Pabongka Rinpoche (1878-1941): Dharma King of the Geluk Sect who wrote Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand.
Padmakara: One of the names of Guru Padmasambhava.
Padmasambhava, Master (eighth century) (Lian-hua-sheng): Known as the Second Buddha, this Mahasiddha and Dharma King was from Uddiyana in what is now known as Kasmir (Afghanistan-Pakistan). He introduced into Tibet the teachings of the vajrayana and is one of the historical founders of Tibetan Buddhism. He is called Guru Rinpoche in Tibet, but his name literally means, “lotus-born.” He is said to have been born miraculously, appearing in a lotus flower. He was predicted by Shakyamuni Buddha in several sutras and tantras. In the eighth century, at the invitation of King Trisong Detsen, he quelled the local demons and gods who resisted the spread of Buddhism into Tibet. His bodhimanda or “vajra seat” is located at Kathok monastery in eastern Tibet. His Pure Land is known as Zangdog Pairi (Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain). He had twenty-five main disciples who were emanations of the chief disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha. He realized the end of the cycle of birth and death, attained the “immortal” transformation body, and left this world in a mass of rainbow light. His current incarnation is Dharma King Khabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche IV. See DISCOURSES.
panca-marga: The five paths to buddhahood according to the mahayana tradition: 1) the path of accumulation (sambhara-marga), 2) the path of preparation or joining(prayoga-marga), 3) the path of seeing (darshana-marga), 4) the path of cultivation or meditation (bhavana-marga), and 5) the path of no further learning (asaiksa-marga). See Patrul’s “Stages and Paths of the Bodhisattva.”
panchaindryani: The five spiritual or controlling faculties or dominants: faith, devotion (shraddha); joyous effort or exertion, perseverance (virya); perfect mindfulness (smriti); perfect concentration or meditative absorption (samadhi); and wisdom or insight (prajña). When these five indriya are strengthened or developed they become the five “powers (balas)” See further the “thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment(bodhipakshika-dharma).”
panchen lamas: The Fifth Dalai Lama appointed his tutor Lobsang Chökyi Gyalsten head of Tashilhunpo Monastery and exclusively reserved the title Panchen for him. It has been given to his predecessors and continuing to present times.
pandita: A great scholar.
panditas, seventeen great: The greatest Indian scholars whose works are revered and studied in Tibet. Includes Nagarjuna, Asanga, the “six jewels of India,” and Atisha, Bhavaviveka, Buddhapalita, Chandrakirti,Haribhadra, Kamalashila, Shantarakshita, Shantideva, and Vimuktisena.
papanca: See “complication.”
Papiyan: Another name for “Mara.”
parinamana: See “dedicating merit.”
parinirvana (parinibbana): Literally, “final nirvana.” Refers to the passing of the Buddha at Kusinagara, whose death marked the end of the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth for Him. See Maha-Parinibbana Suttaand Maha-Parinirvana Sutra.
passaddhi: Tranquility, serenity, or overcoming the passions. One of the seven limbs of enlightenment.
patience (ksanti): One of the “six paramitas.”
Patrul Rinpoche (1808-1887): Wrote The Words of My Perfect Teacher, used as an introductory text by the Nyingma Sect. Also wrote advice on how to listen and teach the sutras and treatises as well as a brief guide to taking the Bodhisattva Path.
Pavarana (or pravarana) ceremony: Held at the end of the rainy seasons, the ninety-day period of seclusion referred to as the summer retreat. In Thailand it is held on the full moon of the eleventh lunar month to mark the termination of Buddhist Lent, the end of the 3 month rainy season. In China and Taiwan it fell in the seventh lunar month, usually in August and is also known as the Ullambana Dharma Assembly. It was at this time that the monks and nuns confessed any mistakes they might have made as a sort of communal examination.
Pema Wangyi Gyalpo (1487-1542): Ngari Panchen, an imortant Nyingma scholar and terton, who wrote Perfect Conduct: Ascertaining the Three Vows on the three levels of moral conduct in Vajrayana Buddhism.
Perfection of Wisdom Sutra: See prajnaparamita discourses and “Heart Sutra.”
phoenixes: A very beautiful legendary bird resembling an eagle that lives for a very long time and then burns itself to death and from whose ashes, another phoenix arises.
Phowa Dharma: Technique for transferring consciousness at the time of death directly to one of the Buddha lands or a higher level of consciousness. Only Dharma Teachers or Rinpoches who have a high state of realization are able to raise the consciousness of the dead. The person performing the rites must be able to save himself or he will not be able to perform these rites, although a group of virtuous monastics may be able to collectively do so.
pilgrimage sites: At the time of the Buddha’s passing, the Buddha told Ananda that there were four sites (Caturmahapratiharya) that followers should visit: 1) Where the Buddha was born (Lumbini near Kapilavastu in Nepal), 2) where the Buddha became fully enlightened (Bodhgaya, in Bihar), 3) where the Buddha set the wheel of Dharma in motion and taught His first sermon (The Deer Park at Isipatana near Benares/modern Sarnath), and 4) where the Buddha entered nirvana (Kusinagara). See Mahaparinibbana Sutta. Four more sites were added to create the Eight Holy Sites (Astamahapratiharya): 5) Rajagrha, where the Buddha tamed the maddened elephant Nalagiri; 6) Sravasti, the site of the Miracle of the Pairs; 7) Vaishali, where monkeys offered the Buddha a gift of honey; and 8) Samkasya, where the Buddha descended from the heavenly realms after teaching the Abhidharma to His mother. There are also holy pilgrimage sites in Tibet and China. See “eight types of stupas.”
prabhakari-bhumi: The third or Luminous Bhumi or stage on the Bodhisattva path where through meditation the bodhisattva strengthens and deepens his insight.
practicing dharma (dharma practices): Refers to particular exoteric or esoteric practices a cultivator follows like zen, dzogchen, kalachakra, etc. See also “cultivation” and “dharma methods.”
Practices and Blessings Lineage: This is the secret doctrine of Shakyamuni Buddha that was transmitted to Rahula and the Shambhala Kings while the Buddha was alive and later by Dorje Chang Buddha to very advanced practitioners. It is so called because one performs certain secret practices and thus receives the blessings of holy beings who help one on the path. This is also called the “quick path.”
prajna: Understanding, knowledge, wisdom, or insight. It is an intuitive wisdom that cannot be conveyed by concepts. It is a Sanskrit word for wisdom which basically means purifying insight into emptiness—the true nature of reality. There are three types of prajna: (1) prajna obtained through the written word, (2) prajna obtained through contemplating or meditating on reality, and (3) prajna of ultimate reality. One of the six paramitas, seven limbs of enlightenment, See SEVEN JEWELS.
prajnaparamita discourses: The profound teachings on emptiness given by the Buddha on Vulture Peakthat became the Prajnaparamita Sutras, which were summarized as the Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra. Very few of the Buddha’s earthly followers were ready for this teaching when it was first given. It is said that the monks put their hands over their ears to avoid hearing it and that some were so shocked that they had heart attacks. Also known as the Second Turning of the Wheel of Dharma.
pramana: The Indian science concerned with epistemology as well as logic and the methods of debate. The principle proponents of this philosophy were Dignaga (480-540) who wrote Compendium on Valid Perceptionand Dharmakirti (7th century) who wrote Commentary on Valid Perception. Dharmakirti was a student of Ishvarasena who, in turn was a student of Dignaga. Dignaga and Dharmakirti are considered two of the “six jewels of India”
pramudita-bhumi: The first or Joyful Bhumi or stage on the Bodhisattva path where the bodhisattva embarks upon his religious career with the production of the thought of enlightenment.
prasama: Praise. One of the “eight winds.”
Prasenajit: King in ancient India who was born the same day the Buddha was. His name means “moonlight” because a light illumined the entire country when the Buddha was born.
Pratimoksa Precepts (Patimokkha): Set of rules observed by Buddhist monastics from the Pratimoksa Sutra(Patimokkha Sutta). The number of rules varies for different orders and traditions and for monks (218-263) and nuns (279-380). In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra the Buddha told Ananda when he was dying that the minor rules did not have to be formally observed, but Ananda never asked the Buddha which were the minor ones, so the Sangha continues to observe all of them. See Tripitaka-Vinaya for more details.
pratyekabuddhas (pratyekas or paccekabuddha): This term refers to one who attained the goal of enlightenment without the help of a guru in that lifetime, and who remains in seclusion and does not teach the dharma to others. They are also known as Solitary Realizers, Solitarily Enlightened Ones or Private Buddhas. They can also be known as those “Enlightened to Conditions” (became enlightened by means of the twelve links of dependent origination). This is not as virtuous a state as that of a Bodhisattva who out of a compassionate concern for others is motivated to teach the path of liberation to others. Disliking bustle, the pratyekabuddha teaches the Dharma with his silent body, displays various miracles, and realizes the result of a self-realized victor arhat. This type of being is not a true Buddha. Pratyekabuddhayana refers to the vehicle of the pratyekabuddhas.
prayogas are the preliminary or preparatory practices of esoteric Buddhism which are practiced before the initiation or empowerment takes place.
precious pills, ordinary (rinchen rilbu): Pills used in Tibetan Medicine for their extraordinary therapeutic effects based on special and often unusual ingredients and their complex pharmacological processing methods, but also on the spiritual power and concentration of the physician or rinpoche who prepared the medicine. These pills can contain over one hundred ingredients including gold, silver, copper, iron, mercury, sapphire, emerald, turquoise and ruby in their detoxified form as well as special herbs and other ingredients. Sometimes called red and black pills.
precious pills, holy: Precious pills made from the nectars bestowed by various Buddhas. They include the Nectar Pill, the Long Life Pill, the Great Precious Pill, the Vajra Pill, and the Supreme Precious Pill.
provisional teachings (drangon): The Buddha used great skillful means in teaching. He only taught that which the receipient could grasp of was useful to that person at that stage in his evolution. For those with high intelligence and great faith and devotion and a desire to practice and who asked questions from that point of view, the Buddha gave the definitive or highest teachings. Others who had little faith, devotion or a great yearning for the dharma would only receive “provisional teachings” that would require interpretation as they might not include the complete teaching. The sutras (suttas) contain both types of teachings. This is why there are 84,000 dharma methods. See also “dharma doors.”
psychic power: See four psychic roads to power (riddhipada).
Pundarika Sutra (Lotus Sutra): See “Saddharma-pundarika Sutra.”
pudgalas: See the “Shurangama Sutra.”
punya: See also “merit.” This includes all the wholesome acts that produce good karma: the ten good characteristics or virtuous actions, the four concentrations (dhyana), the four unlimited states of mind (apramana), the four formless attainments (arupya-samapatti), the five superknowledges (abhijna), the six perfections (paramita), the four meditative stabilizations (samadhi), and the four doors of retention (dharani). These are dharmas that are followed by both worldly or ordinary beings and by holy ones (saints). See chart showing “Ways to Become a Holy Being or Saint.”
punya-jnana-sambhara: The accumulation of merit and awareness (wisdom).
Pure Land (Fo-tu zong): A pure environment where there is no suffering. Can be see only by those with a sufficiently high level of realization. See “Buddhaland.”
Pure Land Sect: Founded in the sixth century in China, it focuses on the practitioner reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha and having faith that he/she will be reborn in the Western Paradise where more favorable conditions exist for obtaining enlightenment. It is based on the assumption that conditions are not suitable and the practitioners are not capable of achieving enlightenment in this lifetime. It has as its scriptural foundation the various Pure Land sutras including the Sukhavatvyuha Sutra. It was exported to Japan in the 12th century. It was one of the first forms of Buddhism to come to North America, being brought here by the early Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century. Great Strength bodhisattva is a very important Bhodisattva in Pure Land Study; he is one of the two great Bodhisattvas who are the constant companions of Amitabha Buddha in the Pure Land. In pictures of Amitabha, Great Strength Bodhisattva is often shown standing to the Buddha’s right, while Bodhisattva Guan Yin — Amitabha’s other constant companion — stands to his left. In the Shurangama Sutra, Great Strength Bodhisattva explains how he attained enlightenment through Buddha recitation samadhi (gathering in the six sense faculties through continuous pure mindfulness of the Buddha to obtain samádhi.) that he learned from The Light Surpassing the Sun and the Moon Buddha.