The ritual of initiation in Vajrayana is the transmission by the Lama of the power to meditate with success, a particual spiritual path taking a specific deity as support. The ritual plants the seed of realization in the disciple and provokes his spiritual maturity. Tantric iniation is the fundamental basis for the unbreakable ties which unite master and student from that time forward. In addition, both master and disciple should possess certain prequisite qualifications. For the disciple, the principles and qualities are faith, compassion and aspiration for liberation for the benefit of others. As for the master, he should have united a great number qualities: faith, compassion, to hold the lineage of transmission of the teachings, to have accomplished the necessary retreats, to be trained in the rituals, etc... In every initiation, there is a committment of obedience and of faith on the part of the disciple towards the Lama as well as towards the buddhist faith in the Great Vehicle. Initiations called "great" with the support of a Mandala all prescribe the keeping of fourteen tantric root vows. Simply keeping these committments with faith will steer one towards the obtaining of buddhahood within sixteen successive births. If, in addition, one puts the path of meditation in practice, the results can be obtained much more quickly. The more expanded rituals comprise four successive consecrations giving the power on the particular paths of meditation while each produces a respective purification and fruit, the entirety bringing the realization of ultimate buddahood.
JEWELS see REFUGE JIU DE KUNTOU General collection of all the Tantras, precious teaching which is rarely transmitted and whos lineage is maintained by several Sakyapa masters. The collection groups all the practices of all the Tantras and their initiations in a Mandala. KANDJIOUR
The Kandjiour is composed of 108 volumes, which together with the Tandjiour (which is composed of 253 volumes) form the historical interpretation of the sacred texts, the buddhist canon. The Kandjiour is the complete collection which groups all the teachings of the Buddha. It includes writings on: -The Vinaya: rules of monastic life and ethics. -The Sutras: reachings of the Buddha concerning the path. -The Abidharma: metaphysics, psychology and philosophy. -The Tantras: ritual instructions and methods for putting into practice meditation on the path.
KARMA Sanskrit word designating the universal law of retribution of acts which drive beings to rebirth more or less happy in the diverse states of existence according to their respective merits. The criteria which determines the positive or negative character of an action are a function of the motivation, virtuous or not (inspired by the intention for the benefit of others or the contrary), which directs this action. In buddhism, all that one does, says or thinks, constitutes the seed of development which determines a fruit which will be experienced at some time in the future. From this, there is observed the necessity of learning discipline of the three doors if one wishes to obtain buddhahood. KHATCHE see PARADISE KLESHA (tib. Nyon Mong pa)
Negative dispositions or impulses. Three fundamental impulses (or poisons) disturb the mind when under the influence of dualistic conceptions; these are : desire-covetousness, hatred-agression and ignorance. From these three fundamental impulses arise, respectively, greed, jealousy and pride. They are determined by the dualistic grasping of the notion of an ego which inhibits the recognition of the true nature of the mind.
Large province in eastern Tibet.
LAMA see Iniation, Dorje Tchang, Disciple
Tibetan word representing the translation of the sanskrit term Guru, which signifies Master or spiritual guide. In Tibet, the use of this word was reserved for reincarnated dignitaries (Tulkous) who were leaders of monasteries. Never to be confused with monk (always subject to celibacy). Lamas, however, can be either monks or married Lamas. These days, under the influence of ignorance concerning tibetan custom, this name is used indiscriminately to imply the general ensemble of monks. Tibetans who are themselves refugees use it in this context more and more frequently, risking confusion.
(ROOT) LAMA see LINE OF TRANSMISSION For each disciple, this refers to the Lama who transmits the iniations and the meditation instructions and who one should then consider as his Root Lama. It's the Lama towards which one makes committments to hold the vows of Samaya. The Lamas of the lineage are the successive holders of the lineage from which has appeared the Root Lama and their succession can be traced back to the original Buddha who is the origin of the teachings transmitted by the Lama. This notion of lineage of uninterrupted transmission is very important in Vajrayana. LAMDRE
"The path and its fruit" consists of a cycle of teachings based on the Hevajra Tantra (tib. Tchie Dorje) which was taught by the great Siddha Birwapa. These teachings explain in a coherent system, all the paths and stages with their respective fruits, up to the state of Buddha. Today, they are principally transmitted by the Sakya lineage.
LEVELS, LANDS, tib. BHUMIS
Level of spiritual realization on the path. The first level is the first stage of perfection. There are 10 levels which are distinguished in the Mahayana and 13 in the Mantrayana which represent the quintessence of buddhist teachings.
Liberation (tib. Tharpa) is a general term which signifies liberation from suffering, yet it does not describe a precise spiritual stage. The "going beyond" or transcendence of suffering (tib. Nya Nguene Le Ndepa and skt. Nirvana) is a term whose precise understanding requires the knowledge of the context in which it is used. Referring to the supreme spiritual ideal of the Small Vehicle, this term signifies the extinction of desire or the extinction of a notion of self. For the masters of the Great Vehicle of Vajrayana, it signifies the liberation from the cycle or rebirths determined by karma, but not ultimate buddhood which represents the realization of the undifferentiatedness of Samsara and Nirvana. Buddahood, or transcendance without "residing" (tib. Minepar Nya Nguene Le Ndepa) designates the stage of a Buddha who, because of his realization of vacuity, is not subject to Samsara, yet, because of his compassion, does not remain in personal transendance of suffering, as do the Auditors and Pratyeka Buddhas.
LINEAGE OF TRANSMISSION The Root lama represents the final link of a lineage of masters who, throughout time, continue in an uninterrupted manner from the Buddha Shakyamuni or even Buddha Dorje Tchang. This lineage of transmission permits the reception of teachings in their totality and validity, as much by the source as by the succession of their application by a great number of blessed holders. Even still, the Lamas of the lineage are, for the disciple, a source of inspiration and confidence constantly renewed. LOVE Desire to realize the well being of others. MADHYAMIKA This term signifies "the middle path". It represents a great philosophical tradition of Mahayana buddhism, which was expounded in detail by the great Nagarjuna, and which adopts a middle position between two extreme views. Madhyamika is a response to essential questions concerning the existence or the nonexistence of things (that is to say phenomena) as well as beings. Nagarjuna demonstrated the error of those who arrive at either an affirmative or negative conclusion through investigation. He states that it is an error to affirm existence, nonexistence, the two at the same time or their contrary,because this position depends on the reality of an ego. Since the Buddha taught the emptiness of appearance, nowhere will one find substance, essence or ontological foundation; from there, the problem disappears on its own since there is no further a reference to an ego. MAHAMUDRA see UNDIFFERENTIATION OF SAMSARA-NIRVANA This is a sanskrit term which signifies "Great Seal" and designates the final stage of the profound vision in Vajrayana, that is the realization of the ultimate nature of mind. MAHAYANA
This term is the sanskrit equivalent for "Great Vehicle". One calls it grand because it can drive all beings without exception towards liberation from suffering, which is in opposition to Hinayana or "Small Vehicle" which only brings personal liberation, especially if one is a monk. The Mahayana is comprised of two distinct systems: -The vehicle of the cause or Paramitayana in which the practioner must put forth effort for an incalculable number of lives, towards the development of the cause of enlightenment which is the accumulation of virtues or Paramitas in the enlightened thought. -The Vajrayana or vehicle of fruit is thus named because from the beginning, thanks to the iniation, the student practices with the perception of identifying himself with the Buddha. This explains the possibility of a rapidly obtained realization, that is to say within a single lifetime.
MANDALA Mystical diagram of energy within which deities or their emblems are portrayed in a circle. It represents symbolically the diverse stages that the disciple should go through to arrive at the realization of ultimate buddhood. One uses the Mandala in the transmission of iniations and the practice of tantric rituals. They can also act as an offering in which the disciple offers to the Lama and to the Buddhas, an idealized universe. MANTRA This word can be decomposed into MAN for Manas which signifies in sanskrit the mind and into TRA which means "protect" or "guard". Mantra is therefore that which guards the mind, protecting it from all intrusion of perturbing thoughts or emotions which are foreign to meditation. The Mantra is also the word of the deity or his essence in a verbal or vibratory manifestation. Each deity has one or several mentras which corresponds to him. These are the words spoken by the Buddhas and which hold the blessings. The mantras are often used in Vajrayana which one more frequently calls Mantrayana or "Vehicle of secret Mantras". MARA see DEMONS (TWELVE) MEMBERS This deals with the twelve categories in which one may group the words of the Buddha. MERIT see ACCUMULATION
The merit is that which results from the practice of virtuous acts.
A kind of celestial being having taken human appearance.
The mind in its profound nature is clarity-emptiness, bliss-emptiness, that is to say the very essence of buddhahood. For beings which are not liberated, this nature is obscured by veils which have been there from beginningless time; the veils of negative impulses and the veils of consciousness. Through the pursuit of an authentic spiritual quest, these veils can be purified and the true nature of the mind, buddahood will then reveal itself.
The masters of buddhism can be separated into several categories according to the vows that they have taken. The lay practicioners (tib. Gue Nyen, skt. Upasaka) have at least the vow of refuge and perhaps one or several of five precepts which forbid murder, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and consuming intoxicants. Novices (tib. Guetsul) have taken vows of celibacy and chastity by maintaining ten vows. Fully ordained monks (tib. Guelong, skt. Bhiksu) are subject also to chastity, and respect a code of discipline explained in the Vinaya by the Buddha himself and which is comprised of 253 diverse vows regulating in the smallest details, the attitude, the behavior, the clothing, the walk, nourishment, etc. of the monks.
MUDRA Gesture, seal or (paredre), this term designates generally a symbolic gesture of the hand accompanying the practice of the visualization of a deity, during the ritual. Mudra also designates the spiritual spouse which serves as support in the practice of realization in the Tantras. The "Flaming Mudra" is the gesture which commands the deity being invoked to remember the sacred bond which unites him with the initiated practioner and, in respect of this bond, to come and manifest himself to the practioner. NAGA Serpent-deities which are guardians of the oceans and of the underground world, as well as of treasures and certain secret teachings. NECTAR see CANALS, WINDS, NECTARS
Designates a substance which supports bliss and spiritual powers (immortality, eternal youth, etc.). It's also the support materialized under the form of a liquid substance, of the mind of the Buddhas who have the power of transmitting the iniation. NEJIN Designates a sort of guardian in a wrathful aspect charged with watching in respect over the Doctrine. NGOR One of three schools within the tradition of Sakya, of which His Eminence Ngor Ewam Phende Rinpoche is one of the leaders. His principal center was in Tibet, the great monastic university of Ngor Ewam Tcheuden. NIRVANA see LIBERATION OBJECTS OF GOOD OMEN Several series of objects or emblems have come into buddhism, these objects of good luck remind of the blessings which have been given them by the Buddha. OPENING OF BRAHMA This refers to an opening at the top of the head corresponding to the fontanel. PANDITA
A Pandita is a learned person concerning the five principal and secondary categories of traditional indian knowledge. A)-The art of medicine - that of sound - the Dharma (interior knowledge) - that of reasoning - religious art B)-Astrology - poetry - periphrasis or circumlocution. - the art of harmonious composition - the applied arts
PARAMITAS These are the six perfect virtues of the Paramitayana, the cause vehicle of Mahayana :
- the virtue of giving - the virtue of ethical conduct - patience - energy - meditation
- wisdom -
PARADISE A great number of paradises with different names corresponding often to the residence of a particular Buddha are referred to in the texts. Beings are born there having escaped transmigration under the effect of karma. Receiving teachings directly from the Buddhas who live there, they accomplish different degrees of realization. The paradise of Khatche is a tibetan name which, without designating a particular paradise associated with a particular Buddha, evokes the general character of bliss and emptiness. PATSE Unit of measure. POISONS see KLESHA POWERS see SIDDHIS PRASANGHIKA School associated with the philosophy of Madyamika. PRATIEKA-BUDDHA see AUDITOR PRETA
(tib. Yida which means "greedy mind/spirit")
Yidas designate, among the six states of existence, beings which are greedy and subject to an incessant hunger and thirst which can never be satisfied. Rebirth in this state is induced by a strong propensity for avarice. PROCESS OF CREATION AND ABSORPTION see UNION OF THE STAGES PROTECTOR
(bis. TCHEU TCHIONG)
The Dharma Protectors are a category of deities of which the rituals aim at the destruction, for the practicioner, of all internal and external adverse forces which arise to menace either ones own spiritual practice, or that of another or the Dharma in general. These deities are tied to the Buddhas by oath to defend the Dharma and its practioners under all circumstances. They present unpleasant and wrathful aspects with the goal of repelling harmful beings that require such an appearence for their taming.