Bamboo Grove: Pali: Veluvana; Sanskrit: Venuvana, The first monastery (Bodhi-mandala) in Buddhism located in Rajagaha. It was donated by the elder Kalanda and built by King Bimbisara of Magadha.

bardo (T): Sanskrit: Antarabhava, "between two." In general, any interval. The Intermediate state, as between death and rebirth, as well as the space between thoughts or dream sequences. Bardo is usually used to indicate the transitions one has to pass through in approaching death and rebirth. A period of visions and dream-like experiences conditioned by non-physical resonances resulting from an intimate association with organic existence is part of the normal sequence of events preceding rebirth. However, bardo also stands for other special states of mind, not all of which are connected with death. In the west "bardo" is usually referred to only the first three of these, that is, the states between death and rebirth, during which an individual is believed wander for a period that lasts an average of - according to the Tibetan teachings - 49 days. These states are differentiated as follows:

These last three listed states are no more and no less illusory than dreams and ordinary waking consciousness.

bardo thödol (T): A text based on oral teachings by Padmasambhava and recorded in written form circa 760. After having been hidden as terma, the text was rediscovered (and extended) by the Terton Karma Lingpa in the 14th century. The text is part of the Kargling Zhi-khro collection of the Dzogchen tradition and shows traces of earlier and originally pre-buddhist Tibetan thought; indicated by symbolism and divinities that are part of the shamanic Bön religion. By way of misrepresentation of the text by Evans-Wentz (1878-1957), the Western reader has come to know this text as "The Tibetan Book of the Dead," a translation that has misguided many readers. A much better translation by Trungpa and Fremantle is entitled"Liberation by Hearing During One's Existence in the Bardo." The text is read aloud (i.e. "liberation by hearing") to someone in bardo, sometimes as pure instruction for meditation and, at the time of death, to guide the mind through the labyrinth of adventures ahead.

being: Sanskrit: bhava, lifer, becoming. Tibetan: srid pa; existence

believing faith: Sanskrit: abhisampratyaya.

bell: Sanskrit: ghanta. Tibetan: drilbu. Vajra handbell used in tantric practices symbolizing the all pervading wisdom-realizing emptiness. The bell is the female part of the Tantric polarity, symbolizing emptiness - boundless openness, the space of pure wisdom and the liberating sound of the Dharma. It is accompanied by another handheld object, a brass wand or dorje (Tibetan: diamond) - vajra in Sanskrit. The vajra scepter is the male part of the Tantric polarity, symbolizing effective means and Buddha's active compassion. Originally it was associated with divine authority and power as the thunderbolt weapon of the King of the gods and Lord of Storms, Indra. In Tibet it came to represent the indestructible nature of diamond.

Bhadanta (S): "Most virtuous." Honorific title apllied to a Buddha.

Bhadrayaniyah (S): A branch of the Hinayana sect Sthavirandin, developed from Vatsiputriyah.

bhaga (S): Luck, wealth, secret place, yoni.

Bhagavan (S): Tibetan: Chom Den De. An epithet frequently applied to the Buddha. It designates he who has vanquished the four demons, who possesses all the qualities and who is beyond the two extremes of existence and nihilism. This word designates then a perfectly accomplished Buddha.

Bhagavat (S): "World-Honored One." Also, "Lord," "Blessed One." Honorific names of the Buddha.

Bhaisajyaguru (S): Tibetan: Sangye Menla. Healing Buddha, Medicine Buddha, who quells disease and lengthens life. His realm is the Eastern Paradise or Pure Land of Lapis Lazuli Light.

bhakti (S): Devotion. Surrender. Bhakti extends from the simplest expression of devotion to the ego-decimating principle of prapatti, which is total surrender. Emphasizes emotional control; the way to the divine through love.

bhakti yoga (S): "Union through devotion." Bhakti yoga is the practice of devotional disciplines, worship, prayer, chanting and singing with the aim of awakening love in the heart and opening oneself to divine grace. From the beginning practice of bhakti to advanced devotion, called prapatti, self-effacement is an intricate part of Hindu, even all Indian, culture.

Bhante (P): Venerable Sir. A term of respectful address to an elder bhikkhu, used extensively in Theravadist communities.

bhava (P): State of existence of becoming, life.

bhavana (P): Cultivation.

bhavatanha (P): Craving, desire, thirst for being

bhiksu (S): Pali: Bhikku. Religious mendicant or monk of the order founded by Gotama Buddha. One of the four primary classes of Buddhist disciples, the male who has taken the monastic precepts. The other three are, bhiksuni (Pali: bhikkhuni), the monastic female; upasaka, the male who has taken the lay precepts; and upasika, the lay female. A ordained monastic who depends on alms for a living.

Bhrikuti (S): Tibetan: Jomo Khro Nye kan. A form of Tara, "she who has a wrathful frown."

bhumi (S): Tibetan: Jyang-sa. "Ground." One of the ten stages of realization and activity through which a Bodhisattva progresses towards Enlightenment. The ten bhumis are levels of awakening subsequent to the realization of emptiness: The Supremely Joyful; The Stainless; The Illuminating; The Radiant; The Difficult to Train For; The Manifesting; The Far Going; The Unwavering; The Excellent Intelligence; The Cloud of Dharma. Of the five paths, the first bhumi is identical with the path of seeing. Bhumis 2-9 are on the path of meditation. There are 10 bhumi levels which are distinguished in the Mahayana and 13 in the Mantrayana (Vajrayana) which represent the quintessence of buddhist teachings.

bija (S): Seed syllable. Mantra syllables, sounds that are symbols that enlightened beings use to communicate to Dharma practitioners, who also visualize them.

blessing: Sanskrit: adhisthana. Tibetan: Jin lap. Good wishes; benediction. Seeking and giving blessings. A more technical definition refers to a supplementary initiation into a specific deity practice based on having already received a major empowerment, e.g., the Vajrayogini initiation is a "blessing" based on the Chakrasamvara or Hevajra empowerments. An individual must receive the empowerment first before receiving the blessing initiation.

bliss: Tibetan: de nyam. In Vajrayana, there are four types of bliss:

When the experiences of clarity, non-thought and bliss appear, a practitioner can become attached to these, thus giving rise to a hindrance called the "defect of meditation." One who does not detach, strays into three states of existence (the realms of desire, form, and formlessness).

Blissful Pure Land: Sanskrit: Sukhavati. Tibetan: Dewachen.

Bod (T): The Ancient Tibetan word for Tibet, pronounced "Bo," or "Po." The word Bod may be derived from Bon.

Bodhgaya home of the (S): vajrasana (diamond seat) Tibetan: Dorje dan. Small town in northeast India where Shakyamuni Buddha’s six years of ascetic wandering culminated in full enlightenment. Present day site of the Mahabodhi Stupa. Formerly in the province of Magadha, today in the state of Bihar. The first Buddhas of each Dharma period manifest full enlightenment in Bodhgaya.

bodhi (S): Awakening. (T) Chang-chub. Traditionally translated as "enlightenment," Bodhi is the opposite of ignorance. A consummate insight into reality which destroys mental afflictions and brings peace. As such, it is the goal of personal practice for the Buddhist, and the nurturing of bodhi in society in general his foremost interest.

Bodhicaryavatara (S.) Tibetan: Jang-chub sem pai spyod pa la jug pa. Written by the Mahayana poet and scholar Santideva in the 7th century AD. Shantideva was an Indian Buddhist monk. According to legend he was born a crown prince and left his royal life to adopt the spiritual path. He received visions and teachings from Manjusri in person before studying at Nalanda where he was viewed as a lazy monk until he was called before an assembly where he spontaneously delivered the Bodhicaryavatara and disappeared into the sky during what has become the Ninth Chapter. The Bodhicaryavatara is one of the world's great masterpieces of religious literature. The work details the moral and spiritual discipline of one who wishes to become a bodhisattva. The Bodhicaryavatara contemplates the profound desire to become a Buddha in order to save all beings from suffering. In ancient times there were at least a hundred commentaries on the Bodhicaryavatara and its popularity has continued down to the present in Sri Lanka, India and in Tibet, where it is still widely read and studied. Santideva sets out what the Bodhisattva must do and become, what must be embraced and what is to be rejected; he also invokes the intense feelings of aspiration which underlie such a commitment, using language which has inspired Buddhists in their religious life from his time to the present.

Bodhicitta (S): Tibetan: Jang-chub sem. Also "bodhi mind." Awakened heart, awakened mind, enlightened thought. The mind or spirit of enlightenment. It is with this initiative that a Buddhist begins his path to complete, perfect enlightenment. There are various kinds of bodhicitta: 1) At the sutra level, Relative Bodhicitta is the aspiration to practice the six paramitas and free all beings from the sufferings of samsara. It involves two parallel aspects, aspiration and action: first comes the aspiration or determination to achieve Buddhahood. According to Longchenpa, the aspiration to awaken corresponds to contemplating the four immeasurables; desiring that all beings be sustained by awakening to boundless love, compassion, joy and equanimity. The second type of bodhicitta is called actualizing and consists of the practice of the six paramitas. The difference between the first and second kinds has been compared to the enthusiasm and preparation made before a journey and then the actual voyage, the action of putting this quality of compassion into practice. 2) Absolute Bodhicitta is an awakened mind that sees the uncompounded emptiness of phenomena. In Dzogchen terminlogy Bodhicitta is the original state, our True Nature. "Jang" implies purified, purity, clear and limpid since the beginning, meaning that nothing needs to be purified or altered. "Chub" means perfected or expanded and implies there is no need for further improvement. "Sem," or "mind," is the state of consciousness of which is the agency for the manifestation of this bodhi in the world. Thus bodhcitta is the original state, the true condition of which is immutable. The precepts associated with bodhicitta consist of three main points: 1) the ten non-virtues must be abandoned, 2) the ten virtuous actions that are antidotes must be applied, and 3) the ten paramitas are to be engaged.

Bodhidharma (S) [470-543 c.e.] Indian monk and 28th Patriarch who left India for China in about 520 c.e. and became the First Patriarch of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism.

bodhi nana (P): Also "sabbannuta nana." Supreme Enlightenment; the all comprehending wisdom. Corresponds to bodhicitta.

bodhisattva (S): Tibetan: Jang-chub sempa. Awakened Being. Shakyamuni Buddha used this term to describe himself when he was seeking enlightenment. Bodhi means "Enlightenment" and sattva means "sentient" or "conscious. Thus "bodhisattva" refers to a "sentient being of great wisdom and enlightenment." The bodhisattva's goal is the pursuit of Buddhahood and the salvation of all. The bodhisattva cycles through rebirths to help liberate beings from suffering and further establish the Dharma in the world. The bodhisattva path and discipline, generally accepted by Mahayana practitioners, is based in the aspiration, generation and application of the bodhicitta. Bodhisattvas are awakening beings whose realization is not yet that of the Buddhas. The bodhisattvas develop the intention to reach the state of Buddha, in order to release all sentient beings from the suffering of the cycle of existence. They work with this intention while developing compassion and renouncing the stain of any personal interest. Accompanied by Joyful effort and the other paramitas, this altruistic attitude permits one to slice through the thick inertia of egocentric habit energy and constitutes the energy of awakening. The bodhisattva works for the good of beings until the end of samsara through the practice of the ten perfections - or paramitas. There are ten stages in the Bodhisattva process. A Mahasattva is one who has reached the tenth stage but delays entering complete Enlightenment so as to help others. See bhumi; Four Great Vows.

Bodhi tree: Also, Bo Tree. Tree beneath which the meditating Gautama sat before he achieved enlightenment. According to tradition this was an Asvattha tree, though there is no historical evidence to support this belief. It is widely believed to have been a Pipal tree, ficus religiosa, a large deciduous tree found in uplands and plains of India and Southeast Asia. To this day, Buddhists make rosaries (malas) from the seed and plant the tree outside of temples. Even the leaf is revered and sometimes carried as a charm. The fruit contains serotonin and may have been used as an entheogen, although it is currently revered but rarely consumed. Although a tropical tree, it can thrive as a houseplant, and is easy to grow as other ficus species. This fast growing tree usually begins as an epiphyte (air plant, grows on trees) but develops roots to support its height of 90-plus feet. Has purple figs, red flowers, and is different from other species, because of its slender, long leaf tip. See Pipal.

Bodpa (T): Tibetan word for "Tibetan," both as a noun and as an adjective.

body energy: In the Tibetan view, there are six types and are referred to as winds (T. rlung): All-pervading (kyab-yed); Ascending (gyen-gyen); Evacuating (tur-sel); Fiery (me-nyam); Life-supporting (rok-zin); body-speech-mind (go-sum).

Bon / Bonpo (T): invocation - recitation. Tibet's pre-Buddhist, animist religion. a general heading for various religious currents in Tibet before the introduction of Buddhism by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century. The word Bonpo originally referred to shamanic priests who performed certain rites such as burial and divination. In the 11th century Bonpo became a name for an independent school that distinguished itself from Buddhism in claiming to preserve the continuity of the old Bön tradition. Tibetan history states that in pre-Buddhist times the kings were protected by three kinds of practitoners, the shamanic Bonpo's, the bards, and the riddle game pratictitoners. The Bonpo were responsible for the exorcism of hostile forces. Their roles grew and expanded over the years until three different aspects of their duties were distinguished.

Revealed Bon represents the first stage. Practitioners of the Bön tradition employ various means to "tame demons below, offer to gods above and purify the firehearths in the middle" using methods of divination to make the will of the gods known. With the murder of an important king named Trigum the stage called Irregular Bon came about. At this time the main duty of the Bon was to bury kings. This time also brought an elaboration of the philosophical system because of contact with non-Tibetan Bonpos from the west. In the phase known as Transformed Bon major portions of Buddhist teachings were taken into this system, still without giving up the elements of the folk religion. This took place between the 8th and the 10th centuries.

bumpa (T): Ewer or ritual vase used during special ceremonies, in particular during tantric empowerments.

Buton (T): [1290-1364]. Sakya scholar-historian and yogi who finalized the compilation of the Tibetan Buddhist canon. One of the lineage lamas of the Six Yogas of Naropa. Author of "The History of Buddhism in India."

Brahma (S): The creator god. One of the three major deities of Hinduism, along with Visnu (Vishnu) and Siva (Shiva). Adopted as one of the protective deities of Buddhism.

Brahma Net Sutra (Brahmajala Sutra): Sutra of major significance in Mahayana Buddhism. In addition to containing the ten major precepts of Mahayana (not to kill, steal, lie, etc.) the Sutra also contains 48 minor injunctions. The major and minor precepts constitute the Bodhisattva Precepts, taken by most Mahayana monks and nuns and certain advanced lay practitioners (upasakas).

Brahmin (S): The highest of the four Indian castes at the time of Shakyamuni. This priestly class served the original creator god Brahma through regular offerings and observances as the keepers of the Vedas.

Buddha (S): Awakened One. Title applied to the prince of the Sakya clan, Siddharta Gautama upon reaching perfect enlightenment. In everyday talk it is used as the name of the founder of Buddhism. 'Buddha' is the primary title of those who have entirely awakened to the Dharma, and especially those who awaken to it during an era when the Dharma is not presently manifest, and so function as the means for the introduction of the blessings of the Dharma into the world. In the cosmic vision of millions of world systems to be found in Mahayana scriptures, 'buddhas' refer to other buddhas who exist simultaneously throughout the universe, as well as the past and future buddhas of this world.

Buddha of Limitless Light: Sanskrit: Amitabha. Tibetan: Öpame. His western paradise is Dewachen (S. Sukhavati), the pure land of highest bliss where the faithful are reborn in conditions extremely conducive to accomplish their spiritiual aspirations. See Amitabha

Buddhadharma (S): "Teaching of Enlightenment." Originally apllied to designate the teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha. Over time, this has been replaced by the term "Buddhism."

Buddhaghosa (P): A famous buddhist writer who visited Ceylon and wrote the famous Visuddimagga / (Path of Purification).


Buddha-ksetra (S): Buddhaland. In Mahayana, the realm acquired by one who reaches perfect enlightenment, where he instructs all beings born there, preparing them for enlightenment, e.g. Amitabha in Sukhavati-Dewachen (Western Paradise); Bhaisajyaguru (Medicine Master Buddha) in Pure Land of Lapus Lazuli Light (Eastern Paradise).

Buddha Nature: Sanskrit: tathagatagarbha. Tibetan: sangye kyi nyingpo. The potential every sentient being has to realize Buddhahood. The Buddha essence within each being which is uncovered through enlightenment. The mind’s innate potential to achieve enlightenment; the clear, originally pure basis for attaining enlightenment that exists in all living beings. The following (and many more) are synonomous: True Nature, Original Nature, Natural State, Dharma Nature, True Mark, True Mind, True Emptiness, True Thusness, Dharma Body, Original Face. The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen: According to the Mahayana view, [buddha-nature] is the true, immutable, and eternal nature of all beings. Since all beings possess buddha-nature, it is possible for them to attain enlightenment and become a buddha, regardless of what level of existence they occupy. The answer to the question whether buddha-nature is immanent in beings is an essential determining factor for the association of a given school with Theravada or Mahayana, the two great currents within Buddhism. In Theravada this notion is unknown; here the potential to become a buddha is not ascribed to every being. Having already been visited by a Buddha, they are of the opinion that the highest attainment possible is the mind of the arhat. By contrast the Mahayana sees the attainment of buddhahood as the highest goal; it can be realized through intense cultivation of the bodhicitta revealing the inherent buddha-nature of every being.

Buddhas of Confession: Or, the 35 Buddhas of Confession. Each of the 35 Buddhas has at the same time the capacity to eliminate negative actions and obstacles to the practice of Dharma. The recitation of the Sutra of Three Accumulations, the prayer of confession in front of 35 Buddhas is a particularly effective method to purify of any failures. This is usually accompanied by prostrations.

Buddhist cosmology: Original (Hinayana/Theravada) cosmology, there is only one world, in the center of which lies mount Meru with mountain ranges and four main continents. The southern continent, Jambu (India or Earth) is the place where we all live. The other continents are inhabited, but beings can mature best only in Jambudvipa. All world systems have a beginning and an end, and while beings' good karma can fill the world with good impressions, their karma creates the specific phenomena and ultimately destoys it. Mahayana cosmology also employs the model of Mount Meru surrounded by four major continents and eight lesser ones, but there are an infinite number of worlds, which are arranged in a hierarchical manner. These worlds are created by karma as well as by the compassion of the buddhas and the vows of the bodhisattvas. Worlds are created and destroyed until all beings are liberated from the sufferings of cyclic existence. Vajrayana offers two versions: The Kalachakra integrates macrocosm and microcosm into a coherent whole and includes an astrological system. Mahamudra and Dzogchen teachings dismiss cosmology with "Non-Cosmology" and define the universe as primordial mind. All phenomena and experience are expressions of this.

buji (J): "No matter." Zen term describing an attitude acquired toward the Dharma, when a practitioner mistakenly believes that practice is not necessary since all sentient beings are originally buddhas. See eternalism

Bulug (T): Sub-school maintaining the tradition of Buton Thamche Khyenpa, more commonly known as the Zhalupa (no longer extant).

Buton (T): [1290-1364]. Sakya scholar-historian and yogi who finalized the compilation of the Tibetan Buddhist canon. One of the lineage lamas of the Six Yogas of Naropa. Author of "The History of Buddhism in India."