sadhaka (S): practitioner
sadhana (S): Tibetan: Drub-tob, method of accomplishment. 1. Religious or spiritual disciplines, such as puja, yoga, meditation, japa, fasting and austerity. The effect of sadhana is the building of willpower, concentration, faith and confidence in oneself and in the guru. 2. A highly structured technical text focussing on Deity Yoga using various meditation and recitation techniques. The basic tool for practicing the Two Stages of Yoga - Generation and Perfection. The stages of a practice guiding one to realization.
Saha world: Refers to the realm of existence where sentient beings must suffer the results of great delusion. Saha translates as "bearing" and "enduring." The world where beings endure immense suffering. The opposite of a Pure Land. "Our way of appearance is to wander about in the cycle of existence, driven by the attachment to a self. We perceive as a self what does not exist as a self, as mine what doesnot exist as mine, and experience manifold suffering under the sway of this perception." -Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche.
Sakya (T): Also Sakyapa - "School of the Gray Earth." One of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Stressing the study of philosophy, this school has contributed some of the most important philosophical commentaries. Founded by Kunga Nyinpo of the Khon family, c. 1073, student of of the Indian yogi Virupa. Principal leaders of the Sakya Sect are still Khon family members. Three lineages: Zhalu, or Bupa - c. 1350; Jonang - c. 1350; Ngor - 1459.
Sakya (S): Also Saka, Shaka, Shakya. The clan or tribe to which the historical Gautama Buddha belonged, in northern India and Nepal. Observers of the Vaisnava (Hindu) religion that preserved its literature in Sanskrit. In the sixth century bce, north India was home to a dozen or more kingdoms and oligarchies, including the kingdom of Kosala, which in the Ramayana is described as being ruled by Dasaratha and his son Rama at one time, their capital located at Ayodhya. The Sakya tribe, which ruled over Kosala in the sixth century, had its capital at Sravasti in the Himalayan foothills. The Shakya clansmen dwelt along the river Rohini that flowed among the southern foothills of the Himalayas and it is at nearby Lumbini (now in Nepal) that Siddhartha Gautama was born in or around 563 bce on a full moon night. King Suddhodana Gautama had transferred his capitol to Kapila and there had built a great castle. His young wife Mayadevi died seven days after giving birth to her first son, the Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who left the palace at 29. Six years later he had attained his goal. After enlightenment, the Buddha returned to his people to share the teachings with them. King Suddhodana, suffering inwardly from his son's choice to abandon the throne, held aloof, but afterward became his faithful disciple; Maha-Prajapati, the Buddha's step-mother, Princess Yasodhara, his wife, Rahula, his son and all the members of the Shakya clan, had great devotion to the Buddha and followed him. Foremost among these was the Buddha's cousin and attendant, Ananda. After Shakyamuni's father died as a lay disciple, he declared that a lay disciple, whose mind is free from the poisons of lust, attachment, false views, and ignorance, is no different than anyone else who is free.
King Virudhaka, son of King Prasenajit of Kosala made war against the Sakyas during the lifetime of the Buddha. Sagarhawa is believed to be the site where thousands of Sakyas were massacred, marking the end of their republic. Since both Gautama and his son Rahula became monks, King Suddhodana had no heir. (It is not clear whether dynastic rule prevailed in the republic.) General Bhadraka succeeded Suddhodana, followed by Mahanama, who also became a monk. Sakya power weakened and Kapilavastu became a feudatory of the powerful kingdom of Kosala and then of Kasi. There had been repeated incidents of military aggression between the Kosalans and the Sakyans. Fearing a famine the Shakya warrior chiefs agitated for a war with the Kolyas over water rights to the Rohini River. The Kolyas had built a dike to conserve water; when they refused the Shakyas' demand to dismantle it, both sides prepared for war. Just before the battle was to begin, the Buddha spoke to both sides, asking them to compare the value of earth and water to the intrinsic value of people and the human blood they were about to spill. King Prasenajit asked the Sakyas for a bride. The Sakyans were resistant to this, considering the Kosalans barbarians. Instead, they decided to deceive them and offered a beautiful Sakyan slave girl to the Kosalans. Unaware of her non-royal roots, the King married her and had a son, Prince Virudhaka. As a young man, Virudhaka was sent to Kapilavastu to train in the use of weapons. One day he was insulted by a Sakya military officer who made reference to the low origins of Virudhaka's mother. When he grew older, after he had usurped his father's throne at Sravasti and murdered his half-brother Prince Jeta, he invaded the Sakya country. The Buddha interceded a few times, but eventually Virudhaka had his way. Survivors fled to various places, including Vaisali and Rajgriha in Magadha. Some went to Vedi from where Asoka, three centuries later, got his bride. That perhaps explains the initial Buddhist influence on him.
samadhi (S): Tibetan: Ting nge dzin, deep meditation. State of profound mental absorption."Sameness; evenness, contemplation; union, wholeness; completion, accomplishment." Samadhi is the state of true yoga, in which the meditator and the object of meditation are one. Samadhi is of two levels. The first is savikalpa samadhi (enstasy with form), identification or oneness with the essence of an object. Its highest form is the realization of the primal substratum or pure consciousness, Satchidananda. The second is nirvikalpa samadhi ("enstasy without form or seed"), identification with formless bliss, in which all modes of consciousness are transcended. This brings in its aftermath a complete transformation of consciousness. See kundalini, Parashiva, raja yoga, Self Realization, trance.
Samantabhadra (S): Tibetan: Kuntuzangpo, "All Good." The primordial Buddha associated with originary wisdom, and compassion. He is the antecedent of all and the expanse of reality. He holds sway over existence and quiescence in their entirety. He is naked and blue in color, and is most often pictured embracing his white consort Samantrabhhadri. They are another emanation of Adibuddha, the ever-present potential for Buddhahood, that has always been and always be. He symbolizes Dharmakaya, or "state of Truth." A form of Vairocana and a dhyanibodhisattva (spiritual meditation buddha), who is depicted sitting on a throne carried by a white elephant. Also called Visvabhadra Bodhisattva, Universally Worthy Bodhisattva. In Chinese Buddhism, Samantabadhra is one of the Four Great Bodhisattvas, the Bodhisattva of Great Conduct, representing the Law and proclaiming the "Ten Great King Vows" -- guidelines for cultivating dharma.
samaya (S): Tibetan: dam-tsig. A bond; to be bound by an oath, vow or promise. The sacred vow which binds tantric practitioners to their practice and the basis for rapid psychological and spiritual growth in Vajrayana Buddhism. Through the unbroken connection to the teacher, meditation forms and co-disciples, students quickly manifest their bodhi-potential. The bond to one's first teacher is considered very important.
Sambhokakaya (S): T. longs-ku. Second of the three bodies of a Buddha. The body of perfect enjoyment, the illuminating potential of mind. The visionary and communicative aspect of Buddha nature directly perceivable only by high bodhisattvas
samsara (S): Tibetan: khor-wa. Going round in circles. The phenomenal world experienced dualistically, from the viewpoint of ego-clinging. Transmigratory existence, fraught with emotional reactivity, deluding notions, impermanence and change. The cycle of birth, death and rebirth; the total pattern of successive earthly lives until the moment of awakening in which one realizes the true nature of appearances.
samudaya (S): Cause of suffering. Second of the four noble truths.
Samye: This was the first great monastery built in Tibet and was the work of King Trisong Deutsen, Shankarakshita and Padmasambhava. Samye, 'The Inconceivable One,' was built in the shape of a great mandala modeled after a monastery in India featuring Mt. Meru as the center temple and four temples in each of the four directions. Samye became the most important place of meditation, worship, teaching, translation and research and included a great library, museum, and a vast treasury of Buddhist scriptures. In later years it was open to all schools of Tibetan Buddhism and served as a refuge for Indian pundits troubled by the decline of Buddhism in India.
sandalwood: Chandana. The Asian evergreen tree Santalum album. Its sweetly fragrant heartwood is ground into the fine, tan-colored paste distributed as prasada in Saivite temples and used for sacred marks on the forehead, tilaka. Sandalwood is also prized for incense, carving and fine cabinetry.
Sangha (S): inseparable (T) Gendun. Lit. virtuous aspiration. The community of those who practice the dharma.
Sangye (T): The Tibetan word for Buddha. It combines the notions of complete purification (sangs) and rgyas, expansion (that is, of knowledge and beautiful qualities).
Sangye Menla (T): The Medicine Buddha, Healing Buddha, Bhaisajyaguru.
sannyasin: "Renouncer." One who has taken sannyasa diksha. A Hindu monk, swami, and one of a world brotherhood (or holy order) of sannyasins. See: swami.
Sanskrit: "Well-made; perfected." The classical Aryan language of ancient India, systemized by scholars. A sacerdotal language, Sanskrit is considered a pure vehicle for communication with the celestial worlds. It is the primary language in which Hindu and Buddhist scriptures were written, including the Vedas and Agamas. Employed today as a liturgical, literary and scholarly language, but no longer used as a spoken tongue. With the exception of a few ancient translations probably from Pali versions, most of the original texts in Buddhism used in China were Sanskrit.
Sarasvati (S): Indian goddess of sound and music, the muse of learning and literature, patron of the arts and sciences. She manifested in human form as Yeshe Tsogyal. In India, was regarded as the source of the Sanskrit language and its Devangari script.
Sariputra (S): One of the 10 great disciples and right hand attendant to Shakyamuni Buddha, renowned for his deep wisdom. A former incarnation of Dudjom Rinpoche, Sariputra figures prominently in certain sutras. He is represented as standing on one side of the Buddha with Maudgalyayana on the opposite side. He is to reappear as Padmaprabha Buddha.
Sarma: After an initial dissemination of teachings during the Royal Dynastic period (7th through 9th centuries), there was a "dark period" during which central political control broke down. With the re-establishment of some political centralization in Central and Western Tibet, a second dissemination of Buddhism began. Initially, Buddhism had come into Tibetan regions from India, China, and Central Asia; during the second dissemination, India was the primary source. In India, there was never any division of Buddhism into old and new. In Tibet, however, as some translations occurred earlier and some later, we find such a division. Those involved in the new movements which developed during the second dissemination came to refer to themselves as the new ones (gSar Ma), while those who felt themselves to be continuing directly from lineages beginning during the Dynastic Period and the Dark Period gradually referred to themselves as the ancient ones (rNying Ma). Any translations which came before the time of Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055) came to be called rNying.ma, and texts translated by Rinchen Zangpo and the majority of translations which followed, came to be called gSar.ma or 'new ones'. Almost all texts of the Vinaya, Sutra, Abhidharma and of the three outer tantras (Kriya, Carya and Yoga) were translated into Tibetan during the early flourishing of Buddhism in Tibet, (old translation period). The majority of the texts of Highest Yoga Tantra, such as Chakrasamvara, Hevajra, Kalachakra, Yamantaka, etc., were 'new' translations, although a great quantity of translations of Highest Yoga Tantra texts were also prepared during the old translation period. Two main systems of dividing the tantras exist in Tibet. The Nyingmapa employ a nine level system, the upper six being divided into the inner and outer tantras while the second is upheld by the new schools which divide the tantras into four classes.
Sarvastivadin: During King Asoka's reign, a group of Bhiksus in Mathura developed certain convictions about the Buddha's teachings concerning existence that distinguished them from the rest of the sangha. They became known as Sarvastivadins, Those Who Hold That Everything Exists. This school systematized the doctrine of the six perfections as the basic outline of the path. This definition is still primary in all Mahayana schools. Also evolving through this tradition is the masterpiece of buddhist iconography, theWheel of Life, which was painted on the walls of their monasteries, as per the injunctionof the Buddha. 300 years after the Buddha's Parinirvana, the Sarvastivadin master Katyayana composed the Jñañaprasthana, one of the seven basic Abhidharma texts. The isolated valley of central Kashmir nurtured the development of the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma. Vaibhasika and the Sautrantika are offshoots of the Sarvastivadin school.
satguru (S): "True weighty or heavy one." In the Hindu systems, a spiritual preceptor of the highest attainment, one who has accomplished Self Realization (Parashiva) and is able to lead others securely along the spiritual path. He is always a sannyasin, an unmarried renunciate. All Hindu denominations teach that the grace and guidance of a living satguru is a necessity for Self Realization. He is recognized and revered as the embodiment of God, Sadashiva, the source of grace and of liberation. Explain Upa-guru.
sati (P): Mindfulness. T. dran-pa
sattva (Skt.): T. sem chen. see sentient beings.
Sautrantika: Hinayana school that developed out of the Saravastivada around 150 C.E. The origin of the Sautrantikas can be traced back to Kumaralata, who appeared about one century after the Buddhas Parinirvana. He is said to have authored the Drstantamala-sastra, the Garland of Similes, as well as hundreds of other widely circulated texts. Kumaralata was one of the first to explain the teachings of the Buddha through the use of simile. In literature of this period, the Drstanta (example or illustration) is set against sutras for which it serves as a complement or illustration. The followers of this school draw their support only from the Sutra-pitaka and reject the Abidharma-pitaka of the Sarvastivada. Adhering strictly to the original discourses of the Buddha as primary, Sautrantikas accepted the Sutras as the only authoritative source of the Buddha's teachings.
The Sautrantikas posit the existence of a refined consciousness that constitutes the basis of a human life and that persists from one rebirth to the next. In contrast to the Vatsiputriyas, who postulate the existence of an entire 'person' that persists from one life to the next, Sautrantikas see the consciousness as no more than the bearer of the cycle of existence, the ticket into samsara. Into this consciousness the remaining four skandhas are absorbed at the time of death. This notion of a continuously existing consciousness had a strong influence on the Yogacara school. The theory of the instantaneity of everything existing is very pronounced in the Sautrantika school. It sees in each seemingly concrete existent nothing more than an uninterrupted succession of moments; duration is only a semblance, an illusion that is produced by the density of succession of individual moments (S. ksanika). Nirvana for the Sautrantikas is a purely negative spiritual event - it is nonbeing. He who has attained release is annihilated. For the Sautrantika, akasa or space is the same as the ultimate atom, since both are notions and nothing else. Sautrantikas assert the continuum of the aggregates to be the person
self-liberation: Libertation of thoughts and emotions by becoming aware of them in the very instant they arise. According to Garab Dorje: "If a thought arises, one liberates oneself in that which arises."
Senge Dongchenma (T): Sanskrit: Simhamukha or Simhavaktra. Known as "the lion-headed one", a powerful guardian dakini emanation of Padmasambava. She is most often dark blue but she can be red, as she dances with a vajra chopper and skull cup.
sentient beings: Sanskrit: Sattva. T. Sem-chen. The sentient being is generally defined as any living creature with a mind, one which has developed enough consciousness awareness to experience feelings, particularly suffering. This generally includes all animal life and excludes botanical life forms. These then are the object of Buddhist ethics and compassion. The religious order exists in a larger sense not simply to aid its membership in their own personal liberation but also to function within the world to improve the conditions of life for all sentient beings.
seva (S): Service. The purpose of Karma Yoga. An integral part of the spiritual path, where the aspirant strives to serve without thought of reward or personal gain. The central practice of the charyapada.
seven treasures: Seven precious materials, representing material wealth. The list varies somewhat from text to text. It usually includes gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, agate, pearl, mother-of-pearl and carnelian. Seven qualities listed by Jigme Lingpa in a famous prayer found in Miphams Shower of Blessings. The seven treasures are faith and devotion, morality, generosity, knowledge of dharma, respect for others, self-respect, and wisdom.
Shakyamuni (S): "Silent Sage of the Shakya Clan." The founder of Buddhism; born as the Prince of the Sakyans, a tribe of warriors (near today's Lumbini, in Nepal), and was called Siddhartha Gautama. After six years of wandering and ascetic practice, at the age of 35, he attained the supreme Enlightenment, became the Buddha called Shakyamuni. The name is also translated as "capability and kindness."
shamatha (S): Phonetic rendering of Samatha. "Dwelling in tranquility," T. zhi-ne. Referring to calming and training the mind to concentrate on the meditative focus. It is the foundation of Vipassana meditation.
Shambhala (S): Phonetic rendering of Sambhala. From the Skt. sam, or happiness. Tibetan: de-byung (source of happiness). An ancient, perhaps mythical, kingdom. The historical period ranges from 4000 BCE with the emergence of equestrian warriors from the north, to 624 CE with the Arabic/Moslem incursions. The premise is that there was a very advanced spiritual kingdom in Northern Central Asia 6,000 years ago that had a tremendous influence on the origins of many "Eastern" and "Western" spiritual traditions. This would include the Semitic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as the "outgrowths of the Aryan culture" -- Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
Shankara: Shankara lived in 8th century India and is regarded as the greatest proponents of Vedic Dharma of his time. He was born of a humble but devout Brahman couple and early in life developed the desire for renunciation and devotion to spiritual life. Shankara was accepted as disciple by Govinda Bhagavatpada, who recognized his ability and instructed him to expound the philosophy of Vedanta. He lived as a wandering monk as he fulfilled his guru's instructions while still a young man. He is known for his scholastic and debating attainments as well as for many miraculous activities. Shankara studied Buddhist teachings as well as Vedic and debated with proponents of many different schools. He acquired many disciples and established several monasteries. When Shankara took the sannyasi vows, he promised his mother he would return to perform her funerary rites, as she had no other living relatives to do them. Since this was against the rules for a sannyasi, he could get no one to help him carry her body to the cremation grounds or to help with the lighting of the fire. Finally he built the pyre himself and cremated his mother in her own backyard, igniting the fire through yogic power.
shanti (S): Peace. T. Zhi-wa
Shantideva (S): 685-763. Master of Indian Buddhism, particularly famous for his work, "Bodhicharyavatara," or The Way of Life of the Bodhisattva. Perhaps the most poetic and powerful expression of teachings on bodhicitta in Mahayana literature. Author of Siksa-sammuccaya, a compendium of scriptural excerpts.
shastra (S): A treatise upon or exposition of a sutra; a Mahayana texts that expounds the meaning of the sutra or group of sutras. The Indian Mahayana schools grew from an attempt to systemasize the teachings of two groups of sutras. The Madhyamaka school clarifed and categorized the Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom) sutras, while the Yogacarin school did the same for the "idealist" sutras, the earliest being the Samdhi-nirmocana (c. 2nd c.) and later the Lankavatara (4th c.). A number of the shastras are traditionally attributed to Maitreya, as received by Asanga, founder of the Yogacarin school. These texts include the Uttaratantra Shastra (Ratnagotravibhaga-mahayana-uttaratantra-shastra, or "Analysis of the Jewel Matrix, Supreme Tantra of the Universal Vehicle." Other shastras attributed to Asanga include the Madhyantavibhaga, Mahayanasutra-lamkara, and the Abhisamaya-lamkara. These and shastras attributed to his brother Vasubhandu would be preserved, mostly in Tibet, but also in China where they would influence the doctine of the Fa-hsiang, or Chinese Yogacarin school.
Both Yogacarin and Madhayamaka shastras were transmitted to China, largely due to the efforts of Central-Asian scholar/translator Kumarajiva. Several Indian Buddhist schools were entirely transplanted to China with their Indian form more or less intact, including Kumarajivas "Three-Shastra School," based on Madhyamaka shastras by Nagarjuna and Aryadeva and a Yogacarin shastra by Vasubhandu.
3.Shatika Shastra: 100 verses, 32 words each. By Vasubhandu.
The Satyasiddhi Shastra, written by Harivarman and translated by Kumarajiva,was the text upon which on which the Hinayana Satyasiddhi sect based its doctrine. It was a Hinayana variation of the Sunyata (emptiness) doctrine. The term is defined as perfectly establishing the real meaning of the Sutras.
Sherpas: Ethnic group that originally migrated from eastern Tibet and settled in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal. They are often employed by trekkers as guides (sirdars), cooks and porters. In recent times the term refers to anyone of any ethnic group who does these tasks.
Shinay (T): zhi-ne. Sanskrit: Shamatha. Tranquility, or "calm-abiding" meditation, which develops calmness and concentration. One of the two basic meditations in all traditions of Buddhism, the other being Vipashyana (S. Vipassana, T. Lhag-tong), or insight meditation.
shunyata (S): Emptiness. T. tong-pa nyid. The fact that nothing inherently exists in and of itself. Everything arises from prior conditions, the ultimate nature of which is perfectly groundless. See Sunyata
shishya (S): Pupil or disciple, especially one who has proven himself and has formally been accepted by a guru.
siddha (S): "Perfected one" or accomplished yogi, a person of great spiritual attainment or powers. T. ngo-drub pa See siddhi.
Siddhartha Gautama (S): The Northern Indian noble, son of Prince Suddhodana, who became Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha. The name means "wish fulfilled."
siddhi (S): Power, accomplishment; perfection; blessing. T. ngo-drub. This refers to the accomplishments that come with spiritual practice. Two kinds: Ordinary and extraordinary, ranging from the different worldly powers to the supreme power of attaining the state of the Buddha, the transcendental siddhi of attaining complete Enlightenment (nirvana. At lower levels, more mundane abilities come with spiritual practice (clairvoyance, invisibility, etc.). Extraordinary powers of the mind, developed through consistent meditation and deliberate, grueling, often uncomfortable practices, or awakened naturally through spiritual maturity and yogic sadhana. Through repeated immersion in samadhi, siddhis naturally unfold according to the needs of the individual. Even ordinary Siddhis may carry with them certain supernormal faculties such as clairvoyance, clear audience, telepathy, levitation... These can be attained by accomplished beings having obtained a certain degree of spiritual realization; one finds them also among others who aren't in this category but who have developed high levels of concentration associated with certain particular practices. These powers aren't always signs of spiritual realization; one should neither seek to cultivate them nor demonstrate them if acquired, except in exceptional occasions. The supreme accomplishment emerges throuhg the non-differentation of Samsara and Nirvana this is the entryway to the Great Perfection, Dzogchen or Mahamudra, the 13th land (bhumi) of Dorje Chang. Thus, the Siddhas have powers and supernatural capacities which are a result of their practice of the path. See psychic powers
Sigalovada Sutra: The sermon taught to Sigala by the Buddha; how to achieve harmony, security and prosperity both within the family and in the society as a whole.
siksamana (S): A lay disciple who maintains the eight precepts, either temporarily or as preparation for leaving home. The Eight Precepts are: 1) not killing; 2) not stealing; 3) celibacy; 4) not lying; 5) not abusing intoxicants; 6) not using such adornment as jewelry or perfumes, and refraining from entertainment; 7) not sleeping on high or broad beds; 8) not eating food after noon.
sila (S): Morality, ethics. T. tsul-khrim. The mind-set of doing no harm either to oneself or to others. Often accompanied by precepts and vows for practical purposes. These number 5, 8, 10, 250 or 350. Also, one of the Paramitas.
Six Spheres: Tibetan: tig-le dug. The six fundamental aspects for understanding and practising the Dzogchen Semde (Mind Series).
1. Sphere of the Ultimate Dimension (jing kyi tigle)
2. Sphere of Purity of the Ultimate Dimension (jing mampar da pa'i tigle)
3. Sphere of the Ultimate Dimension of Phenomena (chonyi kyi tigle)
4. Sphere of Total Wisdom (yeshe chen po'i tigle)
5. Sphere of Samantabhadra (kuntuzang po'i tigle)
6. Sphere of Self Perfection (lhan gyi pa'i tigle)
six syllable mantra: (OM MANI PADME HUM) is the mantra of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The six syllables represent liberation from various negative states of mind. With OM releasing one from the realm of the Gods (Pride) , MA form the realm of the Asuras (Jealousy), NI from the realm of humans, PAD from the animal realm (Ignorance), ME from the Hungry Ghost realm (Desire), and HUM from the realm of Hell (Anger). Each of the mantra's syllables also represents different aspects of one's True Nature and of the Path. OM (AUM) is the Buddha's Body (A), Speech (U), and Mind (M) MANI is the jewel which symbolizes the primordial reality of mind and one's intention to become enlightened through revealing this jewel. Just as a jewel provides wealth that fullfills the wishes of beings, the altruistic intention to become enlightened is the means to fullfill the wishes of all beings. PADME means lotus. It symbolizes wisdom, mainly the wisdom of realizing emptiness. Just as a lotus grows from the slime and mud, so does wisdom raise one outof ignorance. HUM symbolizes indivisibility, the unity of intention (or means) and wisdom.
skandhas (S) heaps. T. phung-po. The five aggregates that constitute the personality: form, sensation, perception (recognition), mental formations, and conciousness.
soma (S): elixir of immortality; Since early Vedic times, soma remains a mysterious substance. Among the many theories: 1. Psychedelic substance used by the ancient dwellers in the civilizations of the Indus and Ganges River basins and said to be pressed from a plant, prossible fly agaric (Amanita muscaria); 2. a subtle fluid (neurotransmitter) released in pineal and/or pituitary gland during ecstasy. 3. According to some archeologists, some is to be identified with refined gold. 4. Cannibis, hashish, or marijuana.
Somapuri: Built in the 8th century, was the largest Buddhist university built in India. It was the home to Atisha, before he went to Tibet in the eleventh century. The excavation of its ruins revealed a structure more than eighty feet high. There were 177 rooms for 6-800 monks surrounding a courtyard, where the ruins of a stupa, still 66 ft high, stands above the surrounding land. The temple's foundation is laid out in the form of a visva-vajra, a cross with arms projecting at equal distances from the center. The image of a sixteen armed Hevajra and his prajña, and accounts of siddas who were Vidyadharas of the Hevajra teachings, indicated that it was a center for Mantrayana study and practice. It was destroyed by Muhamad Bhakhtyar Khalji (1197-1206), along with the other great monastic centers in Magadha, Anga, Nalanda, Vikramasila and Otantapuri.
somaraja (S): Tibetan: so ma ra dza. "King of Soma." Cannibis, hashish, or marijuana.
sangyum (T): Female practitioner of ritual sexuality.
Soto (J): One of the three schools of Zen in Japan, the other being Rinzai. It is most concerned with the practice of sitting meditation without koan.
sound: A form of energy and means to communicate among ourselves and with a specific power or source. Reciting mantra refines the mind and activates spiritual energy impluses. The traditional tantric advice of "entering into the state of the sound" suggests we go into the state of energy, to use it as a means of communication, healing and purification while present with clear awareness. One is asked to integrate with all energy manifestations and practices with sound.
space-gazing: Tibetan: rigpa namharte. Dzogchen technique to integrate one's vision with space.
Sravaka (P): Sanskrit: Shravaka, listener, hearer. Early main branch of Buddhism. These people chose to base their practice on doctrines that were believed by everyone to be the public teachings of the Buddha to his monks and lay disciples. At one time there were many limbs of this Savaka branch, but only one of them has lived to modern times.That is the limb known as Theravada, which means "way of the elders." According to Ngakpa Chogyam Rinpoche, seeing as this term was formed when the major style of communication was oral, the modern equivalent of this term in our culture of literacy would be readers.
Sri Singha (S): Also Sri Sinha, Shrisingha, Sri Simha): Indian teacher for whom no dates are known. He is said to have received his initiation into the Nyingtig teachings from Manjusrimitra, another early adept with an uncertain biography. The problem here is that Sri Singha is regarded as the teacher of people who lived more than 200 years apart in time (see Jnanasutra); a feat rather unlikely even for an accomplished master of secret (alchemical/sexual) Tantra. All lineages of the Innermost Essence are based in the work of Sri Singha (Four Cycles of Nyingtig) and reached Tibet by way of his 8th century successors Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra and through a group of 25 Tantras given by Sri Singha to his student Vairocana.
stupa: (S): Tibetan: Chor-ten. Sacred structure built to physically embody and preserve the spiritual power of a great lama. A physical representation of perfect enlightenment. It symbolizes the transformation of all emotions and elements into the five enlightened wisdoms associated with the five Buddha families. Its symmetrical form is usually filled with relics, mantras, etc. There are basically eight different forms which symbolize the awakening of the Buddhas.
Sudhana (S): A young boy mentioned in the scriptures who practised the perfection of energy by learning tirelessly from every situation and person he met.
Suddhodana (S): "Pure Rice Prince," the father of Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni Buddha). He ruled over the Sakyans at Kapilavastu on the Indian/Nepalese border. Son of King Singhahanu who was renowned as the best archer in the world. As a young prince, Suddhodana was successful in leading military expeditions to suppress raids by hill tribes (S. Pandavas). For his accomlishments, the Sakyan laws which stated that a man may only take one wife were changed so that Suddhodana was able to marry both daughters offered by King Suprabuddha, another Sakyan who ruled over Devadha. Mahamaya became the mother of the Buddha and her sister Maya also known as Mahaprajapati, cared for the Buddha after his mother's death.
sukha (S): A range of contentment, from mild happiness to spiritual bliss. The opposite of "dukkha,"or suffering.
Sumedha (S): The young Bodhisattva who received the prediction from Dipankara Buddha that he would become a Buddha.
Sumeru (S): "Wonderful high mountain." Mythical mountain composed of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and crystal, central to the four main continents which comprise our world-system. Abode of all classes of gods.
Sunyata: (S.) lit.,"emptiness, void"; T. tong-pa nyid. A central notion of Buddhas Dharma. Ancient Buddhism recognized that all composite things are empty, impermanent, devoid of an essence, characterized by psycho-physical suffering, decay and death. In the original schools, emptiness is only applied to the "person" and not the elements of expereince; in the Mahayana, on the other hand, all things, including all phenomena are regarded as without a true essence; i.e. empty of self-nature. All dharmas are fundamentally devoid of an unchanging core or any independent lasting substances or self-identity, and are nothing more than mere apperances upon which mind imposes an identitiy through perceived continuity. None of these objects exist outside of the mind which perceives them and altogether, both subject and object are of the nature of emptiness. Sunyata is experiential realization, nondual, beyond conceptual extremes, and not communicable in conventional language. For beings used to discriminations and language, pointing is often done through negation. Sunyata is no-thing, unreal, non-self, insubstantial, not-originated, not produced, neither real nor unnreal. One should not, however, take this view of the emptiness of everything existing simply as nihilism. It does not mean that things do not exist in any way at all but rather that they are interdependent and only conceptually reified. Shunyata is often equated with the absolute in Mahayana, since it is without duality and beyond empirical forms. Personified as the goddess Prajnaparamita in the Mahayana Sutras, sunyata is know as the Mother of All the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Individual schools present different intepretations of sunyata.
Surya: (S.)"Sun." One of the principal divinities of the Vedas, also prominent in the epics and Puranas. Saivites revere Surya, the Sun God each morning as Siva Surya. Smartas and Vaishnavas revere the golden orb as Surya Narayana. As the source of light, the sun is the most readily apparent image of Divinity available to man. As the giver of life, Surya is worshiped during harvest festivals everywhere. Esoterically, the sun represents the point where the manifest and unmanifest worlds meet or unite. In yoga the symbolism is opposite that used in the tantras. In Hindu yoga, the sun represents the masculine force, pingala, while the feminine (Ida) is associated with the moon Surya (chandra). Surya also signifies the Splendor of the Self within.
Suryachandrasiddhi (S): "Sun-Moon Accomplished One." The great adept Padmasambhava is often said to have subdued those demons and dakinis that were fierce and demoniac, yet at other times it is clear that he himself was initiated by such female adepts and received special, magical knowledge from these Great Mothers. Of special interest in this regard is canto 34 of the Padma Kathang (Sheldrakma version), where the hero "prostrated himself to the enthroned dakini" (Suryacandra-siddhi) and "begged her for teachings; outer, inner and secret." Also known as Laygyi Wangmo or "Great Sovereign Dakini of Deeds," she then changes her new disciple in true magical/shamanic fashion into the sacred syllable HUM, swallows him whole, and lets him pass through her body. In the process, Padmasambhava is purified; he is initiated into certain teachings, and obtains a number of magical powers before being reborn and "ejected through her secret lotus"; that is, her yoni. The power and sublimitiy of this Magical Mother of Padmasambhava is emphasized in the text by the fact that even her servant Kumari (Sanskrit "young one; virgin") was a woman of wonder: "With a crystal dagger she cut open her breast, within which appeared the many-colored splendor of the gods of the calm Diamond Plane." Both Suryachandrasiddhi and Kumari lived in the Castle of Skulls, a term signifying that they were ancient Tibetan deities turned dharmapala; i.e. "Guardians of the Faith."
sutra (S): Pali: sutta. "Thread." T. do; meeting or juncture. An aphoristic verse; the literary style consisting of such maxims. A discourse by the Buddha or one of his major disciples. The Sutra collection is one of the three divisions of the Buddhist scripture adopted at the First Council.. This style was widely adopted by Indian philosophical systems and eventually employed in works on law, grammar, medicine, poetry, crafts, etc. Each sutra is often accompanied by a commentary called bhashya.
Swat: Region and River, now in the frontier province of northern Pakistan (35N..72E), between Afghanistan and Kashmir. Formerly the kingdom of Uddiyana (Tib: Orgyen), it is a largely inacessible region. Conquered by Alexander and became a stronghold of Buddhism. "Birthplace of Padmasambhava and also the region where Tilopa resided."(Nalanda: 1980...pg 371) ... Suvastu is the Swat River in the Rigveda...Oddiyana (Swat in modern Pakistan).