "nothing other than 'this,'" implicitly apprehended when explicitly apprehending "this" and which serves as the basis for imputation of the static negation phenomenon "nothing other than this," which is the mental representation of "nothing other than 'this'" in the conceptual cognition of "this."
|basis for all||Tib: kun-gzhi|
|basis for designation|
See: basis for labeling
|basis for imputation|
See: basis for labeling
|basis for labeling||Tib: gdags-gzhi|
In the context of basis, pathway, and resultant levels of something being specified, the level of something - for instance, the level of Buddha-nature -- that occurs in general, whether or not one has achieved some attainment on the Buddhist spiritual path.
|basis rigpa||Tib: gzhi'i rig-pa|
See: tamed behavior
|behavioral cause and effect|
The principles of karma, whereby certain actions produce certain effects. The cause is one's behavior – how one acts, speaks, and thinks – and the effect is what one experiences. Behavioral cause and effect is about the connection between one's behavior and what one experiences as a result.
See: divine being
See: limited being
See: ordinary being
See: limited being
|being true to one's word|
The mental state with which, once one gives one's word to do something to benefit others, one does not break one's promise. The seventh of the ten far-reaching attitudes developed by bodhisattvas according to the Theravada tradition.
|belief in a fact, clearheaded|
|belief in a fact based on reason||Tib: yid-ches-kyi dad-pa|
|belief in a fact with an aspiration||Tib: mngon-'dod-kyi dad-pa|
|belief in facts|
|believing a fact to be true|
A constructive emotion that focuses on something existent and validly knowable, something with good qualities, or an actual potential, and considers it either existent or true, or considers a fact about it as true. Some translators render the term as "faith."
|believing a fact to be true based on reason||Tib: yid-ches-kyi dad-pa|
The mental factor of wishing to benefit others, wishing others well. Often translated by others as "altruism."
A naive state of mind of not know what is happening.
|binding factors, four|
See: four binding factors
See: blissful awareness
A state of mind, either tainted or untainted, characterized by varying levels of intensity of happiness. Some of the untainted ones can be utilized in anuttarayoga tantra practice as the type of awareness with which to focus on voidness, and as an aid for dissolving the energy-winds in the central channel in order to gain access to clear light awareness.
|Blissfully Gone One||Tib: bde-bar gshegs-pa|
See: purified state
Usually used in the meaning of relative bodhichitta: A mind or heart focused first on the benefit of all limited beings and then on one's own individual not-yet-happening enlightenment, validly imputable on the basis of the Buddha-nature factors of one's mental continuum, with the intention to attain that enlightenment and to benefit others by means of that attainment. Alternative Tibetan: byang-sems.
|Tib: byang-chub-gyi sems|
See: aspiring bodhichitta
See: deepest bodhichitta
See: engaged bodhichitta
|bodhichitta, pledged aspiring|
|bodhichitta, pledged state of aspiring|
See: deepest bodhichitta
Someone who has developed unlabored bodhichitta.
|Tib: byang-chub sems-dpa'|
|bodhisattva arhats of definite lineage|
Bodhisattvas who have been definite about their lineage as bodhisattvas from before attaining arhatship and thus who have attained arhatship as bodhisattvas and not as shravakas or pratyekabuddhas before developing bodhichitta.
|Tib: rigs-nges-pa'i byang-sems|
The set of restraints from committing certain actions (eighteen root downfalls and forty-six faulty actions) that, if committed, would be detrimental to achieving enlightenment and benefiting all others.
|Tib: byang-sems sdom-pa|
See: rainbow body
See: subtle body
See: subtlest body
|Body Encompassing Everything|
|body mandala||Tib: lus-dkyil|
|Body of Deep Awareness' Enlightening Influence|
|Body of Deep Awareness Encompassing Everything|
|Body of Essential Nature|
|Body of Forms|
See: Corpus of Forms
|Body of Full Use|
See: Corpus of Full Use
|Body of Great Bliss|
|Body of Manifest Enlightenment|
The pre-Buddhist spiritual tradition of Tibet.
A type of behavior or a state of mind, which, when practiced, maintains a close connection with either a certain tantra or a certain spiritual master. Also called: closely bonding practice, close bond.
|bonding practices, auxiliary|
Substances, such as alcohol and meat, purified, transformed, and consecrated during a tantra ritual and offered to a Buddha-figure in order to maintain a close bond (close connection) with that figure, as one has promised to do.
A follower of the Bon tradition.
In mahamudra meditation, an experience of bliss, clarity, nonconceptuality, and bareness that arises as a bonus result of the attainment of a stilled and settled state of shamatha. With this experience, the meditator still has a dualistic sense of there being the meditator on the one side and, on the other, these four as things to be meditated on or experienced.
|bountiful store of positive force|
The practice, and resultant stage of the practice, in dzogchen during which one "breaks through" the level of limited mind (sems) and both recognizes and accesses essence rigpa, thereby attaining a seeing pathway of mind (path of seeing) and becoming an arya.
See: Corpus of a Buddha
A non-samsaric realm in which the circumstances are the most conducive for uninterrupted intense spiritual practice for gaining Buddhahood. It is a field in the sense of being a place in which one can grow or develop a tremendous amount of positive force (merit). It is synonymous with a pure-land.
|Tib: sangs-rgyas-kyi zhing|
An emanated form of a Buddha, often with multiple faces, arms, and legs, which tantric practitioners visualize themselves as. This is done in order to create a close bond with the figure so as to be able to attain enlightenment, in the form of that figure, through such practice.
|Buddha Gem, apparent|
See: apparent Buddha Gem
|Buddha Gem, deepest|
See: deepest Buddha Gem
|Buddha Gem, nominal|
See: nominal Buddha Gem
|Buddha-nature||Tib: sangs-rgyas-kyi rigs|
A teacher, either lay or monastic, Western or Asian, who imparts information about Buddhism gained from scriptural knowledge and/or scholarly research.
|building-up pathway mind|
The level of mind with which shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, or bodhisattvas build up, among other good qualities, the joined pair of a stilled and settled state of mind (shamatha) and an exceptionally perceptive state of mind (vipashyana) focused conceptually on voidness -- or, in general, on the sixteen aspects of the four noble truths. It only pertains to shravakas and pratyekabuddhas once they have attained an unlabored determination to be free, or to bodhisattvas once, in addition, they have attained unlabored bodhichitta. Others often render this term as "path of accumulation."