Glossary of Buddhist Terms: Letters K - O
Kadam Emanation Scripture Also known as `Ganden Emanation Scripture’. A special scripture, the nature of Manjushri’s wisdom, revealed directly to Je Tsongkhapa by Manjushri. It contains instructions on Vajrayana Mahamudra, Offering to the Spiritual Guide (Lama Chöpa), The Hundreds of Deities of the Joyful Land (Ganden Lhagyäma), the Migtsema prayer, and six sadhanas of Manjushri. This scripture was not composed in ordinary letters, and only highly realized beings can consult it directly. At first the instructions from this scripture were passed down only by word of mouth from Teacher to disciple, and so the lineage became known as the `Uncommon Whispered Lineage of the Virtuous Tradition’ or the ‘Ensa Whispered Lineage’. It is also known as the `Uncommon Close Lineage’ because it was revealed directly to Je Tsongkhapa by Manjushri. Later, scholars such as the first Panchen Lama (AD 1569-1662) wrote down the instructions from this scripture in ordinary letters. See Great Treasury of Merit and Heart Jewel.
Kadampa A Tibetan word in which ‘Ka’ means ‘word’ and refers to all Buddha’s teachings, ‘dam’ refers to Atisha’s special Lamrim instructions known as the ‘stages of the path to enlightenment’, and ‘pa’ refers to a follower of Kadampa Buddhism who integrates all the teachings of Buddha that they know into their Lamrim practice. See also Kadampa Buddhism and Kadampa Tradition.
Kadampa Tradition The pure tradition of Buddhism established by Atisha. Followers of this tradition up to the time of Je Tsongkhapa are known as `Old Kadampas’, and those after the time of Je Tsongkhapa are known as `New Kadampas’. See also Kadampa, Kadampa Buddhism, and New Kadampa Tradition.
Kalachakra A Highest Yoga Tantra Deity manifested by Buddha Vajradhara.
Kalarupa A Dharma Protector who is an emanation of Manjushri.
Kangyur The collection of all the Sutras and Tantras that have been translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan. See also Tängyur.
Karma Sanskrit word meaning ‘action’. Through the force of intention, we perform actions with our body, speech, and mind, and all of these actions produce effects. The effect of virtuous actions is happiness and the effect of negative actions is suffering. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune.
Karmic appearance Mere appearance to mind that arises from karma. Everything we perceive when we are dreaming is the result of the ripening of karmic potentials in our mind and has no existence outside of our mind. In a similar way, all the appearances of our waking world are simply the ripening of positive, negative, or neutral karmic imprints in our mind.
Kashyapa Buddha Kashyapa was the third Buddha to appear in this world and turn the Wheel of Dharma, the previous two being Buddha Krakuchchanda and Buddha Kanakamuni. Buddha Shakyamuni was the fourth, and Buddha Maitreya will be the fifth.
Khädrubje (AD 1385-1438) One of the principal disciples of Je Tsongkhapa, who did much to promote the tradition of Je Tsongkhapa after he passed away. See Great Treasury of Merit.
Khandarohi One of the eight Goddesses of the body wheel of the Heruka mandala. Her main function is to dispel the obstacles of practitioners. See Guide to Dakini Land.
Khatanga A ritual object symbolizing the sixty-two Deities of Heruka.
Kusali Literally, `Possessor of Virtue’. A name given to great meditators who practise secretly while outwardly appearing as ordinary people. See Guide to Dakini Land.
Lama See Spiritual Guide.
Lama Losang Tubwang Dorjechang A special manifestation of Je Tsongkhapa revealed directly to the great Yogi Dharmavajra. In this manifestation, Je Tsongkhapa appears as a fully ordained monk wearing a long-eared Pandit’s hat, with Buddha Shakyamuni at his heart, and Conqueror Vajradhara at his heart. In the practice of Offering to the Spiritual Guide, we visualize our Spiritual Guide in this aspect. `Lama’ indicates that he is our Spiritual Guide, `Losang’ that he is Je Tsongkhapa (whose ordained name was Losang Dragpa), `Tubwang’ that he is Buddha Shakyamuni, and `Dorjechang’ that he is Vajradhara. In Tibetan, this aspect of our Spiritual Guide is also known as `je sempa sum tseg’, which means `Je Tsongkhapa, the Unification of Three Holy Beings’. This indicates that in reality our Spiritual Guide is the same nature as Je Tsongkhapa, Buddha Shakyamuni, and Conqueror Vajradhara. See Great Treasury of Merit.
Lamrim A Tibetan term, literally meaning `stages of the path’. A special arrangement of all Buddha’s teachings that is easy to understand and put into practice. It reveals all the stages of the path to enlightenment. For a full commentary, see Joyful Path of Good Fortune.
Land of the Thirty-three Heavens One of the six abodes of desire realm gods. These are, in sequence: Land of the Four Great Kings, Land of the Thirty-three Heavens, Land Without Combat, Joyful Land, Land of Enjoying Emanations, and Land of Controlling Emanations.
Langri Tangpa, Geshe (AD 1054-1123) A great Kadampa Teacher who was famous for his realization of exchanging self with others. He composed Eight Verses of Training the Mind. See Eight Steps to Happiness.
Laziness A deluded mental factor that, motivated by attachment to worldly pleasures or worldly activities, dislikes virtuous activity. There are three types of laziness: laziness arising from attachment to worldly pleasures, laziness arising from attachment to distracting activities, and laziness arising from discouragement. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune and Understanding the Mind.
Learner Superiors Superior beings who are still training on the learning paths; that is, Superior beings on either the path of seeing or the path of meditation.
Letter A vocalization that is a basis for the composition of names and phrases. See Understanding the Mind.
Liberation ‘Nirvana’ in Sanskrit. Complete freedom from samsara and its cause, the delusions. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune.
Life-supporting wind An inner energy wind that resides in the heart chakra, and functions to maintain the connection between our mind and body. When its strength diminishes, the connection is broken, and we die. This wind has three levels: gross, subtle, and very subtle. It is the very subtle wind that travels from life to life, supporting the very subtle mind. See Living Meaningfully, Dying Joyfully and Clear Light of Bliss.
Lineage A line of instruction that has been passed down from Spiritual Guide to disciple, with each Spiritual Guide in the line having gained personal experience of the instruction before passing it on to others.
Lineage Gurus The line of Spiritual Guides through whom a particular instruction has been passed down.
Ling Rinpoche (AD 1903-1983) The Senior Tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama.
Living being Synonymous with sentient being (Tib. sem chän). Any being who possesses a mind that is contaminated by delusions or their imprints. Both `living being’ and `sentient being’ are terms used to distinguish beings whose minds are contaminated by either of these two obstructions from Buddhas, whose minds are completely free from these obstructions.
Lochana A female Buddha who is the manifestation of the earth element of all Buddhas.
Lojong A Tibetan term, literally meaning `training the mind’. A special lineage of instructions that came from Buddha Shakyamuni through Manjushri and Shantideva to Atisha and the Kadampa Geshes, which emphasizes the generation of bodhichitta through the practices of equalizing and exchanging self with others combined with taking and giving. See Universal Compassion and Eight Steps to Happiness.
Long-life god An inhabitant of Great Result, one of the fourth form realms. Long-life gods are explained in the Lamrim teachings on the eight unfree states. They experience only two gross minds – one when they realize that they have taken heavenly rebirth and the other when they are about to die. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune and Ocean of Nectar.
Lord of Death Although the mara of uncontrolled death is not a sentient being, it is personified as the Lord of Death, or ‘Yama’. The Lord of Death is depicted in the diagram of the Wheel of Life clutching the wheel between his claws and teeth. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune .
Lorig Tibetan term for `types of mind’.
Losang Dragpa ‘Sumati Kirti’ in Sanskrit. The ordained name of Je Tsongkhapa. See Great Treasury of Merit.
Lotus posture A sitting posture where the soles of both feet are pressed together.
Lower realms The hell realm, hungry spirit realm, and animal realm. See also Samsara.
Madhyamika A Sanskrit term, literally meaning ‘Middle Way’. The higher of the two schools of Mahayana tenets. The Madhyamika view was taught by Buddha in the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras during the second turning of the Wheel of Dharma and was subsequently elucidated by Nagarjuna and his followers. There are two divisions of this school, Madhyamika-Svatantrika and Madhyamika-Prasangika, of which the latter is Buddha’s final view. See Meaningful to Behold and Ocean of Nectar.
Mahakala A Dharma Protector who appears in many different aspects – four-armed, six-armed, four-faced, and so forth.
Mahakaruna Sanskrit term for `great compassion’, and also an epithet for Buddha Avalokiteshvara.
Mahamudra A Sanskrit term, literally meaning `great seal’. According to Sutra, this refers to the profound view of emptiness. Since emptiness is the nature of all phenomena, it is called a `seal’, and since a direct realization of emptiness enables us to accomplish the great purpose – complete liberation from the sufferings of samsara – it is also called `great’. According to Tantra, or Vajrayana, great seal is the union of spontaneous great bliss and emptiness. See Mahamudra Tantra.
Mahasiddha Sanskrit term for `Greatly Accomplished One’, which is used to refer to Yogis or Yoginis with high attainments.
Mahayana Sanskrit term for `Great Vehicle’, the spiritual path to great enlightenment. The Mahayana goal is to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings by completely abandoning delusions and their imprints. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune and Meaningful to Behold.
Mahayana path A clear realization in the mental continuum of a Bodhisattva or a Buddha. There are five Mahayana paths: the Mahayana path of accumulation, the Mahayana path of preparation, the Mahayana path of seeing, the Mahayana path of meditation, and the Mahayana Path of No More Learning. The first four are necessarily in the continuum of a Bodhisattva and the last is necessarily in the continuum of a Buddha. See Ocean of Nectar and Tantric Grounds and Paths.
Maitreya The embodiment of the loving kindness of all the Buddhas. At the time of Buddha Shakyamuni he manifested as a Bodhisattva disciple in order to show Buddha’s disciples how to be perfect Mahayana disciples. In the future, he will manifest as the fifth founding Buddha.
Mala A rosary used to count recitations of prayers or mantras, usually with one hundred and eight beads. See Guide to Dakini Land.
Mamaki A female Buddha who is the manifestation of the water element of all Buddhas.
Mandala Usually the celestial mansion in which a Tantric Deity abides, or the environment or Deities of a Buddha’s Pure Land. Sometimes it is used to refer to the essence of an element, for example `wind mandala’. See Guide to Dakini Land and Essence of Vajrayana.
Manifest object An object whose initial realization by a valid cognizer does not depend upon logical reasons. See Understanding the Mind.
Manjushri The embodiment of the wisdom of all the Buddhas. At the time of Buddha Shakyamuni he manifested as a Bodhisattva disciple in order to show Buddha’s disciples how to be perfect Mahayana disciples. See Great Treasury of Merit and Heart Jewel.
Mantra A Sanskrit word, literally meaning `mind protection’. Mantra protects the mind from ordinary appearances and conceptions. There are four types of mantra: mantras that are mind, mantras that are inner wind, mantras that are sound, and mantras that are form. In general, there are three types of mantra recitation: verbal recitation, mental recitation, and vajra recitation. See Tantric Grounds and Paths.
Mara ‘Mara’ is Sanskrit for ‘demon’, and refers to anything that obstructs the attainment of liberation or enlightenment. There are four principal types of mara: the mara of the delusions, the mara of contaminated aggregates, the mara of uncontrolled death, and the Devaputra maras. Of these, only the last are actual sentient beings. The principal Devaputra mara is wrathful Ishvara, the highest of the desire realm gods, who inhabits Land of Controlling Emanations. A Buddha is called a `Conqueror’ because he or she has conquered all four types of mara. See Heart of Wisdom.
Marpa (1012-1096) Marpa Lotsawa, or Marpa the translator, was a great lay Tantric Yogi and the Spiritual Guide of Milrepa. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune.
Meaning clear light A mind of clear light that realizes emptiness directly without a generic image. Synonymous with inner Dakini Land. See Clear Light of Bliss.
Medicine Buddha Buddha’s Truth Body appears in the form of Medicine Buddha, with a blue-coloured body, one face and two hands, holding a jewelled bowl and a medicinal plant. His function is to release living beings from outer and inner sickness by bestowing blessings upon them.
Meditation Meditation is a mind that concentrates on a virtuous object, and is a mental action that is the main cause of mental peace. There are two types of meditation – analytical meditation and placement meditation. When we use our imagination, mindfulness, and powers of reasoning to find our object of meditation, this is analytical meditation. When we find our object and hold it single-pointedly, this is placement meditation. There are different types of object. Some, such as impermanence or emptiness, are objects apprehended by the mind. Others, such as love, compassion, and renunciation, are actual states of mind. We engage in analytical meditation until the specific object that we seek appears clearly to our mind or until the particular state of mind that we wish to generate arises. This object or state of mind is our object of placement meditation. See also Analytical meditation and Placement meditation. See The New Meditation Handbook.
Meditation break See Subsequent attainment.
Meditative equipoise Single-pointed concentration on a virtuous object such as emptiness. See Ocean of Nectar.
Mental awareness All minds are included within the five sense awarenesses and mental awareness. Mental awareness is an awareness that is developed in dependence upon its uncommon dominant condition, a mental power. There are two types of mental awareness: conceptual mental awareness and non-conceptual mental awareness. Conceptual mental awareness and conceptual mind are synonyms. See Understanding the Mind.
Mental continuum The continuum of a person’s mind that has no beginning and no end.
Mental direct perceiver A direct perceiver that is generated in dependence upon its uncommon dominant condition, a mental power. See Understanding the Mind.
Mental excitement A deluded mental factor that wanders to any object of attachment. See Understanding the Mind.
Mental factor A cognizer that principally apprehends a particular attribute of an object. There are fifty-one specific mental factors. Each moment of mind comprises a primary mind and various mental factors. See Understanding the Mind.
Mental image See Generic image.
Mentality Mentality, primary mind, and consciousness are synonyms.
Mental power A mind that principally functions directly to produce the uncommon aspect of a mental awareness. See Understanding the Mind.
Mental sinking A mental factor that destroys the clarity of concentration and its firm hold upon the object. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune.
Mental stabilization Generally, the terms ‘mental stabilization’ and ‘concentration’ are interchangeable. More specifically, the term ‘concentration’ is used to refer to the nature of concentration, which is single-pointedness, and the term ‘mental stabilization’ is used to refer to the function of concentration, which is stability. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune and Meaningful to Behold.
Mental suppleness A flexibility of mind induced by virtuous concentration. See Understanding the Mind.
Mere appearance All phenomena are mere appearance because they are imputed by mind in dependence upon a suitable basis of imputation appearing to mind. The word ‘mere’ excludes any possibility of inherent existence. See Ocean of Nectar.
Merit The good fortune created by virtuous actions. It is the potential power to increase our good qualities and produce happiness.
Middle way ‘Madhyamika’ in Sanskrit. The correct view of emptiness avoids both extremes and therefore emptiness is called the ‘middle way’. The higher of the two schools of Mahayana tenets. See also Madhyamika.
Migrator A being within samsara who migrates from one uncontrolled rebirth to another.
Migtsema A special prayer of praise and requests to Je Tsongkhapa composed by Manjushri in the Kadam Emanation Scripture. The prayer appears in various forms, such as the nine-line and five-line versions. This prayer is very blessed, and those who recite it with faith are able to accomplish great results. See Heart Jewel.
Milarepa (1040-1123) A great Tibetan Buddhist meditator and disciple of Marpa, celebrated for his beautiful songs of realization.
Mind That which is clarity and cognizes. Mind is clarity because it always lacks form and because it possesses the actual power to perceive objects. Mind cognizes because its function is to know or perceive objects. See Understanding the Mind, Mahamudra Tantra, and Clear Light of Bliss.
Mind of enlightenment See Bodhichitta.
Miracle powers See Clairvoyance.
Miserliness A deluded mental factor that, motivated by desirous attachment, holds onto things tightly and does not want to part with them. See Understanding the Mind.
Mistaken appearance All minds of sentient beings, except for the exalted awareness of meditative equipoise of a Superior being observing emptiness, are mistaken awarenesses because their objects appear to be truly existent; and this appearance is a mistaken appearance that is by nature an obstruction to omniscience. See Ocean of Nectar.
Mistaken awareness/mind A mind that is mistaken with respect to its appearing object. Although all minds of ordinary beings are mistaken, they are not necessarily wrong. A wrong mind is a mind that is mistaken with respect to its engaged object. Thus our eye awareness perceiving this page is a mistaken mind because the page appears as inherently existent, but it is a correct mind because it correctly apprehends the page as a page. See Understanding the Mind.
Mother Tantra A Tantra that principally reveals methods for attaining clear light.
Mount Meru According to Buddhist cosmology, a divine mountain that stands at the centre of the universe. See Great Treasury of Merit.
Mudra Generally, the Sanskrit word for `seal’, as in `Mahamudra’, the `great seal’. More specifically, `mudra’ is used to refer to a consort, as in `action mudra’ or `wisdom mudra’; and to hand gestures used in Tantric rituals.
Mundane happiness The limited happiness that can be found within samsara, such as the happiness of humans and gods.
Mundane paths Contaminated actions that lead to samsaric rebirth. There are two types: the ten non-virtuous actions that lead to the lower realms, and the ten virtuous actions and contaminated concentrations that lead to the higher realms.
Nada A three-curved line that appears above certain seed-letters.
Naga A non-human being not normally visible to human beings. Their upper half is said to be human, their lower half serpent. Nagas usually live in the oceans of the world but they sometimes inhabit land in the region of rocks and trees. They are very powerful, some being benevolent and some malevolent. Many diseases, known as `naga diseases’, are caused by nagas and can only be cured through performing certain naga rituals.
Nagarjuna A great Indian Buddhist scholar and meditation master who revived the Mahayana in the first century AD by bringing to light the teachings on the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras. Nagarjuna’s extraordinary life and works were prophesied by Buddha Shakyamuni. See Ocean of Nectar.
Nalanda Monastery A great seat of Buddhist learning and practice in ancient India.
Name An object of hearing that principally expresses the name of any phenomenon. See Understanding the Mind.
Namo A Sanskrit word of homage and respect.
Naropa (AD 1016-1100) An Indian Mahasiddha and a lineage Guru in the Highest Yoga Tantra practice of Vajrayogini. See Guide to Dakini Land.
Negated object An object explicitly negated by a mind realizing a negative phenomenon. In meditation on emptiness, or lack of inherent existence, it refers to inherent existence. Also known as object of negation.
Negative phenomenon An object that is realized through the mind explicitly eliminating a negated object. There are two types of negative phenomenon: affirming negatives and non-affirming negatives. An affirming negative is a negative phenomenon realized by a mind that eliminates its negated object while realizing another phenomenon. A non-affirming negative is a negative phenomenon realized by a mind that merely eliminates its negated object without realizing another phenomenon. See Ocean of Nectar.
Never Returner See Hearer.
New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) The union of Kadampa Buddhist Centres, an international association of study and meditation centres that follow the pure tradition of Mahayana Buddhism derived from the Buddhist meditator and scholar Je Tsongkhapa, introduced into the West by the Buddhist teacher Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
Nine mental abidings Nine levels of concentration leading to tranquil abiding: placing the mind, continual placement, replacement, close placement, controlling, pacifying, completely pacifying, single-pointedness, and placement in equipoise. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune and Meaningful to Behold.
Nirvana Sanskrit word for ‘liberation’. Complete freedom from samsara and its cause, the delusions. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune.
Nominal truth The objects we know simply by using their names without the need for analysis, such as our self, our body, and other things that we use in our everyday life. See Ocean of Nectar.
Non-affirming negative See Negative phenomenon.
Non-alertness A deluded mental factor that, being unable to distinguish faults from non-faults, causes us to develop faults. See Understanding the Mind.
Non-ascertaining perceiver A cognizer to which a phenomenon that is its engaged object appears clearly without being ascertained. See Understanding the Mind.
Non-associated compounded phenomenon Any impermanent phenomenon that is neither form nor mind, such as person, life, time, and potentiality.
Non-conceptual mind A cognizer to which its object appears clearly without being mixed with a generic image. See Understanding the Mind.
Non-conscientiousness A deluded mental factor that wishes to engage in non-virtuous actions without restraint. See “Understanding the Mind.
Non-existent Traditional examples of non-existents are a horn on a rabbit’s head and a child of a barren woman. A horn on a rabbit’s head, for example, is not established by any valid mind and is consequently a non-existent rather than a conventional (or ultimate) truth. See Heart of Wisdom.
Non-fabricated bodhichitta See Spontaneous bodhichitta.
Non-faith A deluded mental factor that is the opposite of faith. See Understanding the Mind.
Non-harmfulness A mental factor that wishes sentient beings not to suffer. See Understanding the Mind.
Non-valid cognizer A cognizer that is deceptive with respect to its engaged object. See Understanding the Mind.
Non-virtue A phenomenon that functions as a main cause of suffering. It can refer to non-virtuous minds, non-virtuous actions, non-virtuous imprints, or the ultimate non-virtue of samsara. See Understanding the Mind.
Non-virtuous actions Paths that lead to the lower realms. Non-virtuous actions are countless, but most of them are included within the ten: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, hurtful speech, idle gossip, covetousness, malice, and holding wrong views. See Joyful Path of Good Fortune.
Nyungnä A fasting and purification retreat in conjunction with Eleven-faced Avalokiteshvara.
Object of negation An object explicitly negated by a mind realizing a negative phenomenon. In meditation on emptiness, or lack of inherent existence, it refers to inherent existence. Also known as negated object.
Object-possessor A functioning thing that expresses or cognizes an object. It includes expressive sounds, persons, and minds. See Understanding the Mind.
Object to be abandoned Any object that is the principal cause of suffering, such as ignorance, other delusions, or non-virtuous actions.
Observed object Any object upon which the mind is focused. See Understanding the Mind.
Obstructions to liberation Obstructions that prevent the attainment of liberation. All delusions, such as ignorance, attachment, and anger, together with their seeds, are obstructions to liberation. Also called delusion-obstructions.
Obstructions to omniscience The imprints of delusions, which prevent simultaneous and direct realization of all phenomena. Only Buddhas have overcome these obstructions.
Offering That which delights the holy beings.
Offering to the Spiritual Guide Lama Chöpa in Tibetan. A special Guru yoga of Je Tsongkhapa, in which our Spiritual Guide is visualized in the aspect of Lama Losang Tubwang Dorjechang. The instruction for this practice was revealed by Buddha Manjushri in the Kadam Emanation Scripture and written down by the first Panchen Lama (AD 1569-1662). It is an essential preliminary practice for Vajrayana Mahamudra. See also Lama Losang Tubwang Dorjechang. For a full commentary, see Great Treasury of Merit.
Once Returner See Hearer.
Opponent powers See Four opponent powers".
Oral transmission The granting of blessings through verbal instruction. Receiving these blessings is essential for gaining authentic realizations. All the root texts and their commentaries have been passed down in a pure, unbroken lineage from Teacher to disciple from the time of Buddha Shakyamuni down to the present day. It is customary at the end of a teaching for the Teacher to recite all the words of the text, just as he or she heard them from his or her own Teacher. A disciple is not considered to have received a teaching until he or she has heard all the words from the mouth of a qualified Spiritual Guide. A teaching that has been received in this way is completely pure, and it carries the blessing of all the lineage Gurus who transmitted the same teachings in the past.
Ordinary appearance and conception Ordinary appearance is any appearance that is due to an impure mind, and ordinary conception is any mind that conceives things as ordinary. According to Tantra, ordinary appearances are obstructions to omniscience and ordinary conceptions are obstructions to liberation. See Mahamudra Tantra and Guide to Dakini Land.
Ordinary being Anyone who has not realized emptiness directly.
Ordinary conception See Ordinary appearance and conception.
Outer Dakini Land The Pure Land of Vajrayogini. See Guide to Dakini Land.