raft: Refers to a simile of a man using a raft to get to the other shore of a river. The Buddha explains how wrong it would be for this man to think that because the raft was so useful, he should now carry it on his shoulders wherever he goes. Rather, having served its purpose, the raft should be discarded. The raft is compared to the Dharma. After it serves its purpose by taking one to the other shore of liberation, it also should not be clung to.
raising the consciousness of the deceased: See “phowa.”
Rajagrha (Rajgir): The ancient capitol of the kingdom of Magadha, located in the modern state of Bihar, India. Site of the First Council held after the Buddha’s parinirvana. Vulture Peak is located there as is the Mango Grove of Dr. Jivaka where the Buddha stayed. One of the Eight Wonders–a pilgrimage site where the Buddha tamed the maddened elephant Nalagiri.
Ratnasambhava Buddha ( Bao-sheng Fo): The golden southern Jewel-Producing Buddha with the wisdom of equanimity. One of the “five transcendent buddhas.”
rdhi-pada: See “riddhipada.”
realms: See “six realms of existence or reincarnation.”
rebirth: Doctrine held by Buddhists that sentient beings are caught up in a continuous round of birth, death, and rebirth and that their present state of existence is conditioned by their past actions or karma. See “reincarnation.”
refuge, taking (ui-yi): Ceremony for becoming a Buddhist. See Quick Path.
reincarnation: Reincarnation only happens in two ways. In one, you voluntarily comes back and in the other you will reincarnate in one of the three realms according to your karma, you do not control what or who you come back as. As a noun, it refers to a system of recognizing certain individuals as reincarnations of famous lamas or tulkus that began in Tibet with the first Karmapa (1110-1193). The system has been corrupted over time with much misinformation currently being dispersed.
relative truth (kunzop denpa): See “conventional wisdom.”
religion: Relates to people’s belief in and worship of the divine or some form of deity, who usually is involved in the creation and operation of the universe. Although it might appear that Buddhists worship the various Buddhas, their devotion is merely a form of showing supreme respect for that which they will also become. Buddhists, however, do not believe in any creator god of divine presence that created or directs the operations of the universe, but rather they believe in the Laws of Cause and Effect whereby everything that happens is the result of a corresponding cause that may have happened in this or previous lives and something–through practing the teachings of the Buddha, they can control. The illusory world that we experience is the collective effect of previous collective actions. Although the effects of karma are fixed, we can, by our self cultivation, push the negative karma back by accumulating more positive karma. Only by becoming liberated from the cycle of birth and death can we escape karma completely. This is the goal of Buddhism.
relics: See Sharira.
resources: See SEVEN JEWELS.
response-body: transformation body of a bodhisattva or buddha manifested to save living beings. See Shuragama Sutra.
Reward Body Buddha Land: See” Buddha Land.”
riddhipada (rdhi-pada) Literally means roads or ways to power. Since they require an unusually concentrated or focused and well-cultivated state of mind they are also called “supernatural” or psychic feats. The four roads to power are: aspiration or zeal–the concentration of wish, desire or intention (chanda); joyous effort, the concentration of effort or energy (virya); concentration of thought, mind or consciousness (chitta); and concentration of reasoning, inquiry or investigation (mimamsa). See the “thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment (bodhipakshika-dharma).”
rigdzin: vidyadhara or awareness (knowledge) holder.
Rigdzin Godem: Master of the northern terma or treasure (changter or jangter) tradition of the Nyingma school. Name literally means “the vidyadhara with the vulture feather” because three vulture feathers grew from his head when he was twelve years old, and five more when he was twenty-four. A reincarnation of Dorje Dudjom of Nanam, one of the nine close Tibetan disciples of Padmasambhava, he is also counted among the five king-like tertons. See H.H. Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche.
Rigdzin Ngakgi Wangpo (1580-1639): Founded Drak Dorje Monastery, one of the six main Nyingma Monasteries in 1610. See H.H. Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche.
rinpoche (ren-bo-qie) as used in Tibet, literally means “precious guru” or lama and is usually applied to tulkus (reincarnated lamas). However, not all rinpoches are tulkus nor are all lamas considered rinpoches. A rinpoche is someone who saves living beings, carries out the responsibilities of a vajra master (acarya), educates people, expounds the dharma, and has been recognized as such by an appropriate source. Rinpoches are venerated by their disciples since they are authentic embodiments of the Buddhas’ teachings. The Chinese use the term “Living Buddha” or “Huo-Fo” to refer to rinpoches who represent the power of the Buddha-dharma and who may be reincarnations of previous rinpoches, but the literal translation of the Chinese term itself is not really valid. If there are “living” buddhas, there must be “dead” buddhas as well, which is not correct. It is a term coined during the Qing Dynasty by Empress Dowager Tsu Hsi (1834-1908). The term “Huo-Fo” is more correctly translated to mean guru or lama. Actually the term Rinpoche has two meanings. It refers to a holy one who has come back by choice, but it can also refer to a an ordinary lama who has achieved the level of Rinpoche Master in a given lifetime. A true rinpoche has been certified as such according to the rules of the Tibetan dharma. See Know the True Doctrine .
rontong view: A view of emptiness that the Buddha taught in the second turning of the wheel at Vulture Peak, which maintains that voidness is devoid of inherent existence as contrasted with the “shentong view,” which maintains that voidness in indivisible from luminosity or the essence of wisdom. The rontong view is held by most Geluks who view it as the definitive teaching of the Buddha on emptiness.