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Glossary

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Term Definition
Abhidharmakosha
(skt.: abhidharmakosha; tib.: chu ngunpa dzu) Literally The Treasury of Higher Knowledge. It is one of the five main texts that monks in monasteries study in much detail. It was written by Master Vasubandhu in the 4th century CE. The book presents various important topics such as ontology, psychology, cosmology, causality, states of consciousness, etc. This book is considered to be part of Hinayana, mainly of the Vaibhashika school.
Abhisheka
(skt.: abhisheka; tib.: wang) Wang, usually translated as empowerment, is a complex tantric ritual based on a mandala of a deity which confers the power and ability to engage in certain meditative practices for achieving enlightenment, and thus becoming a Buddha, in order to benefit others as fully as possible. An empowerment also plants new seeds, or potentials.
Aeon
(skt.: kalpa/yuga; tib.: kal pa) In ancient Indian cosmology, an extremely long period of time. 
 
In general, a small kalpa is represented as 16,800,000 years, a kalpa as 336,000,000 years and a mahakalpa is 1,334,000,000 years. There is also another kalpa, even longer than mahakalpa, which is called Countless eon. This is the time it takes after you decide to begin collecting virtue to become a Buddha to actually become a Buddha. Master Vasubandhu says in his Abhidharmakosha that Countless eon is a period of three countless (countless actually means a number: about ten to the sixtieth power) mahakalpas.
Alaya-vijnana

(skt.: alayavijnana; tib.: kunshi namshe) According to the Chittamatra (or Yogachara, Mind Only) this is the eighth consciousness. They believe that this consciousness contains karmic seeds.

Arhat
(tib.: dra chom pa) Sometimes also called Arhant, Arahat or Arahant; female Arhat is called Arhati. A being who has attained the fifth (and the last) path of no more learning by destroying mental afflictions and dualistic ego grasping. 
Arya
(tib.: phag pa) A Noble being, who has attained the third path, the path of seeing emptiness directly. Arya knows the true nature of all phenomena and is a true Sangha refuge. 
Atman
(skt.: atman; tib.: dag) Self. Simply put, self can be compared to unchanging eternal soul. Buddhism does not accept such a self. 
Awakening Mind
(skt.: bodhichitta; tib.: jang chub kyi sem) Usually translated as Wish for Enlightenment or Awakening Mind. Bodhichitta is defined as the wish to achieve Buddhahood for the benefit of others. Bodhichitta is the main mind and not a mental factor and it is an underlying motivation of practitioners of Mahayana Buddhism. Beings who have realized Bodhichitta are called Bodhisattvas
Bardo

(skt.: antarabhava; tib.: bar do) Literally, interval between the two or intermediate state. Usually term bardo refers to the period between death and the next rebirth.

Bell

(skt.: ghanta; tib.: dril bu) A tantric implement symbolizing wisdom which is held in the left hand (the female side), usually in conjunction with vajra, which symbolizes method (compassion or bliss), held in the right hand (the male side).

Bhagavan

(skt.: bhagavan/bhagavat; tib.: chom den de) One of the ten honorable titles of a Buddha. Bhagavat means possessing fortune, venerable, or holy. In Buddhism, it is used as an epithet for a Buddha and is often translated as blessed one.

Bhumi

(skt.: bhumi; tib.: sa) Literally ground. A stage of realization and activity of a Bodhisattva on the path to Buddhahood. Usually ten such levels are recognized. Chandrakirti says in the Bodhisattva-Avatara Shastra that the aspiration to climb the Bodhisattva Bhumis is reached by practicing the 6 Paramitas, which are then successively lead to perfection through the first six Bhumis.

Bodhichitta

(skt.: bodhichitta; tib.: jang chub kyi sem) Usually translated as Wish for Enlightenment or Awakening Mind. Bodhichitta is defined as the wish to achieve Buddhahood for the benefit of others. Bodhichitta is the main mind and not a mental factor and it is an underlying motivation of practitioners of Mahayana Buddhism. Beings who have realized Bodhichitta are called Bodhisattvas.

Bodhisattva

(skt.: bodhisattva; tib.: jang chub sem pa) Literally means being (sattva) of Enlightenment (bodhi). It refers to a Mahayana practitioner who has developed Bodhichitta, the aspiration to attain Enlightenment, in order to benefit all sentient beings. There are two types of Bodhisattvas: aspiring Bodhisattvas and realized Bodhisattvas. A practitioner becomes a realized Bodhisattva when he reaches the path of seeing i.e. the first bhumi. Driven by Bodhichitta and having realized Emptiness, a Bodhisattva devotes his entire life to reaching Enlightenment, for the sake of benefiting every single sentient being.

Bön

(tib.: bön) The indigenous religion of Tibet. A form of nature-worship and shamanism, which through time merged with Buddhism to the extent that now His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama counts it as the fifth main school of Tibetan Buddhism. Some elements of the Bön religion can be traced also in the contemporary Buddhism, particularly in the Nyingma school.

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Words of Wisdom

"The purpose of meditation is not to reach nirvana and then disappear. If that was the case, it would be better that you manifested as a flower!"
- Lama Yeshe

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