This glossary contains an alphabetical list of Buddhist terms that you may find on this website. Many of the terms now include phoneticized Sanskrit (Skt) as well as two forms of Tibetan—the phonetic version (Tib), which is a guide to pronunciation, and transliteration using the Wylie method (Wyl). Search for the term you want by entering it in the search box or browse through the listing by clicking on the letters below.
Glossary terms for "S"
Method of accomplishment; the step-by-step instructions for practicing the meditations related to a particular meditational deity.
A wandering Hindu yogi.
One of four great holy days of the Tibetan calendar, falling on the fifteenth of the fourth Tibetan month, Saka Dawa commemorates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana. Engaging in virtuous activities at this time by making extensive offerings or doing beneficial pujas and practices creates vast merit.
A bodhisattva renowned for his heroic aspiration and extensive offerings.
Sacred word of honor; the pledges and commitments made by a disciple at an initiation to keep tantric vows for life or to perform certain practices connected with the deity, such as daily sadhana recitation, or offering the Guru Puja on the tenth and the twenty-fifth of each Tibetan month.
Early non-Buddhist philosophical school; the so-called "enumerators," because they advocate a definite enumeration of the causes that produce existents.
Cyclic existence; the six realms of conditioned existence, three lower—hell, hungry ghost (Skt: preta), and animal—and three upper—human, demigod (Skt: asura), and god (Skt: sura). The beginningless, recurring cycle of death and rebirth under the control of delusion and karma, fraught with suffering. Also refers to the contaminated aggregates of a sentient being.
Spiritual community; the third of the Three Jewels of Refuge. In Tibetan gen dun literally means intending (dun) to virtue (ge). Absolute Sangha are those who have directly realized emptiness; relative Sangha refers to a group of at least four fully ordained monks or nuns.
A female buddha embodying creativity and wisdom, (the Tibetan means "Melodious Lady"). Her wrathful aspect is Palden Lhamo, the chief protector of the Tibetan people.
According to Tibetan traditions, one of the two major Hinayana philosophical schools. Ontologically, Sautrantikas subscribe to a doctrine of radical momentariness and accept some dharmas as real and others as conceptual; epistemologically, they assert a representational realism. Vasubandhu's Autocommentary on the Treasury of Higher Knowledge reflects Sautrantika views, as do some of the writings of Dignaga and Dharmakirti. (See The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems, p. 508.)
One of the six groups of mental factors, these are the afflicted or nonvirtuous minds that arise in dependence on the root delusions such as attachment, anger and so forth. There are twenty: belligerence, resentment, concealment, spite, jealousy, miserliness, deceit, dissimulation, haughtiness, harmfulness, non-shame (shamelessness), non-embarrassment (inconsideration), lethargy, excitement, non-faith (faithlessness), laziness, non-conscientiousness, forgetfulness, non-introspection (non-alertness) and distraction.
In tantric visualizations, a Sanskrit syllable arising out of emptiness and out of which the meditational deity in turn arises. A single syllable representing a deity’s entire mantra.
According to the Prasangika Madhyamaka school, the most subtle view of selflessness of person is the lack of inherent existence of the person or self. The five aggregates of body and mind are the mere basis of imputation of the self or “I”, which does not exist from its own side. See also selflessness of phenomena.
Any unenlightened being; any being whose mind is not completely free from gross and subtle ignorance.
One of the three great Gelugpa monasteries near Lhasa; founded in the early fifteenth century by Jamchen Chöje, a disciple of Lama Tsongkhapa; now also established in exile in south India. It has two colleges, Sera Je, with which Lama Zopa Rinpoche is connected, and Sera Me.
The first in the line of incarnations, this great Tibetan yogi was the incarnation of Marpa, the translator. He was famous for his scholarship and wisdom, and after practicing tantra in solitary retreat, manifested signs of realizations.
The second in the line of incarnations, this great yogi studied sutra and tantra at Ganden and Gyüme monasteries in Tibet. After fleeing Tibet, he lived for many years in Swayambhunath, Nepal, where he became a guru of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Born in India and recognized as the third in the line of incarnations by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. He received a geshe degree in 2010 and completed his studies at Gyüme Tantric College in 2013. Since then he has been travelling and giving Buddhist teachings, as well as looking after his monastery, Serkong Dorjee Chang Monastery, in Swayambunath, Nepal.