Authors: Matteo Pistono
In August 1993, the two principal reincarnations
…” See Khenpo Jikme Phuntsok teaching, August 27, 1993.
The Tathagata Practice of the Gathering of Drolö: gro lod bde gshegs ‘dus pa.
(Tibetan) The intermediate or transition states between death and rebirth. More broadly, the term refers to any of the junctures at which the possibility of awakening is heightened. Thus, bardos are occurring continuously throughout both life and death.
(Tibetan) Literally, middle circuit; in central Tibet, the walkway used for circumambulating Jokhang Temple in Lhasa; also refers to the neighborhood surrounding the Jokhang.
means “enlightened essence” and
means “heart” or “mind.” Hence, “the essence of enlightened mind/heart”; the compassionate wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
(Sanskrit) One who has realized bodhichitta, the compassionate wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, and who engages in actions that bring them to that state; bodhisattvas vow to delay their own entrance into nirvana until all other beings have attained enlightenment.
The all-pervasive, primordial purity innate in every living being.
Buddha of Compassion
Avalokiteshvara (page 267).
(Sanskrit) Literally, wheel; focal center of subtle energy.
(Tibetan) Literally, cutting; a Vajrayana practice that seeks to destroy or “cut” demonic forces, namely, the self-cherishing ego.
) Embodiment of enlightened energy in female form, manifesting sometimes as a human being, at other times as an ethereal being who protects the Buddhist teachings.
A symbolic script used by the dakinis, which can only be decoded by treasure revealers (tertöns).
(Tibetan) A demon or evil spirit who has corrupted or broken its samaya commitments.
) A tutelary or chosen meditational deity whose practice is the root of spiritual accomplishment. Deities can represent specific enlightened qualities (such as compassion, wisdom, or power), which are developed through the yogic practice of uniting with the essence of the deity. Deities are often classified according to whether they appear in peaceful or wrathful form.
) A malevolent spirit; a negative force or obstacle on the spiritual path.
(Sanskrit) The Buddha’s teachings; truth or reality; the spiritual path.
) A ceremony performed by masters and lineage holders that transmits or awakens primordial wisdom, the power of realization, in the mind of the disciple; empowerments are a prerequisite for the practice of tantra in the Buddhist tradition; sometimes referred to as initiation.
The absence of inherent existence in self and all phenomena.
) Synonymous with buddhahood, the ultimate accomplishment of spiritual training; the perfect realization of the nature of mind and the understanding of reality.
) A teaching method that is direct and practical and conveys the most essential elements to be put into practice immediately by the disciples so that they can experience nakedly the truth of the teaching; a teaching style in which instructions are given according to the progress of the individual meditator’s experience.
four kinds of (tantric) activity
To pacify, increase, magnetize, and subjugate; tantric practitioners train in the context of deity yoga to 1. pacify conflict, sickness, and famine, 2. increase longevity and merit, 3. magnetize auspicious circumstances, and, 4. subjugate hostile force. Highly realized yogis perform these four activities for the benefit of others.
(Sanskrit) Mythical bird-like creature with various meanings; the Dzogchen Tantras indicate that garuda represents an individual’s primordial perfection.
One of the four main traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, and the latest school of the Sarma, or New Translation, schools; founded by Je Tsongkhapa in the 15th century on the basis of the Kadam tradition. Followers of the Gelug tradition are called Gelugpas.
A region in eastern Tibet.
) The most ancient and direct stream of wisdom within the Buddhist tradition of Tibet.
) Literally, heavy or weighty in positive qualities, vast knowledge, wisdom, and skill.
(Sanskrit) A meditation practice that focuses on merging the disciple’s mind with the wisdom mind of the teacher (guru), who is often visualized in an enlightened form.
(Sanskrit) One of the names for wrathful enlightened deities.
) Misknowing; veiled awareness; the failure to recognize one’s true nature, which is the basis for all other destructive emotions such as attachment, aversion, anger, jealousy, and pride.
Considered the most sacred temple in Tibet; home to the Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha statue; founded in Lhasa in the 7th century.
Founded by Nyala Pema Dündul in 1860, in Nyarong; later became the seat of Tertön Sogyal.
(Tibetan) The Oral Transmission Lineage of the Nyingma; together with the terma lineage are the two modes transmissions of the sutrayana and the vajrayana teachings in the Nyingma School.
A geographical area, also called eastern Tibet; in between the present-day Tibet Autonomous Region and Sichuan Province, parts of the southern areas of Qinghai Province, and part of Yunnan Province. Traditionally, Kham was referred to as the “Four Rivers, Six Ranges,” because the gorges of the Ngul Chu (Chinese
), Dri Chu (Chinese
), Da Chu (Chinese
), and Dza Chu (Chinese
) Rivers all originated and flowed from the six parallel mountain ranges. People from Kham are called Khampas.
) Literally, sky-goer, indicating one who traverses the sky of the expanse of wisdom.
is often used as a title for a female lama or the consort of a male lama or yogi.
(Tibetan) A title for one who has completed the major course of studies of more than ten years’ duration, covering the traditional branches of Buddhist philosophy, logic, monastic discipline, and ritual. A khenpo can also be the abbot of a monastery.
(Tibetan) Spiritual teacher; contraction of the Tibetan
bla ne med pa,
meaning unsurpassed or nothing superior.
The capital and largest city in Tibet; traditional home of the Dalai Lamas.
) Subtle energy within the body that supports the consciousness and relates directly to one’s vitality and strength.
) Stone that contains energetic qualities to enhance or strengthen a person’s life-force; some stones naturally possess these qualities while other stones are imbued with the qualities by a tantric master.
) A text presenting the ritual, contemplative, and meditation instructions to develop fully in oneself the enlightened qualities of a deity.
(Sanskrit) Literally, center and surrounding; the sacred environment and dwelling place of a buddha, bodhisattva, or deity, together with the proximate environment, which is visualized by the yogi in tantric practice. A mandala can be a two-dimensional representation of a buddha or deity’s environment on cloth or paper, or a three-dimensional representation made of sand, wood, or other material; a mandala can also be an offering of the entire universe visualized as a pure land with all the inhabitants as pure beings.
See Om Mani Padme Hum
(Sanskrit) Sacred syllable(s) spoken, chanted, or written to protect the mind from negativity and ordinary impure perceptions; used to invoke meditational deities.
The practice of familiarization with the mind and reality as it is; distinction is made between analytical meditation and contemplative meditation: analytical meditation is used for study and to develop qualities such as love and compassion; contemplative meditation is used to recognize the ultimate nature of the mind (rigpa) and to remain within the realization of that nature, which lies beyond conceptual thought.
) The ordinary mind whose condition is characterized by ignorance and delusion; distinguished from rigpa in the Dzogchen teachings.
(Sanskrit) Serpent-like spirits that live beneath the surface of the earth or in water.
nature of mind
(Sanskrit) Literally, extinguished. Beyond suffering; enlightenment itself; the state of peace that results from the cessation and total pacification of all suffering and its causes.
An encampment in Golok, a day’s horseback ride from Sertar, where Tertön Sogyal and his family lived the last two years of his life.
Region in eastern Tibet where Tertön Sogyal was born.
The oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism, which follows the original translations of the teachings of the Buddha into Tibetan, carried out up until the late 10th century; sometimes known as the Old Translation or Earlier Translation school, which is distinguished from the Sarma or New Translation schools (Kadam, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug).
Old Translation school
Om Mani Padme Hum
The six-syllable mantra of Chenrezik; also known as the
) An important enlightened protectress of the Dzogchen teachings; depicted with a single tuft of hair, a single eye, and a single breast.
) The reading of a tantric text to a disciple by a master who holds the lineage of transmission, originating from the author of the text; considered essential for the blessing of the lineage to be conveyed and for the disciple to fully understand the text; also known as reading transmission.
(Sanskrit) Title used for scholars who have mastered the five sciences of craftsmanship, logic, grammar, medicine, and the inner science of Dharma.
) A three-bladed, single-pointed dagger representing the skillful means of compassion and the destruction of the self-cherishing ego; the principal ritual implement of the meditational deity Vajrakilaya.
The principal palace and residence of the Dalai Lamas, constructed in Lhasa by the Fifth Dalai Lama in the mid-17th century upon the ruins of an old palace and hermitage erected more than 1,000 years before by the kings of Tibet. Up until the Chinese invasion, it housed much of Tibet’s central government. Namgyal Monastery is located within the massive 1,000-room compound.
) A deity or spirit whose role is to protect the Buddhist teachings and practitioners. Some protectors are emanations of buddhas or bodhisattvas; others are spirits and demons who have been subjugated and bound under oath by great practitioners such as Padmasambhava.
Dissolution of the corporeal body into light through the practice of Dzogchen; outward sign of the yogi’s supreme spiritual attainment.
The successive existences that are experienced by the mind-stream, marked by birth and death; also called rebirth.
(Tibetan) In general, means intelligence or awareness; in Dzogchen terminology, it means the innermost, nondual nature of mind; one’s ultimate nature, which is devoid of delusion.
(Tibetan) Ecumenical, nonsectarian movement inspired by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgön Kongtrul and their disciples in eastern Tibet in the 19th century.
(Tibetan) Literally, precious one; an honorific title used for spiritual teachers, often denoting their having been recognized as an incarnate lama.
(Sanskrit) A set of precepts and vows taken between disciples and teachers, pledged to one another, when receiving or bestowing tantric empowerments.
(Sanskrit) Continuous cycle of the conditioned existence of birth and death, characterized by suffering; the cause of samsara is ignorance of the true nature of reality.
The first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, built during the time of King Trisong Detsen (8th century).
means limitless, as in beyond the conceptual realm.