TERMINOLOGY TO BETTER UNDERSTAND TIBETAN & SANSKRIT WORDS
IN THE CHANTS
Please understand this is not a complete list
My wish is to help explain some of the terminology in the 50+ chant videos posted on this site.
I invite you to enjoy some of them.
Ahimsa – non harming
Amitabha - a celestial Buddha
Ananda – one of the major disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni
Avadhuti – A subtle energy channel traversing the base of the spine to the crown of the head
Bardo – Intermediate state, usually referring to the period between death and rebirth
Bhumi – One of the stages in the spiritual development of a Bodhisattva on the road to Buddhahood
Bodhichitta – Enlightened or awaken mind.
Bodhisattva – Someone who dedicates their lives, through all their rebirths, to the attainment of enlightenment in order to liberate others from suffering
Bodhisattva of Compassion - Chenrezig- (Tibetan) or Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit)
Chandali – Inner heat yoga. One of the 6 yogas of Naropa
Dakini – Female tantric deities who protect and serve Buddhist teachings and practitioners. Dakinis transmit secret teachings to select practitioners when the time is right
Dewachen – Land of Bliss or Heaven-world.
Dharma – the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni
Dharmakaya – The body of truth usually refers to the pure, essential nature of the awakened mind. It is beyond all conceptual limitations and is completely clear
Dharmapala – Protectors of the doctrine. Fierce and powerful, often wrathful
Dream Yoga – One of the 6 Yogas of Naropa, an advanced yoga meditative practice aimed at utilizing the dream state as a means to recognize the illusory nature of all appearances
Dusum Khyenpa – The first Karmapa (1110-1193), a student of Gampopa
Eight Fold Path – Right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration
Five Negative Emotions – Anger, Pride, Jealousy, Desire & Ignorance
Four Foundations – Reflections on this precious human body that we have obtained; Impermanence and death; cause & result (Karma) & the shortcomings of samsara.
Four Immeasurables / Boundless Qualities – unlimited love, boundless compassion, unsurpassable joy & fundamental impartiality
Four Noble Truths – The first teaching of the Buddha. The truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the ceasing of suffering and the truth of the path leading to the ceasing of suffering
Gelukpa – One of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism
Guru Yoga – The fourth preliminary practice of the Vajrayana Ngondro
Hayagriva – a wrathful deity usually associated with the Nyingma tradition
Hundred Syllable Mantra – Mantra of Vajrasattva
Kagyu – One of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism
Karma – Healthy or unhealthy mental impressions and their consequences expressed through one’s actions
Lama – Two words in Tibetan. 1) La – Nobody above him or her in spiritual experience & 2) Ma – expressing compassion like a loving mother. The union of Wisdom, Knowledge and Compassion, both feminine and masculine qualities.
Madhyamika – The philosophy developed by the Indian Master Nagarjuna who lived in the first half of the 2nd Century
Mahamudra – Refers to the experience of the practitioner where one attains the union of emptiness and luminosity; also perceives the non-duality of the phenomenal world and emptiness.
Milarepa – (1052-1135) Famous Tibetan Yogi and poet who lived in caves and achieved enlightenment in one lifetime.
Mount Meru – giant mountain at the center of the Buddhist world system surrounded by smaller mountains, lakes and oceans.
Nirvana - The Buddha describes nirvana as the perfect peace of mind possessed by one who is liberated. It is to be distinguished from peaceful moods arising from a temporary absence of anger, sensual desire, anxiety and other afflicting states
Nyingma – The oldest of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism
Palden Lhamo – Female dharma protector
Phowa – Transference of Consciousness
Prana – Energy or breath that moves up through the channels of the body
Puja – Buddhist ceremonies (prayers)
Sadhana – A method of prayer that includes chanting, visualization and mantra recitation
Sakya – one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism
Samaya – Sacred vow or word
Samsara - Defined as the continual repetitive cycle of birth and death that arises from ordinary beings' grasping and fixating on a self and experiences. Specifically, samsara refers to the process of cycling through one rebirth after another within the six realms of existence, where each realm can be understood as either a physical realm or a psychological state characterized by a particular type of suffering.
Sangha – The community of practitioners who have taken refuge in the Three Jewels.
Six Syllable Mantra – OM MANI PEME HUNG, the mantra of Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of infinite compassion
Six Yogas of Naropa – born in 1016, is remembered for his trust and devotion to his teacher, enabled him to attain enlightenment in one lifetime. He is a lineage holder in the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Spiritual Friend – teacher, spiritual master or guru
Taking Refuge - In the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
Ten Directions – The compass points North, South, East, West. The 4 points in between those. All the way up, all the way down. In other words, all directions, all times and in all universes.
Thanghka – Tibetan scroll painting depicting Buddhas, Bodhisattvas & other deities
Three Times – Past, Present & Future
Three Jewels – The Buddha, DSharma & Sangha
Tilopa – Founder of the Kagyu lineage
Tsongkhapa – founder of the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Led by HH Dalai Lama
Two Accumulations – Accumulations of Merit & Wisdom
Vajrasattva – Vajrasattva (Sanskrit), Dorje Sempa (Tibetan). Practice which purifies harmful deeds and removes obscurations
Yamantaka – Wrathful manifestation of Manjushri
Yidam - is a fully enlightened being who is the focus of personal meditation . The term is often translated into English as a teacher deity or meditation deity.
Complete Chenrezig Chant
I invite you to listen to and chant along with the video
When chanting this prayer we are making an earnest request, a sincere and heartfelt prayer on behalf of all sentient beings. Chenrezig may you hold all beings in your compassion until we are established in the "pure realm of Buddhahood."
While doing the Chenrezig prayer, we pray that all beings in the six realms may be established in the pure land of Chenrezig. Ultimately we are aiming toward liberation from the six realms of existence for all beings, including ourselves.
Thus having prayed for the establishment of all beings in a pure realm, we pray that we ourselves may be of benefit to all living beings with as much strength and power as Chenrezig, in this and all our future births, throughout all of our different existences. We pray that we may be able to develop the qualities that Chenrezig developed, and having developed these qualities ourselves, we pray that we may be able to benefit beings by removing all obscurations and defilement's, just as Chenrezig does, with the six-syllable mantra (OM MANI PEME HUNG) spread in the ten directions. It is really a prayer that we ourselves will have the power to benefit others.
Understanding some of the terminology in the Heart Sutra
The 5 Skandhas -
Form or matter
Sensation or feeling
Perception or conception
Consciousness or discernment
Vulture Peak Mountain – One of Buddhas teaching places
Shariputra – One of the main disciples of the Buddha
Bodhisattva - A bodhisattva is someone who, motivated by great compassion, has generated bodhicitta, which is a spontaneous wish to attain Buddha-hood for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Bodhiciitta- a compassion for all beings, accompanied by a falling away of the attachment to the illusion of an inherently-existing self. Bodhicitta is a strong need to replace others' suffering with bliss and happiness.
Tathagatas – The Buddha’s name for themselves.
Asuras – Demi-gods
Gandharvas - Gandharvas can fly through the air and are known for their skill as musicians. They are connected with trees and flowers, and are described as dwelling in the scents of bark, sap, and blossom. Fairy-like creatures.
I invite you to listen to and chant along with the Heart Sutra below
Chenrezig - The Buddha of Compassion