Although we have tried to avoid the use of too much terminology for easier reading, it is not possible to avoid the use of terminology on our website.
Here, we list down terms that you may have come across in our website for easy reference.

Amitabha Buddha The Buddha of the lotus family, associated with the purification of desire.
Anatta The ideal of Theravada practice. The concept of no self.
Arhat A person who has attained enlightenment. In the Theravada tradition, there is only one Buddha, thus those who attain enlightenment after the Buddha are arhats.
Avalokistesvara A bodhisattva of compassion. Avalokitesvara takes many forms, the most familiar being Kuan Yin the Goddess of Mercy. He is called Chenrezig in Tibetan.
Bodhicitta The quality of compassion for all beings, thus giving rise to the wish to strive to free all beings from the suffering of samsara.
Bodhisattva In the Mahayana tradition, bodhisattva refers to a being who wants to strive for buddhahood for the enlightenment of all beings after the spontaneous actualisation of bodhicitta. Bodhisattva also refers to deities in Mahayana Buddhist tradition, such as Avalokistesvara or his more well known form, Kuan Yin the Goddess of Mercy. In the Theravada tradition, the term bodhisattva is used to describe Gautama Buddha in his previous lives.
Bodhisattva vow The Mahayana vow to strive for the enlightenment of all beings by practicing the Six Paramitas or Six Perfections, not just in this lifetime but in future lifetimes until this vow is achieved.
Bon The primary religion in Tibet before the introduction of Buddhism.
Buddha nature Buddha nature is the quality of a buddha that is inherent in all beings.
Buddhadharma Buddha's teachings. Buddhism.
C'han Buddhism One of the schools of Mahayana Buddhism that developed in China during the Tang dynasty.The teachings of this school spread to Korea, Vietnam and Japan where it is known as Zen.
Dakini A female celestial being in Tibetan Buddhism. Dakini is iconographically the embodiment of wisdom, which is considered female in nature.
Dharma The teachings of the Buddha.
Dharmakaya The truth body of Buddha based on the Trikaya doctrine.
Dzogchen Means "Great Perfection". A teaching central to the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism and of Bon. The teachings of Dzogchen aim to attain and maintain the natural primordial state of the luminous and pure mind.
Eight auspicious symbols Believed to be gifts given to Shakyamuni Buddha by the gods after his enlightenment, these symbols are the parasol, the victory banner, the conch shell, the vase, a pair of fish, the unending knot, the wheel and the lotus flower.
Eight offerings The offering of the seven offering bowls and lamp.
Empowerment Transmissions from a teacher to student that allows the students to engage in the practice of particular meditation deities.
Five Buddha Families The five Buddha families each represent different aspects of the qualities of the Buddha. The families are the buddha family, the vajra family, the ratna or jewel family, the padma or lotus family and the karma or action family. The Buddhas associated with these families are Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi respectively.
Four Noble Truths The first teaching of the Buddha after his enlightenment. He was believed to have taught the Four Noble Truths at the deer park at Sarnath.
Four Seals The four basic tenets that define Buddhism. They are: all compositional phenomena are impermanent, all emotions are painful, all phenomena are empty of self-existence and nirvana is true peace.
Gautama Buddha One of the names used to describe the historical Buddha, who was known as Siddhartha Gautama before his enlightenment.
Guru A spiritual guide or teacher. One who shows a disciple or student the path to liberation and enlightenment.
Guru Rinpoche Also known as Padmasambhava, he was the tantra master who introduced Buddhism to Tibet.
Heart son A beloved disciple, brought up in the care of a teacher, and considered a son by that teacher.
Hinayana The term used in Mahayana traditions for schools that pre-date the Mahayana school, that strive for the ideal of the arhat. Not used much now as it is considered derogatory.
Kama This means word of the Buddha, and refers to teachings not just of Shakyamuni Buddha, but other sambhogakaya and dharmakaya Buddhas.
Kangur The Kangur or "the translated words (of the Buddha)" refers to sacred texts of Tibetan Buddhism that contains the teachings of the Buddha. The other body of sacred texts, the Tengur contains commentaries from Indian masters on Buddha's teachings.
Karma Karma literally means action. It is the law of cause and effect, where positive or virtuous actions produce happiness and negative or non-virtuous actions produce suffering.
Khata A ceremonial scarf, usually white or yellow gold, common in Tibet and Bhutan. The khata is offered as a greeting or as a blessing. To offer a khata, fold it length-wise, and offer it with the open ends facing the person your are extending it to. When offered to a lama or a guru, to be offered with a bow while holding the khata to the forehead with hands in prayer position. The lama or guru will then take the khata and place it over your neck as a blessing.
Khenchen A senior Khenpo.
Khenpo In the Nyingma, Kagyu and Sakya schools, Khenpo means someone who has achieved the highest level of mastery in the shedra.
Lama The title given for a teacher of the Dharma in Tibet.
Lopon A degree conferred in Tibetan Buddhist institutes of higher learning equivalent to a Masters degree.
Lotus Family One of the Five Buddha families headed by Amitabha Buddha.
Mahayana Means "The Greater Vehicle". One of the main schools of Buddhism today that is practiced mainly in East Asia. Mahayana Buddhism emphasises the bodhisattva path.
Medicine Buddha The Medicine Buddha or Bhaiá¹£ajyaguru is the Buddha of healing and medicine in Mahayana Buddhism.
Meditational deity Emanations of the the enlightened mind that are used as objects of meditation in tantric practices.
Namcho Means sky treasure.The terma discovered by Terton Mingyur Dorje, taught to Kunzang Sherab the first head of the Palyul monastery. The key teaching of the Palyul lineage.
Ngagyur Nyingma Institute The institute of higher learning founded by HH Penor Rinpoche.
Ngondro The preliminary practices to be done by students of Tibetan Buddhism before they can progress to tantric practices.
Nirmanakaya The earth body of the Buddha, based on the Trikaya doctrine.
Nirvana Enlightenment. Liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
Noble eightfold path The medicine by which we can cure ourselves from suffering as taught by the Buddha.
Nyingmapa Followers of the Nyingma school.
Pali The language that Buddha taught in.
Pali Canon Also know as the Tipitaka, meaning Three Baskets. These are considered the oldest Buddhist scriptures, written in Pali not Sanskrit, and are central to the Theravada tradition.
Palyul One of the six mother monasteries of the Nyingma school.
Parinirvana A term used to mean nirvana-after-death, referring to the death of the physical body of someone who has attained enlightenment during his or her lifetime. The person is released from the samsaric cycle of rebirth.
Puja A puja is a religious ceremony where offerings are made to meditation deities such as the Medicine Buddha, Tara, Dakini or Guru Rinpoche.
Pure Land Pure lands are the residence of sambhogakaya buddhas like the Buddhas of the Five Buddha families. It is a place where there is no suffering. It is believed that practitioners can be reborn into these Pure Lands where they can receive teachings from the Buddha. The most well known Pure Land is the Land ruled by Amitabha Buddha, which is at the heart of the Pure Land sect in Japan.
Pure Land Buddhism Pure Land Buddhism is a Buddhist school focused on Amitabha Buddha. It is prevalent in East Asia and have developed into the Pure Land sect in Japan.
Rinpoche Literally, "precious one." Term for an incarnate lama, that is, one who has intentionally taken rebirth in a human form to benefit sentient beings on the path to enlightenment.
Sambhogakaya The bliss body of the Buddha that experiences enlightenment. This is usually a celestial body that resides in a Pure Land.
Samsara The unending cycle of rebirth, suffering and death, perpetuated by our desires and the resulting karma.
Sangha The clergy. Often considered to be made up of monks and laypeople who practice the dharma.
Shakyamuni Buddha The name given by Mahayana schools to Gautama Buddha, to distinguish him from the other Buddhas. He is so named because he is from the Shakya clan.
Shedra A college for Buddhist study, often part of a monastery.
Six Paramitas Means the Six Perfections. These perfections are generosity, morality, patience, energy, meditation and wisdom. For the Mahayana schools, the practice of the Six Perfections is the path to enlightenment.
Shunyata The ideal of the Mahayana practice. The realisation of emptiness. Shunyata is described as emptiness, not the emptiness of nothing, but the emptiness of self-essence, meaning there is no separation of self from the world.
Sutra The sutras are the recognised canonical texts of the teachings of the Buddha. The Mahayana sutras, which were written around 500 years after the Buddha's death are Buddhist scriptures recognised by the Mahayana schools as canonical. These scriptures are not recognised by the Theravada school which recognises only the Pali Canon as canonical.
Tantra Tantra in Buddhism is a method or practice to gain enlightenment by identifying with certain deities, also called deity yoga. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is also a method that uses attachments or desires to generate great bliss with which the practitioner can then use to meditate on emptiness. As such, tantra practices are transmitted only from teacher to student, as it could be dangerous for unqualified practitioners to practice tantra. In Tibetan Buddhism, this is considered a faster path to enlightenment than the sutra way - which is a slower path of following Precepts, meditation and study of sutras.
Tara A female meditational deity, believed to be born from a tear of Avalokitesvara, who embodies the enlightened activity of all the buddhas; often referred to as the mother of the buddhas of the past, present and future.
Tathagata One of the titles of a Buddha, and the word that Gautama Buddha uses to describe himself.
Tengur The Tengur or "Translated Treatises" refers to sacred texts of Tibetan Buddhism that contains Tibetan translations of works of Indian masters commenting and elaborating on the words of the Buddha. The other body of sacred texts, the Kangur contain the words of the Buddha.
Terma The teachings of Guru Rinpoche hidden by Lady Yeshe Tsogyal to be discovered by tertons when the time was right.
Terton The lamas who discover the hidden termas.
Theravada Meaning the "School of the Elders". One of the schools of Buddhism prevalent in Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka. The Theravada school recognises only the Pali Canon as canonical, and strives for the ideal of the Arhat.
Three Jewels The Three Jewel or Triple Gem of Buddhism is the Buddha, dharma (teachings) and sangha (clergy).
Tipitaka See Pali Canon.
Tormas An offering cake used in tantric rituals.
Trikaya doctrine The doctrine that explains the three aspects or three bodies of the Buddha.
Tulku A recognised reincarnation of a great teacher in Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
Vajrayana Means the "Diamond Vehicle". This describes Mahayana Buddhist schools that use the practice of tantra to achieve enlightenment. Tibetan Buddhism is most well known for tantra practice, but tantra is also practiced by the Shingon school in Japan.
Vinaya These are the rules that govern the conduct of monks and nuns.
Vipassana meditation Also known as insight meditation. Vipassana practice is central to the Theravada school.
Yangsi The reincarnated being of a great teacher.
Yeshe Tsogyal The consort of Guru Rinpoche, who was believed to be the first Tibetan to achieve enlightenment. She was also believed to have hidden the termas.