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The Buddhist Archives of Dr. Alexander Berzin

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Home > Glossary > Glossary Tibetan Terms

Tibetan 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 G K L M N P R S T Y Z everything

yang-dag-par blangs-pa-las byung-ba'i gzugsforms of physical phenomenon arising from clearly taking them on

Forms of physical phenomena included only among the cognitive stimulators that are all phenomena and which are acquired on a mental continuum, such as the nonrevealing forms of vows and of karmic actions.

yang-srid sgrub-pa'i laskarmic impulse for further existence

A karmic impulse that activates the karmic aftermath of throwing karma just before one dies, thus enabling the aftermath to ripen into a next rebirth. Abbreviated as "further existence."

yan-lag-gi dam-tshigauxiliary bonding practices

A set of nine practices and attitudes that, during an anuttarayoga tantra empowerment, one pledges to maintain in order to keep a close connection with tantra practice.

yan-lag-gi sbom-poauxiliary thick actions

A set of actions, in addition to the eight thick actions, that, at either a yoga or anuttarayoga empowerment, one vows to avoid and which, if committed, weaken meditation practice and hamper progress along the tantra path. Also called: auxiliary secondary tantric vows.

ye-don kun-gzhiprimordial deepest alaya

In the dzogchen system, a synonym for basis rigpa. The source of all appearances of samsara and nirvana.

ye-shesdeep awarenessSkt: jnana

(1) In the context of the five types of deep awareness, a type of principal awareness that all beings have as an aspect of Buddha-nature. It is "deep" in the sense that it is a fundamental way in which the mind works and has always been there, primordially, with no beginning and no end. (2) When contrasted with "discriminating awareness" (Tib. shes-rab) in the non-Gelug usage of the term, the principal awareness that nonconceptually cognizes the deepest truth of something (its inseparable voidness and appearance), beyond all words and concepts. (3) In the context of the ten Mahayana far-reaching attitudes, when contrasted with "discriminating awareness," principal awareness that nonconceptually cognizes the two truths of something. (4) In the context of an arya's nonconceptual cognition of voidness, in the Gelug usage, either the principal awareness that explicitly and nonconceptually cognizes voidness (deepest truth) during total absorption or the principal awareness that implicitly and nonconceptually cognizes voidness during subsequent attainment.

J. Hopkins' translation: "exalted wisdom/wisdom/pristine wisdom."

ye-shes 'phrin-las skuCorpus of Deep Awareness' Enlightening Influence

In some dzogchen systems, the spontaneous, effortless positive influence that a Buddha's omniscient mind exerts on others. Also called: Body of Deep Awareness' Enlightening Influence. Some translators render the term as "Wisdom Activity Body."

ye-shes chos-skuCorpus of Deep Awareness Encompassing EverythingSkt: jnana-dharmakaya

The deep awareness aspect of a Buddha's mind, which is equally aware of the two truths simultaneously, without any break. Also called: Body of Deep Awareness Encompassing Everything, Deep Awareness Dharmakaya. Some translators render this term as "Wisdom Dharmakaya."

J. Hopkins' translation: "Wisdom Truth Body."

ye-shes-kyi spyanextrasensory eye of deep awareness

A Buddha's omniscient awareness that is able to "see" the two truths about all phenomena. One of the five types of extrasensory eyes, possessed only by Buddhas.

ye-shes-kyi tshogsnetwork of deep awarenessSkt: jnanasambhara

A constructive noncongruent affecting variable imputable on the moments of conceptual or nonconceptual cognition of the four noble truths or of voidness, on the mental continuum of a limited being, when followed by a bodhichitta dedication, and which functions as the obtaining cause for the Dharmakaya of a Buddha. Also called: "bountiful store of deep awareness." Some translators render the term as "collection of wisdom" or "collection of insight."

J. Hopkins' translation: "accumulation of wisdom; collection of wisdom."

ye-shes lngafive types of deep awareness

Five types of principal awareness that all beings have as an aspect of Buddha-nature. The five are (1) mirror-like, (2) equalizing, (3) individualizing, and (4) accomplishing deep awareness, and (5) deep awareness of reality. Some translators render this term as "five Buddha-wisdoms." Compare: "deep awareness" (1).

yidgeneral awareness

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."

yid-'ong byams-paheartwarming love

The subsidiary awareness (mental factor) with which one has a feeling of closeness and warmth toward anyone one meets.

yi-dagsclutching ghostSkt: preta

One of the three worse rebirth states, characterized by the suffering of being unable to satisfy basic needs, such as hunger and thirst, and caused primarily by miserliness. Translated by most others as "hungry ghost," which is a literal rendering of the Chinese translation for the term, adopted by the Chinese in reference to the spirits of departed ancestors that suffered when not presented with regular offerings of food.

J. Hopkins' translation: "ghost; preta; hungry ghost."

yi-damBuddha-figureSkt: ishtadevata

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.

J. Hopkins' translation: "[mind-firm]; personal deity; tutelary deity; promise; vow; one who has a vow; deity."

yid-byed bral-bastate parted from taking to mind

The state of mind that is parted from conceptual constructs -- in other words, equivalent to the state parted from mental fabrication.

yid-ches-kyi dad-pabelief in a fact based on reason

A constructive emotion that considers a fact about something to be true, based on having thought, with logic, about the reasons that prove it. Also called "confident belief."

J. Hopkins' translation: "faith of conviction."

yid-ches-kyi dad-pabelieving a fact to be true based on reason

See: belief in a fact based on reason

J. Hopkins' translation: "faith of conviction."

yid-kyi rang-bzhin gyi gzugsforms of physical phenomena having the functional nature of mind

The type of subtle phenomena that the body of an arhat in a pure land is: although still included among cognitive stimulators that are forms of physical phenomena, they are visible only to the eye consciousness of arhats in pure lands. Although they are not ways of being aware of anything, their functional nature is similar to that of forms of physical phenomena that can be known only by mental consciousness. Synonymous with "mental bodies."

yid-kyi rnam-shesmental consciousnessSkt: manovijnana

A primary consciousness that can take any existent phenomenon as its object and which relies on merely the previous moment of cognition as its dominating condition and not on any physical sensors.

yid-la byed-paattentionSkt: manasi

The ever-functioning mental factor that engages mental activity with a specific cognitive object. The cognitive engagement may be merely to pay some level of attention to the object (strong or weak), or to focus on the object in a certain way (painstakingly, effortlessly, etc.), or to consider the object in a certain way (concordantly or discordantly). Also called: paying attention, consideration, take to mind, taking to mind.

J. Hopkins' translation: "mental engagement/taking to mind/mental contemplation."

yid-la byed-pataking to mind

See: attention

J. Hopkins' translation: "mental engagement/taking to mind/mental contemplation."

yid-lusmental body

The type of body that arhats in pure lands have. See: forms of physical phenomena having the functional nature of mind.


Validly knowable phenomena.

J. Hopkins' translation: "existent."

yongs-grubthoroughly established phenomenaSkt: parinishpanna

(1) In the context of the Mahayana tenet system, a synonym for deepest truths. Specifically, in the Chittamatra system, the various voidnesses, true stoppings, and nirvana. (2) In the Buddhist medical system, hereditary, congenital diseases; genetic disorders.

J. Hopkins' translation: "thoroughly established phenomenon; thoroughly established [nature]."

yon-tangood qualitiesSkt: guna

Helpful aspects or beneficial talents of a person that are corrections of inadequacies.

J. Hopkins' translation: "good qualities; good quality; virtue; attainment; quality."

yul-can-gyi 'od-gsalcognitive clear light

Clear light awareness that cognizes voidness as its object.

yul-gyi 'od-gsalobject clear light

Voidness as the object cognized by clear light awareness.

' A B C D G K L M N P R S T Y Z everything