ego consciousness: It is the seventh consciousness or innate attachment to self that is the basis of our continued rebirth—the defiling mind-consciousness. It has two aspects: the immediate consciousness that monitors the other consciousnesses making them continuous and enables us to function in the material world of ordinary (relative) reality or “conditioned existence” and the klesha consciousness which is the continuous presence of self. Also called afflicted consciousness.
eight consciousnesses (vijnana): The first six consciousnesses are eye consciousness, ear consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness, body consciousness, and mental consciousness. These are what we normally think of as consciousness–what we see, hear, smell, taste, feel, and think. In Buddhism these six are also referred to as the fifth aggregate or skandha and the third link in the chain of dependent origination. The seventh consciousness is ego consciousness that the Western world is also aware of. The eighth consciousness, known as the alaya or storehouse consciousness, is that which carrys over to the next reincarnation and is not well known in the West.
eight-fold path (marga): The Fourth of the Four Noble Truths, practices taught by the Buddha for those entering the path to nirvana: WISDOM (prajna)—1) Right View (samyag-drsti), 2) Right Intention or Resolve (samyak-samkalpa); MORALITY (sila)— 3) Right Speech (samyag-vac), 4) Right Action (samyak-karmanta), 5) Right Livelihood (samyag-ajiva); CONCENTATION (samadhi)—6) Right Effort (samyak-vyayama), 7) Right Mindfullness (samyak-smrti), 8) Right Meditation (samyak-samadhi). This is path is not a linear one, but one in which all of the eight factors are practiced simultaneously. It was later taught as the Three Principle Practices or Trainings of “morality, concentration, and wisdom.” Part of the thirty-seven branches or factors of enlightenment. See Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta.
eight fundamental right views of cultivation: The eight fundamental views relating to learning Buddhism: impermanence, firm belief, renunciation, vows, diligence, precepts, meditation (dhyana and samadhi), and bodhichitta. See discourse given by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III on “What Is Cultivation?
Eight Great Wonders (Astamahapratiharya): See “pilgrimage sites.”
Eight Guardians of the Law: Eight Protectors of the Dharma or Eight Terrifying Ones): Main Bodhisattva dharmapalas charged with protecting Buddhism and the holy dharma from its enemies. They are the embodiment of true compassion that can manifest out of emptiness in an extremely wrathful way to help sentient beings. Includes “Mahakala,” “Shri Devi” (Palden Lhamo), “Yama,” “Yamantaka,” “Hayagriva,” “Beg-tse,” “Hevajra,” and “Chang-pa” (tsangs-pa). See “dharma protectors” and Tantra.
eight liberations are: (1) From subjective desires that have arisen, (2) from the arising of no subjective desires during meditation, (3) the liberation by concentration upon the pure and gaining freedom from all desires, (4) liberation of realizing immateriality, (5) the liberation of realizing infinite knowledge, (6) liberation of realizing non-locality, (7) the liberation of the mind having neither thought nor absence of thought, and (8) the liberation of nirvana.
eight meritorious waters: These are listed in the Smaller Pure Land Sutra as:
- clear ice
- sweetly beautiful
- light and soft
- when drank, it quenches the inestimable pangs of hunger and thirst
- having drank it, it supports the continuation of the roots of the four gross elements.
eight precepts: These are the basic five precepts that all Buddhists should observe (the first five of the eight) plus three precepts lay Buddhists should observe on uposatha days or retreats. They are (1) not killing; (2) not stealing; (3) not engaging in prohibited sexual activity; (4) not engaging in wrong speech; (5) not drinking, serving, or dealing in intoxicants or taking substances that befuddle or numb the mind; (6) not eating after noon; (7) avoiding music, dance, plays, and other entertainment; and (8) not using perfumes or ornamental jewelry.
eight types of stupas: represent the eight major events in the Buddha’s life and the four major and four minor locations where He gave teachings or the eight pilgrimage sites: 1. The Stupa of Heaped Lotuses, symbolizes Buddha’s birth and the seven steps he took in each of the four cardinal directions. It was built during the Buddha’s lifetime at Lumbini and is shaped like a lotus. 2. The Stupa of Enlightenment, symbolizes Buddha’s achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya. This stupa was built by the King Bimbisara in Bodhgaya in honor of Buddha attaining enlightenment. It expresses the removal of the last, thin veils of obscuration and obstacles in Buddha’s mind on the evening before he reached enlightenment. 3. The Dhamek Stupa of the Turning Wheel (Stupa of Wisdom or Stupa of Sixteen Gates), symbolizes the Wheel of Dharma turning for the first time at Deer Park near Sarnath. 4. The Stupa of Miracles, built by a person named Lisabi in Shravasti where the Buddha performed miracles in order to convince people with wrongful views sometimes referred to as the “Miracle of the Pairs.” 5. The Stupa of Descent, this stupa at Samkasya has many steps which symbolize the Buddha’s return to the earthly realm after teaching the Abhidharma to His mother in the Tushita Heaven. 6. The Stupa of Reconciliation or Unity, symbolizes reconcilling a split in the Sangha at the Bamboo Grove at Rajgir (Rajagriha) after some difficulties caused by Buddha’s cousin Devadatta. Also known as the site where the Buddha tamed the maddened elephant Nalagiri which is considered as an allegory for a schism that arose among the monks living there. 7. The Stupa of Complete Victory, symbolizes the Buddha voluntarily prolonging His life at Vaishali for three months at the request of His students. Sometimes this phase is represented as the stupa at Vaishali where monkeys offered the gift of honey. 8. The Stupa of Parinirvana, symbolizes Buddha’s parinirvana at Kushinagara. The main body of the stupa has the shape of a bell, the symbol of Buddha’s complete wisdom.
The most important of these eight stupa forms is the Stupa of Enlightenment. It symbolizes the goal of Buddhist practice – recognizing one’s own mind, complete enlightenment. It means freedom from all disturbing feelings and their roots as well as full development of the mind’s abilities. At the same time, the stupa is a symbol for overcoming all obstacles and all obscurations.The common elements of these eight types of stupas are the foundation up to the lion throne and the upper part from the rings upward. The middle section of the different types of stupas may be different. Sets of representatives of these eight stupas were either individually established or created as part of one stupa. See STUPA.
eight winds or worldly concerns: Eight situations that normally preoccupy and sway unrealized people. The eight winds are gain (labha); loss (alabha), honor or fame (yasas); disgrace or dishonor or infamy (ayasas), praise (prasama); ridicule or censure, blame or criticism (ninda); pleasure or happiness (sukha); and suffering or pain (duhkha). To be unmoved by the eight winds is a mark of a true practitioner. It is attachment to these eight winds through either desire or adversion that results in our suffering and continued rebirth in samsara. See Atthalokadhamma Sutta.
eighteen types of emptiness (astaadasa sunyata): 1) emptiness of the internal (adhyatma sunyata); 2) emptiness of the external (bahirdha sunyata); 3) emptiness of the internal and the external (adhyamabahirdha sunyata); 4) emptiness of emptiness (sunyata sunyata); 5) emptiness of the great (maha sunyata); 6) emptiness of the ultimate (paramartha sunyata); 7) emptiness of compounded phenomena (samskrta sunyata); 8) emptiness of uncompounded phenomena (asamskrta sunyata); 9) emptiness of what has passed beyond the extremes (atyanta sunyata); 10) emptiness of what is beginningless and endless (anavaragra sunyata); 11) (emptiness of the indestructible anavakara sunyata); 12) emptiness of nature (prakrti sunyata); 13) emptiness of all phenomena (sarvadharma sunyata); 14) emptiness of definitions (svalaksana sunyata); 15) emptiness of the unapprehendable (anupalambha sunyata); 16) emptiness of non-things (abhava sunyata); 17) emptiness of its own entityness (svabhava sunyata) and 18) emptiness of the inherent existence of non-things (abhavasvabhava sunyata).
eighth consciousness: See “alaya vijnana.”
Ekajati Dharma Protector: Most formidable of the Dharma Protectors in the Three Spheres of Existence. Black form of Tara, having a single braid of hair, a single breast, and one eye. Principle guardian of dzogchen and one of the Ten Dharma Protectors in the Lineage of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. See “dharma protectors” and Tantra.
emanation body: See “nirmanakaya.”
empowerment (jiachi): What one receives from outer or inner-tantric initiation given by an authentic vajra master. However, Dorje Chang Buddha III has told us that showing loving-kindness toward all living beings and understanding and believing in the law of cause and effect is better than all types of empowerment. Literally means added support.
emptiness (shunyata, kongxing, tong pa nyi): Lack of inherent existence of one’s own nature or the nature of any phenomena or person. The six great elements are intrinsically empty. They are not real. The past, present, and future cannot be held or possessed. Hence, the elements are empty. What happened in the past is not real since it has already passed. The present is also false because as soon as it appears, it becomes the past. The future has not even come yet, so it, too, is empty. See also “three entities.” See SEVEN JEWELS.
emptiness of other: See “shentong view.”
enlightened beings (shengren): This category of beings includes all beings who are not subject to the cycle of rebirth (samsara). Within this category there are many different levels: Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, vajra beings, pratyekabuddhas, and arhats or lohans. See also “saints.”
enlightenment (bodhi, pu-ti): A common term used to refer to the Sanskrit term bodhi which literally means “awakening.” You will naturally become enlightened and enter into a state of liberation from the sufferings of the cycle of reincarnation when you have realized the states of morality, concentration and wisdom. This is a state wherein all obscurations have been removed from the mind, and one lives in unlimited compassion and wisdom. See “three kinds of enlightenment,” “anuttara-samyak-sambodhi,” “bodhi,” “Adharma Buddha.”
enlightenment, supreme or perfect: See “anuttara samyak sambodhi.”
eons (aeons): A very, very long time—millions and millions of years. Sometimes described as the time it would take a celestial maiden to wear down an iron mountain by brushing it with her silk scarf once every 100 years or a span of time of inconceivable duration.
equanimity: One of the seven limbs of enlightenment and one of the Four Limitless States of Mind. See “upeksha.”
esoteric Buddhism (zhen-yan-zong) represents both the open teachings of exoteric Buddhism and the secret teachings of the Buddha that are only available to those who have received proper initiation from a true Vajra Master. Shakyamuni Buddha transmitted these secret teachings to His son Rahula and the Shambala King, Suchandra. He continued to transmit them after His death to adepts who were able to receive them. It includes the five divisions of esoteric practice (mantras, mudras, visualizations, mandalas, and inner and outer tantra initiation or empowerment) and rituals as well as the sixth division of all the exoteric teachings. It is not true esoteric Buddhism if it does not include the teachings of exoteric Buddhism. It is sometimes referred to as vajrayana Buddhism or tantra. It includes the Lineage of the Elders of the Hinayana, the Profound and Method Lineages of the Mahayana, and the Practices and Blessings Lineages that are unique to the Vajrayana.
The Chinese form is called Chen-yen Tsung while the Japanese form is caled Shingon. Tibetan esoteric Buddhism offers the highest forms of practice. See discourse on Kalachakra.
essential body: See “svabhavikakaya.”
eternalism: Extreme viewpoint rejected by the Buddha where one views things such as self or soul as being eternal. That is, one views things as being real in themselves rather than existing conditionally. Often contrasted to the other extreme of nihilism. See Parileyyaka Sutta.
exoteric Buddhism (xian): The fundamental theories and doctrines that were taught openly by the Buddha. The Theravada Sects of Southeast Asia and the Pure Land and Zen Sects of China, Korea, and Japan are all forms of exoteric Buddhism, as are the Tendai and Nichirin sects of Japan. See also “Exoteric Lineage Chart.”
expedient means: A term used in Buddhism to explain the use of skillful means to bring living beings to liberation. An example would be the parable from the Lotus Sutra where the father tricks his children into leaving a house that is on fire by telling them there are bejeweled carts outside for them. See “dharma doors.”