padma (S): lotus

Padmapani Avalokitesvara: the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion. The supreme emanation of Amitabha Buddha who took the vow to save all human beings from inconceivable suffering. A Bodhisattva is one whose essence is perfect knowledge, who works for the sake of liberating others. The name Padmapani means "the bearer of the lotus of compassion", and Avalokitesvara "he who gazes over all the realms".Avalokitesvara is the patron deity of Tibet, known as Chenrezig in Tibetan, emanating through the incarnations of the Dalai Lama. His pure land is known as Potala. From his tears of compassion were born the two goddesses of compassion and mercy, Green and White Tara. With the spread of Buddhism into Central Asia and China the forms of Padmapani and Tara were often united into the form of Kuan-yin, merging both male and female aspects of compassion. Avalokitesvara is invoked by his six syllable mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum.

Padmasambhava (S): "Lotus Born." Tibetan: Guru Rinpoche. Precious Guide., ca. 730 - ca. 805. One of the Mahasiddhas, commonly referred to as the "Second Buddha," Padmasambhava was among the great Indian Tantric masters renowned for effecting changes in the phenomenal world through spiritual power. He is regarded as an incarnation of three holy personalities: Gautama Buddha was his body, Amitabha Buddha his speech, and the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara his mind. Padmasambhava is described as a tantric adept, an enlightened yogi, meditation master and healer who established the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition in Tibet and founded it’s first monastery. Padmasambhava was supremely accomplished in the esoteric arts and used his powers to defeat many demons and black magic practitioners in Tibet in the 8th century. He is the principal founder of the first school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Nyingma. He was invited by the Tibetan King Trisong Detsen to bring his knowledge to Tibet and he stayed 50 years, founding monasteries and teaching tantric doctrine. According to tradition, Guru Rinpoche flew to the Og-Min Heaven and met the Adi Buddha, from whom he received the main doctrine of the Nyingmapa School, the Great Perfection or Dzogpa Chenpo. He was received by a dakini who gave him a Body Initiation, proving that his body was the result of three holy incarnations: Buddha Gautama (Shakyamuni), Buddha Amitabha, and the great Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Further, he obtained the fourth initiation of Great Perfection from Sri Singha, the true Manjusri. Sri Singha pointed up to the sky and said, "I have accomplished Buddhahood without any other teaching but only this sky. Since then my mind has never been disturbed." After saying this, Sri Singha flew to the Five-Peaked Mountain in China where, as foretold by Buddha, was the holy place of Manjusri. Guru Rinpoche also obtained blessings and teachings from Bhaisajyaguru (Medicine Buddha) and learned astrology from Manjusri. All of these teachings have been preserved in the Nyingma teachings and doctrines, handed down through several lineages of teachers and yogis, all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

He has many forms including an important set of eight that are depicted in Tantric art. He is seated on a lotus with a red cap, the legs crossed, the right hand holding a dorje (vajra) and the left resting in his lap. He is said to be the son of Indrabhuti, another famous sage involved with the spreading of Tantra and the establishment of Vajrayana in Tibet. When battling demons of the then-prevalent shamanic Bön religion, Guru Pema -- as he came to be called -- sometimes resorted to female "manifestations" of himself, for example as the lion-headed Simhamukha. At other times, the hero himself felt that he needed certain initiations and knowledge that was possessed by Tibet’s female adepts, and he did not shrink from actually begging for it, as he does in the fascinating story of Surya Chandrasiddhi. As a true Tantric, the master initiated, made love to, and in turn was initiated by a number of ladies; and he took care that all the countries he wanted to enlighten (i.e. turn to Buddhism) were represented in his choice of women. These five partners or consorts, each of whom is regarded as an emanation/incarnation of Vajravarahi, were the following:

The year of his birth is not on record but must have been quite some time before 757, the year of his arrival in Tibet (after his departure from India's famous Nalanda University). Of course, it is said that he was born eight years after the Buddha, which would put it somewhere around 477 bc. He left Tibet in 804, after having founded the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery at Samye. His biography, written by Yeshe Tsogyal, is known as Padma Kathang and has been published as The Lotus Born in English.

Padma Kathang (T): A collective name for several (slightly different) versions of the biography of Padmasambhava (c.730-c.805), a work that was originally written by his consort and student, Yeshe Tsogyal (757-817). It is a beautiful and poetic work that allows the reader to form a rather detailed picture of the main characters, Guru Rinpoche and his intimate students, and of life in Tibet during the coming of Buddhism and its initial struggle with the indigenous Bön religion. The texts are especially valued among members of the Nyingmapa school and the practitioners of Dzogchen. The Kathang literature consists of several terma, each of which was revealed by a different terton at a different time. One of these is generally known as the Sheldrakma, a text discovered by terton Urgyan Lingpa (b.1323). Another version, a terma revealed about 200 years earlier by terton Nyang Ral Nyima Öser (1124-1192), is the Sanglingma.

Palden Lhamo (T): Sanskrit: Shridevi. The female companion of Mahakala and his equal in power. She is depicted in a peaceful form as Machig Palden Lhamo, sitting on a lotus, wearing a crown of jewels, holding a bowl of jewels in her left hand and holding a standard of rainbow colors in her right. In her wrathful form, she rides a mule, has flaming red hair, three red eyes and sharp fangs.

Pali: The canon of texts preserved by the Theravada school and, by extension, the language in which those texts are composed.

Palyul: The Palyul lineage began in 1665 when the Vidyadhara Kunzang Sherab (1636-1699) assumed the position of head of the newly built Palyul Monastery. His root guru, the hidden treasure revealer Min-gyur Dorje had instructed Kunzang Sherab to take charge of the monastery and work for the welfare of sentient beings. Under his guidance, the monastery grew and over one thousand branch monasteries were founded in China and Tibet by adepts of the Palyul Lineage. A strong focus on discipline and meditation has led to its fame as the tradition of accomplishment.

Panchen Lama (T): "Guru who is a great scholar", an honorific title conferred by the Great 5th Dalai Lama on his master, the abbot of Tashi Lhumpo Monastery. The title of successive incarnations of Sakya Pandita who reside in Tashilunpo. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be incarnations of Avalokiteshvara, but the 5th Dalai Lama declared his teacher was on an even higher level, a manifest incarnation of the Dharmakaya Buddha Amitabha. The Panchen Lamas were the teachers of the Dalai Lamas, and were considered to be incarnations of Amitabha. His spiritual authority is second only to that of the Dalai Lama within the Gelugpa sect. The Panchen Lama reincarnates again and again, but, unlike the Dalai Lama he has no political responsibilities. In case of the death of the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama holds the position of HHDL's spiritual representative. As a result of the socio-political machinations of the Chinese in the mid-twentieth century the Panchen Lama did begin to hold political office. The Panchen Lama is now a title like Vice President or Prime Minister that Tibetans identify with the second greatest leader of Tibet. The current Panchen Lama was 6 years old when he and his parents were kidnapped from their home in Tibet by the Chinese government. He is the world's youngest political prisoner and has been missing for over four years. Visit this site to find out more about the Panchen Lama:


pandit / pandita (S): Master of the Buddhist arts and sciences. Specifically, the pandit masters the five principal and secondary categories of traditional indian knowledge. Medicine; sound and psychoacoustics; the Dharma (interior knowledge); reasoning; religious art; astrology; poetry; periphrasis or circumlocution; harmonious composition; the applied arts.

Pang Mipham Gonpo: Disciple of the great translator Vairocana. Although in his 80s when he met his teacher, Pang Mipham Gonpo was able to manifests the rainbow body.

paramita (S): Lit. gone-beyond, ie, Perfection. The paramitas are the framework of the bodhisattva's religious practice, usually consisting of six categories, sometimes ten. The six are:

The 10 paramitas feature the same six with the additional being phases in the maturation of prajna. These are the perfection of skillful means (upaya), vows, powers, and transcendent wisdom (S. jnana, T. ye-she). This tenth paramita is also referred to as Cloud of Dharma.

Patanjali (S): A Saivite Natha siddha (c. 200 bce) who codified the ancient yoga philosophy which outlines the path to enlightenment through purification, control and transcendence of the mind. One of the six classical philosophical systems (darshanas) of Hinduism, known as Yoga Darshana. His great work, the Yoga Sutras, See: raja yoga, yoga.

Pemako (Padma Ko) (T): A "beyul" or "hidden land" located on the border between Kham and northeastern India, one of the 108 beyul scattered throughout the Himalayan region. These remote areas were empowered by Padmasambhava as sacred environments where the outer elements are in harmony and blessings are ever present. Spiritual realization is easily attained in such places and, in some cases, the beyul also act as sanctuaries providing protection in times of war or famine. Guidebooks on how to get to the hidden lands were written by Padmasambhava and concealed as terma to be revealed when the appropriate conditions arose. In the case of Pemako, the terma regarding its location was first revealed by Rigdzin Jetsun Nyingpo (1585-1656). Another guidebook was later discovered by Rigdzin Dudu1 Dorje (1615-1672) who then opened up the area although it was not until the late 18th century that it became a place of pilgrimage.

Phowa (T): "Transference of Consciousness." A meditation practice based on transferring one's consciousness out of the body. This practice enables one to have confidence in reaching liberation at the time of death, even if one has not had the opportunity to devote large amounts of time and energy to the practice of meditation beforehand.

Phrom: The country of Phrom, where King Gesar ruled over the Turks (Eastern Turkestan). King Gesar ruled from Rum (Byzantium or Anatolia), the ancient Rome of the Near East. Known as Gesar of Ling, note that "Ling" is a Tibetan abbreviation of the term denoting the whole world, (as in 'Dzam-ling, Skt., Jambudvipa). Gesar conquered most of western-central Asia in the 7th Century CE, probably ruling Anatolia from Byzantium.

Phurba (T): Nail or wedge. A magical tent-stake or dagger derived from Bön for ritually subduing demons. Originally associated with necromancy, the use of the phurba was introduced into the practice of Tibetan Buddhism by Padmasambhava. As a system for the direct transmutaton of negative forces, it plays a central role in a system of meditative practice that was also transmitted by Yeshe Tsogyel. The actual phurba is a three-edged knife with a handle often in the shape of half of a dorje or bearing the images of the countenance of a wrathful deity. They are usually made of either made of wood, iron, bronze or brass. Phurbas are used in tantric ceremonies to exorcise demons (physical and psychological obstacles) or as a spiritual nail to pin down the distractions of greed, desire and envy. The origin of the phurba is associated with a long Tantra presented by Padmasambhava at the beginning of his journey to Tibet. Vajrakilaya, a deity sometimes personified as a winged phurba plays an important role as a yidam in both the Sakya and Nyingma schools.

Pipal: The pipal is a fig tree (Ficus religiosa) of India, also know as a Bo tree. The Latin name reflects the story that Gautama Buddha received enlightenment under a Bo tree at Bodh Gaya. A slip of this very tree was planted at Anuradhapura in present day Sri Lanka by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns in the 3rd centuryb.c.e. It is now considered one of the oldest living trees on the earth. The pipal tree can grow very large, up to 100 feet high. The fallen leaves are often decorated with drawings and prayers and sold to pilgrims.

pitta (S): Hot bile. In Ayurvedic medicine, pitta is bodily heat-energy that governs nutritional absorption, body temperature, and intelligence. It is one of three bodily humors (doshas); the fire humor.

practices of liberation: The main practice is to continue in the state of naked awareness, or rigpa. Its secondary practices can be varied and act as a support if one understands and applies the significance of Bodhicitta . The key function is to overcome self-impossed limitations and dualistic conceptualization.

prajna (S): discriminating wisdom, T. she-rab. Fundamental wisdom or insight; the sixth Paramita.

Prajnaparamita (S): Literally, 'wisdom gone beyond' also called Mahaprajnaparamitra, and the name given to one of the most important collection of texts in Mahayana Buddhism. Know as the Great Sutra of Perfect Wisdom That Reaches the Other Shore, it refers to a series of about 40 Mahayana sutras which all deal with the realization of Prajna or Transcendent Wisdom and the Doctrine of Emptiness. They are part of the Vaiputiya-sutra of the Mahayana and are said to have been composed around the beginning of the common era. Some of vthese works were written in Sanskrit and then translated into both Tibetan and Chinese before the originals went up in flames, torched by Islamic fanatics near the end of the 13th century. The sutras in this collection that are best known in the west are The Diamond Sutra (Vajrachechedika) and the Heart Sutra (Mahaprajnamitra-hridya-sutra). Their most important interpreter was Master Nagarjuna. Most of these sutras are dedicated to the Arhat Subhuti and are said to have been delivered on Vulture Peak . The oldest part is probably the Ashtasahasrika. It contains 8,000 verses and is composed of discussions the Buddha had with several of his students and constitutes the basis of all the other Prajnaparamitra sutras.. *** Also, Prajnaparamita is the name of the four-armed female Buddha who represents perfect wisdom. Her mantra, TADYATHA OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA is part of the Heart Sutra.

praktimosha (S): The code of five ethical precepts taken for either a specified length of time or permanently, by both layman and monks. These consist of vows not to kill, lie, steal, engage in sexual misconduct or intoxicants.

Pramana In the tradition of buddhist logic, pramana is concerned with sources of knowledge, the means of valid cognition and how we know what we know. Masters Dignaga (5th-6th c.) and Dharmakirti (6th-7th c.) elaborated a system of pramanas which taught that there are two sources of knowledge; inference and direct perception. What is valid knowledge of perception is commonly established by the 3 analyses 1) investigating perception. e.g.; by looking we can see that there is a tree. But not all knowledge is perceptual; one may employ valid inference using reliable signs- e.g.; you hear a bird outside, and by that you infer that a bird is there. This is not just unsupported opinion. 2) Inferential investigation shows that we have a justification for our conclusion although it is not the highest certainty either. Wisdom could have direct perception of the bird, just as when we directly see a sparrow in front of us. It sees the nature of things as they are, e.g.; emptiness, impermanence etc. Things that are very hidden and hard to discover and cannot even be known by reasons can still be known by 3) investigation of true words. For example the Buddha predicted certain events that later actually occurred. He predicted that various good things would happen if certain practices were followed. Those who believed him eventually verified this. Such teachings are beyond ordinary thought. They cannot be immediately verified by normal mental processes, but later can be by wisdom. For example, in the beginning we cannot verify that all beings have Buddha nature. We must take it on trust. But if we become enlightened, we can see the truth of this for ourselves. It becomes direct perception. Therefore, through these three investigations, we can eventually verify for ourselves with certainty that the Buddha's teaching is reliable. Pramana, tshad ma, means perfect, reliable, valid, authentic, and non-erroneous. It can be applied to perfect persons, correct perception, valid logical inference, trustworthy scripture, and so forth. Of course we must give reasons why this is so, since no one thinks their own doctrine is invalid.

"Attaining pramana is not simply that one has true ideas or perceptions, but that one becomes a genuine being as a whole."

-the above comments on Pramana are based on the teachings and words of KPSR

Pramodavajra (S) Tibetan: Garab Dorje. Indestructible Joy. Also called Prahevajra, and Surati Vajra. Early yogin and tantric adept who apparently lived in the century when BCE turned into CE; with dates ranging from 184 BCE - 57 CE. His life story, according to the tradition, is full of miraculous events and powers, yet Tibetans regard him nevertheless as a historical figure as well. Born in Oddiyana from the womb of a royal nun, Garab Dorje is generally regarded as the actual originator of Dzogchen. Regarded as a nirmanakaya-emanation (see Trikaya) of the Buddha Vajrasattva, Garab Dorje received all the 6.4 million tantras and oral instructions of Dzogchen directly from the heavenly realm and thus became the first human vidyadhara (Skt., knowledge holder, T. rig-dzin) in the Dzogchen lineage. Having reached the state of complete enlightenment, he then transmitted these teachings to his retinue of exceptional beings, among whom Manjushrimitra is regarded as the chief who in turn passed them on to Sri Singha. Centuries later, also Vairocana and Padmasambhava are known to have received the transmission of the Dzogchen tantras from Garab Dorje's wisdom form; i.e. through a direct vision on Lake Dhanakosa in Oddiyana. Garab Dorje composed a text known as "The Natural Freedom of Ordinary Characteristics," yet is especially famous for his "three incisive precepts" or "Three Lines that Strike at the Vital Point"; his last testament in the form of three essential statements given to Manjushrimitra; summing up the teachings of Dzogchen:

prana (S): Vital Air. Tibetan: rLung, "vital wind." Chinese: Chi, "vital energy ." Life Force. From the root "pran," to breathe." Prana in the human body moves in the pranamaya kosha as five primary life currents known as vayus, "vital airs or winds." These are prana (outgoing breath), apana (incoming breath), vyana (retained breath), udana (ascending breath) and samana (equalizing breath). Each governs crucial bodily functions, and all bodily energies are modifications of these. Usually prana refers to the life principle, but sometimes denotes energy, power or the animating force of the cosmos.

pranayama (S): Breath control." See: Raja Yoga.

Prasanga: This word refers to the undesired consequences or contradictions revealed through reasoning and 'reductio ad absurdum' logic employed to dismantle concepts, theories and philosophical propositions. Thus Prasangika means making use of contradiction to reduce fallacious thinking to absurdities. Among the Madhyamika schools, the Prasangika Madhyamika continues what was set into motion with Nagarjuna, Aryadeva and Chandrakirti, who were among its early proponents, and persists today as the predominant philosophical view of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, as ably propounded by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

prayer wheels: Cylinders filled with copies of the mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum," as many as possible, printed on very thin tisssue paper (or these days on microfilm). The paper is wound around a spindle and covered with the free-floating protective cylinder. The wheels are made to be turned by hand, wind or water.

preta (S): Hungry ghost; T. yi-dvags. A lower dimensional being subject to intense suffering being plagued by deep attachments with manifest an immense hunger and thirst which are impossible to satiate.

prostrations: Whole bodily gesture of devotion and submission performed before the teacher or an empowered shrine. In the Tibetan preliminary or "foundational" practices, called 'ngondro,' practitioners chant or recite 100,000 purification mantras; mentally creates 100,000 offerings (mandalas); 100,000 mantra repetitions of the guru while mentally realizing that the teacher is a reflection of one's true nature; and 100,000 prostrations, while seeking refuge in the Three Jewels; Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. When doing prostations, the practitioner touches the crown of the head, the throat, and the heart (standing for body, speech, and mind), lies down full-length on the floor, then comes back to a standing position and starts over. Most Tibetan Buddhists also prostrate three times on entering any sacred space such as a temple, to show respect for the teachings and let go of mundane concerns.

Protectors, Dharma Protectors: Tibetan: Cheu Chyong. There are three kinds: Jigtenpa, unenlightened energy-fields believing in a "self" are better avoided, they may be very difficult customers. If controlled by yogis like Guru Rinpoche, they become Damzigpas, held positive by the promise not to harm beings. They often look somewhat "unusual" and, gradually becoming Bodhisattvas, manifest a vertical wisdom-eye in their foreheads. The most important protectors are direct emanations of the Buddhas: male Mahakalas and female Mahakalis. They are harmonious in outer appearance and are always from the eighth Bodhisattva-level and up. From the taking of Buddhist Refuge they ensure that every experience becomes a part of the practitioner's way towards Enlightenment. The Dharma Protectors are a category of deities whose rituals aim at the destruction, 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.

provisional and definitive meaning: Tibetan: trangdon [and] ngedön. On a general level, provisional meaning is for general, or relative, communication. A teacher teaches in provisional terms to a disciple because the audience could only understand duality or dualistic terms. Listeners who understand the essence can experience definitive meaning.

Pudgalavadin: See Vatsiputriya

psychic powers: Sanskrit: siddhis, T. ngo-drub. Also, the Six Psychic Powers: the heavenly eye; the heavenly ear; power with regard to past lives; power with regard to the mind; spiritually based psychic powers; the extinction of outflows.

puja (S): Worship, adoration. A ceremony in which prayers are offered to the deities to draw down their blessings or invoke their help. Pujas are performed to avert and clear the three types of obstacles, conditions which prevent us from achieving our worldly and spiritual goals. There are three types of obstacles: Worldly obstacles: those affecting day to day life, relationships, business, finances. Inner obstacles: emotions that affect health or mental state. Secret obstacles: subtlest patterns obstructing the attainment of innate wisdom. Pujas are also performed for the dying, to help pacify their mind, and for the deceased to bless and guide their mind to a higher state of rebirth and liberation. The type of puja performed depends on the type of affliction and the individual's connection to the deity.

punya (S): Virtue or merit.

pure land: A land purified of evil, suffering, and difficulties through the work of a bodhisattva, or bodhisattvas. Pure lands are the subject of a genre of Mahayana scriptures, the most widely known being the Sutras discussing the pure land of the Buddha Amitabha, called Sukhavati ('Blissful'), or Tibetan "Dewa-chen," land of great bliss. In Indian Buddhism, these sutras seem to have been a minor current of devotional theology geared towards the less philosophically inclined, a current which would blossom into a major trend in China and Japan. This culminated into the Pure Land Sect of Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, which aimed to be a 'populist' sect catering to the spiritual needs of those lay Buddhists who were not able or willing to tread the highly disciplined and philosophical paths typical of the monastically oriented Buddhist sects. In China, the Pure Land Sect would be eclipsed by the Ch’an (J. zen) sect, who succeeded in becoming the dominant 'populist' sect (and which would literally absorb the Pure Land sect and adopt many of its practices, such as the chanting of Amitabha's name). In Japan, the Pure Land sect would be more successful, splintering into a number of sub-sects. Its core methods were plagiarized to some extent by Nichiren, who would found a Tendai-oriented sect which chanted the title of the Lotus Sutra, rather than the name of Amitabha Buddha. Because of their populist character, both Nichiren and Pure Land Buddhism continue to thrive in Japan.