Kagyu (Ga-ju): One of the five major schools or sects of Tibetan Buddhism, founded in the 11th century by Master Gampopa, a physcian from Drakpo, who was one of two principle disciples of Master Milarepa. Milarepa was a student of Marpa (1012-1097) who brought the core doctrines of this school from his master in India, Naropa (1016-1100). Naropa was the principle disciple of Tilopa (988-1069). This school has an oral tradition stressing the more mystical aspects of tantra. Its highest teachings are included in the “Mahamudra Dharma” which the Indian Mahasiddha Tilopa received directly from Dorje Chang Buddha. Also known as the Drakpo-Kagyu and as the Black Hats or White Sect to the Chinese. Includes the four major sects of Babrom, Tsalpa, Karma, and Phagdru Kagyu. The Phadru Kagyu included eight subsects of which the Drukpa, Drikung, and Taklung still exist as distinct lineages. They and the Karma Kagyu are the main lineages that have survived in this school, although there are still a few lineage holders in some of the other subsects. There are many Kagyu practitioners in this country, especially in the Drikung and Karmapa traditions. See LINEAGE and “Kagyu Lineage Chart.”
Kagyu-Shangpa: See “Shangpa-Kagyu” and “Shangpa Lineage Chart.”
kai-guang (consecrate): Dedicate a Buddhist statue or holy place.
Kalachakra Buddha (Shi Fo): Wrathful form of Shakyamuni Buddha and one of the ten dharma protectors in the Lineage of Dorje Chang Buddha III. The standing Kalachakra Buddha’s twenty-four arms hold various dharma instruments. On His right, the four white hands hold an axe, a club, a spear, and a wheel; the red hands hold a hammer, damaru (small drum), vajra hook, and three fire arrows; the blue arms hold a curved knife, a trident, a sword, and a vajra; on His left, the four white hands hold the four heads of Brahma, a vajra chain, a mirror, and a conch shell; the red hands hold a lotus, a jewel, a lasso, and a bow; and the blue hands hold a skullcap with blood, a khatvanga, a shield, and a bell. The hands holding the vajra and bell also hold his consort, the golden Vishvamata, who holds in her four right hands a hook, an axe, a damaru, and a mala (rosary) and in her left hands a skullcap, a lasso, a lotus, and a jewel. See “dharma protectors” and Tantra.
Kalachakra Vajra Dharma (Tantra): Primary dharma of the Jonang Sect and the highest dharma of the Geluk Sect. Taught by other sects as well. Shakyamuni Buddha transmitted the Heart Essence form of the Kalachakra Dharma to the Shambala Kings who, in turn, transmitted it to the Indian Kalachakrapada in the tenth century and later to Master Tsongkhapa (14th century). Somantha, the Kashmiri Kalachakra master, transmitted it to the Tibetan translator Dro Lotsawa Sherab Drak and another Tibetan disciple, Yumo Mikyo Dorje (1027-??). H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has brought an even higher form of this dharma to us–the Holiest and Most Secret Kalachakra Dharma. Literally means cycles of time. See discourse.
Kalachakrapada Jamyang Dorje, the Greater (tenth century) (Ka-la-qia-ke-la-ba-da Jiang-yang Duo-jie): An Indian siddha who received the Kalachakra dharma from the eleventh Kalkin King of Shambahala in the tenth century. There are different lineages that are explained in slightly different terms with different names assigned to probably the same person. In any event, Kalachakrapada is said to have defeated the then abbot of Nalanda University, Tilopa (Nadapada), in debate. Kalachakrapada then conferred the Kalachakra initiation upon Tilopa.
kalavinka: Literally “wonderful sound”; it is the name of a bird whose cry can be heard at a great distance, even while it is still in the egg. Once the bird is hatched, its call can be heard even more clearly, and the sound is very pleasing to the ear. A “kalavinka pitcher” is made in the shape of that bird.
kalpa: A kalpa is roughly equivalent to the English eon, and it is similarly used in Indian thought, representing geologic spans of time. There are numerous reckonings of just how long of a period a kalpa represents. A special type of kalpa is the asaïkhya kalpa, four of which delimit the lifetime of a world in Buddhist cosmology. These four kalpas are period of creation, development, decay, and destruction of the world respectively.
Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989) (Galu Renboqie): He was the only living holder of all the Shangpa teachings. He reincarnated in 1993.
Kamalashila (8th century): Famous disciple of Shantarakshita and one of the “seventeen great panditas.” Author of important texts on meditation, including the Bhavanakrama (The Stages of Mediation). Went to Tibet and debated Chinese zen master Hva Shang Mahayana (Heshang Moheyan) at Samye monastery. Kamalashila won the debate, which resulted in the Indian system being adopted by the Tibetans and the Chinese zen masters being forced to leave Tibet.
Kanzeon (Kannon): Japanese names for Kuan Yin or Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva.
karma (yin-guo): It refers to the universal law of cause and effect whereby positive actions produce happiness and negative actions produce suffering. Karma literally means action or the physical, verbal, or mental acts that imprint habitual tendencies in the mind. Upon meeting with suitable conditions, these habits ripen and become manifest in future events. All karma created in the present life and previous lives is stored in the alaya-vijnana or the eighth consciousness. One’s karma will determine where one goes after death if one is an unenlightened or ordinary being. It is also important to realize that we cannot fully understand the precise workings of karma. Only a Buddha can do this as the Buddha tells us in the Acintita (Unconjecturable) Sutta. See Good fortune
Karma Kagyu (Kamtsang, Ga-ma Ga-ju Pai): Largest of the Kagyu sub-sects.
karmic affinity (you-yuan): The karmic connection you have with your Master, disciples, and others due to past relationships and events (usually in previous lives). Also relates to the karmic connection you have to follow certain dharmas or teachings or particular spiritual practices.
karmic conditions (yinyuan): Events or situations that are the maturation of past karma—the coming together of causes and conditions. They can be either positive or negative depending on the karma that produced them.
karmic debts (yezhang): Negative karma from past activities that must be repaid in the form of karmic retribution.
karmic imprint, latent (vasana, pakchak): Every action that one does has an imprint which is stored in the eighth or alaya consciousness. These latencies express themselves later by leaving the eighth consciousness and entering the sixth (mental) consciousness upon being stimulated by external conditions or experiences. See also “eight consciousnesses.”
karmic obstructions (yezhang): Hindrances or negative habitual behaviors caused by past karma. Usually used in reference to difficulties encountered in gaining liberation. Great Dharma Kings and holy beings can perform inititations to help reduce (but not eliminate) these obstructions.
karmic relationship (yin-yuan): Predestined relationship.
karmic retribution: See karmic debts.
Kashyapa Buddha: The Buddha who lived in this world before the present Shakyamuni Buddha.
Kathok Monastery A very famous Nyingma monastery in eastern Tibet, known to have produced 100,00 buddhas. They have records of that many lineage holders obtaining the rainbow body there. It is also known as the site of Guru Padmasambhava’s bodhimanda.
kaùàya: The five kaùàya periods are those of varying levels of decay in the world. The five periods are: (1) the period when there is a deterioration of the material world and its forms; (2) the period when there is a deterioration of views, during which people become exceedingly deluded and have great difficulty accepting the true; (3) the period when there is a deterioration of conditions, during which the afflictions, distress, and poisons of ignorance, hate, and anger increase; (4) the period when sentient beings deteriorate, during which their miseries increase steadily as a result of the previous three periods; and (5) the period when the human life span deteriorates, gradually shortening to only ten years. These periods occur over a very long time (tens of thousands of years).
Kaundinya: See Ajnata Kaundinya and King Kalinga.
kayas: See “three bodies of a Buddha.”
khada (hada or khata): These are gossamer silk scarves (usually white, but may be red, yellow, blue or green) presented to a Master by his disciples and also used at various times according to the ceremonial etiquette of Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism. They often contain woven designs such as the eight auspicious symbols.
khatvanga: Ritual staff carried by certain tantric masters adorned with various symbols of tantric practice. For example, Guru Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyel, and Vajravarahi are all depicted carrying a khatvanga.
Khyentze (Dilgo) Rinpoche (1910-1991) (Dengke Qinzhé Renboqie): Dharma King of Nyingma Sect.
Khyungpo Naljor (990-1139) (Qiong-bu Nan-jie): Founder of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage who trained in other traditions, but when he was 50 left for India to find the true Buddha-dharma. He considered Lady Niguma and Lady Sukhasiddhi to be his most important root gurus. He returned to Tibet when he was 100 years old and had almost 100,000 students who accomplished true enlightenment. See Shangpa Kagyu Lineage Chart.
King Kalinga: Ancient king who dismembered the Buddha in a past life. The Buddha vowed to save him first when he became enlightened. He was Ajnata Kaundinya, one of the five hermits or ascetics to whom the Buddha taught His first sermon and who was His first human disciple.
kinnaras: One of the eight types of celestial beings. Horse-headed celestial musicians having a human-like body. Their king is Lord Vaishravana.
kisuka: The name of a tree with red blossoms and also of a particular red colored jewel, probably a variety of ruby.
klesha: Defilements, vices, negative psychological tendencies or afflictions. Under the influence of these defilements, individuals perform unwholesome acts that result in repeated rebirths in samsara. The three most common and the root of all others are greed (raga) or lust, hatred (dvesa) or aversion, and ignorance (avidya). Others include arrogance (mana), doubt (vicikitsa) and false views or opinonatedness (drsti). Delusion (moha), laxity (styana), excitability (auddhatya), shamelessness (ahrika), and recklessness (anapatrapya) are also listed. See “four Maras” and “YAMA/MARA.”
koan (kung-sn): Words, phrases, questions, riddles, or statements used as objects of meditation. Essential to a koan is paradox, i.e. that which is beyond thinking, which transcends the logical or conceptual. Through contemplation of the koan, the student is brought to great awareness of reality. Used by the Ch’an or Zen School, especially the Rinzai sub-sect.
Kondanna: See “Ajnata Kaundinya” and “five ascetics.”
koñi: A koñi is a numeral in Sanskrit equaling ten million. It is a thousand lakkhas and one thousandth of a nayuta.
ksanti: Patient acceptance, endurance, or tolerance. Antidote to anger. One of the “six paramitas.”
Kshudrapanthaka: Disciple of the buddha who was so stupid he could not even learn a single simple verse of the Dharma. The Buddha taught him by having him clean a building which he did with such concentration that he attained enlightenment and became a famous teacher. Story is in Dharma King Pabongka’s Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. Also called Chuda or Chudapanthaka (“Little Road”). See Shurangama Sutra.
Ksitigarbha (Di Zang Pu-sa): Guardian of the Earth or Earth Store or Earth Treasury King Great Vow Bodhisattva. Great bodhisattva who vowed to not become a buddha until everyone was released from hell. His birthday is observed on the thirtieth day of the seventh lunar month. At that time a Dharma Assembly is held with the chanting of the Sutra of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s Fundamental Vows, making of offerings, and performing the ritual of transmigration for the deceased. See also the Vajrasamadhi Sutra.
Kuan Sher Yin: This is another name for Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. These are Chinese names for Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. She is also called Perceiver of the World’s Sounds. Kuan Yin Bodhisattva was originally depicted as male. From approximately the 10th century on, in China the figure of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva with feminine facial traits became predominant. For purposes of convenience, we use the word “she” or “her” to refer to Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. However, you should bear in mind that no Bodhisattva can ultimately be classified as being either male or female. She actually became a Buddha long ago. Her Buddha name is Zheng Fa Ming (Correct Dharma Realization) Tathagata. See Kuan Yin Bodhisattva Darma Assembly.
kuetra: Buddha-land or Buddhaworld.
Kukai (774-835) (Kobo Daishi): Traveled to China and became disciple of Huiguo (Hui-kuo) who taught him the esoteric Zhenyan (Chen-yen Tsung) Buddhism. Established the Shingon Sect of esoteric Buddhism in Japan at the beginning of the Heian period in the 9th century. Considered to be the founder of Japanese Buddhism.
kumbhandas: Demons shaped like gourds, or with a scrotum like one, and who drain the vitality of men. Their king is Lord Virudhaka
Kumbum (Ta’ersi) Monastery: Built in 1560 to commemorate the birthplace of Tsongkhapa
Kunpang Tukje Tsondru (1243-1313) (Zun-zhi): Early Jonang Dharma King who in 1294 established a monastery at Jomonang in South Central Tibet, thus giving the sect its name.
Kuntuzangpo: The Tibetan name for Samantabhadra Tathagatha, another term to express the primordial Adharma or Adi Buddha.
Kushinagara (Kusinara): City in India in the Land of the Mallas where the Buddha entered parinirvana. One of the four pilgramage sites mentioned in the Maha-Parinibbana Sutta. See mahayana version in Maha-Parinirvana Sutra.
Kuvera: God of Wealth. See Vaishravana.