Glossary for Rangjung Yeshe Books

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25 attributes of fruition (‘bras chos nyer lnga). The five kayas, fivefold speech, five wisdoms, five qualities, and five activities. Also called the ‘continuity adorned with inexhaustible body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities.’


Abhidharma (chos mngon pa). One of the three parts of the Tripitaka, the Words of the Buddha. Systematic teachings on metaphysics focusing on the training of discriminating knowledge by analyzing elements of experience and investigating the nature of existing things. The chief commentaries on Abhidharma are the Abhidharma Kosha by Dignaga from the Hinayana perspective and the Abhidharma Samucchaya by Asanga from the Mahayana point of view.
Abhidharma Pitaka (chos mngon pa’i sde snod). The ‘Collection of Abhidharma Teachings.’ Teachings compiled from the sutras that analyze the nature of what is; one of the the collections of the Tripitaka. See under ‘Tripitaka.’
Abhisambodhikaya (mngon par byang chub pa’i sku). The fifth of the five kayas of buddhahood, defined by Jamgon Kongtrul in his Treasury of Knowledge as ‘manifold manifestation in accordance with the karma of those to be influenced, without departing from dharmakaya, that (appears) because the (other four kayas are) spontaneously complete within awareness wisdom.’
Acceptance of the nature of nonarising (skye ba med pa’i chos la bzod pa). An important realization gained on entry to the eighth bodhisattva stage. In this book a synonym for complete enlightenment.
Accomplishment. 1) (dngos grub, Skt. siddhi). The attainment resulting from Dharma practice usually referring to the ‘supreme accomplishment’ of complete enlightenment. It can also mean the ‘common accomplishments,’ eight mundane accomplishments such as clairvoyance, clairaudiance, flying in the sky, becoming invisible, everlasting youth, or powers of transmutation. The most eminent attainments on the path are, however, renunciation, compassion, unshakable faith and realization of the correct view. See also ‘supreme and common accomplishments.’ 2) (sgrub pa). See ‘four aspects of approach and accomplishment’ and ‘approach and accomplishment.’
Accumulation (tshogs). Provisions for the path. See ‘two accumulations.’
Action without intermediate (mtshams med pa’i las). Five actions with the most severe karmic effect: killing one’s mother, one’s father, or an arhant; causing schism in the sangha of monks; and drawing blood from a tathagata with evil intent. These actions can also be called ‘immediates’ because their karmic effect will ripen immediately after death without leaving time to go through a bardo state.
Activities (las, phrin las). Usually referring to the four activities of pacifying, increasing, magnetizing and subjugating.
Activity Garland Tantra (karma ma le ‘phrin las kyi rgyud). A Mahayoga scripture listed here as one of the Six Secret Sections. Sometimes also mentioned as one of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras as the tantra of enlightened activity. Texts with this name are found both in Vol. TSA and SHA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Aeon (bskal pa, Skt. kalpa). World-age, period, cosmic cycle.
Age of Strife (rtsod dus). The present world-age dominated by decline and degeneration.
Akanishtha (‘og min). The ‘highest;’ the realm of Vajradhara, the enlightened sphere the dharmakaya buddha. Often used as a synonym for ‘dharmadhatu.’
All-ground (kun gzhi, alaya). Literally, the ‘foundation of all things.’ The basis of mind and both pure and impure phenomena. This word has different meanings in different contexts and should be understood accordingly. Sometimes it is synonymous with buddha nature or dharmakaya, the recognition of which is the basis for all pure phenomena; other times, as in the case of the ‘ignorant all-ground,’ it refers to a neutral state of dualistic mind that has not been embraced by innate wakefulness and thus is the basis for samsaric experience.
Amitabha (snang ba mtha’ yas). The chief buddha of the lotus family and lord of the pure land Sukhavati. He is also the manifestation of discriminating wisdom.
Amitayus (tshe dpag med). See Buddha Amitayus.
Amogha Pasha (don yod zhags pa). A tantra belonging to Kriya Yoga also known as Meaningful Lasso Tantra.
Amrita (bdud rtsi). Same as ‘Nectar Quality,’ the heruka of the ratna family among the Eight Sadhana Teachings and the tantric teachings connected with that deity.
Amrita and rakta (sman rak). Two types of blessed substance used on the shrine in Vajrayana rituals.
Ananda (kun dga’ bo). One of the ten close disciples of the Buddha; the Buddha’s personal attendant, who recited the sutras at the First Council and served as the second patriarch in the oral transmission of the Dharma.
Anu Yoga – (rjes su rnal ‘byor). The second of the Three Inner Tantras, Maha, Anu and Ati.
Aperture of Brahma (tshangs bug). The opening at the top of the head, eight fingers above the hairline.
Appearance and existence (snang srid). The world and the sentient beings; whatever can be experienced, the five elements, and has the possibility of existence, the five aggregates.
Approach and accomplishment (bsnyen sgrub). Two aspects of sadhana practice, in particular, phases in the recitation stage according to Mahayoga Tantra. See ‘Four aspects of approach and accomplishment.’
Arhant (dgra bcom pa). ‘Foe destroyer;’ someone who has conquered the four maras and attained nirvana, the fourth and final result of the Hinayana path.
Arhat – One who attains realization by eliminating the veil of emotional obscurations.
Arura (Skt.). Medicinal plant endowed with many wonderful qualities.
Aryadeva – Disciple of Nagarjuna; author of many famous commentaries.
Asanga – With Nagarjuna, one of the founders of the Mahayana sastra tradition; a direct student of the Bodhisattva Maitreya.
Assemblage of Secrets (gsang ba ‘dus pa). A Mahayoga scripture. Vol. TSA of the Nyingma Gyubum. Sometimes counted among the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras as the tantra of enlightened mind.
Assemblage of Sugatas (bde gshegs ‘dus pa). ‘Deshek Dupa.’ Important cycle of teachings connected to the Sadhana Section of Mahayoga.
Asura Cave (a su ra’i brag phug). The cave where Guru Rinpoche subdued the evil forces of Nepal through the practice of Vajra Kilaya. Situated near Pharping in the Kathmandu Valley.
Ati Yoga (shin tu rnal ‘byor)The highest teachings in the Nyingma tradition known in Tibetan as Dzogchen. The third of the Three Inner Tantras. See also Great Perfection and Dzogchen.
Atisha – Eleventh century Indian pandita from Vikramasila who spent the last twelve years of his life in Tibet; also known as Dipamkarasrijnana
Atisha Dipamkara (Skt.). Eleventh century Indian pandita from Vikramashila who spent the last twelve years of his life in Tibet. Founding forefather of the Kadampa School of Tibetan Buddhism; also known as Dipamkara Shrijnana and Jowo Jey (jo bo rje).
Atsara Yeshe (a tsar ye shes). Same as Atsara Yeshe Yang of Ba. See under Yeshe Yang.
Atsara Yeshe Yang of Ba (sba a tsar ye shes dbyangs). Early Tibetan translator. Atsara is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word ‘acharya.’ See under Yeshe Yang.
Avalokiteshvara (spyan ras gzigs) The bodhisattva of compassion; an emanation of Buddha Amitabha.
Avatamsaka Sutra (mdo phal po che). A sutra belonging to the third turning of the Wheel of Dharma. Published as Flower Adornment Sutra, Shambhala Publications.
Awakened mind (byang chub kyi sems, bodhichitta). See under ‘bodhichitta.’
Awareness (rig pa). When referring to the view of the Great Perfection ‘awareness’ means consciousness devoid of ignorance and dualistic fixation.


Barchey Kunsel (bar chad kun sel). See under ‘Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel.’
Bardo (bar do, antarabhava). ‘Intermediate state.’ Usually refers to the period between death and the next rebirth. For details of the four bardos, see Mirror of Mindfulness and Bardo Guidebook.
Bashey (sba bzhad). Chronicles containing histories of the reigns of Trisong Deutsen and Muney Tsenpo.
Bhikshu (dge slong). A practitioner who has renounced worldly life and taken the pledge to observe the 253 precepts of a fully ordained monk in order to attain liberation from samsara.
Bhikshu Purna (dge slong purna). The previous life of the Tibetan translator Vairotsana.
Bhumi (sa). The bodhisattva levels; the ten stages a bodhisattva proceeds through on the quest for complete and perfect enlightenment. These ten stages correspond to the last three of the five paths of Mahayana. See also ‘ten bhumis.’
Black Powerful One (stobs ldan nag po). The chief figure in the mandala of Maledictory Fierce Mantra among the Eight Sadhana Teachings.
Bliss, clarity, and nonthought (bde gsal mi rtog pa). Three temporary meditation experiences. Fixation on them plants the seeds for rebirth in the three realms of samsara. Without fixation, they are adornments of the three kayas.
Blissful Realm (bde ba can, Sukhavati). The pure land of Buddha Amitabha in which a practitioner can take rebirth during the bardo of becoming through a combination of pure faith, sufficient merit, and one-pointed determination.
Bodhgaya – Location of Vajrasana, the place under the bodhi tree where the Buddha attained enlightenment
Bodhi (byang chub). Enlightenment, awakening, state of realization. See also ‘enlightenment.’
Bodhichitta (byang sems, byang chub kyi sems). ‘Awakened state of mind.’ 1) The aspiration to attain enlightenment for the sake of all beings. 2) In the context of Dzogchen, the innate wakefulness of awakened mind; synonymous with rigpa, awareness.
Bodhichitta (byang sems, byang chub kyi sems). ‘Awakened state of mind,’ ‘enlightened attitude.’ 1) The aspiration to attain enlightenment for the sake of all beings. 2) In the context of Dzogchen, the innate wakefulness of awakened mind; synonymous with nondual awareness.
Bodhisattva (byang chub sems dpa’). Someone who has developed bodhichitta, the aspiration to attain enlightenment in order to benefit all sentient beings. A practitioner of the Mahayana path; especially a noble bodhisattva who has attained the first level.
Bodhisattva precepts (byang sdom).
Bon – Religion of Tibet before the introduction of the Dharma
Bonpo (bon po). The religion prevalent in Tibet before the establishment of Buddhism in the 9th Century.
Border Temples (mtha’ ‘dul). ‘Border Subduers.’ Four temples built by Songtsen Gampo and his Chinese queen to subjugate evil forces in the outlying districts of Tibet.
Boundless Life (tshe dpag med pa, Skt. Amitayus). 1) Buddha Amitayus. 2) A Mahayana sutra.
Brahma (tshangs pa). The ruler of the gods of the Realm of Form.
Brahma-like voice (tshangs pa’i dbyangs). The voice endowed with the sixteen perfect qualities of Brahma, the king of the gods. A common description of a buddha’s speech.
Brahman (bram ze, Skt. brahmana). Member of the priestly caste.
Buddha (sangs rgyas). The Enlightened or Awakened One who has completely abandoned all obscurations and perfected every good quality. A perfected bodhisattva, after attaining true and complete enlightenment is known as a buddha. The Buddha generally referred to is Shakyamuni Buddha, the buddha of this era, who lived in India around the 6th century B.C. There have been innumerable buddhas in past aeons who manifested the way to enlightenment. In the current Good Aeon, there will be one thousand buddhas of which Buddha Shakyamuni is the fourth.
Buddha Amitayus (tshe dpag med) Lit. ‘Buddha of Boundless Life; the Sambhogakaya aspect of Amitabha. The buddha associated with the ’empowerment of longevity’ and longevity practice.
Buddha Avatamsaka (sangs rgyas phal po che). 1) A Mahayana sutra. 2) The buddha after whom the Avatamsaka Sutra is named.
Buddha Unchanging Light (sangs rgyas ‘od mi ‘gyur ba). The primordial buddha Samantabhadra; a synonym for the enlightened state of dharmakaya.
Buddhadharma (sangs rgyas kyi bstan pa, bstan pa, chos). Buddhism, the teachings of the Buddha.
Buddhaguhya (sangs rgyas gsang ba). A seventh century Indian master who visited Tibet and remained at Mount Kailash where he taught emissaries of King Trisong Deutsen the Guhyagarbha Tantra.
Buddhahood (sangs rgyas). The perfect and complete enlightenment dwelling in neither samsara nor nirvana; the state of having eradicated all obscurations, endowed with the wisdom of seeing the nature of things as it is and with the wisdom of perceiving all that exists.
Burnt offerings (gsur). Smoke produced by burning flour mixed with pure food and sacred substances. This smoke, offered during a meditation on Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, can nourish the bardo consciousness as well as hungry ghosts.


Causal and resultant vehicles (rgyu dang ‘bras bu’i theg pa).
Causal philosophical teachings (rgyu mtshan nyid kyi chos).
Causal vehicles (rgyu’i theg pa). See Causal philosophical teachings.
Cave of Yanglesho (yang le shod kyi brag phug). Situated in the southern end of the Kathmandu Valley, near the village of Pharping. The ‘Upper Cave of Yanglesho’ is also known as Asura Cave.
Central channel (dbu ma, avadhuti). The central subtle channel within the body, running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head.
Chamara (rnga g.yab). One of the eight sub-continents surrounding Mount Sumeru as well as the support for the terrestrial pure land of Guru Rinpoche known as the Glorious Copper Colored Mountain.
Chandrakirti – Leading Prasangika Madhyamika master.
Channel (rtsa). See ‘nadi.’
Charnel ground (dur khrod). A site where bodies are left to decompose or eaten by wild animals. Frequented by ghosts and spirits, it is a suitable place for advanced practitioners to gain progress in their realization.
Chemchok Heruka (che mchog he ru ka). See Most Supreme.
Chetsun Nyingtig (lce btsun snying tig).
Chimphu (chims phu). The hermitage of caves above Samye in Central Tibet. Guru Rinpoche spent several years there in retreat.
Chinese teacher Hashang. (rgya nag gi ston pa hva zhang). A certain Chinese meditation teacher, Hashang Mahayana, whose view point was refuted by Kamalashila in a public debate during the early spread of the teachings.
Chiti Yoga (spyi ti’i rnal ‘byor). One of the subdivisions of the Instruction Section of Dzogchen: Ati, Chiti and Yangti. Chiti is defined as covering the general points of Dzogchen.
Chittamatra – Mind Only. One of the four major schools of Buddhist philosophy, characterized by emphasis on mental events.
Cho (gcod). Literally ‘cutting.’ A system of practices based on Prajnaparamita and set down by the Indian siddha Phadampa Sangye and the Tibetan female teacher Machig Labdron for the purpose of cutting through the four Maras and ego-clinging. One of the Eight Practice Lineages of Buddhism in Tibet.
Chokgyur Lingpa (mchog gyur gling pa)(1829-1870). A treasure revealer and contemporary of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul. Regarded as one of the major tertons in Tibetan history, his termas are widely practiced by both the Kagyu and Nyingma schools. For more details see The Life and Teachings of Chokgyur Lingpa (Rangjung Yeshe Publications). Chokgyur Lingpa means ‘Sanctuary of Eminence.’
Chokro Lui Gyaltsen (cog ro klu’i rgyal mtshan). Early Tibetan translator of great importance and one of the twenty-five disciples of Padmasambhava who recognized him as an incarnate bodhisattva. He worked closely with Vimalamitra, Jnanagarbha, Jinamitra and Surendrabohi. He is vital to the continuation of the Vinaya lineage in Tibet. Having attained realization at Chuwori, he aided Padmasambhava in transcribing and concealing terma treasures. The great terton Karma Lingpa (14th cent.) is regarded as an reincarnation of Chokro Lui Gyaltsen.
Clarity (gsal ba). See ‘bliss, clarity and nonthought.’
Coemergent ignorance (lhan cig skyes pa’i ma rig pa). Ignorance that is coemergent with our innate nature and remains present as the potential for confusion to arise when meeting with the right conditions.
Cognitive obscuration (shes bya’i sgrib pa). The subtle obscuration of holding on to the concepts of subject, object and action. It is temporarily purified in the moment of recognizing the nature of mind, and utterly purified through the vajra-like samadhi at the end of the tenth bhumi.
Completion stage (rdzogs rim). See ‘development and completion.’
Conceptual ignorance (kun brtags kyi ma rig pa)In Vajrayana, conceptual ignorance is the mind apprehending itself as subject and object; conceptual thinking. In the Sutra system, conceptual ignorance means superimposed or ‘learned’ wrong views; gross general beliefs that obscure the nature of things.
Conditioned virtue (zag bcas kyi dge ba). Spiritual practice in which a dualistic point of reference is used. Includes the preliminaries, seven branches and so forth. Unconditioned virtue is the recognition of buddha nature, often called ‘threefold purity.’ These two aspects of virtue gather the two accumulations, remove the two obscurations, manifest the twofold knowledge, and actualize the two kayas.
Constructs (spros pa). Any mental formulation. A conceptual fabrication that is not innate to the nature of mind.
Crystal Cave of Drag Yangdzong (sgrag yang rdzong shel gyi brag phug). The retreat place of Padmasambhava’s body. Situated between Lhasa and Samye in central Tibet.
Crystal Cave of Yarlung (g.yar klung shel gyi brag phug). One of the five major retreat places of Guru Rinpoche; the place of enlightened qualities. It is also the site where one of his chief disciples, Kharchen Yeshe Shonnu, attained realization of Nectar Quality. Situated one day’s walk above Tramdruk in the Yarlung valley, central Tibet.


Daka (dpa’ bo). 1) Emanation of the chief figure in the mandala to fulfill the four activities; male counterpart of dakinis. 2) Male enlightened practitioner of Vajrayana.
Dakini (mkha’ ‘gro ma). 1) Spiritual beings who fulfill the enlightened activities; female tantric deities who protect and serve the Buddhist doctrine and practitioners. Also one of the ‘Three Roots.’ 2) Female enlightened practitioner of Vajrayana.
Dakini Lekyi Wangmo (mkha’ ‘gro las kyi dbang mo). Received the Vajrayana teachings from Vajrasattva and transmitted them to Hungchenkara, one of the eight vidyadharas of India. She also entrusted to Guru Padmasambhava the transmission of the Eight Commands, the Union of the Sugatas (bka’ brgyad bde gshegs ‘dus pa).
Dakini Teachings: Padmasambhava’s Oral Instructions to Lady Tsogyal. A collection of the great master’s advice from the revelations of Nyang RalSangye Lingpa and Dorje Lingpa. Covers the topics of taking refuge, bodhisattva vows, the vajra master, yidam practice, retreat, and the qualities of fruition.
Damaru (da ma ru). A small hand drum for tantric rituals.
Dark age (snyigs ma’i dus). The present age when the five degenerations of life span, era, beings, views and disturbing emotions are rampant.
Dathim (brda’ thim). Literally ‘sign dissolved,’ this word often occurs at the end of a terma.
Demigod (lha ma yin). One of the six classes of beings.
Denma Tsemang (ldan ma rtse mang)Important early Tibetan translator of the Tripitaka. Extremely well-versed in writing, his style of calligraphy has continued to the present day. Having received Vajrayana transmission from Padmasambhava, he had realization and achieved perfect recall. He is said to be the chief scribe who wrote down many termas, including the Assemblage of Sugatas, connected to the Eight Sadhana Teachings.
Dependent origination (rten cing ‘brel bar ‘byung ba). The natural law that all phenomena arise ‘dependent upon’ their own causes ‘in connection with’ their individual conditions. The fact that no phenomena appear without a cause and none are made by an uncaused creator. Everything arises exclusively due to and dependent upon the coincidence of causes and conditions without which they cannot possibly appear.
Deva (lha). ‘Gods.’ The highest of the six classes of samsaric beings. Temporarily, they enjoy a heavenly state of existence.
Development and completion (bskyed rdzogs). The two main aspects, ‘means and knowledge,’ of Vajrayana practice. Briefly stated, development stage means positive mental fabrication while completion stage means resting in the unfabricated nature of mind. The essence of the development stage is ‘pure perception’ or ‘sacred outlook,’ which means to perceive sights, sounds and thoughts as deity, mantra and wisdom. ‘Completion stage with marks’ means yogic practices such as tummo, inner heat. ‘Completion stage without marks’ is the practice of Dzogchen and Mahamudra. See individually.
Development stage (bskyed rim, utpattikrama). One of the two aspects of Vajrayana practice. The mental creation of pure images in order to purify habitual tendencies. The essence of the development stage is ‘pure perception’ or ‘sacred outlook’ which means to perceive sights, sounds and thoughts as deity, mantra and wisdom.
Dhana Sanskrita (nor gyi legs sbyar). One of the Eight Vidyadharas, the receiver of the transmissions of Liberating Sorcery of Mother Deities, Mamo Botong. Not much is available about his life besides him being born in the Thogar area of Uddiyana.
Dharma protector (chos skyong). Nonhumans who vow to protect and guard the teachings of the Buddha and its followers. Dharma protectors can be either ‘mundane’ (virtuous samsaric beings) or ‘wisdom Dharma protectors’ (emanations of buddhas or bodhisattvas).
Dharmadhatu (chos kyi dbyings). The ‘realm of phenomena;’ the suchness in which emptiness and dependent origination are inseparable. The nature of mind and phenomena which lies beyond arising, dwelling and ceasing.
Dharmadhatu Palace of Akanishtha (‘og min chos kyi dbyings kyi pho brang). Figurative expression for the abode of Vajradhara or Samantabhadra, the dharmakaya buddha. Akanishtha means ‘highest’ or ‘unsurpassed.’
Dharmakaya (chos sku). The first of the three kayas, which is devoid of constructs, like space. The ‘body’ of enlightened qualities. Should be understood individually according to ground, path and fruition.
Dharmaraja, the Lord of Death (gshin rje chos rgyal). Our mortality; a personification of impermanence and the unfailing law of cause and effect.
Dharmata (chos nyid). The innate nature of phenomena and mind.
Dharmic (chos kyi). Of or pertaining to the Dharma; religious or pious.
Dhyana (bsam gtan). The state of concentrated mind and also the name for god realms produced through such mental concentration. See also under ‘four dhyana states.’
Dilgo Khyentse (ldil mgo mkhyen brtse). See His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
Disturbing emotions (nyon mongs pa). The five poisons of desire, anger, delusion, pride, and envy which tire, disturb, and torment one’s mind. The perpetuation of these disturbing emotions is one of the main causes of samsaric existence.
Divine Valley Water (gshong pa’i lha chu). ‘Shongpey Lhachu.’ Even today a place with clear and sweet water, situated near Lhasa in Central Tibet.
Don (gdon). A negative force; a type of evil spirit.
Dorje Drakpo Tsal (rdo rje drag po rtsal). ‘Powerful Vajra Wrath.’ A wrathful form of Guru Rinpoche.
Dorje Drollo (rdo rje drod lo). A wrathful form of Padmasambhava; especially for subduing evil forces and concealing termas for the welfare of future generations.
Dorje Dudjom of Nanam (sna nam pa rdo rje bdud ‘joms). One of king Trisong Deutsen’s ministers, sent to Nepal to invite Padmasambhava to Tibet. A mantrika who had reached perfection in the two stages of development and completion, he could fly with the speed of the wind and traverse solid matter. Rigdzin Godem (1337-1408) and Pema Trinley (1641-1718), the great vidyadhara of Dorje Drak monastery in central Tibet, are both considered reincarnations of Dorje Dudjom. Dorje Dudjom means ‘Indestructible Subduer of Mara.’
Dosher Trelchung (mdo gzher sprel chung). A minister of King Trisong Deutsen; also spelled Dershey Trelchung (sder bzhed sprel chung).
Drenpa Namkha (dran pa nam mkha’). Tibetan translator and disciple of Padmasambhava, originally an influential Bonpo priest. Later he studied with Padmasambhava and also learned translation. He is said to have tamed a wild yak simply by a threatening gesture. He offered numerous Bonpo teachings to Padmasambhava who then concealed them as terma treasures. Drenpa Namkha means ‘Space of Mindfulness.’
Drenpa Namkha (dran pa nam mkha’). Tibetan translator and disciple of Padmasambhava. At first he was an influential Bonpo priest, but later he studied with Padmasambhava and also learned translation. Due to his miraculous power, he is said to have tamed a wild yak simply by a threatening gesture. He offered numerous Bonpo teachings to Padmasambhava who then concealed them as a terma treasure.
Drey (bre). Tibetan volume measure equivalent of about one liter or two pints. One drey of gold would weigh about 13 kilos.
Drib (grib). Defilement, obscuration caused by contact with impure people or their things.
Drubchen ceremony (sgrub chen). Great accomplishment practice; a sadhana practice undertaken by a group of people which goes on uninterruptedly for seven days.
Dzogchen (rdzogs pa chen po, Skt. mahasandhi). Also known as Great Perfection and Ati Yoga. The highest teachings of the Nyingma School of the Early Translations.
Dzongsar Khyentse Chokyi Lodro (rdzong gsar mkhyen brtse chos kyi blo gros). One of five reincarnations of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. He was a great master upholding the Rimey (nonsectarian) tradition, as well as being one of the two main root gurus of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse. His three reincarnations live presently at Bir, Himachal Pradesh; in Dordogne, France; and in Boudhanath, Nepal. Dzongsar means ‘New Castle,’ Khyentse means ‘Loving Wisdom,’ and Chokyi Lodro means ‘Intellect of the Dharma.’


Early and Later Translation of the Great Perfection (rdzogs pa chen po snga ‘gyur phyi ‘gyur). This phrase refers to the Eighteen Major Scriptures of the Mind Section, a set of Dzogchen tantras taught by Shri Singha to Vairotsana and Lekdrub of Tsang, as listed in chapter Fourteen. Five of them were translated by Vairotsanabefore his exile to Tsawarong while the remaining thirteen were later translated by Vimalamitra and Yudra Nyingpo, hence the name.
Early Translations (snga ‘gyur). A synonym for the Old School, the Nyingma tradition. The teachings translated before the great translator Rinchen Sangpo, during the reigns of the Tibetan kings Trisong Deutsen and Ralpachen.
Earth terma (sa gter). A revelation based on physical substance, often in the form of dakini script, a vajra, a statue, etc. Compare with ‘mind terma.’
Eight charnel grounds (dur khrod brgyad): 1) Cool Grove, Sitavana (bsil ba tshal), in the east. 2) Perfected in Body (sku la rdzogs) to the south. 3) Lotus Mound (pad ma brtsegs) to the west. 4) Lanka Mound (lan ka brtsegs) to the north. 5) Spontaneously Accomplished Mound (lhun grub brtsegs) to the south-east. 6) Display of Great Secret (gsang chen rol pa) to the south-west. 7) Pervasive Great Joy (he chen brdal ba) to the north-west. 8) World Mound (‘jig rten brtsegs) to the north-east. There are also numerous other lists of charnel grounds.
Eight classes of gods and demons (lha srin sde brgyad). There are various descriptions but in the sutras the most general is: devas, nagas, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, and mahoragas. All of them were able to receive and practice the teachings of the Buddha. These eight classes can also refer to various types of mundane spirits who can cause either help or harm, but remain invisible to normal human beings: ging, mara, tsen, yaksha, raksha, mamo, rahula, and naga. On a subtle level, they are regarded as the impure manifestation of the eight types of consciousness.
Eight collections of consciousnesses (rnam shes tshogs brgyad): the all-ground consciousness, the defiled mental consciousness, the mental cognition, and the cognitions of eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body.
Eight disciples (rje ‘bangs brgyad). The eight chief recipients in Tibet of the Eight Sadhana Teachingstransmitted by Guru Rinpoche: King Trisong Deutsen, Namkhai Nyingpo, Sangye Yeshe, Gyalwa Cho-yang, Yeshe Tsogyal, Palgyi Yeshe, Palgyi Senge, and Vairotsana.
Eight Lingpas (gling pa brgyad). Sangye, Dorje, Rinchen, Padma, Ratna, Kunkyong, Do-ngag and Tennyi Lingpa.
Eight Sadhana Teachings (sgrub pa bka’ brgyad). Eight chief yidam deities of Mahayoga and their corresponding tantras and sadhanas: Manjushri Body, Lotus Speech, Vishuddha Mind, Nectar Quality, Kilaya Activity, Liberating Sorcery of Mother Deities, Maledictory Fierce Mantra, and Mundane Worship. Often the name refers to a single practice involving complex mandalas with numerous deities. See also under Assemblage of Sugatas and Sadhana Section.
Eight Vidyadharas (rig ‘dzin brgyad). ManjushrimitraNagarjunaHungkaraVimalamitraPrabhahasti, Dhana Sanskrita, Shintam Garbha, and Guhyachandra.
Eight worldly concerns (‘jig rten chos brgyad). Attachment to gain, pleasure, praise and fame, and aversion to loss, pain, blame and bad reputation.
Eighteen Inner Tantras of Secret Mantra (gsang sngags nang gi rgyud sde bco brgyad). In the context of Chapter 12, the term refers chiefly to the tantras of Mahayoga. They were translated into Tibetan by Padmasambhava and Chokro Lui Gyaltsen. See also Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras.
Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras (ma ha yo ga’i rgyud sde bco brgyad).
Eighteen Major Scriptures (lung chen po bco brgyad). Eighteen Dzogchen tantras of the Mind Section taught by Shri Singha to Vairotsana and Lekdrub. Listed in chapter 14. Found in Vol. KA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Eighteen Marvels of Mind in Fifty Chapters (sems rmad du byung ba bco brgyad kyi le’u lnga bcu). Several tantras in the first three volumes of the Nyingma Gyubum bear a resembling name although none of them have 50 chapters. A writing mistake seems to have appeared since The Bright Crystal Mirror by Yeshe Tsogyal says instead: “Five first parts of the Eighteen Marvels of Mind” (sems smad bco brgyad kyi stod kyi lnga), referring to the first five tantras translated by Vairotsana.
Eightfold Magical Net (sgyu ‘phrul brgyad pa). A Mahayoga scripture in eight chapters. Vol. PHA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Eightfold Volume (bam po brgyad pa). Tantra belonging to the Sadhana Section of Mahayoga; focused on Nectar Quality. Tantra with similar title is found in Vol. LA of the Nyingma Gyubum. Possibly identical with the Scripture in Eight Chapters.
Emaho (e ma ho). An exclamation of wonder and amazement.
Embodiment of Realization (dgongs ‘dus). An Anu Yoga scripture of major importance. Abbreviation of The Scripture of the Embodiment of the Realization of All Buddhas (sangs rgyas thams cad kyi dgongs pa ‘dus pa’i mdo).
Empowerment (dbang). The conferring of power or authorization to practice the Vajrayana teachings, the indispensable entrance door to tantric practice. Empowerment gives control over one’s innate vajra body, vajra speech and vajra mind and the authority to regard forms as deity, sounds as mantra and thoughts as wisdom. See also ‘four empowerments.’
Empowerment of Direct Anointment (rgyal thabs spyi blugs kyi dbang). The act of bestowing the four empowerments condensed into one, transferring the totality of blessings, just as a king would empower the crown prince to wield total authority.
Empowerment of the Expression of Awareness (rig pa’i rtsal gyi dbang). The empowerment for practicing Dzogchen. Sometimes it also refers to stage of realization achieved through Dzogchen practice.
Empty and luminous dharmata (chos nyid stong gsal). A synonym for buddha nature, the enlightened essence within all beings.
Enhancement (bogs ‘don). Various practices with the purpose of stabilizing insight. According to Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, the main enhancement practice is the cultivation of devotion and compassion.
Epagsha of Drugu (gru gu e pag sha). One of the first Tibetans to take ordination; received transmission from Hungkara in India together with Namkhai Nyingpo.
Equal taste (ro mnyam). A high level of realization; perceiving the empty nature of all things.
Essence kaya (ngo bo nyid kyi sku; Skt. svabhavikakaya). The ‘essence body,’ sometimes counted as the fourth kaya, and constituting the unity of the three kayas. Jamgon Kongtrul defines it as the aspect of dharmakaya which is ‘the nature of all phenomena, emptiness devoid of all constructs and endowed with the characteristic of natural purity.’
Essence mantra (snying po’i sngags). The short form of the mantra of a yidam deity as opposed to the longer dharani mantra; for example ‘om mani padme hung.’
Essence of Secrets (gsang ba’i snying po, Guhyagarbha). The widely renowned tantra of the Early Translations which, according to Jamgon Kongtrul, is the chief of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras, exalted above them all like the banner of victory. The first text in Vol. PHA of the Nyingma Gyubum. A great number of commentaries on this tantra is found in the Nyingma Kama collection.
Essence, nature, and capacity (ngo bo rang bzhin thugs rje). The three aspects of the sugata-garbha according to the Dzogchen system. Essence is the primordially pure wisdom of emptiness. The nature is the spontaneously present wisdom of cognizance. The capacity is the all-pervasive wisdom of indivisibility. This is, ultimately, the identity of the Three Roots, the Three Jewels and the three kayas.
Essence-extract (bcud len, Skt. rasayana). A practice which sustains the living body with the essences of medicinal plants, minerals, and elemental energy in order to purify the body, heighten concentration and avoid the diversions of seeking ordinary material food.
Eternalism (rtag lta). The belief that there is a permanent and causeless creator of everything; in particular, that one’s identity or consciousness has a concrete essence which is independent, everlasting and singular.
Ever-Excellent Lady (kun tu bzang mo, Skt. Samantabhadri). ‘The All-good,’ the mother of all the buddhas of the three times; the female counterpart of the dharmakaya buddha Samantabhadra. She symbolizes emptiness and dharmadhatu.
Expedient and definitive meaning (drang don dang nges don). The expedient meaning refers to conventional teachings on karma, path and result designed to lead the practitioner to the ‘definitive meaning,’ the insight into emptiness, suchness, and buddha nature.
Eye of Dharma (chos kyi mig). The faculty that sees reality without obscurations.


Father Tantra (pha rgyud). One of the three aspects of Anuttara Yoga which place emphasis on the development stage.
Feast offering (tshogs kyi ‘khor lo, Skt. ganachakra). A feast assembly performed by Vajrayana practitioners to accumulate merit and purify the sacred commitments.
Fierce mantras (drag sngags). A certain type of mantras belonging to wrathful deities. They are used to dispel demonic forces that obstruct the continuation of the Buddhadharma or the welfare of sentient beings.
Fifty-eight herukas (khrag ‘thung lnga bcu nga brgyad). The five male and female herukas, eight yoginis, eight tramen goddesses, four female gatekeepers, and twenty-eight shvaris.
Final Subsequent Mantra Tantra (phyi ma’i phyi ma sngags kyi rgyud). Tantra belonging to the Sadhana Section of Mahayoga. Vol. OM of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Five Early and Thirteen Later Translations of the Great Perfection (rdzogs pa chen po snga ‘gyur lnga dang phyi ‘gyur bcu gsum). Listed in chapter fourteen. Same as ‘Eighteen Major Scriptures’ and ‘Early and later translation of the Great Perfection.’ In other history books they are also known as the Eighteen Mothers and Children of the Mind Section (sems sde ma bu bco brgyad).
Five Families (rigs lnga). Name of a sadhana text composed by Guru Rinpoche focused on Mahayoga tantra.
Five families (rigs lnga). The five buddha families: tathagata, vajra, ratna, padma and karma. They represent five aspects of innate qualities of the tathagatagarbha, our enlightened essence.
Five families of sugatas (bde gshegs rigs lnga). The five families or aspects of victorious ones; Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, and Amoghasiddhi.
Five king-like tertons (gter ston rgyal po lnga). One list of the Five Terton Kings contains Nyang Ral Nyima Özer (1124-1192), Guru Chokyi Wangchuk (1212-1270), Dorje Lingpa (1346-1405), Pema Lingpa (1445/50-1521), and (Padma Ösel) Do-ngak Lingpa (Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo) (1820-1892). Sometimes the list also includes the great terton Rigdzin Godem (1337-1408).
Five paths (lam lnga). The five paths or stages on the way to enlightenment: the path of accumulation, joining, seeing, cultivation, and consummation or no more learning.
Five poisonous kleshas (nyon mongs pa dug lnga). See ‘five poisons.’
Five poisons (dug lnga). Desire, anger, delusion, pride, and envy.
Five sciences (rig pa’i gnas lnga). Grammar, dialectics, healing, arts and crafts, and religious philosophy.
Five wisdoms (ye shes lnga). The dharmadhatu wisdom, mirror-like wisdom, wisdom of equality, discriminating wisdom, and all-accomplishing wisdom. They represent five distinctive functions of the tathagatagarbha, our enlightened essence.
Five-hundred year period (dus lnga brgya). Periods of each five hundred years. The Buddhadharma is said to last ten such periods.
Formless Realms (gzugs med kyi khams)The abodes of unenlightened beings who have practiced formless meditative states, dwelling on the notions: Infinite Space, Infinite Consciousness, Nothing Whatsoever, and Neither Presence Nor Absence (of conception). These beings remain in these four subtle types of conceptual meditation for many aeons after which they again return to lower states within samsara.
Forty-two peaceful deities (zhi ba bzhi bcu zhe gnyis). Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri, the five male and female buddhas, the eight male and female bodhisattvas, the six munis, and the four male and female gate keepers.
Four activities (las bzhi). Pacifying, increasing, magnetizing, and subjugating.
Four aspects of approach and accomplishment (bsnyen sgrub kyi yan lag bzhi). Approach, full approach, accomplishment, and great accomplishment. Four important aspects of Vajrayana practice, especially the recitation stage of yidam practice.
Four continents (gling bzhi). The four continents surrounding Mount Sumeru: Superior Body, Jambu Continent, Cow Utilizing, and Unpleasant Sound.
Four dhyana states of serenity (snyoms ‘jug gi bsam gtan bzhi). The first dhyana is a state with both concept and discernment. The second dhyana is a state without concept but with discernment. The third dhyana is a state without delight but with bliss. The fourth dhyana is a state of equanimity.
Four districts of Tibet (bod ru bzhi). Four areas in Central Tibet flanking the rivers Kyichu and Tsangpo.
Four empowerments (dbang bzhi). The vase, secret, wisdom-knowledge and precious word empowerments. Padmasambhava says in the Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo: “The vase empowerment which purifies the body and the nadis is the seed of the vajra body and nirmanakaya. The secret empowerment which purifies the speech and the pranas is the seed of the vajra speech and sambhogakaya. The phonya empowerment which purifies the mind and the essences is the seed of the vajra mind and dharmakaya. The ultimate empowerment which purifies the habitual patterns of the all-ground is the seed of the vajra wisdom and svabhavikakaya.”
Four formless states of serenity (gzugs med kyi snyoms ‘jug bzhi). See ‘Formless Realms.’
Four Great Rivers of Transmissions (bka’ babs kyi chu bo chen po bzhi). The rivers of empowerment of yidam, tantric scriptures, spiritual friend, and of the expression of awareness. These four transmissions originate from, respectively, Garab Dorje, King Jah, Buddhaguhya and Shri Singha.
Four immeasurables (tshad med bzhi). Compassion, love, joy and impartiality. Also called the ‘four abodes of Brahma’ because their cultivation causes rebirth as the king of the gods in the Realm of Form within samsaric existence. When embraced by the attitude of bodhichitta, the wish to attain enlightenment for the welfare of others, their cultivation causes the attainment of unexcelled buddhahood.
Four means of magnetizing (bsdu ba’i dngos po bzhi). Being generous, uttering kind words, giving appropriate teachings, and keeping consistency between words and conduct.
Four modes (tshul bzhi). Four levels of meaning: the literal, the general, the hidden, and the ultimate.
Four results of spiritual practice (dge sbyor gyi ‘bras bu bzhi). See ‘shravaka.’
Four root precepts (rtsa ba bzhi). To refrain from killing, stealing, lying, and sexual misconduct.
Four Vidyadhara Levels (rig ‘dzin rnam pa bzhi’i go ‘phang). The four stages of attainment of knowledge-holders, masters of the four stages of the tantric path of Mahayoga. The four vidyadhara levels are the Maturation, Longevity (Life Mastery), Mahamudra, and Spontaneous Perfection. See under each individually.
Freedoms and riches (dal ‘byor). See under ‘precious human body.’
Fruition (‘bras bu). The result, usually the end of a spiritual path. One of the three levels of enlightenment of a shravaka, pratyekabuddha or bodhisattva. In Mahayana the state of complete and perfect buddhahood; in Vajrayana the ‘unified state of a vajra-holder,’ in this book expressed as the ’25 attributes of fruition.’ See also ‘view, meditation, action and fruition.’
Fruition of nonreturn (phyir mi ldog pa’i ‘bras bu). Liberation from samsara or the omniscient state of buddhahood.
Fulfillment ritual (bskang ba, bskang chog). A practice to purify outer, inner and secret or innermost breaches and violations of a practitioner’s Hinayana precepts, Mahayana vows, or Vajrayana commitments.


Garab Dorje (dga’ rab rdo rje, Skt. Surati Vajra, Prahevajra, Pramoda Vajra).
Garuda (mkha’ lding). The mythological bird, able to travel from one end of the universe to the other with a single movement of its wings. It is also known to hatch from the egg fully developed and ready to soar through the sky.
Gate-keeping pandita (sgo bsrung ba’i pan di ta). At the major monastic institutions in ancient India, it was the custom to nominate competent scholars to the position of defending the view of Buddhism through debate, one at each of the gates in the four directions of the monastery.
Glorious Blazing Wrathful Goddess Tantra (dpal ‘bar ba khro mo’i rgyud). A Mahayoga scripture. A tantra of this name is found in PA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Glorious Mountain in Chamara / Glorious Copper Colored Mountain (rnga g.yab zangs mdog dpal ri). The terrestrial pure land of Guru Rinpoche situated on the subcontinent Chamara to the south-east of the Jambu Continent. Chamara is the central of a configuration of nine islands inhabited by savage rakshas. In the middle of Chamara rises the majestic red colored mountain into the skies. On its summit lies the magical palace Lotus Light, manifested from the natural expression of primordial wakefulness. Here resides Padmasambhava in an indestructible bodily form transcending birth and death for as long as samsara continues and through which he incessantly brings benefit to beings through magical emanations of his body, speech and mind.
Glorious Supreme Primal Tantra (dpal mchog dang po’i rgyud, Skt. Shri Paramadi Tantra). One the Four Major Sections of Yoga Tantra. A tantra of the same title is sometimes listed among the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras as the tantra of enlightened qualities.
Gola (go la, so chang). A drink of sugar cane or grain from Nepal.
Gongpa Sangtal (dgongs pa zang thal). A tantric scripture in five volumes concealed by Guru Rinpoche and revealed by Rigdzin Godem.
Gongpo spirits (‘gong po). A type of evil spirit symbolizing ego-clinging, sometimes counted among the ‘eight classes of gods and demons.’ When subdued by a great master, they can also act as guardians of the Buddhadharma.
Good Aeon (bskal pa bzang po, Skt. bhadrakalpa). This present aeon in which one thousand buddhas will appear, lasting no less than 160 million years.
Great Cave of Puri / Crystal Cave of Puri Phugmoche (spu ri phug mo che shel gyi brag phug). The treasure site of Sangye Lingpa in the Puwo district bordering Assam, where he revealed the Lama Gongdu cycle.
Great Compassionate One (thugs rje chen po). The bodhisattva of boundless compassion also known as Avalokiteshvara.
Great Garuda View Scripture (lta ba khyung chen gyi lung). A tantra with similar title is found in Vol. KA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Great Glacier Lady of Invincible Turquoise Mist (gangs kyi yum chen rdo rje g.yu bun ma). A protector of the Dharma teachings bound under oath by Padmasambhava. She was formerly a Bonpo warrior spirit (dgra lha).
Great Glorious One (dpal chen). Identical with Vishuddha Heruka in the case of Namkhai Nyingpo‘s vision.
Great Perfection (rdzogs pa chen po, Skt. mahasandhi). The third of the Three Inner Tantras of the Nyingma School. The Great Perfection is the ultimate of all the 84,000 profound and extensive sections of the Dharma, the realization of Buddha Samantabhadra, exactly as it is. See also ‘Dzogchen’ or ‘Ati Yoga.’
Guhyasamaja (gsang ba ‘dus pa). Literally, ‘Assembly of Secrets.’ One of the major tantras and yidams of the New School.
Guru Chowang (gu ru chos dbang)One of the Five Terton Kings. (1212-1270). For details, see the H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche’s The Nyingma Lineage, its History and Fundamentals, Wisdom Publications. Guru Chowang means ‘Master Lord of the Dharma.’
Guru Rinpoche (gu ru rin po che) ‘Precious Master.’ The lotus born tantric master who established Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet in the 9th century at the invitation of King Trisong Deutsen.
Guru, Yidam and Dakini (bla ma yi dam mkha’ ‘gro). The three roots of Vajrayana practice: the guru is the root of blessings, the yidam is the root of accomplishments, and the dakini is the root of activities.
Gyalmo Tsawarong (rgyal mo tsha ba rong). A district between eastern Tibet and China.
Gyalpo spirits (rgyal po). A type of mischievous spirit, sometimes counted among the ‘eight classes of gods and demons.’ When subdued by a great master, they can also act as guardians of the Buddhadharma.
Gyalto Rami (rgyal to ra mi). Minister of King Trisong Deutsen; also spelled Gyatong Rakyim (rgya stong ra khyim).
Gyalwa ChoyangGyalwa Cho-yang of Nganlam (ngan lam rgyal ba mchog dbyangs). A close disciple of Guru Rinpoche who attained accomplishment through the practice of Hayagriva and was later incarnated as the Karmapas.
Gyalwa Jangchub of Lasum (la gsum rgyal ba byang chub). One of the first seven Tibetans to receive full ordination as a monk by Shantarakshita, he was exceedingly intelligent, visited India several times and translated many sacred scriptures. A close disciple of Padmasambhava, he attained siddhi and could fly through the sky. Rigdzin Kunzang Sherab, the founder of the great Palyul Monastery in Kham, is considered one of his reincarnations. Gyalwa Jangchub means ‘Victorious enlightenment.’
Gyalwey Lodro of Drey (‘bre rgyal ba’i blo gros). One of the first Tibetans to take ordination. He received transmission from Hungkara in India. At first he was a trusted attendant of Trisong Deutsen by the name Gonpo and later, at the time of taking ordination, he was given the name Gyalwey Lodro, Victorious Intelligence. He became erudite in translation and attained accomplishment after receiving transmission from Hungkara. It is said that he visited the land of Yama, the Lord of the Dead, and saved his mother from the hell realms. After receiving teachings from Padmasambhava, he showed the feat of transforming a zombie into gold. Some of this gold has been revealed in termas later on. He achieved the vidyadhara level of longevity and is reputed to have lived until the time of Rongzom Pandita Chokyi Sangpo (rong zom chos kyi bzang po) 1012-1088, to whom he gave teachings.
Gyatsa Lhanang (rgya tsha lha snang). A minister of King Trisong Deutsen; also spelled Gyaltsa Lhanang (rgyal tsha lha snang).


Hashang (hva shang). See ‘Chinese teacher Hashang.’ In this book, one of the construction masters of Samye was a Chinese known as Hashang Mahayana and a Chinese doctor by the name Hashang Tetsa also occur. Finally, Hashang is mentioned as one of the countries from the language of which the Dharma was translated.
Haughty spirit (dregs pa). A certain type of malevolent spirit.
Hayagriva (rta mgrin). Tantric deity often shown with a horse’s head within his flaming hair; wrathful aspect of Buddha Amitabha. Often identical with Padma Heruka, Lotus Speech, among the Eight Sadhana Teachings.
Hearing Lineage (nyan brgyud). The lineage of oral teachings from master to disciple as distinct from scriptural lineage of textual transmission. The Hearing Lineage emphasizes the key points of oral instruction rather than elaborate philosophical learning.
Heart Essence (snying thig). In general identical with the Instruction Section, the third of three division of Dzogchen. In particular it refers to the Innermost Unexcelled Cycle of Heart Essence (yang gsang bla na med pa’i snying thig gi skor), the fourth of the four divisions of the Instruction Section according to the arrangement of Shri Singha. All lineages of the Innermost Essence passed through Shri Singha and continued in Tibet through his personal disciples, Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra. In the 14th century these two lineages passed through Rangjung Dorje, the third Karmapa, and his close Dharma friend Longchen Rabjam (1308-1363), the latter of which systematized these teachings in his great body of writings, the Nyingtig Yabzhi. The Nyingtig teachings have also appeared through many other lines of transmission; for instance, each major terton reveals an independent cycle of Dzogchen instructions. The practice of the innermost Heart Essence is continued to this very day.
Heat of samadhi (ting nge ‘dzin gyi drod). Sign of progress or accomplishment in meditation.
Hepori (has po ri). A big hill at Samye. One of four sacred mountains in Central Tibet.
Heretic (mu stegs pa). See under ‘non-Buddhist.’
Heruka (khrag ‘thung). Literally, ‘blood drinker.’ A wrathful deity; drinker of the blood of ego-clinging.
Heruka Galpo (he ru ka gal po). One of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras; focused on Vishuddha Mind. Both the Galpo and the Galpoche tantras are found in Vol. RA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Higher perceptions (mngon par shes pa). See ‘superknowledges.’
Hinayana (theg pa dman pa).
His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (skyabs rje ldil mgo mkhyen brtse rin po che). (b. 1910). Regarded by followers of all four schools as one of the foremost living masters of Tibetan Buddhism. Among his other names are Rabsel Dawa and Tashi Paljor, and his terton names Osel Trulpey Dorje and Pema Do-ngak Lingpa.
Hundred and Eight Sadhanas of Guru Vidyadhara (bla ma rig ‘dzin gyi sgrub thabs brgya rtsa brgyad). One of the Nine Sadhana Sections of Mahayoga.
Hundred peaceful and wrathful divinities (zhi khro’i lha brgya). The 42 peaceful and 58 wrathful deities. See individually.
Hundred syllable mantra (yig brgya). The mantra of the buddha Vajrasattva consisting of one hundred syllables.
Hundred Thousand Tika Scripture (‘bum gyi ti ka’i rgyud lung). One of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras. Found in Vol. OM of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Hungkara (Skt.). One of the Eight Vidyadharas; receiver of the tantras of Vishuddha Mind including Heruka Galpo.


Ignorant all-ground / ignorant aspect of the all-ground (kun gzhi ma rig pa’i cha). Synonymous with coemergent ignorance.
Indrabodhi (rgyal po indra bodhi). The king of the country of Uddiyana during the appearance of Padmasambhava in this world. Sometimes his name is spelled Indrabhuti.
Innate nature (chos nyid). See under ‘dharmata.’
Inner Tantras of Secret Mantra (gsang sngags nang gi rgyud sde). Usually this term refers to the Three Inner Tantras of Mahayoga, Anu Yoga and Ati Yoga, but in the specific context of the translation of the tantras in chapter twelve only Mahayoga and Anu Yoga are included. The Ati Yoga tantras are listed in chapter fourteen.
Innermost Unexcelled Cycle of the Great Perfection (rdzogs pa chen po yang gsang bla na med pa’i skor).
Instruction Section (man ngag sde). The third of the Three Sections of Dzogchen, as arranged by Manjushrimitra. In Tibet three lineages are represented: through Padmasambhava and Vairotsana who both received transmission from Shri Singha, and through Vimalamitra who received transmission partly from Shri Singha and partly from Jnanasutra. The two former lineages were continued only as termas while Vimalamitra’s was passed on both as terma and as oral transmission. In the following millennium, innumerable termas have been revealed containing the precious instructions of these three great masters. The most important of these terma treasures are included in the Rinchen Terdzo, a collection of termas by Jamgon Kongtrul covering the Three Inner Tantras and in Nyingtig Yabzhi.


Jambu Continent (‘dzam bu gling). Our known world. The southern of the four continents, so called because it is adorned with the Jambubriksha (rose apple) tree.
Jamgon Kongtrul (‘jam mgon kong sprul)(1813-1899).
Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (‘jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse’i dbang po). (1820-1892).
Jarung Khashor (bya rung kha shor). ‘Permission Once Given (Cannot be Taken Back)’. The great white stupa at Boudhanath in the Kathmandu Valley.
Jnana Kumara of Nyag (gnyag jna na ku ma ra, ye shes gzhon nu). Jnana Kumara means ‘Youthful Wakefulness.’ Early Tibetan monk and expert translator who received the Four Great Rivers of Transmission from Padmasambhava, VimalamitraVairotsana and Yudra Nyingpo. He worked closely with Vimalamitra in translating tantras of Mahayoga and Ati Yoga. He is also known as Nyag Lotsawa and by his secret initiation name Drimey Dashar, ‘Flawless Moonlight.’ His initiation flower, along with Trisong Deutsen’s, fell on Chemchok Heruka. Subsequently, he received the transmission of Nectar Medicine from Padmasambhava. He practiced in the Crystal Cave of Yarlung, where he drew water from solid rock; it is said this water still flows today. Among his later incarnations is Dabzang Rinpoche, a 19th-century contemporary of Jamgon Kongtrul the First. Jnana Kumara means ‘Youthful Wakefulness.’
Joyous bhumi (sa rab tu dga’ ba). The first of ten bodhisattva stages; liberation from samsara and realization of the truth of reality.


Kadag Rangjung Rangshar (ka dag rang byung rang shar)The title of one of the five volumes contained in Gongpa Sangtal. Kadag Rangjung Rangshar means ‘self-existing and self-manifest primordial purity.’
Kailash (ti se). Sacred mountain in western Tibet; also known as Mount Tisey.
Kalachakra (dus kyi ‘khor lo). ‘Wheel of Time.’ A tantra and a Vajrayana system taught by Buddha Shakyamuni himself, showing the interrelationship between the phenomenal world, the physical body and the mind.
Kamalashila (Skt.) Disciple of Shantarakshita who represented the Indian position in a decisive eighth century debate at Samye.
Kangyur - the TripitakaKangyur – The words and teachings of the Buddha: the first division of the Tibetan Canon.
Karma PakshiKarma Pakshi (karma pakshi). (1204-1283). The second in the line of Karmapa incarnations and is regarded as the first recognized Tibetan tulku. The name Pakshi is Mongolian for ‘master,’ a title he became renowned under after being given a high religious position by the Mongolian emperor. Among his disciples is the great siddha Orgyenpa Rinchen Pal (1230-1309).
Kathang (bka’ thang). ‘Chronicles.’ Usually refers to the biographies of Padmasambhava concealed as terma treasures.
Kawa Paltsek (ska ba dpal brtsegs). Direct disciple of both Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita; important contributor to the translation of the Tibetan Tripitaka and the Nyingma Gyubum. Born in Phen Valley, he became an eminent translator in accordance with a prophecy by Padmasambhava, and was among the first seven Tibetan monks ordained by Shantarakshita. He received Vajrayana teachings from the great master Padma and attained unimpeded clairvoyance. Kawa is a place name and Paltsek means ‘Mountain of resplendence.’
Kayas (sku). ‘Body’ in the sense of a body or embodiment of numerous qualities. When speaking of two kayas: dharmakaya and rupakaya. The three kayas are dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya. See also ‘three kayas.’
Khamsum Copper Temple (khams gsum zangs khang gling). A temple at Samye built by Lady Margyen of Tsepang, a queen of king Trisong Deutsen.
Khandro Nyingtig (mkha’ ‘gro snying thig). Khandro Nyingtig means ‘Heart Essence of the Dakinis.’ A profound collection of Dzogchen teachings transmitted through Padmasambhava to Princess Pema Sal. Is included within the famous Nyingtig Yabshi.
Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal (mkha’ ‘gro ye shes mtsho rgyal). See Yeshe Tsogyal.
Kharchu at Lhodrak (lho brag mkhar chu). The retreat place of Padmasambhava’s mind. It is situated one day’s walk from Lord Marpa’s house in Lhodrak.
Khatvanga (Skt.). A staff carried by tantric adepts and representing the secret consort and transformation of the three poisons.
Khenpo (mkhan po). A title for one who has completed the major course of studies of about ten years’ duration of the traditional branches of Buddhist philosophy, logic, Vinaya and so forth. Can also refer to the abbot of a monastery or the preceptor from whom one receives ordination.
Khenpo Bodhisattva (mkhan po bo dhi satva). The Indian master who ordained the first monks in Tibet. See Shantarakshita.
Khenchen Ngawang PalzangKhenpo Ngakchung alias Ngawang Palsang (mkhan po ngag dbang dpal bzang). (1879-1941). A khenpo at Katok and a very important reviver of the scholastic lineage of expounding the Dzogchen scriptures. Considered to be incarnation of both Vimalamitra and Longchenpa. Chadral Sangye Dorje is one of his last living disciples.
Kilaya (phur ba). 1) Sacred dagger used in tantric rituals. 2) Same as Kilaya Activity.
Kilaya (Skt., phur pa). The tantras about and the tantric deity Vajra Kilaya.
Kilaya Activity (phur pa phrin las). The heruka of the karma family or the tantric teachings connected to this deity among the Eight Sadhana Teachings.
King Jah (rgyal po dzah). The first human recipient of the Mahayoga teachings and an important figure head in the transmission of Anu Yoga.
King Trisong Deutsen (rgyal po khri srong lde’u btsan). See Trisong Deutsen.
King Yama (gshin rje rgyal po). The Lord of Death. The terrible judge of the dead. Also a personification of impermanence, the unfailing law of karma and one’s inevitable mortality.
Klesha (nyon mongs pa). ‘Disturbing emotion.’ Usually the five poisons known as desire, anger, delusion, pride and envy.
Konchok Chidu (dkon mchog spyi ‘dus). The ‘Embodiment of the Precious Ones.’ A terma cycle revealed by the great Jatson Nyingpo (1585-1656) focused on Padmasambhava. He transmitted this set of teachings first to Dudul Dorje (1615-1672). Large portions of this material are translated into English by Peter Roberts.
Konchok Jungney of Langdro (lang gro dkon mchog ‘byung gnas). At first a minister at the court of Trisong Deutsen, he later became one of Padmasambhava’s close disciples and attained accomplishment. The great tertons Ratna Lingpa (1403-1471) and Longsal Nyingpo (1625-1692) are considered to be among his reincarnations. Konchok Jungney means ‘Source of the Precious Ones.’
Kriya Yoga (bya ba’i rnal ‘byor). The first of the three outer tantras which places emphasis on cleanliness and pure conduct. The scriptures of Kriya Tantra appeared first in Varanasi.
Kungamo (kun dga’ mo). The wisdom dakini who conferred empowerment upon Guru Rinpoche. She is also known as the dakini Leykyi Wangmo, Nyida Ngodrub or as Guhyajnana, the chief of wisdom dakinis.
Kunzang Tuktig (kun bzang thugs thig). The Heart Essence of Samantabhadra. A collection of terma teachings revealed by Chokgyur Lingpa focused on the peaceful and wrathful deities.
Kyeho (kye ho). Exclamation of distress or invocation.


Lady Kharchen (mkhar chen bza’). See Yeshe Tsogyal.
Lady Margyen of Tsepang (tshe spang bza’ dmar rgyan). One of the queens of king Trisong Deutsen. Reputed to have been a major troublemaker.
Lady Tsogyal of Kharchen (mkhar chen bza’ mtsho rgyal). See Yeshe Tsogyal.
Lama Gongdu (bla ma dgongs ‘dus). Cycle revealed by Sangye Lingpa (1340-96) in 18 volumes of approximately 700 pages each. Lama Gongdu means ’embodiment of the master’s realization.’
Lama Sangdu (bla ma gsang ‘dus). A terma discovered by Guru Chowang (1212-1270), one of the earliest and most important tertons. It focuses on the guru principle as Padmasambhava’s sambhogakaya form of the fivefold mandala of Totreng Tsal. Lama Sangdu means ’embodiment of the master’s secrets.’
Langdarma (glang dar ma). Brother of the great Dharma king Ralpachen and the persecutor of the Sangha in central Tibet during a five year reign. During his brief reign, he almost succeeded in eradicating Buddhism in Tibet.
Learning, reflection and meditation (thos bsam sgom gsum). ‘Learning’ means receiving oral teachings and studying scriptures in order to clear away ignorance and wrong views. ‘Reflection’ is to eradicate uncertainty and misunderstanding through carefully thinking over the subject. ‘Meditation’ means to gain direct insight through applying the teachings in one’s personal experience.
Lekdrub (legs grub). See Lekdrub of Tsang.
Lekdrub of Tsang (gtsang legs grub). The companion of Vairotsana on his journey to India. Lekdrub received half of the transmission of Dzogchen from Shri Singha, departed early and died on his way back to Tibet. He was reborn as Yudra Nyingpo.
Level (sa). The levels or stages a bodhisattva traverses on the journey to complete enlightenment.
Leykyi Wangmo (las kyi dbang mo, Skt. Karma Indranila, Karmeshvari). The dakini who transmitted the Eight Sadhana Teachings to the Eight Vidyadharas and later the Assemblage of Sugatas to Padmasambhava. See also ‘Kungamo.’
Lhalung Palgyi Dorje (lha lung dpal gyi rdo rje). Born in Upper Drom, he was first a border guard but developed renunciation and received ordination from Vimalamitra, together with his two brothers. He received the bodhisattva vow from Padmasambhava as well as empowerment and oral instructions in Vajrayana. He practiced meditation in White Gorge of Tsib and at Yerpa where he reached the accomplishment of being able to traverse freely through solid rock. Years later he assassinated the evil king Langdarma.
Lhasa (lha sa). ‘Abode of the Gods.’ The capital of Tibet and location of the famous Jokhang temple founded by King Songtsen Gampo.
Liberating Sorcery of Mother Deities (ma mo rbod gtong). One of the Eight Sadhana Teachings of Mahayoga.
Life-wheel, hail and spells (srog ser gtad gsum). Three aspects of protective tantric rituals.
Lobpon Bodhisattva, alias Shantarakshita (zhi ba ‘tsho), ‘Guardian of Peace.’ The Indian pandita and abbot of Vikramashila and of Samye who ordained the first Tibetan monks. He was an incarnation of the bodhisattva Vajrapani and is also known as Khenpo Bodhisattva or Bhikshu Bodhisattva Shantarakshita. He is the founder of a philosophical school combining Madhyamika and Yogachara. This tradition was reestablished and clarified by Mipham Rinpoche in his commentary on the Madhyamaka Lamkara.
Loden Chogsey (blo ldan mchog sred). One of the eight manifestations of Padmasambhava.
Lokyi Chungpa (lo ki chung pa). A close disciple of Padmasambhava who became a Buddhist translator while very young, hence his name. He is also known as Khyeu-chung Lotsawa, ‘Boy Translator.’ Among his later incarnations are the terton Dudul Dorje (1615-1672), Dudjom Lingpa (1835-1903), and H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje (1904-1987).
Longchenpa alias Longchen Rabjam (klong chen pa, klong chen rab ‘byams). (1308-1363)
Lord Nyang (mnga’ bdag nyang / myang). See Nyang Ral Nyima Oser.
Lord of Death (gshin rje). 1) A personification of impermanence and the unfailing law of cause and effect. 2) (‘chi bdag) The demon with this name is one of the four Maras; see under ‘Mara.’
Lord of Great Compassion (jo bo thugs rje chen po). The great bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
Lord of Secrets (gsang ba’i bdag po). The great bodhisattva Vajrapani who is regarded as the chief compiler of the Vajrayana teachings.
Lord Ralpachen of Nyang (mnga’ bdag nyang ral pa can). See Nyang Ral Nyima Oser.
Lords of the Three Families (rigs gsum mgon po). The three bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani.
Lotsawa (lo tsa ba, Skt. locchava). Tibetan translators of the canonical texts who usually worked closely with Indian panditas. The title literally means ‘bilingual’ (skad gnyis smra ba) or the ‘eyes of the world’ (‘jig rten mig).
Lotsawa Vairotsana (lo tsa ba vai ro tsa na). See Vairotsana.
Lotus King (pad ma rgyal po). Same as Guru Rinpoche. One of his eight manifestations.
Lotus Speech (pad ma gsung). The heruka of the padma family or the tantric teachings connected to this deity among the Eight Sadhana Teachings.
Lower realms (ngan song). The three abodes of hell beings, hungry ghosts and animals.
Lui Gyaltsen (klu yi rgyal mtshan). See Chokro Lui Gyaltsen.
Luminosity (‘od gsal)A key term in Vajrayana philosophy signifying a departure from Mahayana’s over-emphasis on emptiness which can lead to nihilism. According to Mipham Rinpoche, ‘luminosity’ means ‘free from the darkness of unknowing and endowed with the ability to cognize.’ The two aspects are ’empty luminosity,’ like a clear open sky, which is the cognizant quality of the nature of mind; and ‘manifest luminosity,’ such as five-colored lights, images, and so forth. Luminosity is the uncompounded nature present throughout all of samsara and nirvana.
Luminous Vajra Essence (‘od gsal rdo rje snying po). A synonym for the Great Perfection, Dzogchen.


Machen Pomra (rma chen spom ra). A powerful local spirit from the area of Kham, the chief of twenty-one major local divinities.
Machig Labdron (ma gcig lab sgron). (1031-1129). The great female master who set down the Cho practice, cutting through ego-clinging. Disciple and consort of the Indian master Phadampa Sangye. Machig Labdron means ‘Only Mother Lamp of Dharma.’
Magical Net (sgyu ‘phrul). A collective term for the manifestations of enlightenment to tame whoever needs in whichever way is necessary. In this book the term refers to a collection of tantric scriptures belonging chiefly to Mahayoga.
Magical Net of Manjushri (‘jam dpal sgyu ‘phrul). A Mahayoga scripture. Vol. BA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Magical Net of the Goddess (lha mo sgyu ‘phrul). A Mahayoga scripture. Vol. BA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Magical Net of Vairochana (rnam snang sgyu ‘phrul drva ba). A Mahayoga scripture which functions as subsidiary support for engaging in yogic activities connected to the mandala. See Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras.
Mahabodhi Temple in BodhgayaMahabodhi Temple (byang chub chen po). The enormous shrine in front of the bodhi tree at Vajra Seat, Bodhgaya.
Mahamudra (phyag chen, phyag rgya chen po). In the context of this book, ‘mahamudra’ refers to the ‘supreme attainment of mahamudra’ which is synonymous with complete enlightenment or to the ‘vidyadhara level of mahamudra,’ the third of the four vidyadhara levels.
Mahamudra level of the path of cultivation (sgom lam phyag rgya chen po). Same as the vidyadhara level of mahamudra.
Mahayana (theg pa chen po). See also Mahayana, a definition(theg pa chen po). ‘Greater vehicle.’
Mahayoga (rnal ‘byor chen po). The first of the ‘Three Inner Tantras.’
Maitreya (byams pa). ‘The Loving One.’ The bodhisattva regent of Buddha Shakyamuni, presently residing in the Tushita heaven until becoming the fifth buddha of this aeon; author of five treatises preserved by Asanga.
Major and Minor Gathering Tantra (tshogs rgyud che chung). A Mahayoga scripture explaining the ritual of a ganachakra. See also ‘feast offering.’
Maledictory Fierce Mantra (rmod pa drag sngags). One of the Eight Sadhana Teachings.
Mamo (ma mo). 1) See under Mundane Mother Deities. 2) A class of semi-divine beings who sometimes act as protectors of the Dharma.
Mamo (ma mo). Abbreviation of ‘Mundane Mother Deities’ (‘jig rten ma mo). One of the Eight Sadhana Teachings. Female divinities manifested out of dharmadhatu but appearing in ways that correspond to mundane appearances through the interrelationship between the mundane world and the channels, winds, and essences within our body. They have both an ultimate and relative aspect. The chief figure in this mandala is Chemchok Heruka, the wrathful form of Buddha Samantabhadra in the form known as Ngondzok Gyalpo, the King of True Perfection.
Mandala (dkyil ‘khor). 1) ‘Center and surrounding.’ Usually a deity along with its surrounding environment. A mandala is a symbolic, graphic representation of a tantric deity’s realm of existence. 2) A mandala offering is an offering visualized as the entire universe, as well as the arrangement of offerings in tantric ritual.
Mandarava Flower (man da ra ba me tog). Princess of Zahor and close disciple of Guru Rinpoche. 
Mang-yul (mang yul). The area north of the Kathmandu valley, between Trisuli and the present border to Tibet.
ManjushriManjushri (‘jam dpal dbyangs). One of the eight main bodhisattvas. He is the personification of the perfection of transcendent knowledge.
Manjushri Body (‘jam dpal sku). The heruka of the Tathagata Body family or the tantric teachings connected to this deity among the ‘Eight Sadhana Teachings.’ Also known as Yamantaka, the wrathful form of Manjushri.
Manjushri Namasangirti Tantra Expressed in Songs of Praise (‘jam dpal gyi mtshan yang dag par brjod pa bstod pa glur blangs pa’i rgyud). A tantra belonging to Kriya Yoga known to all Tibetan Buddhists as ‘Jampal Tsenjo.’ Translated as Chanting the Names of Manjushri, A. Wayman, Shambhala Publications.
ManjushrimitraManjushrimitra (‘jam dpal bshes gnyen, pron. Jampal Shenyen). An Indian master in the Dzogchen lineage and the chief disciple of Garab Dorje. See also Sadhana Section.
Mantra (sngags). 1) A synonym for Vajrayana. 2) A particular combination of sounds symbolizing and communicating the nature of a deity and which lead to purification and realization, for example ‘om mani padme hung’. There are chiefly three types of mantra: guhya mantra, vidya mantra and dharani mantra.
Mantra and Philosophy (sngags dang mtshan nyid). Mantra is synonymous with Secret Mantra or Vajrayana while Philosophy refers to the ‘causal vehicles of philosophy:’ Hinayana and Mahayana.
Mantra, vehicle of (sngags; sngags kyi theg pa). Same as Mantrayana. See under Vajrayana.
Mantradhara (sngags ‘chang). An adept of tantric rituals.
Mantrayana (sngags kyi theg pa). Syn. for Secret Mantra or Vajrayana.
Mantric (sngags kyi). Of or pertaining to Vajrayana.
Mantrika (sngags pa). A practitioner of Vajrayana.
Mantrika (sngags pa). See tantrika.
Mara (bdud). Demon or demonic influence that creates obstacles for practice and enlightenment. Mythologically said be a powerful god who dwells in the highest abode in the Realm of Desire; the master of illusion who attempted to prevent the Buddha from attaining enlightenment at Bodhgaya. For the Dharma practitioner, Mara symbolizes one’s own ego-clinging and preoccupation with the eight worldly concerns. Generally, there are four maras or obstructions to practice of the Dharma: those of defilements, death and the aggregates, and the godly mara of seduction. Sometimes the four maras are mentioned by name; Lord of Death, Godly Son, Klesha and Skandha.
Maratika (‘chi ba mthar byed). The sacred place in eastern Nepal where Guru Rinpoche and Mandarava were blessed with immortal life by Buddha Amitayus.
Master (bla ma). In the Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo, Padmasambhava says: “The vajra master, the root of the path, is someone who has the pure conduct of samaya and vows. He is fully adorned with learning, has discerned it through reflection, and through meditation he possesses the qualities and signs of experience and realization. With his compassionate action he accepts disciples.” In short, someone with the correct view and genuine compassion.
Master Bodhisattva (slob dpon bo dhi sa tva). See ‘Shantarakshita.’
Master of Uddiyana (o rgyan gyi slob dpon). Another name for Padmasambhava.
Meadow of Monkha (mon kha ne’u ring). Possibly identical with Monkha Senge Dzong, a cave situated to the east of Bumthang in Bhutan which was used by Padmasambhava and later by Yeshe Tsogyal as a sacred place for the sadhana of Vajra Kilaya.
Meaningful Lasso Tantra (don yod zhags pa’i rgyud). A tantra focused on Avalokiteshvara; belongs to Kriya Yoga and is also known as Amogha Pasha.
Means and knowledge (thabs dang shes rab; Skt. prajna and upaya). Buddhahood is attained by uniting means and knowledge; in Mahayana, compassion and emptiness, relative and ultimate bodhichitta. In Vajrayana, means and knowledge are the stages of development and completion. According to the Kagyu schools, means refers specifically to the ‘path of means,’ the Six Doctrines of Naropa and knowledge to the ‘path of liberation,’ the actual practice of Mahamudra. According to Dzogchen, ‘knowledge’ is the view of primordial purity, the Trekcho practice of realizing the heart of enlightenment in the present moment, while ‘means’ is the meditation of spontaneous presence, the Togal practice of exhausting defilements and fixation through which the rainbow body is realized within one lifetime.
Meditation (sgom pa). In the context of Mahamudra or Dzogchen practice, meditation is the act of growing accustomed to or sustaining the continuity of the recognition of our buddha nature as pointed out by a qualified master. In the context of learning, contemplating and meditating, it means the act of assimilating the teachings into one’s personal experience, then growing accustomed to them through actual practice.
Meditation and postmeditation (mnyam bzhag dang rjes thob). ‘Meditation’ here means resting in equanimity free from mental constructs, like pure space. ‘Postmeditation’ is when distracted from that state of equanimity, and one conceptually regards appearances as an illusion, mirage, dream, etc.
Mighty Lotus (padma dbang chen). Same as the tantric deity Hayagriva, the chief heruka of the padma family. See also Drubpa Kabgye.
Mighty Lotus Tantra (padma dbang chen gyi rgyud). Several Mahayoga tantras with resembling names occur in Vol. HA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Milarepa (mi la ras pa). (1040-1123). One of the most famous yogis and poets in Tibetan religious history.
Mind and prana (rlung sems). ‘Prana’ here is the ‘wind of karma,’ the current of conceptual thinking, as well as the energy-currents in the body. ‘Mind’ is the dualistic consciousness of an unenlightened being. These two are closely related.
Mind Only School (sems tsam pa, Chittamatra). A Mahayana school of Buddhist philosophy propagated by the great master Asanga and his followers. Founded on the Lankavatara Sutra and other scriptures, its main premise is that all phenomena are only mind, i.e. mental perceptions that appear within the all-ground consciousness due to habitual tendencies. Positively, this view relinquishes the fixation on a solid reality. Negatively, there is still clinging to a truly existing ‘mind’ within which everything takes place.
Mind Section (sems sde). The first of the Three Sections of Dzogchen. In this book twenty-five tantras and eighteen major scriptures are mentioned. Most are found in the first three volumes of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Mind terma (dgongs gter). A revelation directly within the mind of a great master, without the need for a terma of material substance. The teachings revealed in this way were implanted within the ‘indestructible sphere’ at the time when the master in a former life was one of Padmasambhava’s disciples.
Most Supreme (che mchog). Chemchok Heruka. Usually identical with Nectar Quality, the chief heruka of the ratna family. Sometimes, in the case of Assemblage of Sugatas, the Most Supreme is the heruka who embodies all the buddha families.
Mother Deities (ma mo). See mamo.
Mother Deities Assemblage Tantra (ma mo ‘dus pa’i rgyud). Tantra belonging to the Sadhana Section of Mahayoga. Found in Vol. A of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Mother Tantra (ma rgyud). One of the three aspects of Anuttara Yoga which place emphasis on completion stage or prajna. Sometimes equivalent of Anu Yoga.
Mount Hepori (has po ri). See Hepori.
Mount Sumeru (ri rab lhun po). The mythological giant mountain at the center of our world-system, where the two lowest classes of gods of the Desire Realm live. It is surrounded by chains of lesser mountains, lakes, continents, and oceans and is said to rise 84000 leagues above sea-level.
Mount Sumeru and the four continents Mount Sumeru (ri rab lhun po gling bzhi dang bcas pa). The mythological giant mountain at the center of our world-system surrounded by the four continents, where the two lowest classes of gods of the Desire Realm live. It is encircled by chains of lesser mountains, lakes, continents, and oceans and is said to rise 84,000 leagues above sea-level. Our present world is situated on the southern continent called Jambudvipa.
Mudra (phyag rgya). Can mean either ‘hand gesture,’ spiritual consort, or the ‘bodily form’ of a deity.
Mundane Worship (‘jig rten mchod bstod). One of the Eight Sadhana Teachings.


Nadi (rtsa). The channels in the vajra body through which the energy currents move.
Nadi-knots (rtsa mdud). Sometimes the equivalent of chakra, a major junction or meeting point of channels, sometimes a subtle blockage that needs to be untied through yogic practices.
Naga (klu). Powerful long-lived serpent-like beings who inhabit bodies of water and often guard great treasure. Nagas belong half to the animal realm and half to the god realm. They generally live in the form of snakes, but many can change into human form.
Nagaraja angkusha dzah (Skt.). A command which means: “I summon the king of the nagas!”
Nagarjuna (klu grub). An Indian master of philosophy and a tantric siddha.
Nalanda (Skt.). The great monastic center for Buddhist studies in ancient India. Situated in the present Indian state of Bihar, a few hours drive from Bodhgaya.
Namkhai Nyingpo of Nub (gnubs nam mkha’i snying po). Counted among the twenty-five disciples of Guru Rinpoche.
Namo (phyag ‘tshal lo). Expression of homage and respect; salutation.
Namo ratna guru (bla ma rin po che la phyag ‘tshal lo). “I pay homage to the precious master!”
Nanam Yeshe, alias Yeshe Dey of Nanam (sna nam ye shes sde). Also known as Bandey Yeshe Dey of Shang (zhang gi bhan dhe ye shes sde). A prolific translator of more than 200 scriptures and a disciple of Padmasambhava, this learned and accomplished monk once exhibited his miraculous powers, attained through mastery of Vajra Kilaya, by soaring through the sky like a bird. Yeshe mean ‘original wakefulness.’
Natural Confession (rang bzhin gyi bshags pa). A synonym for the Confession of the Expanse of the View, ‘Tawa Longshag.’
Nectar (bdud rtsi, Skt. amrita). 1) The ‘nectar of immortality;’ the ambrosia of the gods conferring immortality or other powers. 2) Abbreviation of ‘Nectar Quality,’ the heruka of the ratna family among the Eight Sadhana Teachings.
Nectar Medicine (bdud rtsi sman). 1) The nectar of immortality. 2) Same as Nectar Quality.
Nectar Quality (bdud rtsi yon tan). One of the Eight Sadhana Teachings. The heruka of the ratna family or the tantric teachings connected with that deity.
Ngadag Nyang (mnga’ bdag nyang / myang). See Nyang Ral Nyima Oser.
Ngagyur Shechen Tennyi Dargye Ling (snga ‘gyur zhe chen bstan gnyis dar rgyas gling). The seat of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse in Nepal, situated at the Great Stupa of Jarung Khashor in Boudhanath.
Ngakpa (sngags pa). See Tantrika.
Nihilism (chad lta). Literally, ‘the view of discontinuance.’ The extreme view of nothingness: no rebirth or karmic effects, and the nonexistence of a mind after death.
Nine gradual vehicles (theg pa rim pa dgu). Shravaka, Pratyekabuddha, Bodhisattva, Kriya, Upa, Yoga, Maha Yoga, Anu Yoga, and Ati Yoga. The first two are Hinayana; the third is Mahayana; the next three are the Three Outer Tantras; and the last three are called the Three Inner Tantras.
Nine Root Tantras (rtsa ba’i rgyud dgu). The most important Mahayoga tantras of the Sadhana Section (sgrub sde). Listed in Chapter 19.
Nine Sadhana Sections (sgrub pa sde dgu). The Eight Sadhana Teachings in addition to the teachings connected to Guru Vidyadhara. Sometimes the Assemblage of Sugatas is counted as the ninth.
Nine serene states of successive abiding (mthar gyis gnas pa’i snyoms par ‘jug pa dgu). The four dhyanas, the four formless states, and the shravaka’s samadhi of peace, also known as the serenity of cessation.
Nirmanakaya (sprul sku). ‘Emanation body,’ ‘form of magical apparition.’ The third of the three kayas. The aspect of enlightenment that can be perceived by ordinary beings.
Nirmanakaya Padmasambhava (sprul sku pad ma ‘byung gnas). Same as Guru Rinpoche. A respectful way of addressing Guru Rinpoche showing that he is a manifestation of an enlightened being.
Nonarising (skye ba med pa). In the aspect of ultimate truth, all phenomena are devoid of an independent, concrete identity and have therefore no basis for such attributes as ‘arising, dwelling or ceasing’ i.e. coming into being, remaining in time and place, and ceasing to exist.
Nonarising dharmata (chos nyid skye ba med pa). The nature of things which like space does not come into being as a concrete, apprehensible entity.
Nonarising nature of mind (sems nyid skye ba med pa). In the aspect of ultimate truth, all phenomena are devoid of an independent, concrete identity and have therefore no basis for such attributes as ‘arising, dwelling or ceasing’ i.e. coming into being, remaining in time and place, and ceasing to exist.
Non-Buddhist (mu stegs pa, Skt. tirthika). Teachers of non-Buddhist philosophy who adhere to the extreme views of eternalism or nihilism.
Nonconceptual (rnam par mi rtog pa). Of or pertaining to the absence of conceptual thinking or discursive thought.
Nonfabrication (bzo med, ma bcos). The key point in the training of Mahamudra and Dzogchen; that innate wakefulness is not created through intellectual effort.
Nonhumans (mi ma yin). Spirits, ghost, demons.
Nonmeditation (mi bsgom). The state of not holding on to an object meditated upon nor a subject who meditates.
Nonreturn (phyir mi ldog pa). See under ‘fruition of nonreturn.’
Nonthought (mi rtog pa). See ‘bliss, clarity and nonthought.’
Nonvirtues (mi dge ba). Usually referring to the ten unvirtuous actions: The physical misdeeds of killing, taking what is not given, and engaging in sexual misconduct; the verbal misdeeds of lying, uttering divisive talk, harsh words, and gossiping; and the mental misdeeds of harboring covetousness, ill-will, and wrong views.
Nyang Ral (nyang ral). Short for Nyang Ral Nyima Özer.
Nyang Ral Nyima Özer / Oser (nyang ral nyi ma ‘od zer). (1124-1192). The first of the Five Terton Kings and a reincarnation of King Trisong Deutsen.
Nyenchen Tanglha (gnyan chen thang lha). Important protector of the Nyingma teachings, regarded as a bodhisattva on the eighth level. Also a name of a mountain range.
Nyingma Gyubum (rnying ma rgyud ‘bum). ‘The Hundred Thousand Tantras of the Old School.’
Nyingma Kama (rnying ma bka’ ma). ‘The Oral Transmission of the Old School.’ 56 volumes in the expanded edition published by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, New Delhi.
Nyingma School (rnying ma). The teachings brought to Tibet and translated mainly during the reign of King Trisong Deutsen and in the subsequent period up to Rinchen Sangpo in the ninth century chiefly by the great masters Padmasambhava, VimalamitraShantarakshita, and Vairotsana. The two subsequent main types of transmission are Kama and Terma. Practices are based on both the Outer and Inner Tantras with emphasis on the practice of the Inner Tantras of Mahayoga, Anu Yoga and Ati Yoga.
Nyingma Tantras (rnying rgyud). See Nyingma Gyubum.
Nyingtig Yabzhi (snying thig ya bzhi). One of the most famous collections of Dzogchen scriptures.


Ocean of Cleansing Sacred commitment (dam tshig khrus lung rgya mtsho). Name of a tantric scripture on purification of samaya, the vows of Vajrayana practice.
Orgyen (o rgyan). 1) Uddiyana, the country. 2) The master from Uddiyana, Padmasambhava.
Original wakefulness (ye shes). Usually translated as ‘wisdom.’ Basic cognizance independent of intellectual constructs.
Outer and inner teachings of Secret Mantra (gsang sngags phyi nang gi chos). The three outer are Kriya, Upa and Yoga. The three inner are Mahayoga, Anu Yoga and Ati Yoga.
Outer Secret Mantra (gsang sngags phyi pa). Same as ‘Outer Tantras of Secret Mantra.’
Outer Tantras of Secret Mantra (gsang sngags phyi’i rgyud sde). The tantras belonging to the three vehiclesof Kriya, Ubhaya and Yoga. In the context of the Old School of the Early Translations, Ngagyur Nyingma, they were translated into Tibetan mainly by Shantarakshita and Kawa Paltsek. Listed in chapter 12.


Padma (pad ma). 1) Same as Padmasambhava. 2) The lotus family among the five buddha families.
Padma Garwang Lodro Thaye (padma gar dbang blo gros mtha’ yas). Another name for Jamgon Kongtrul. Padma Garwang means ‘Lotus Lord of the Dance,’ and Lodro Thaye means ‘Boundless Wisdom.’
Padma Thotreng Tsal (padma thod phreng rtsal). The secret name of Guru Rinpoche meaning ‘Powerful Lotus of the Garland of Skulls.’
Padmakara (pad ma ‘byung gnas). ‘Lotus-born.’ Same as Guru Rinpoche. Padmakara and Padmasambhava are interchangeable in Tibetan literature, sometimes is used the Tibetan translation Pema Jungney, sometimes the Sanskrit.
Padmasambhava (pad ma ‘byung gnas). ‘Originated from a Lotus.’
Palgyi Dorje (Wangchuk) of Lhalung alias Lhalung Palgyi Dorje (lha lung dpal gyi rdo rje). Born in Upper Drom, he served as a border guard but developed renunciation and together with his two brothers received ordination from Vimalamitra. He received the bodhisattva vow from Padmasambhava as well as empowerment and oral instructions in Vajrayana. He practiced meditation in the White Gorge of Tsib and at Yerpa, where he reached the accomplishment of being able to move freely through solid rock. Years later he assassinated the evil king Langdarma. Palgyi Dorje means ‘Resplendent Vajra.’
Palgyi Senge of Lang (rlangs dpal gyi seng ge)His father was Amey Jangchub Drekhol, a mantrika powerful enough to employ the eight classes of gods and demons as his servants. Palgyi Senge of Lang was one of the eight chief disciples of Padmasambhava when the empowerment of the Assemblage of Sugatas was conferred. He attained both the common and supreme accomplishments at Paro Taktsang through the practice of the Tamer of All Haughty Spirits. The Dzogchen Rinpoches are regarded as his reincarnations. Palgyi Senge means ‘Glorious Lion.’
Palgyi Senge of Shubu (shud bu dpal gyi seng ge). One of the ministers of King Trisong Deutsen, sent among the first emissaries to invite Padmasambhava to Tibet. He learned translation from Padmasambhava and rendered numerous teachings of Mamo, Yamantaka and Kilaya into Tibetan. Having attained accomplishment through Kilaya and Mamo, he could split boulders and divide the flow of rivers with his dagger. His reincarnations include the great Terton Mingyur Dorje of the Namcho tradition. Palgyi Senge means ‘Glorious Lion.’
Palgyi Wangchuk of Kharchen (mkhar chen dpal gyi dbang phyug). In the Sanglingma biography he is the father of Yeshe Tsogyal; elsewhere he is described as her brother, a close disciple of Padmasambhava who attained siddhi through the practice of Vajra Kilaya. Palgyi Wangchuk means ‘Resplendent Lord.’.
Palgyi Wangchuk of O-dren (‘o dran dpal gyi dbang phyug). A great scholar and tantrika, he attained siddhi through practicing Guru Drakpo, the wrathful aspect of Padmasambhava. Palgyi Wangchuk means ‘Resplendent Lord.’
Palgyi Yeshe (dpal gyi ye shes). Born into the Drogmi clan he was also known as Palgyi Yeshe of Drogmi. He was an adept translator and rendered numerous sutras and tantras into Tibetan including the Tantra of the Mother Deities Mamo. He received the transmission of the Mother Deities, from Padmasambhava and became an accomplished mantrika.
Palgyi Yeshe of Lang (rlangs dpal gyi ye she). One of the first Tibetans to take ordination. He received also transmission from Hungkara in India but died on the way back.
Palgyi Yeshe of Sogpo (sog po dpal gyi ye shes). Disciple of Padmasambhava and Jnana Kumara of Nyag. Palgyi Yeshe means ‘Glorious Wisdom.’
Pal-yang (dpal dbyangs). A Tibetan translator predicted by Padmasambhava. The first monk ordained by Khenpo Bodhisattva. He is also known as Ratna of Ba (sba ratna).
Pandita (mkhas pa). A learned master, scholar or professor in Buddhist philosophy.
Paramita (pha rol tu phyin pa). Literally, ‘paramita’ means ‘reaching the other shore.’ Particularly, it means transcending concepts of subject, object and action. The Paramita vehicle (phar phyin gyi theg pa) is the Mahayana system of the gradual path through the five paths and ten bhumis according to the Prajnaparamita scriptures. See also ‘six paramitas.’
Parinirvana (yongs su mya ngan las ‘das pa). ‘Completely passing beyond suffering.’ 1) The final entry into nirvana. 2) Honorific term for the passing away of a buddha or a fully accomplished master.
Path of accumulation (tshogs lam). The first of the five paths which forms the foundation for the journey towards liberation and involves gathering a vast accumulation of merit dedicated towards this attainment. On this path one gains an intellectual and conceptual understanding of egolessness through learning and reflection. By means of cultivating the four applications of mindfulness, the four right endeavors, and the four legs of miraculous action, one succeeds in eliminating the gross defilements that cause samsaric suffering and in attaining the virtuous qualities of the superknowledges and the ‘samadhi of the stream of Dharma’ leading to the path of joining.
Path of consummation (thar phyin pa’i lam). The fifth of the five paths and the state of complete and perfect enlightenment.
Path of cultivation (sgom lam). The fourth of the five paths on which one cultivates and trains in the higher practices of a bodhisattva, especially the eight aspects of the path of noble beings.
Path of liberation (grol lam). 1) When related to the ‘path of ripening’ it refers to the practice of the oral instructions of one’s personal vajra master. 2) When related to the ‘path of means’ it refers to the practice of sustaining the natural state of mind; Mahamudra or Dzogchen.
Path of ripening (smin lam). The process of receiving the four empowerments.
Path of seeing (mthong lam). The third of the five paths which is the attainment of the first bhumi, liberation from samsara and realization of the truth of reality.
Path of training (slob pa’i lam). The first four of the five paths. The fifth is also called the ‘path beyond training’ and corresponds to perfect buddhahood.
Paths (lam). See under ‘five paths.’
Patra (pa tra). A brick ornamented with flourishes. A gold patra possibly weighs several kilos.
Pearl Crystal Cave of Pama (Juniper) Ridge (mu tig shel gyi spa ma gangs). This is the practice cave of Guru Rinpoche where he gave many of the Instructions found in Dakini Teachings and Advice from the Lotus-Born.
Pema Ledrel Tsal (padma las ‘brel rtsal) (1291-1315). The reincarnation of Pema Sal, the daughter of King Trisong Deutsen. The revealer of the Dzogchen teachings of Guru Rinpoche renowned as Khandro Nyingtig. His immediate rebirth was as Longchenpa. Pema Ledrel Tsal means ‘Lotus Power of Karmic Link.’
Pema Sal, Princess (lha lcam padma sal). The daughter of King Trisong Deutsen, to whom Padmasambhava entrusted his own lineage of the Great Perfection known as Khandro Nyingtig. She died at an early age, after which Padmasambhava miraculously called her back to life. When her father asked why someone with the great merit to be both a princess and a disciple of the Lotus-Born master had to die while still a child, Padmasambhava told the story of how she had been a bee who stung one of the four brothers during the completion of the Great Stupa of Boudhanath. Pema Sal means ‘Radiant Lotus.’
Perception-sphere (skye mched). A state of meditative absorption, possibly lasting many aeons. See under ‘Formless Realms.’
Philosophical Vehicles (mtshan nyid kyi theg pa). A collective name for Hinayana and Mahayana; includes the three vehicles for shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas.
Phonya (pho nya). 1) Messenger, emissary. 2) Spiritual consort in Vajrayana practice.
Pointing-out instruction (ngo sprod). The direct introduction to the nature of mind. A root guru is the master who gives the ‘pointing-out instruction’ so that the disciple recognizes the nature of mind.
Postmeditation (rjes thob). Generally, the period of being involved in sense perceptions and daily activities. Specifically, the period of being distracted from the natural state of mind.
Potala (gru ‘dzin). The pure land of Avalokiteshvara.
Prabhahasti (glang po’i od). Same as Prahasti.
Prahasti (glang po’i od, Skt. Prabhahasti). ‘Radiant Elephant.’ Among the Eight Vidyadharas the receiver of the transmission of the tantras of Kilaya Activity.
Prajna and upaya (thabs dang shes rab). Prajna is knowledge or intelligence; in particular, the knowledge of realizing egolessness. Upaya is the method or technique that brings about realization. See also under ‘means and knowledge.’
Prajnaparamita (shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa). ‘Transcendent knowledge.’ The Mahayana teachings on insight into emptiness, transcending the fixation of subject, object and action. Associated with the Second Turning of the Wheel of Dharma.
Prana (rlung). The ‘winds’ or energy-currents of the body.
Prana-mind (rlung sems). Prana here is the ‘wind of karma’ and ‘mind’ the dualistic consciousness of an unenlightened being. These two are closely related.
Pratyekabuddha (rang rgyal, rang sangs rgyas). ‘Solitarily Enlightened One.’ A Hinayana Arhant who attains Nirvana chiefly through contemplation on the twelve links of dependent origination in reverse order, without needing teachings in that lifetime. He lacks the complete realization of a buddha and so cannot benefit limitless sentient beings as a buddha does.
Precious human body (mi lus rin po che). Comprised of the eight freedoms and ten riches. The freedoms are to avoid rebirth in the eight unfree states: three lower realms, a long-living god, having wrong views, a savage, a mute, or born in an age without buddhas. The riches are five from oneself and ten from others. The five riches from oneself are: to be a human, centrally born, with intact sense powers, having unperverted livelihood and faith in the right place. The five riches from others are: a buddha appeared and he taught the Dharma, the teachings remain and have followers and (teachers) who compassionately benefit others.
Preliminaries (sngon ‘gro). The general outer preliminaries are the Four Mind Changings: reflections on precious human body, impermanence and death, cause and effect of karma, and the shortcomings of samsaric existence. The special inner preliminaries are the Four Times Hundred Thousand Practices of refuge and bodhichitta, Vajrasattva recitation, mandala offering, and guru yoga. See Torch of Certainty (Shambhala Publications), and The Great Gate (Rangjung Yeshe Publications).
Prince Murub (lha sras mu rub). The second son of King Trisong Deutsen.
Prince Virtuous Protector (lha sras dge mgon). The youngest son of Trisong Deutsen also known as Murub Tseypo.
Protectors (srung ma). See ‘Dharma protector.’
Pure Abodes (gnas gtsang ma). The five highest heavens among the 17 abodes of the Realms of Form. They are called ‘pure’ because only noble beings, achievers of the path of seeing, can take birth there. Rebirth here is caused by a pure training in the fourth dhyana depending upon whether this cultivation is lesser, medium, great, greater, or extremely great.
Pure perception (dag snang). The Vajrayana principle of regarding the environment as a buddhafield, self and others as deities, sounds as mantras, and thoughts as the display of wisdom.



Rahula (gza’). One of the eight classes of gods and demons.
Raksha (srin po). One of the eight classes of gods and demons. Also the cannibal savages inhabiting the southwestern continent of Chamara. At times ‘raksha’ refers to the unruly and untamed expression of ignorance and disturbing emotions.
Ralpachen (ral pa can). (815-841) or (866-901). The third great Dharma King of Tibet. He supported the standardization of new grammar and vocabulary for translation and the revision of old translations. He renewed old centers for learning and practice and invited many Buddhist scholars to Tibet. He was renowned for his devotion to the Dharma and is regarded as an incarnation of Vajrapani.
Ramochey (ra mo che). One of two important temples in Lhasa housing the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni brought to Tibet by the queens of King Songtsen Gampo.
Rampant Elephant Tantra (glang po che rab ‘bog gi rgyud). A Mahayoga scripture. A tantra of this title is found in Vol. DZA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Rangnang / personal experience (rang snang). Exemplified by the dream experience, this term is sometimes translated as ‘one’s own projection’ or ‘self-display.’
Ratna (rin chen, dkon mchog). Jewel; precious.
Realms of Desire (‘dod khams). Comprised of the abodes of hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, asuras, and the gods of the six abodes of Desire gods. It is called ‘desire realm’ because the beings there are tormented by the mental pain of desire and attachment to material substance.
Realms of Form (gzugs khams). Seventeen samsaric heavenly abodes consisting of the threefold four Dhyana Realms and the five Pure Abodes. A subtle divine state of samsaric existence between the desire realm and the formless realm, where sense of smell, sense of taste and sexual organs are absent. The beings there have bodies of light, long lives and no painful sensations. Unwholesome mental factors such as attachment cannot arise.
Red Rock (brag dmar). The location of the temple complex of Samye. The mountain slope behind Samye is of a bright red color.
Resultant vehicles (‘bras bu’i theg pa). The Vajrayana system of taking fruition as the path by regarding buddhahood as inherently present and the path as the act of uncovering the basic state. Same as Vajrayana. For details, see ‘causal and resultant vehicles.’
Rigdzin Godem (rig ‘dzin rgod kyi ldem phru can). Alias Ngodrub Gyaltsen (dngos grub rgyal mtshan), (1337-1408). The great treasure revealer of the Jangter Tradition.
Rigdzin Gokyi Demtru Chen (rig ‘dzin rgod kyi ldem phru can). Same as ‘Rigdzin Godem.’
Rinchen Chok of Ma (rma rin chen mchog). Early Tibetan translator, among the first seven Tibetans to take ordination from Shantarakshita and the chief recipient of the Magical Net of Mahayoga. He is known for translating the Essence of Secrets Guhyagarbha Tantra, the chief tantra of Mahayoga. Through the teachings he received from Padmasambhava he attained the level of a vidyadhara. Rinchen Chok means ‘Sublime Jewel.’
Rinchen Terdzo (rin chen gter mdzod chen mo). ‘The Great Treasury of Precious Termas’
Ripening and liberation (smin grol). Two vital parts of Vajrayana practice: the empowerments which ripen one’s being with the capacity to realize the four kayas and the liberating oral instructions enabling one to actually apply the insight introduced through the empowerments.
Rishi (drang srong). 1) ‘Seer’, inspired Vedic sage, Brahmanical ascetic with magical powers. 2) Title for someone has attained the power of truthful speech so that whatever he says comes true.
Roaring Lion (seng ge sgra grogs). Senge Dradrog. One of Padmasambhava’s eight manifestations.
Rombuguhya Devachandra (Skt., lha’i zla ba). One of the Eight Vidyadharas, receiver of the transmission of Mundane Worship; born in Uddiyana.
Rongzompa, Rongzom Pandita, Chokyi Sangpo (rong zom pa chos kyi bzang po). (1012-1088). Together with Longchenpa, he is regarded as the Nyingma scholar of outstanding brilliance.
Root Tantra of the Assemblage of Sugatas (bde gshegs ‘dus pa rtsa ba’i rgyud). Tantra belonging to the Sadhana Section of Mahayoga found in Vol. OM and AH of the Nyingma Gyubum. See also Assemblage of Sugatas.
Roots of virtue (dge ba’i rtsa ba). A good deed; a moment of renunciation, compassion, or faith. Virtuous deeds created in the present or in former lives.


Sacred commitment (dam tshig, Skt. samaya). See samaya.
Sacred Great Perfection (bka’ rdzogs pa chen po). See Dzogchen, Ati Yoga, and Great Perfection.
Sacred Incantation (gzungs, Skt. dharani). A particular type of mantra, usually quite long.
Sacred Peace Deity Tantra (zhi ba dam pa lha’i rgyud). One of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras. In the Golden Garland Chronicles this same text is named Peaceful Vajradhatu Tantra (zhi ba rdo rje dbyings kyi rgyud).
Saddharma Pundarika Sutra (dam chos pad-ma dkar po’i mdo). ‘The Sutra of the White Lotus of the Sacred Dharma.’ Famous Mahayana scripture.
Sadhana (sgrub thabs). ‘Means of accomplishment.’ Tantric liturgy and procedure for practice usually emphasizing the development stage. The typical sadhana structure involves a preliminary part including the taking of refuge and arousing bodhichitta, a main part involving visualization of a buddha and recitation of the mantra, and a concluding part with dedication of merit to all sentient beings.
Sadhana Section (sgrub sde). One of the two major aspects of Mahayoga scriptures, the other being the Tantra Section. See also ‘Assemblage of Sugatas’ or Mahayoga.
Saha World (mi mjed kyi ‘jig rten) Our known world system; the ‘World of Endurance,’ because the sentient beings here endure unbearable suffering. Saha can also mean ‘Undivided’ because the karmas and disturbing emotions, causes and effects, are not separately divided or differentiated.
Saha world-system (mi mjed kyi ‘jig rten gyi khams). The name of our present world system. Saha means ‘enduring’ because the sentient beings here endure unbearable suffering.
Samadhi (ting nge ‘dzin). ‘Adhering to the continuity of evenness.’ A state of undistracted concentration or meditative absorption which in the context of Vajrayana can refer to either the development stage or the completion stage.
Samantabhadra (kun tu bzang po)The ‘Ever-excellent One.’ 1) The primordial dharmakaya buddha. 2) The bodhisattva Samantabhadra used as the example for the perfection of increasing an offering infinitely.
Samantabhadri (kun tu bzang mo). See under Ever-excellent Lady.
Samaya (dam tshig). The sacred pledges, precepts or commitments of Vajrayana practice. Samayas essentially consist of outwardly, maintaining harmonious relationship with the vajra master and one’s Dharma friends and, inwardly, not straying from the continuity of the practice. At the end of a chapter, the single word ‘samaya’ is an oath that confirms that what has been stated is true.
Sambhogakaya (longs spyod rdzogs pa’i sku). The ‘body of perfect enjoyment.’ In the context of the ‘five kayas of fruition,’ sambhogakaya is the semi-manifest form of the buddhas endowed with the ‘five perfections’ of perfect teacher, retinue, place, teaching and time which is perceptible only to bodhisattvas on the ten levels.
Sambhogakaya Great Compassion (longs sku thugs rje chen po). Same as Avalokiteshvara.
Samsara (‘khor ba). ‘Cyclic existence,’ ‘vicious circle’ or ’round’ of birth and death and rebirth within the six realms of existence, characterized by suffering, impermanence, and ignorance. The state of ordinary sentient beings fettered by ignorance and dualistic perception, karma and disturbing emotions. Ordinary reality, an endless cycle of frustration and suffering generated as the result of karma.
Samsaric (‘khor ba’i). Of or pertaining to samsara; worldly, mundane, profane.
Samye (bsam yas). The wondrous temple complex, modeled after the Indian monastery Odantapuri, built by King Trisong Deutsen (790-844) and consecrated by Guru Rinpoche in 814. A major center of the early transmission of Buddhism in Tibet. It is situated in Central Tibet close to Lhasa. It is also known as Glorious Temple of Samye, the Unchanging and Spontaneously Fulfillment of Boundless Wishes. Its three stories are of Indian, Chinese and Tibetan designs. See The Lotus-born.
Samye Chimphu (bsam yas chims phu). The sacred place of Padmasambhava’s speech. A mountain retreat situated four hours walk above Samye. During the last twelve centuries numerous great masters have meditated in the caves at this hermitage.
Sandal Grove charnel ground (tsan dan tshal gyi dur khrod). The Golden Garland Chronicles (p. 179) describes this place as: ‘The eminent celestial sacred place of the vidyadharas, the wild jungle which is a crossroad on the secret path of great bliss.’ It is also counted among the traditional Eight Charnel Grounds.
Sangha (dge ‘dun). The community of practitioners; usually the fully ordained monks and nuns. The Noble Sangha means those who have achieved the path of seeing among the five paths and therefore are liberated from samsara.
Sanglingma (zangs gling ma). The name of the text used for this translation of Padmasambhava’s life story. See Translator’s Preface.
Sangye Lingpa (sangs rgyas gling pa)(1340-1396). A reincarnation of the second son of King Trisong Deutsen; a major terton and revealer of the Lama Gongdu cycle in 13 volumes.
Nubchen Sangye YesheSangye Yeshe of Nub (gnubs sangs rgyas ye shes). One of the twenty-five disciples of Padmasambhava, he was the chief recipient of the Anu Yoga teachings.
Sarma Schools (gsar ma). ‘New Schools.’ The New Schools are Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug as well as Shijey and Cho, Jordruk, Shangpa Kagyu, and Nyendrup (the Kalachakra system).
Sarvabuddha Samayoga (sangs rgyas mnyam sbyor). ‘Equalizing Buddhahood.’ A Mahayoga scripture. Three tantras of this name are found in Vol. MA of the Nyingma Gyubum. Sometimes counted among the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras as the tantra of enlightened body.
Scripture (mdo, lung). In the context of this book, a scripture belonging to the category of Anu Yoga or Ati Yoga.
Scripture in Eight Chapters (lung bam po brgyad pa). One of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras. Vol. LA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Scripture of the Embodiment of the Realization of All Buddhas. (sangs rgyas thams cad dgongs pa ‘dus pa’i mdo). The Anu Yoga scripture renowned as ‘Gongdu’.
Scriptures and realization (lung dang rtogs pa). Authoritative scriptures and the realization of the Dharma in the minds of noble beings.
Secret Mantra (gsang sngags, Skt. guhyamantra)Synonymous with Vajrayana or tantric teachings. ‘Guhya’ means secret, both concealed and self-secret. ‘Mantra’ in this context means eminent, excellent, or praiseworthy.
Secret Mantra of the Early Translations (gsang sngags snga ‘gyur). The Vajrayana system of the Nyingma School the emphasis of which is on the Three Inner Tantras: Mahayoga, Anu Yoga and Ati Yoga. According to Jamgon Kongtrul, the chief scriptures are the Magical Net of Mahayoga, the Embodiment of Realization of Anu Yoga, and the Dzogchen tantras of the Mind Section and Space Section. These are adorned with the Eight Sadhana Teachings while the vital life force is the Instruction Section of Dzogchen, the extract of the realization of Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra which is contained in the collection renowned as Nyingtig Yabshi. See also Three Inner Tantras and Nyingma School.
Secret Moon Essence (zla gsang thig le). A Mahayoga scripture. Vol. MA of the Nyingma Gyubum. Sometimes counted among the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras as the tantra of enlightened speech.
Self-entity (rang bzhin). An inherently existent and independent entity of the individual self or of phenomena.
Self-existing wisdom (rang byung ye shes). Basic wakefulness that is independent of intellectual constructs.
Self-nature (rang bzhin). See ‘Self-entity.’
Sengchen Namtrak (seng chen nams brag)One of the 25 sacred places of Kham opened by Chokgyur Lingpa. Sengchen Namtrak means ‘Great Lion Sky Cliff.’
Sense bases (skye mched). The twelve sense factors are the organs of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind consciousness as well as their corresponding objects which are visual form, sound, smell, taste, texture, and mental object.
Sentient being (sems can). Any living being in one of the six realms who has not attained liberation.
Serenity of cessation (‘gog pa’i snyoms ‘jug). The meditative state entered by an arhant after all disturbing emotions, sensations and thinking have ceased. It is not considered the ultimate goal by the Mahayana schools.
Seven aspects of union (kha sbyor yan lag bdun). The seven qualities of a sambhogakaya buddha: complete enjoyment, union, great bliss, absence of a self-nature, presence of compassion, being uninterrupted, and being unceasing.
Seven golden mountains (gser ri bdun). According to the cosmology of the Abhidharma, seven circles of mountains surrounding Mount Sumeru in the center of our universe.
Seven Line Supplication (tshig bdun gsol ‘debs). The famous supplication to Padmasambhava beginning with “On the northwest border of the country of Uddiyana, …”
Seven precious substances (rin chen bdun). Ruby, sapphire, lapis, emerald, diamond, pearl and coral. Sometimes the list includes gold, silver, and crystal.
Seven ways of transmission (bka’ babs bdun). Canonical or oral lineage, revealed treasure, rediscovered treasure, mind treasure, recollection, pure vision and hearing lineage.
Sevenfold purity (dag pa bdun). Same as the seven branches: Prostrating, making offerings, confessing, rejoicing, requesting to turn the Wheel of the Dharma, beseeching not to pass into nirvana, and dedicating the merit for the welfare of all beings.
Shakputri (Skt.). The son of King Jah and lineage holder of both Mahayoga and Anu Yoga. He is also known as Indrabhuti the Younger and Master Lawapa.
Shakya (Skt.). The name of the family clan into which Buddha Shakyamuni was born. practitioners are often given Shakya as a part of their Buddhist name.
Shakya Senge (sha kya seng ge). One of the eight manifestations of Padmasambhava.
Shakyadevi (Skt.). The daughter of the Nepalese king Punyedhara. She is one of the five chief female disciples of Padmasambhava. Since her mother died during her birth, she was abandoned in a charnel ground and brought up by monkeys. Having been accepted as Padmasambhava’s worthy companion, she was his consort for the practice of the nine divinities of Vishuddha in the Cave of Yanglesho where they displayed the manner of achieving the vidyadhara level of mahamudra. Shakyadevi attained the accomplishment of the female buddha Mamaki and finally achieved the indestructible rainbow body.
Shakyamuni (sha kya thub pa). ‘The Sage of the Shakyas,’ Buddha Shakyamuni, our historical buddha.
Shamanism (bon ‘gyer). In this book the term has the negative connotation of rituals performed for selfish or superficial mundane aims.
Shamatha (zhi gnas) ‘calm abiding’ or ‘remaining in quiescence’ after thought activity has subsided; or, the meditative practice of calming the mind in order to rest free from the disturbance of thought.
Shantarakshita (zhi ba ‘tsho). The Indian pandita and abbot of Vikramashila and of Samye who ordained the first Tibetan monks.
Shintam Garbha (Skt., zhi ba’i snying po). One of the Eight Vidyadharas, receiver of the transmission of Maledictory Fierce Mantra. Born in Uddiyana and reputed to have visited Tibet and participated in the consecration of the Samye Temple.
Shramana (dge sbyong). A spiritual practitioner. Often has the connotation of an ascetic or mendicant monk.
Shravaka (nyan thos). ‘Hearer’ or ‘listener.’ Hinayana practitioner of the First Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma on the four noble truths who realizes the suffering inherent in samsara, and focuses on understanding that there is no independent self. By conquering disturbing emotions, he liberates himself, attaining first the stage of Stream Enterer at the Path of Seeing, followed by the stage of Once-Returner who will be reborn only one more time, and the stage of Non-returner who will no longer be reborn into samsara. The final goal is to become an Arhant. These four stages are also known as the ‘four results of spiritual practice.’
Shri Guhyasamaja (dpal gsang ba ‘dus pa)Literally, ‘Assembly of Secrets.’ One of the major tantras and yidams of the New School.
Shri Singha (Skt). Shri Singha was the chief disciple and successor of Manjushrimitra in the lineage of the Dzogchen teachings.
Shurma (shur ma). A Tibetan script, half way between printed and written script.
Siddha (grub thob). ‘Accomplished one.’ Someone who has attained siddhi; an accomplished master.
Siddhi (dngos grub). See Accomplishment.
Sign language of dakinis (mkha’ ‘gro’i brda yig). The secret script of the female spiritual beings which can only be decoded by accomplished masters.
Sindhura (Skt.). Red or deep orange substance often used in tantric rituals.
Singala (Skt.). The land where the Anu Yoga teachings appeared.
Singharaja of Ruley (ru le sim ha ra dza). One of the first Tibetans to take ordination who received transmission from Hungkara in India. Also known as Viryaraja of Ru-yong.
Single Form (phyag rgya rkyang pa). Sadhana text of Mahayoga composed by Padmasambhava. The title refers to the sadhana practice of a single deity without a retinue.
Single Syllable (yi ge gcig ma). A Mahayana sutra. Refers to the letter A, the syllable symbolizing the nonarising nature of emptiness.
Six classes of beings (‘gro ba rigs drug). Gods, demigods, human beings, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell beings.
Six classes of sentient beings (‘gro ba rigs drug). Gods, demigods, human beings, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell beings.
Six limits (mtha’ drug). The views of the expedient and definitive meaning, the implied and the not implied, the literal and the not literal. Together with the ‘four modes’ they form the indispensable keys for unlocking the meaning of the tantras.
Six limits of Secret Mantra (gsang sngags kyi mtha’ drug). The views of the expedient and definitive meaning, the implied and the not implied, the literal and the not literal.
Six paramitas (phar phyin drug). The six transcendent actions of generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, concentration, and discriminating knowledge.
Six Secret Sections (gsang ba sde drug). Listed in Chapter 12. The five first are found in the most common list of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras.
Six superknowledges (mngon par shes pa drug). The capacities for performing miracles, divine sight, divine hearing, recollection of former lives, cognition of the minds of others, and the cognition of the exhaustion of defilements.
Sixty-eight Crescents (zla gam drug cu rtsa brgyad). Name of a mandala connected to the teachings of Vishuddha Heruka.
Skillful Lasso (thabs kyi zhags pa). Also known as Concise Lotus Garland (pad mo phreng ba’i don bsdus pa), this scripture functions as a support for rituals to attain accomplishment. See Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras.
Sky Treasury Consecration Tantra (nam mkha’ mdzod byin rlabs kyi rgyud). The word sky treasury has the connotation of inexhaustible wealth.
Songtsen Gampo (srong btsan sgam po). (569-650) or (617-650). The king of Tibet in the seventh century Tibetan who prepared the way for transmission of the teachings.
Stream-of-being (rgyud, sems rgyud). The individual continuity of cognition in an individual sentient being.
Stupa (mchod rten). A dome-shaped monument housing relics of the Buddha or an accomplished master. The shape of the stupa embodies an elaborate symbolism.
Subjugating mantras (drag snags). Mantras of wrathful deities.
Subsequent True Enlightenment Tantra (phyi ma mngon par byang chub pa’i rgyud). Tantra belonging to the Sadhana Section of Mahayoga. found in Vol OM of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Suchness (de bzhin nyid, Skt. tattva). Synonym for emptiness or the ‘nature of things,’ dharmata, it can also be used to describe the unity of dependent origination and emptiness.
Sugata (bde bar gshegs pa). ‘Blissfully gone.’ 1) The historical Buddha Shakyamuni. 2) Any fully enlightened being.
Sukhavati (bde ba can). ‘Blissful Realm.’ The pure realm of Buddha Amitabha. See ‘Blissful Realm.’
Superknowledge (mngon shes). Divine sight, divine hearing, recollection of former lives, cognition of the minds of others, capacity for performing miracles, and, in the case of accomplished practitioners, the ‘cognition of the exhaustion of defilements.’
Supportive rituals (zhabs brten). Rituals performed to remove obstacles for life and health.
Supramundane Scripture (‘jig rten las ‘das pa’i mdo). One of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras; focused on Vishuddha Mind. Vol. RA in the Nyingma Gyubum.
Supreme Hundred Families (dam pa rigs brgya). Name of a sadhana text composed by Guru Rinpoche focused on the hundred peaceful and wrathful deities.
Supreme Steed Display Root Tantra (rta mchog rol pa rtsa ba’i rgyud). Tantra belonging to the Sadhana Section of Mahayoga. Two versions are found in Vol. HA of Nyingma Gyubum.
Supreme vidyadhara level of mahamudra (phyag rgya chen po mchog gi rig ‘dzin). 1) Supreme enlightenment. 2) The third of the four vidyadhara levels. See ‘vidyadhara level of mahamudra.’
Sutra (mdo, mdo sde). 1) A discourse by or inspired by the Buddha. 2) A scripture of the Sutra pitaka within the Tripitaka. 3) All exoteric teachings of Buddhism belonging to Hinayana and Mahayana, the causal teachings that regard the path as the cause of enlightenment, as opposed to the esoteric, tantric teachings.
Sutra and Mantra (mdo sngags). Sutra refers to the teachings of both Hinayana and Mahayana. Mantra refers to Vajrayana. Sutra means taking the cause as path. Tantra means taking the result as path.
Sutra on the Furtherance of Virtue (mdo dge rgyas).
Sutra Pitaka (mdo’i sde snod)See under ‘Sutra.’
Sutra Requested by Unending Intelligence (blo gros mi zad pas zhus pa’i mdo).
Swift feet (rkang mgyogs). The yogic art of being able to walk extremely fast, covering a huge distance in a short time, through control over the inner currents of energy.


Tamer of All Haughty Spirits (dregs pa kun ‘dul). The chief figure in the mandala of Mundane Worship.
Tanagana (sbyor sgrol). The Vajrayana practice of ‘union and liberation:’ liberating ignorance and disturbing emotions by uniting with the wisdom of the enlightened state.
Tanglha (thang lha). See Nyenchen Tanglha.
Tantra (rgyud). The Vajrayana teachings given by the Buddha in his sambhogakaya form. The real sense of tantra is ‘continuity,’ the innate buddha nature, which is known as the ‘tantra of the expressed meaning.’ The general sense of tantra is the extraordinary tantric scriptures also known as the ‘tantra of the expressing words.’ Can also refer to all the resultant teachings of Vajrayana as a whole.
Tantra of Taming Haughty Spirits (dregs pa ‘dul ba’i rgyud). Tantra belonging to the Sadhana Section of Mahayoga; focused on the section of Mundane Worship.
Tantra of Taming the Elemental Forces (‘byung po ‘dul byed kyi rgyud). A tantra belonging to Kriya Yoga.
Tantra of the Four Vajra Thrones (rdo rje gdan bzhi’i rgyud). A Mahayoga scripture. Possibly identical with the Catuhpitha (gdan bzhi) which is included among the tantras in the Tripitaka.
Tantra of the General Accomplishment of Knowledge Mantras (rig sngags spyi’i sgrub lugs kyi rgyud). One of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras. Also named Galpo Dupa (gal po bsdus pa).
Tantra of the Immaculate King of Confession (dri med bshags rgyud kyi rgyal po).
Tantra of the Magical Net of Vajrasattva (rdo rje sems dpa’ sgyu ‘phrul dra ba’i rgyud). Same as Essence of Secrets, Guhyagarbha.
Tantra Section (rgyud sde). One of the two divisions of Mahayana. The Mahayoga tantras appeared in this world when revealed by Vajrasattva and the Lord of Secrets to King Jah, the ruler of Zahor, who was born 112 years after Buddha’s nirvana. Some of the contemporary lineage holders were Uparaja, Kukuraja, Vimalakirti, and Jnanamitra. Subsequent masters were Shakputri, the regent and son of King Jah, King Jah’s daughter Gomadevi, Singaraja, Lilavajra, Buddhaguhya and Vajrahasya. The following generation of lineage holders were Bhashita, Prabhahasti, and Padmasambhava, the latter of whom also received the tantras directly from King Jah.
Tantras, scriptures and instructions (rgyud lung man ngag). The teachings of Mahayoga, Anu Yoga, and Ati Yoga respectively.
Tantric (rgyud kyi, sngags kyi). Of or pertaining to Vajrayana.
Tantrika (sngags pa). ‘Tantric practitioner,’ ngakpa. A person who has received empowerment, continues sadhana practice and keeps the sacred commitments. In particular, an adept follower of Mahayoga Tantra.
Tara Goddess (sgrol ma lha mo). ‘Divine Savioress.’ A important female bodhisattva of compassion, the one who takes beings across the ocean of samsara. There are twenty-one forms of Tara while the most popular are the white and green Taras.
Tarpaling in Bumtang (‘bum thang thar pa gling). Temple in eastern Bhutan founded by Longchen Rabjam.
Tathagata (de bzhin gshegs pa). ‘Thus-gone.’ Same as a fully enlightened buddha.
Tatvasamgraha Root Tantra (rtsa ba’i rgyud de kho na nyid bsdus pa). One the Four Major Sections of Yoga Tantra.
Tawa Long-yang (lta ba klong yangs). A treasure cycle of the Father Tantra aspect of the Great Perfection revealed by Dorje Lingpa (1346-1405). Tawa Long-yang means ‘Vast Expanse of the View.’
Ten nonvirtues (mi dge ba bcu). The physical misdeeds are killing, taking what is not given, and engaging in sexual misconduct. The verbal misdeeds are lying, uttering divisive talk, harsh words, and gossiping. The mental misdeeds are harboring covetousness, ill-will, and wrong views.
Ten spiritual activities (chos spyod bcu). Copying scriptures, making offerings, giving alms, listening to discourses, memorizing, reading, expounding, reciting, reflecting upon and training in the meaning of the Dharma.
Ten topics of tantra (rgyud kyi dngos po bcu). View, conduct, mandala, empowerment, samaya, activity, accomplishment, samadhi, offering puja, mantra and mudra. These are the ten aspects of the path of a tantric practitioner, as well as the ten primary topics to be explained.
Ten virtues (dge ba bcu). Generally, to refrain from the ten nonvirtues. In particular, to engage in their opposites; for example, to save life, be generous, etc.
Tengam (rten gam). Room of box of sacred objects.
Tenma Goddesses or Twelve Tenma Goddesses (brtan ma bcu gnyis). Important female protectors of the Nyingma lineage, semi-mundane semi-wisdom protectors. See Twelve Tenma Goddesses.
Tenth Day Practice in Eight Chapters (tshe bcu le’u brgyad pa).
Terma (gter ma). ‘Treasure.’ 1) The transmission through concealed treasures hidden, mainly by Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal, to be discovered at the proper time by a ‘terton,’ a treasure revealer, for the benefit of future disciples. It is one of the two chief traditions of the Nyingma School, the other being ‘Kama.’ This tradition is said to continue even long after the Vinaya of the Buddha has disappeared. 2) Concealed treasures of many different kinds, including texts, ritual objects, relics, and natural objects.
Terma treasures (gter ma). See Terma.
Terton (gter ston). A revealer of hidden treasures, concealed mainly by Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal.
Terton (gter ston). A revealer of hidden treasures, concealed mainly by Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal.
Testament of Padma (padma’i bka’ chems). Revealed by the great terton Nyang Ral, and presumably identical with the medium-length version of the Sanglingma biography of Padmasambhava, an English translation of which is published as The Lotus-Born (Shambhala Publications, 1993).
Thread-cross (mdos). A tantric ritual involving structures of sticks with colored yarn used to appease mundane spirits.
Three doors (sgo gsum). Body, speech and mind; thought, word and deed.
Three Inner Tantras (nang rgyud sde gsum). Mahayoga, Anu Yoga, and Ati Yoga.
Three Jewels (dkon mchog gsum). The Precious Buddha, the Precious Dharma and the Precious Sangha. In The Light of Wisdom (Shambhala Publ.), Jamgon Kongtrul explains: “The Buddha is the nature of the four kayas and five wisdoms endowed with the twofold purity and the perfection of the twofold welfare. The Dharma is what is expressed, the unconditioned truth of total purification comprised of cessation and path, and that which expresses, the two aspects of statement and realization appearing as the names, words and letters of the teachings. The Sangha consists of the actual Sangha, the sons of the victorious ones abiding on the noble bhumis who are endowed with the qualities of wisdom and liberation, and the resembling Sangha who are on the paths of accumulation and joining as well as the noble shravakas and pratyekabuddhas.”
Three kayas (sku gsum). Dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya. The three kayas as ground are ‘essence, nature, and expression,’ as path they are ‘bliss, clarity and nonthought,’ and as fruition they are the ‘three kayas of buddhahood.’ The three kayas of buddhahood are the dharmakaya which is free from elaborate constructs and endowed with the ‘twenty-one sets of enlightened qualities;’ the sambhogakaya which is of the nature of light and endowed with the perfect major and minor marks perceptible only to bodhisattvas on the levels; and the nirmanakaya which manifests in forms perceptible to both pure and impure beings.In the context of The Lotus-Born, the three kayas are sometimes Buddha Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara, and Padmasambhava.
Three realms (khams gsum). The samsaric realms of Desire, Form and Formlessness.
Three roots (rtsa ba gsum). Guru, Yidam and Dakini. The Guru is the root of blessings, the Yidam of accomplishment, and the Dakini of activity.
Three Sections of Dzogchen (rdzogs chen sde gsum). After Garab Dorje established the six million four hundred thousand tantras of Dzogchen in the human world, his chief disciple, Manjushrimitra, arranged these tantras into three categories: the Mind Section emphasizing luminosity, the Space Section emphasizing emptiness, and the Instruction Section emphasizing their inseparability.
Three sets of vows (sdom pa gsum). The Hinayana vows of individual liberation, the Mahayana trainings of a bodhisattva, and the Vajrayana samayas of a vidyadhara, a tantric practitioner.
Three trainings (bslab pa gsum). The trainings of discipline, concentration, and discriminating knowledge.
Threefold Excellence (dam pa gsum). The excellent beginning of bodhichitta, the excellent main part without conceptualization and the excellent conclusion of dedication. Also called the three excellencies. For a detailed explanation, see Repeating the Words of the Buddha (Rangjung Yeshe Publ.).
Tidro Cave at Shoto (sho stod sti sgro)Sacred place of Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal near Drigung Til in Central Tibet. Opened by Padmasambhava for future practitioners, this important pilgrimage site also has hot springs with healing properties.
Tika (thig le). Essence; sphere.
Tilaka (thig le). Essence; sphere.
Torma (gtor ma). An implement used in tantric ceremonies. Can also refer to a food offering to protectors of the Dharma or unfortunate spirits.
Tramen (phra men). Goddesses with human bodies and animal heads. ‘Tramen’ means ‘hybrid’ or ‘alloy.’
Treasury of Precious Termas (rin chen gter mdzod). See ‘Rinchen Terdzo.’
Tri Ralpachen (khri ral pa can). See Ralpachen.
Kangyur - the TripitakaTripitaka (sde snod gsum). The three collections of the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni: Vinaya, Sutra, and Abhidharma.
Triple-storied Central Temple (dbu rtse rigs / rim gsum). The central structure at the temple complex of Samye.
Trisong Deutsen (khri srong de’u btsan). (790-844) The second great Dharma king of Tibet who invited Guru Rinpoche, ShantarakshitaVimalamitra, and many other Buddhist teachers .
Troma Nagmo (khros ma nag mo). A wrathful black form of the female buddha Vajra Yogini. Troma Nagmo means ‘Black Lady of Wrath.’
Trulnang (‘phrul snang). One of two important temples in Lhasa built by King Songtsen Gampo and housing a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Tsangpo (gtsang po, Skt. Brahmaputra). The river flowing by Samye.
Tsele Natsok Rangdrol (rtse le sna tshogs rang grol). (b. 1608) Important master of the Kagyu and Nyingma schools. He is also the author of Mirror of Mindfulness and Lamp of Mahamudra, both Shambhala Publications.
Tsemang of Denma (ldan ma rtse mang). Important early Tibetan translator of the Tripitaka. Extremely well-versed in writing, his style of calligraphy is continued to the present day. Having received transmission of Vajrayana from Padmasambhava, he had realization and achieved perfect recall. He is said to be the chief scribe who wrote down many termas including the Assemblage of Sugatas connected to the Eight Sadhana Teachings.
Tsen (btsan). A type of evil spirit.
Tsogyal (mtsho rgyal). See under ‘Yeshe Tsogyal.’
Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel (thugs sgrub bar chad kun sel). A cycle of teachings revealed by Chokgyur Lingpa together with Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo consisting of about ten volumes of texts. Belong to the principle of Guru Vidyadhara. For details, see foreword to The Great Gate (Rangjung Yeshe Publ.). Tukdrub means ‘Heart practice,’ Barchey Kunsel means ‘dispeller of all obstacles.’
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche (sprul sku u rgyan rin po che). A recent master of the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, who lived at Nagi Gompa in Nepal.
Twelve Kyongma Goddesses (skyong ma bcu gnyis). Retinue of the Twelve Tenma Goddesses.
Twelve Tenma Goddesses (brtan ma bcu gnyis). Important female protectors of the Nyingma lineage, semi-mundane semi-wisdom protectors.
Twelve Yama Goddesses (ya ma bcu gnyis). Retinue of the Twelve Tenma Goddesses.
Twelvefold Kilaya Tantra (ki la ya bcu gnyis). Tantra belonging to the Sadhana Section of Mahayoga. Tantras with similar titles are found in Vol. DZA and HA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Twenty-eight shvari goddesses (dbang phyug ma nyer brgyad). Wrathful emanations of the four female gate keepers among the 42 peaceful deities in the mandala of Magical Net; seven for each of the four activities.
Twenty-five tantras (rgyud nyi shu rtsa lnga). Dzogchen tantras belonging to the Mind Section and possibly also the Space Section, taught by Shri Singha to Vairotsana and Lekdrub. Listed in Chapter Fourteen.
Two accumulations (tshogs gnyis). The accumulation of merit with concepts and the accumulation of wisdom beyond concepts.
Two obscurations (sgrib gnyis). The obscuration of disturbing emotions and the cognitive obscuration.
Two stages (rim gnyis). See ‘development stage’ and ‘completion stage.’
Two truths (bden pa gnyis). Relative truth and ultimate truth. Relative truth describes the seeming, superficial and apparent mode of all things. Ultimate truth describes the real, true and unmistaken mode. These two aspects of reality are defined by the Four Philosophical Schools as well as the tantras of Vajrayana in different ways, each progressively deeper and closer to describing things as they are.


Ubhaya (gnyis ka). ‘Both’ or ‘twin.’ The second of the three outer sections of tantra, usually known as Upa Yoga. The scriptures appeared first in Mount Jakang Chen and Cool Grove. The name refers to a combination of two aspects: the conduct of Kriya Yoga and the view of Yoga Tantra.
Uddiyana (u rgyan, o rgyan). The country to the north-west of ancient India where Guru Rinpoche was born on a lotus flower. The literal meaning of Uddiyana is ‘vehicle of flying’ or ‘going above and far.’ See also ‘Orgyen’ which is a corruption of the Indian word.
Udumvara (Skt.) ‘Especially eminent’ or ‘supremely exalted.’ This flower is said to appear and bloom only accompanying the appearance of a fully enlightened buddha.
Unified stage of the path of training (slob pa’i zung ‘jug). A high level of accomplishment. Same as the vidyadhara level of mahamudra.
Unsurpassable Magical Net (sgyu ‘phrul bla ma). A Mahayoga scripture. Vol. PHA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Upa Yoga (Skt.). See Ubhaya Tantra.
Upasaka (dge bsnyen). A Buddhist layman, bound by the five vows to avoid killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and intoxicating liquor. The Tibetan equivalent, genyen, means ‘pursuer of virtue.’
Upaya (thabs). See ‘means and knowledge.’
Ushnika (gtsug thor) A protuberance which raises infinitely into space from the top of a buddha’s head. It can be seen only by a bodhisattva who attained the first bhumi.


Vairochana (rnam par snang mdzad). One of the five families, the chief buddha of the tathagata family.
Vairotsana (Skt.). The great translator who lived during the reign of King Trisong Deutsen.
Vajra (rdo rje). ‘Diamond,’ ‘king of stones.’ As an adjective it means indestructible, invincible, firm etc. The ultimate vajra is emptiness, the conventional vajra is the ritual implement of material substance.
Vajra body (rdo rje’i lus / sku). The human body, the subtle channels of which resemble the structure of a vajra.
Vajra Hell (rdo rje’i myal ba). The lowest hell of Incessant Pain.
Vajra Kilaya (rdo rje phur ba). One of the main yidams of the Nyingma School belonging to the Eight Sadhana Teachings.
Vajra master (rdo rje slob dpon). A tantric master who is adept in the rituals and meaning of Vajrayana. The master from whom one receives tantric teaching and empowerment. Can also refer to the master who presides over a tantric ritual.
Vajra Throne in BodhgayaVajra Seat (rdo rje gdan, Skt. vajrasana). The ‘diamond throne’ under the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya where Buddha Shakyamuni attained enlightenment.
Vajra Thotreng Tsal (rdo rje thod phreng rtsal). ‘Powerful Vajra Garland of skulls.’ One of Padmasambhava’s names.
Vajra Totreng (rdo rje thod phreng). ‘Vajra Garland of skulls.’ One of Padmasambhava’s names.
Vajra Varahi (rdo rje phag mo). A sambhogakaya manifestation of the female buddha Samantabhadri. She is also one of the chief yidam deities of the Sarma Schools, as well as a wisdom dakini.
Vajradhara (rdo rje ‘chang). ‘Vajra-holder.’ The dharmakaya buddha of the Sarma Schools. Can also refer to one’s personal teacher of Vajrayana or to the all-embracing buddha nature.
Vajradhatu (rdo rje dbyings). Indestructible innate space.
Vajradhatu Mandala (rdo rje dbyings kyi dkyil ‘khor). An important sadhana of Mahayoga containing the 42 peaceful deities.
Vajradhatu Mandala of Peaceful Deities (zhi ba rdo rje dbyings kyi dkyil ‘khor). An important sadhana of Mahayoga. See also ‘Forty-two peaceful deities.’
Vajra-holder (rdo rje ‘dzin pa). 1) Respectful title for an accomplished master. 2) The state of enlightenment.
Vajrakaya (rdo rje’i sku). The unchanging quality of the buddha nature. Sometimes counted among the five kayas of buddhahood.
Vajrapani (phyag na rdo rje). ‘Vajra Bearer.’ One of the eight great bodhisattvas and the chief compiler of the Vajrayana teachings. Also known as ‘Lord of Secrets.’
Vajrasattva (rdo rje sems dpa’). A sambhogakaya buddha who embodies all of the five or hundred buddha families. He is also a support for purification practices.
Vajrayana (rdo rje theg pa). The ‘vajra vehicle.’ The practices of taking the result as the path. Same as ‘Secret Mantra,’ or resultant vehicles.
Vehicle (theg pa). The practice of a set of teachings which ‘carries’ one to the level of fruition. In Buddhism there are mainly three vehicles: Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
Vidyadhara (rig pa ‘dzin pa). ‘Knowledge-holder.’ Holder (dhara) or bearer of knowledge (vidya) mantra. A realized master on one of the four stages on the tantric path of Mahayoga, the tantric equivalent of the eleven levels. Another definition is: Bearer of the profound method, the knowledge which is the wisdom of deity, mantra and great bliss.
Vidyadhara Accomplishment Tantra (rig ‘dzin grub pa’i rgyud). One of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras. The Golden Garland Chronicles names this scripture The Tantra of Six Vidyadharas (rig ‘dzin drug pa’i rgyud).
Vidyadhara level of longevity (tshe’i rig ‘dzin, tshe la dbang ba’i rig ‘dzin). The second of the four vidyadhara levels. Corresponds to the path of seeing. The practitioner’s body turns into the subtle vajra-like body while his mind matures into the wisdom of the path of seeing. It is the attainment of longevity beyond birth and death.
Vidyadhara level of mahamudra (phyag rgya chen po’i rig ‘dzin). The third of the four vidyadhara levels. The stage of the path of cultivation; the practitioner emerges from the luminosity of the path of seeing in the form of the wisdom body of unified state of the ‘path of training.’
Vidyadhara level of maturation (rnam par smin pa’i rig ‘dzin). The first of the four vidyadhara levels. The beginning of the path of seeing; the practitioner has reached stability in the development stage and his mind has ‘matured’ into the form of the yidam deity, but he is yet to purify the remainder of the physical elements.
Vidyadhara level of spontaneous perfection (lhun gyis grub pa’i rig ‘dzin). The fourth of the four vidyadhara levels. Corresponds to buddhahood, the path beyond training. The final fruition and state of a vajra holder endowed with the spontaneously perfected five kayas: dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya, vajrakaya, and abhisambodhikaya.
View, meditation, conduct and fruition (lta ba sgom pa spyod pa ‘bras bu). The philosophical orientation, the act of growing accustomed to that – usually in sitting practice, the implementation of that insight during the activities of daily life, and the final outcome resulting from such training. Each of the nine vehicles has its particular definition of view, meditation, conduct and fruition.
VimalamitraVimalamitra (dri med bshes gnyen). A master in the Dzogchen lineage and the crown ornament of five hundred panditas, who had attained the indestructible form of the rainbow body; invited to Tibet by King Trisong Deutsen. One of the three main forefathers of the Dzogchen teachings, especially Nyingtig, in Tibet. Vimalamitra means ‘Flawless Kinsman.’
Vinaya (‘dul ba). ‘Discipline.’ One of the three parts of the Tripitaka. The Buddha’s teachings showing ethics, the discipline and moral conduct that is the foundation for all Dharma practice, both for lay and ordained people.
Vinaya Pitaka (‘dul ba’i sde snod). See Tripitaka.
Vipashyana (lhag mthong). ‘Clear’ or ‘wider seeing.’ Usually referring to insight into emptiness. One of the two main aspects of meditation practice, the other being shamatha.
Vishuddha (yang dag). The heruka of the vajra family or the tantric teachings connected to that wrathful deity. One of the Eight Sadhana Teachings of the Nyingma School.
Vishuddha Heruka (yang dag he ru ka). See Vishuddha.
Vishuddha Mind (yang dag thugs). See Vishuddha.
Vows and precepts (bslab sdom). See under ‘Three sets of vows.’


War Goddess of Shangshung (zhang zhung gi dgra lha). A protectress of the Bonpo doctrine. She was subjugated by Padmasambhava and given the name Great Glacier Lady of Invincible Turquoise Mist.
Wheel of the Dharma (chos kyi ‘khor lo). To turn the wheel of Dharma is poetic for giving teachings. In specific, the cycle of teachings given by the Buddha; three such cycles, known as the Three Turnings of the Wheel of the Dharma, were taught by Shakyamuni Buddha during his lifetime.
Wheel of Yama (gshin rje’i ‘khor lo). Tantra belonging to the Sadhana Section of Mahayoga; focused on a wrathful form of Manjushri.
White Skull Naga Forefather (klu’i mes po thod dkar). Another name for the protector Nyenchen Tanglha.
Wind of karma (las kyi rlung). 1) Another word for conceptual thinking. 2) The inevitable force of the ripening effect of former deeds.
Wisdom (ye shes). In this book this word is usually translated as ‘original wakefulness.’ There are also the five wisdoms, aspects of how the cognitive quality of buddha nature functions: the dharmadhatu wisdom, mirror-like wisdom, wisdom of equality, discriminating wisdom and all-accomplishing wisdom.
Wisdom dakini (ye shes kyi mkha’ ‘gro ma). Enlightened female being, the root of activity among the Three Roots.
Wishfulfilling jewel (yid bzhin nor bu). A gem which grants the fulfillment of all one could desire; thus the Buddha, one’s personal master, and the nature of mind are often referred to as a wish-fulfilling gem.
World-system (‘jig rten gyi khams). A universe comprised of Mount Sumeru, four continents and eight sub-continents.
Wrathful Blue Lotus Tantra (khro bo pun da ri ka’i rgyud). One of the Eighteen Mahayoga Tantras; focused on Vishuddha Mind. Found in Vol. RA of the Nyingma Gyubum.
Yaksha (gnod sbyin). A class of semidivine beings, generally benevolent but sometimes wicked. Many are powerful local divinities, others live on Mount Sumeru, guarding the realm of the gods.
Yama (gshin rje). The Lord of Death. A personification of impermanence, the unfailing law of karma and one’s inevitable mortality.
Yamantaka (gshin rje gshed). A wrathful form of Manjushri, representing wisdom that subdues death. Among the Eight Sadhana Teachings he is the wrathful buddha of the Body Family. Yamantaka means ‘Slayer of Yama,’ the Lord of Death. Also ‘Manjushri Body.’
Yana (theg pa). ‘That which carries,’ ‘vehicle.’ A set of teachings which enable one to journey towards rebirth in the higher realms, liberation from samsara or complete buddhahood.
Yanglesho (yang le shod). See Cave of Yanglesho.
Yarlha Shampo (yar lha sham po). Important Dharma protectors of Tibet, especially for the Cho teachings.
Yeshe Dey of Nanam (sna nam ye shes sde). Also known as Bandey Yeshe Dey of Shang (zhang gi bhan dhe ye shes sde). Prolific expert translator and disciple of Padmasambhava. He was a monk, both learned and accomplished, and once exhibited his miraculous powers by soaring through the sky like a bird.
Yeshe Tsogyal (ye shes mtsho rgyal). The chief compiler of all the inconceivable teachings given by the great master Padmasambhava.
Yeshe Yang of Ba (sba ye shes dbyangs). Tibetan translator predicted by Padmasambhava. The chief scribe for writing down the termas of Padmasambhava, he was an accomplished yogi, able to fly like a bird to the celestial realms. Also known as Atsara Yeshe Yang. Yeshe Yang means ‘Melodious Wisdom.’
Yidam (yi dam). A personal deity and the root of accomplishment among the Three Roots. The yidam is one’s tutelary deity; a personal protector of one’s practice and guide to enlightenment. Traditionally, yidam practice is the main practice that follows the preliminaries. It includes the two stages of development and completion and is a perfect stepping stone for, or the bridge to approaching, the more subtle practices of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Later on, yidam practice is the perfect enhancement for the view of these subtle practices.
Yoga (rnal ‘byor). 1) The actual integration of learning into personal experience. 2) See Yoga Tantra.
Yoga (rnal ‘byor). 1) The actual integration of learning into personal experience. 2) The third of the three outer tantras: Kriya, Upa and Yoga. It emphasizes the view rather than the conduct and to regard the deity as being the same level as oneself.
Yoga of shape (dbyibs kyi rnal ‘byor). A synonym for the development stage; the practice of visualizing the form of the deity.
Yoga of vidyadhara life (rnal ‘byor tshe’i rig ‘dzin). The tantric practice of attaining immortality by accomplishing the ‘vidyadhara level of longevity.’
Yoga Tantra (rnal ‘byor rgyud). The third of the three outer tantras: Kriya, Upa and Yoga. It emphasizes the view rather than the conduct and to regard the deity as being the same level as oneself.
Yoga vidyadhara level of longevity (rnal ‘byor tshe’i rig ‘dzin). See ‘vidyadhara level of longevity.’
Yogi / yogin (rnal ‘byor pa). Tantric practitioner. In this book, the word yogi often holds the connotation of someone of who has already some level of realization of the natural state of mind.
Yogic (rnal ‘byor gyi). Of, or pertaining to, Vajrayana practice with emphasis on personal training as opposed to scholarly learning.
Yogic discipline (rtul shugs). Additional practices for a tantrika in order to train in implementing the view of Vajrayana during activities; for example feast offering or Cho practice in frightening places. It can be pursued by the practitioner who has strong familiarity with the view and stability in meditation practice. Carries the connotation of ‘courageous conduct.’
Yudra Nyingpo (g.yu sgra snying po). One of the twenty-five disciples of Guru Rinpoche; the reincarnation of Lekdrub of Tsang. Born in the region of Gyalmo Tsawarong, he was brought up by Vairotsana and reached perfection in both learning and yogic accomplishment. He is counted among the 108 lotsawas and is one of the main lineage holders of the Mind Section of Dzogchen from the great translator Vairotsana.


Zahor (za hor). An ancient Indian kingdom believed to be situated around Mandir the present state of Himachal Pradesh in the northern part of India.
Zi stone (gzi). Divine agate.