Bairotsana (8th-9th centuries): Also called Vairocana, the Translator. One of the first seven monks ordained by Shantarakshita. He went to India to study with Shri Singha. Along with Guru Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra he was responsible for bringing the Dzogchen teachings to Tibet.
bala: Literally means power. Refers to the five powers (panchabalani), which are developed by strengthening the five roots or controlling faculties (indriya): faith or devotion (shraddha) which overcomes doubt and false beliefs; exertion or perseverance (virya) which overcomes laziness; perfect mindfulness (smriti) which overcomes forgetfulness; perfect concentration (samadhi) which overcomes distractedness; and wisdom (prajña) which overcomes ignorance. See the “thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment (bodhipakshika-dharma).”
Bao Guang Temple: Located in Xindu, Sichuan Province, China, this temple is a historic landmark and one of the four major and largest temples in China. It houses sharira of the Buddha.
bardo: A Tibetan term for the junction or phase between two states: 1) “birth to death bardo”; 2) “dream bardo”; 3) “pregnancy bardo”; 4 “meditation bardo”; 5) “supreme reality bardo”; and 6) the “intermediate states of existence and rebirth” into another realm bardo. It is the latter state that is usually thought of as the bardo. In the intermediary state there is no body or material form, just consciousness states. This is not the same as a “hungry ghost” who has reincarnated as a living being and has a body form, but not like a human form.
bases, six sense (vedanskandha, liu-gen): Sense-faculities. The eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.
BCE (gong-yuan-qian) stands for Before the Current Era.
becoming a buddha: See “Sainthood.”
beings: There are many different kinds of visible and invisible beings in the universe. Some are visible to ordinary beings with the naked eye and some only with powerful microscopes. Some are only visible to very highly evolved beings or to those we consider to be “psychic.” Beings are grouped into sentient or living beings that have consciousness and non-sentient beings that do not. In general, living beings can, in turn, be classed into two categories: living beings who are bound to samsara or the cycle of rebirth (ordinary beings) and liberated or enlightened beings who are not who are also known as holy beings or “saints.” See also “celestial beings.”
belief, firm: As one of the eight fundamental right views of cultivation, it refers to deeply realizing the suffering of samsara and how this suffering affects all living beings whom have been our dearest relatives in times past. Also see “faith.
beneficial effects: Expression used to express the fruits or results of correct cultivation according to the Buddha-dharma. This includes the acquisition of good fortune and wisdom and the manifestation of supernormal powers with which you can help living beings become enlightened.
Bhaisajya-guru: The Medicine Buddha.
bhavana: Contemplation. Literally means cultivation. General term for any type of meditational practice involving continuous attention by the mind to any suitable object. The two main types of meditation practiced in exoteric Buddhism are shamatha (calming) and vipashyana (insight) meditation, while in esoteric Buddhism various forms of visualization are used along with the methods practiced in exoteric Buddhism. See “meditation.”
bhikshuni (bhikkhuni): Female follower of the Buddha (nun) who has left “home” and keeps the full 348 vows. The number of vows can vary for different schools for both nuns and monks. The three essential practices for the bhikshu and bhikshuni sanghas are “posadha,” “varsa,” and “pravarana.”
bhumi: See “bodhisattva level.”
bhumpa: Ritual vase with long spout used as a dharma instrument to hold blessed water in initiation ceremonies. Usually has a cone-shaped top that is used to hold peacock feathers or a fan made of peacock feathers.
bhuta-tathata: The inherent or true nature of phenomena or true suchness. It is that which is ultimately real as opposed to the changing forms in which phenomena manifest themselves as they arise and pass away. This is the positive way of expressing emptiness. See also “dharmata.”
Bimbisàra: King who became a devout follower of the Buddha. Murdered by his son, Ajatasatru. Father of Doctor Jivaka.
Bird Nest Roshi: Hermit named Ch’ao Fu, which literally means “Nest,” who built a nest in a tree, just like a bird, and lived there. The tree hung over a cliff so that if the roshi failed to be mindful he would fall to his death. He did this to develop his skills in meditation and concentration.
birth: See “cycle of birth and death.”
Black Jewel Crown Karmapa XVII (Di-shi-qi-shi Ga-ma-ba Fa-wang): There are currently two contenders for this position: “Ogyen Trinley Dorje” and “Trinlay Thaye Dorje.” Dusum Chenpa was the first Karmapa.
bliss body: See “sambhogakaya.”
bodhi is a Pali or Sanskrit word which means “awakened.” It means the state the Buddha reached as he sat under the bodhi tree (Sacred Fig or Ficus religiosa) at Bodhgaya and realized His “original nature,” thus this state was given the name “bodhi.” See “Adharma Buddha,” “enlightenment.”
Bodhi Holy Water: Holy water received from Kuan Yin Bodhisattva as part of an esoteric initiation. It can be used to temporarily avert disasters and increase good fortune.
bodhi state is the same as enlightenment.
bodhichitta ( pu-ti-xin): It is the cause that will inevitably lead to enlightenment. It is all the mahayana dharma and the actual practice of that dharma based on vows of great compassion that help living beings become Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. It is the mind of love in the holy sense that both holy (enlightened) and ordinary beings have. One of the eight fundamental right views of cultivation. There are two types: holy bodhichitta and worldly bodhichitta, but both are guided by the two sets of seven branches of bodhichitta. One’s attainment in the Buddha-dharma depends upon one’s level of bodhichitta. Literally the mind of enlightenment. The term “arouse bodhichitta” has several levels of meaning. For the unenlightened, it is a determination to become enlightened in order to liberate all living beings from samsara. However, in a deeper sense, bodhichitta means the enlightened mind, Buddha-nature, non-dual wisdom, or primal awareness. In the broadest sense it is ultimate truth. See “Compassion.”
bodhichitta, action: When one actually engages in the path of helping living beings.
bodhichitta, vow or aspiration (pranidhana): When one announces one’s intention to pursue the Bodhisattva path.
Bodhidharma (P’u-t’i ta-moor Da-mo) (470-543): Indian meditation master who went to China around 520 CE and is considered to be the first Chinese patriarch of Chan (Zen). Birthday celebrated the fifth day of the tenth lunar month.
bodhimanda: Literally a “place of enlightenment” or “awakening seat,” a “Way-Place.” A place where a Buddha becomes enlightened. Refers to both the actual spot and sometimes the surrounding area as well. Also referred to as a “Vajra Throne” or “vajra seat (vajrasana). There are four such holy sites in the world today. The first is the bodhimanda in Bodhgaya, India, where Shakyamuni Buddha attained buddhahood. The second is Guru Padmasambhava‘s vajra throne at Kathok Monastery in the Kham Region of Eastern Tibet. The third is where Manjushri Bodhisattva worshipped at Five Peaked Mountain (Wu-Tai Shan) in Shanxi, China. The fourth and recently discovered site is in central California at the Xuanfa Institute near Sanger California.
bodhipakshika-dharma: See “thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment.”
bodhisattva(pu-sa): Literally, “enlightenment being.” A holy being or saint who has become enlightened and who enlightens others, but is not yet a Buddha. Sometimes Buddhas will transform back into Bodhisattvas to help living beings. There are small and great Bodhisattvas based on the their determination or mind set to save living beings. If one does not have this mindset and uses a mundane mindset to view problems, then one is not a Bodhisattva. A Bodhisattva is a living being who possesses supernatural powers, such as the power to transform into other forms. He possesses wisdom, great compassion and great bodhichitta. He does not mind sacrificing himself for the benefit of all living beings. He teaches the Buddha-dharma to living beings so that they may become accomplished. In mahayana Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is a being who seeks buddhahood through the systematic practice of the perfect virtues (paramitas) but who renounces complete entry into nirvana until all beings are saved. A Bodhisattva is above the level of an Arhat. A Bodhisattva cannot be distinguished as being either male or female. Some Bodhisattvas are with you every day and may appear as an ordinary being. See “Sainthood” and “fifty-five bodhisattva stages.”
bodhisattva levels (bhumi): 1) Joyful (pramudita-bhumi); 2) Pure (vimala-bhumi); 3) Luminous (prabhakari-bhumi); 4) Brilliant (arcismati-bhumi); 5) Hard to conquer (sudurjaya-bhumi); 6) Facing forward (abhimukhi-bhumi); 7) Going far (duramgama-bhumi); 8) Immoveable (acala-bhum); 9) The Good (sadhumati-bhumi); 10) Cloud of Dharma (dharmamegha-bhumi). Also referred to as “grounds’ or “stages.” The sutra tradition usually lists ten levels and the tantra tradition twelve or thirteen. See also “five paths.” These are described in detail in the Dasabhumika Sutra, also known as the 26th chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra and discourse by Patrul.
bodhisattva paths, five: See “panca-marga.”
Bodhisattva Precepts: The Bodhisattva Precepts are 58 in number and are listed and explained in the Brahma Net Sutra.
bodhyanga: seven limbs (factors or branches) of enlightenment or awakening. See “thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment.”
body-that-does-not-rot: When a highly accomplished or enlightened being leaves this world, they will sometimes leave a fleshy body behind that does not decay, but remains soft, like a living body.
Bokar Rinpoche (1940-2004): Continued the Shang-pa Kagyu tradition of Kalu Rinpoche and teacher of the young reincarnation of Kalu Rinpoche. Also held the Karmapa Kagyu lineage.
Brahma: An ambiguous term used in Buddhism to mean different beings–either all of a certain class of devas or as a term for Mahabrama, the king of that devic realm. The Hindu religion has Brahma as the god of creation and uses the term Brahman to describe the Supreme Cosmic Spirit, but this being is not recognized as such by Buddhists who do not believe in any form of “creator god” since all “created” or conditioned phenomena is the natural result of karma.
Brahma vehicle: Produces the result of the dhyana realms and the formless abodes in the upper realms, including rebirth in the Brahma world, through cultivating the four immeasurables based on those dhyanas.
Brahma World (Brahmaloka): Has different meanings, sometimes referring to the heavens or two highests spiritual realms–the Form Realm (rupadhatu or rupaloka) and the Formless Realm (arupadhatu or arupaloka)–and sometimes more specifically, the first three heavens of the Formless Realm.
Brahma Sahampati: Brahman who came from the Brahma World to encourage Shakyamuni Buddha to teach the dharma. See Ayacanna Sutta.
brahmadanda: Higest penalty used against sangha members. Literally means “noble staff” or the noble penalty of shunning. Inflicted on Channa for his gross rudeness and arrogance against the other sangha members.
Buddha (Fo-tuo): Literally, “awakened one.” One who has attained complete enlightenment and is thereby released from the cycle of reincarnation (samsara). One who has attained complete liberation. Such a one has removed all obscurations veiling the mind and has developed all of the virtues (paramitas) to perfection. “The Buddha” usually refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, the historic Indian Prince of the Shakya clan born in what is now Nepal and who espoused the true dharma for 49 years in north-east India over 2,500 years ago. There are innumerable Buddhas, with Shakyamuni Buddha being a single example. A Buddha has three or four bodies and wisdom that is summarized as four or five truths. Since there can be only one Buddha in any given place and era, other Buddhas, who want to manifest in our world to help living beings, may transform into Bodhisattvas to do so. See also “ten names of a Buddha,” “Shakyamuni Buddha.”
Buddha Shikhin: An ancient Buddha. Dzogchen Rinpoche VII, a dharma king of the Nyingma Sect, is a current incarnation of this holy being.
Buddha Vajradhara (Dorje Chang Buddha) (Jin-gang Zong-chi): Title of an ancient Buddha who from time to time incarnates in this world to help living beings and who is the supreme ruler of esoteric and exoteric Buddhism. He is the deep blue samboghakaya manifestation of the Adharma Buddha. He is the master of all the buddhas including the Buddhas of the Five Directions (five transcendent Buddhas), Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, and Mahavairocana, and Vajrasattva Mahasttva. He is usually portrayed with arms crossed holding a dorje (vajra) and bell (ghanta). All dharmas orginate from Buddha Vajradhara who has incarnated into this age as H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III.
Buddha-dharma (Fo fa): Doctrines or teachings of the Buddha as well as the actual realization and powers derived from the practice of these teachings. The true Buddha-dharma is very precious, but very hard to find. It is not just theoretical studies, but the methods to enable you to be free from the cycle of life and death. It is a system or methods that you follow to understand, realize, and see your Buddha or original nature. It is the fruits of practicing or applying the theories and principles of Buddhism as expressed in the Five Vidyas, including the various supernormal powers of the inner realization vidya. It can also be thought of as the essence of or ultimate truth of the entire universe—all that is permanent, not coming, not going, not increasing, not decreasing, not born, not dying. See Buddha-Dharma and See “Popular Buddhism.”
Buddha-land (suddhaksetra, Fojing, dag zhing): A paradise reigned over by a particular Buddha where conditions are perfect for the attainment of enlightenment. See also the Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss (Sukhavati) of Amitabha Buddha and The World of Wonderful Joy (Abhirati) of Akshobhya Buddha. It is where Buddhas live. Very fortunate ordinary beings live in these places together with Buddhas and other holy or enlightened beings. In these realms there is only happiness and no suffering because consciousness transforms everything, as compared to our world where everything is manifested through effort. One who lives in such a place cannot revert to lower states of existence, but still may experience karmic retribution if he or she reincarnates to help living beings. Also called pure lands, paradises, or Buddhafields.
Buddha-nature (Fo-xing) or the potential for becoming a Buddha is possessed equally by all sentient beings. The difference between a Buddha and an ordinary living being is that a Buddha has realized his or her Buddha-nature, while an ordinary being has not. It is often called the essence of Buddhahood or enlightened essence. Also called dharmakaya, original nature, original face, Tathagatagarbha. See “three turnings of the wheel of dharma.”
buddhastone: Holy object.
Buddhism: An assumed name to represent the teachings of the Buddha in the Saha Realm or this World. It is not really a true religion. It is an independent system to help people understand the truth discovered by Shakyamuni Buddha. In order to realize our Buddha nature, to see our original forms, it is necessary for us to have a feasible approach or method to follow. This is called Buddhism or cultivation when referred to as a practice. Because individual living beings have very different karma that they have accumulated over eons of lifetimes, they need different methods to realize their true or original nature. Thus the Buddha taught the 84,000 dharma methods. Different sects or schools of Buddhism formed around these different methods or sub-systems to help living beings.
Buddhism, popular: Popular Buddhism as defined in True Stories About a Holy Monk refers to the overall structure, development and history of Buddhism. It is therefore different from Buddhist studies and the Buddha-dharma. To give a metaphor using a car, the overall appearance of the car can be likened to popular Buddhism, books and magazines which discuss various aspects of cars can be likened to Buddhist studies, and the functioning of the car itself to get from point A to point B can be likened to the Buddha-dharma.
Buddhist principles: Dorje Pa Mu tells us that studying the principles (Buddhist Studies) but not practicing or, conversely, practicing but not understanding the principles or concepts are both superficial approaches to the Buddha-dharma. Mastery of principles will cause one to attain a certain understanding or awareness and enable one to cultivate oneself accordingly. To realize enlightenment, it is absolutely necessary for one to have thoroughly understood the principles, but one must not be attached to a mere understanding of the principles.
Buddhist resources: Usually thought of as invisible resources, such as merit and wisdom, but it also refers to visible good fortune and wealth. Of course, such wisdom and wealth should be used in furtherance of Buddhism and for the benefit of others. Also referred to as dharma rewards, they are the food and supply of Buddhism. They are necessary for the practice of Buddhism. There is a special category of Buddha-dharma that deals with this known as the Fortune Deity Dharma. See GOOD FORTUNE.
Buddhist studies (Fóxué): The theories and principles of Buddhism. They are the scholarly-academic aspects of Buddhism. They are not the true Buddha-dharma, but one must build upon an understanding of these theories to obtain the Buddha-dharma. See “Popular Buddhism.”