Section S

sacerdotal age: Based on the date a monastic took his or her precepts.

Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158) (Sa-qian Gong-ga Ning-bo Fa-wang): The first of the five patriarchs of the Sakya Sect and son of the Sakya’s founder, Khon Konchok Gyalpo. See Sakya Lineage Chart and DISCOURSES.

sadhana: The term literally means spiritual exerion towards an intended goal. In the case of Buddhism, this means the spiritual realization of enlightenment. According to the Nalanda Tradition of India-Tibet-China, there are fifteen major Tantric Sandhanas in Vajrayana Buddhism of Tibet and East Asia: 1. Shurangama Sitatapatra, 2. Nilakantha, 3. Tara, 4. Mahakala, 5. Hayagriva, 6. Amitabha Amitayus, 7. Bhaisajyaguru Akshobhya (Medicine Buddha), 8. Guhyasamaja, 9. Vajrayogini Vajravarahi, 10. Heruka Chakrasamvara, 11. Yamantaka Vajrabhairava, 12. Kalachakra, 13. Hevajra 14. Chod, and 15. Vajrapani. All of these are available in Tibetan form, many are available in Chinese and some are still extant in ancient Sanskrit manuscripts. It can also refer to the printed “dharma instructions” for a particular practice of one of these sadhanas.

sadhumati-bhumi: The Good Bhumi, the ninth level on the bodhisattva path where the bodhisattva preaches the doctrine and converts beings.

Saga (Saka) Dawa Düchen: Buddhist festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar to honor Shakyamuni Buddha’s Birthday, Enlightenment Day and Parinirvana.

Saha World: Saha means ‘endurance’ and always refers to our present world system or samsara.

Sahampati, Brahma: Brahman who came from the Brahma World to encourage Shakyamuni Buddha to teach the dharma. See Ayacanna Sutta.

saints (shen-ren) are holy beings who have realized a high level of accomplishment and are different from ordinary beings. They must manifest the Great Compassionate Bodhisattva State, which is a type of mind or level of accomplishment whereby everything they do is done for living beings. No matter what they do, say, or think, it is to help living beings become accomplished in the dharma or liberated. They must also be able to demonstrate some sort of miracuous achievement. Their physical bodies are not even like that of ordinary beings. Arhats,Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas represent three levels of holy beings who have also become liberated so as to be able to escape the cycle of reincarnation. See SEVEN JEWELS.

Sakra: Another name for Indra, King of the Trayastrimsa Heaven, the second heaven of the desire sphere, and the heaven of the four great kings, which is the lowest of the many heavens.

sakrdagamin: The second stage in becoming an arhat of the Once-Returner.

Sakya (Sa-jia): One of the five major sects of Tibetan Buddhism, founded in 1073 CE by Konchok Gyelpo. It has a hereditary leadership within the Khon family with married lamas and leaders, who were the political leaders of Tibet under the Mongol Kings in 13-14th centuries (Yuan Dynasty). There are two major sub-sects, the Ngor and the Tsar. Known as the Grey Earth Sect or Multicolored or Striped or Flower Sect to the Chinese.

Sakya Pandita (1182-1251) (Zhang-jia Ping-tu Ke-tu Fa-wang): The fourth of the five patriarchs of the Sakya Sect. Sakya Pandita Gunga Gyeltsen was invited by Godan Khan, the Mongol Emperor of China to come to the Mongol court as his spiritual guide. Famous scholar who wrote A Clear Differentiation of the Codes: Essential Distinctions Among the Individual Liberation, Great Vehicle, and Tantric Systems. He is considered one of the major incarnations of Manjushri. See Sakya Lineage Chart.

Sakya Tenzin (1945-  ) (Sa-jia Tian-jin Zong Fa-wang): The Great Vehicle Dharma King and leader of the Sakya Sect. See Sakya Lineage Chart.

Sakyaprabha: One of the “six jewels of India” who was a prominent expositor of the Vinaya.

sallekha: The common meaning is austere practice or asceticism; but in the Buddha’s usage it is the radical “effacing” or removal of the defilements. See Sallekha Sutta.

samadhi (san-mei): A complex concept that has different meanings. It is usually used to denote a deep or complete meditation state or meditative stabilization, but is more than that. Literally it is the “means of accomplishment.” It is one of the eight fundamental right views of cultivation. After entering the state of concentration your thoughts become still and you are not attached to anything. Emptiness is the same as form and form is the same as emptiness. True void is wonderful existence. In this calm and bright state of samadhi, negative karma cannot catch you. Therefore, supernormal powers naturally arrive. Your true, original nature will naturally reflect out supernormal dharma powersand wisdom. Can be generally and simplisticly defined as collectedness of the mind on a single object through the calming of mental activity. It is also a specific tantric meditation practice involving visualization of a deity and the recitation of the associated mantra. However, performing this type of tantric practice requires initiation by a vajra master. Prolonged samadhi is known as pratyutpanna samadhi. The four meditative stabilizations or samadhis are: 1) achieving perception of emptiness (samvedana aloka-labdha-samadhi), 2) increase of the perception of emptiness (vrddha-aloka-samadhi), 3) understanding suchness one-sidedly (tattva-artha-eka-desapravista-samadhi), and 4) uninterrupted meditative stabilization (anantarya-samadhi). See also shamatha, samapatti, dhyana, meditation, and the Shurangama Sutra.

Samantabhadra Buddha (Kuntuzangpo): Primordial or Adharma-Buddha.

samatha: See “shamatha.”

samapatti : Literally “contemplation and illumination.” The eight meditative attainments–the four fine-material absorptions (rupajjhana)and the four immaterial absorptions (arupajjhana).

samaya:  Literally, “promise” or “vow.” In vajrayana Buddhism, this refers to the sacred link between the Master and the disciple and also the sacred links between fellow disciples of the same Master. It can also refer to the pledges and commitments made by disciples concerning their practice of Tantra. It can also mean the union with the body, speech, and mind of the Buddha.

sambhara-marga: The Path of Accumulation or the first of the five paths (panca-marga) to Buddhahood in which one gathers the requisite accumulation of merit and awareness (punya-jnana-sambhara) to progress to the higher paths. See Patrul’s discouse on “Stages of the Path.”

sambhogakaya (bao-shen) is the subtle or bliss body of a Buddha that is only visible to great adepts (Bodhisattvas) and sometimes referred to as the bliss or reward body. The various Buddhas use their sambhogakaya form to communicate the Dharma to select audiences of Bodhisattvas and celestial beings (devas). In tantric Buddhism it is considered to be the equivalent of the speech vector of a Buddha’s activities. The sambhogakaya beings do have form, but of a different type than of the nirmanakaya that is visible to most humans.

sambodhi: See “enlightenment,” anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.

Samdhinirmocana SutraSutra Explaining the Thought includes the doctrines of the Yogachara school. Also referred to as the “Wisdom of Buddha.”

Samkasya (Shankasa): Ancient city in northern India where the buddha descended from the heavenly realms after teaching the Abhidharma to His mother. One of the Eight Holy Sites for pilgrimage.

samsara (sheng-si or lun-hui): Conditioned existence of ordinary life in any of the “six realms of existence.” Literally means “going around” as a wheel in motion. Used to describe the endless cycle of birth and death sustained by desire (greed), anger (hatred), ignorance (delusion), and the power of karma. It is contrasted to “nirvana.”

samudacara (‘phrin-las): Enlightening influence. The unceasing, unending, effortless activity of a Buddha, which helps bring all limited beings to higher rebirth, liberation, and enlightenment. Such activity does not require a Buddha actually doing anything: a Buddha‘s attainment itself exerts a positive influence on others to pacifydisturbance, stimulate or increase the growth of good qualities, bring disorder under control (magnetizing or attracting), or forcefully end ordestroy (fierce subduing) any harm.

samyak-pradhana: The four perfect efforts or correct endeavors: the effort to avoid unwholesome thoughts or states, the effort to overcome unwholesome thoughts or states, the effort to develop wholesome thoughts and states, and the effort to maintain wholesome thoughts and states. See the “thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment (bodhipakshika-dharma).”

Samye: The oldest monastic establishment and translation center in Tibet, founded and designed by Guru Padmasambhava andShantarakshita and built in 767. It is laid out as a giant mandala with the main temple in the center representing Mount Meru. One of its abbots was the famous Nyingma Dharma King Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjampa (1308-1363/9).

sangha (sanbao): It has several meanings. When used as one of theThree or Four Jewels that one takes refuge in, it refers to saints who have obtained enlightenment. It can also mean those who have become monks and nuns and follow a monastic way of life.

Sanghamitta: Nun and daughter of King Ashoka who went to Sri Lanka as a missionary.

Sanskrit: Sanskrit is a written and spoken language that became predominant in India some time after the Buddha’s nirvana. Most texts composed or compiled by mahayànists were in Sanskrit.

Saraha (eigth or tenth century): Credited with the origination of mahamudra method of meditation. One of the 84 mahasiddha who was known for his spiritual songs about mahamudra. Master of Maitripa and disciple of Shawaripa.

sarma: Means “new translation” referring to the more recent schools of Tibetan Buddhism as compared to the “kama” or old translation school of the Nyingma.

Sarnath: City in Uttar Pradesh state of northeast India about 6 miles from modern Varanasi where the Buddha delivered His first sermon to humans. Name literally means “Lord of the Deer” and relates to another old Buddhist story in which the Bodhisattva is a deer and offers his life to a king instead of the doe the latter is planning to kill. The king is so moved that he creates the park as a sanctuary for deer. The park is still there today and is known as Deer Park. See Anatta-lakkhana Sutta and Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta for photos.

satyadevata: See yidam.

Sauntranitika (jing-liang-bu): One of the two major schools of hinayanaBuddhism in ancient India. Also called the sutra-only school.

Savatthi: See Shravasti.

scar: This is the scar left behind in some sects when one who has gone forth from the household life [become a monk or nun] vows to abide by the Bodhisattva precepts. When receiving such precepts in a ceremony, the crown of the head is burnt with an incense stick which leaves a scar.

sect: A school or subgroup within Buddhism that usually forms around a set of teachings or a particular text. In Tibetan Buddhism there are five main sects: the Nyingma, Jonang, Kagyu, Sakya, and Geluk. Other mahayana sects include the Pure Land, Chan (Zen), etc. In ancient India there were the Madhyamaka, Yogachara or Consciousness-only, etc. sects.

seed characters: or syllables (bijamantra): sacred symbols in the form of either Sanskrit or Tibetan letters that are used in tantric rituals. Every tantric deity has its own secret seed syllable or character, which you only receive when you are initiated into that tantric practice.

sekha (Striver-on-the-Path): one who has achieved any of the first three stages of supra-mundane attainment on the hinayana path: a Stream-enterern (srotapanna), Once-returner (sakradagamin), or Non-returner (anagamin). See also The Four Stages of Becoming an Arhat.

self: This concept of self is expressed by our ego or seventh consciousness. This is our innate attachment to self that is the primary cause of our continued rebirth. After people are born, they have this concept of self. In order to provide for their needs or desires, this sense of self becomes stronger and stronger. Added to this are negative habitual tendencies from previous lifetimes that continue to be fostered, planting unwholesome causes. You must let go of the concept of self. As long as you are attached to the concept of self, you are an ordinary persons.  Every day, you will produce negative karma. You will be vexed even when you are alone behind closed doors. Clinging to the concept of self and being selfish will only lead you toward the cycle of reincarnation. Cutting off the concept of a self or ego, taking to heart the impermanence of all worldly things, and having an enlightened and greatly compassionate state of mind will ferry you to the bright land of the Buddhas.

sentient beings (zhong-sheng) are living beings that have consciousnesslike humans, devas, animals, ghosts, and hell beings, but are still bound to samsara.

seven cardinal sins: shedding the Buddha’s blood, murdering an arhat, killing one’s father, killing one’s mother, murdering a Dharma Teacher, murdering a Precept Master, or disrupting the harmony of the Sangha.

seven classes or types of practitioners(disciples) (sapta bauddhaparsada): (1) the monk (bhikshu); (2) the nun (bhikshuni); (3) a probationary nun (siksamana); (4) a novice monk (shramanera); (5) a novice nun (shramanerika); (6) a male lay adherent who vows to observe the Five Precepts (upasaka): and (7) a female lay adherent who vows to observe the Five Precepts (upashika). Sometimes referred to as the four types of Buddhist disciples with the novice and probationary categories not included.

seven jewels of a universal monarch: The magical wheel, emblem of his sovereignty, by which he conquers the earth without the use of force; his wonderful elephant; his horse; his beautiful wife; his precious gem; his treasurer; and his advisor. All are endowed with wondrous properties.

seven limbs of enlightenment (bodhyanga): Part of the thirty-seven branches or factors of enlightenment: mindfulness (smriti); aspiration or discriminative knowledge (dharmavicaya); joyous effort, persistence, or energy (virya); joyfulness, rapture, bliss, or delight (priti); tranquility, serenity, or overcoming the passions (passaddhi); concentration (samadhi); and equanimity (upeksha). See Maha-Satipatthana Sutta and Anapanasati Sutta.

seven treasures:  Gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, agate (or mother-of-pearl), red pearl (or rubies), and carnelian. They represent the seven powers of faith, perseverance (effort), sense of shame, avoidance of wrongdoing (purity), mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. Sometimes coral, emeralds, and others are also listed as in the Smaller Pure Land Sutra, which lists them as 1-gold, 2-silver, 3-emerald, 4-crystal, 5-ruby, 6-marble (asman), and 7-white coral (musaragalva).

seventeen great panditas: See “panditas.”

Shakyamuni Buddha (623-542/566-486) (Shi-jia Fo): The Buddha of our time, who was born into the Sakya clan in what is now Nepal. He transmitted the way to liberation and full enlightenment for 45 years in north-east India over 2500 years ago. His teachings have been classified as “three turnings of the wheel of dharma.” He is the historical founder of what came to be known as Buddhism. See “Buddha” and “Siddhartha.”

shamatha (samatha): Literally “still and pure.” A meditative state characterized by a one-pointedness of mind on an internal meditative object. By contrast, vipasyana is an analytical examination of the nature of things that leads to insight into the true nature of the universe. It does not represent the ultimate samadhi. It is a kind of expedient device cultivated by those beginning on the path. See “meditation” and Shurangama Sutra.

Shambhala: Pure Land located in this world that is only accessible to enlightened or pure beings. Although Shambhala is said to exist somewhere in the Himalayas, it is not accessible to ordinary beings, being part of a different realm of existence like a Buddhaland or Pure Land. See “King Suchandra.”

Shambhala Kalkin King XI, Durjaya (927-1027) (Gyalka)  Transmitted the Kalachakra dharma to Kalachakrapada Jamyang Dorje in the tenth century.

Shambhala King Suchandra: See “King Suchandra.”

Shangpa Kagyu Sect (Xiang-ba Ga-ju Pai): Founded by Khyungpo Naljor in the tenth century. For the first seven generations this was a “whispered” lineage that could only be passed to one student.

Shantarakshita (Santaraksita) (8th century): Founder of the Nyingma Sect.

Shantideva (8th century): One of the “seventeen great panditas” and author of the Bodhisativacaryavatra. See Kadampa Lineage Chart.

Shariputra (Sariputra or Sariputta): The chief disciple of the Buddha who was second only to the Buddha in his understanding of the Dharma. Older than the Buddha, he died shortly before the Buddha. Some of the Sutras were taught by Shariputra (Devadaha Sutta) as per the instructions of the Buddha. He was also a lifetime friend of the other chief disciple of the Buddha, the Venerable Mahamaudgalyana. Ven. Shariputra and Ven. Mahamaudgalyana were born on the same day. He was the brother of Maha-Cunda Thera and the nephew ofMahakaushthila. Before he became a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha he was a very powerful heretic possessing very great skills. His stupa still stands at Nalanda. See “disciples” and Shurangama Sutra.

shariras (she-li-zi): Usually refers to the gem-like stones that appear in the relics of a Buddha or Holy One (Saint) after they are cremated. They can also be the ordinary relics of saints such as bones, hair, teeth, etc., which are preserved and venerated in temples, stupas, etc. The worship of sariras should not be considered as the worship of material things, but worshiping the Buddha’s teachings and wisdom. In some cases the gem-like shariras are bestowed from sources other than cremation. TheRainbow Body is also known as a kind of sharira. See section on HOLY MANIFESTATIONS for more information.

shastra (sastra): Commentaries or treatises on Buddhism that augment, explain, and expand upon the sutras, tantras, or other commentaries.

shedra: Tibetan term for college or institute of higher Buddhist learning; where the five vidyas are usually taught.

shentong view: View of “other-emptiness” developed by Jonang Sectbased on the Buddha’s Third Turning of the Wheel on Buddhanature that developed into teachings of the Yogachara School in India. The 11th century tibetan Kalachakra yogi Yumo Mikyo Dorje, a disciple of the Kashmiri scholar Somanatha, was one of the earliest articulators of this view of the absolute radiant or luminous nature of reality. The greatJonang scholar and practitioner Dolpopa wrote the main text, Mountain Doctrine: Tibet’s Fundamental Treatise on Other Emptiness and the Buddha Matrix. This view is not held to be orthodox by Geluks, but essential to understanding of higher tantras practiced in other sects. In contrast to the “rontong” or self-empty view which maintains that emptiness is devoid of inherent exhistence, the shentong view maintains that emptiness is indivisible from “luminosity” or contains the essence of wisdom which we also know as our Buddha Nature. Also referred to as zhentong.

Shi Mu: Chinese term that literally means “Master Mother.” In the course of following and learning from the Master, disciples regard the Master’s wife as they regard their own mother. That is why she is called Shi Mu.

shila or sila:  Sanskrit for morality, which can also be translated as moral discipline or moral practice.  It is abstaining from all unwholesome actions.

Shingon Sect: Japanese esoteric Buddhist sect based on theMahavairocana Sutra and Vajrasekhara Sutra. Founded by Kukai (Kobo Daishi)in ninth century. The word shingon is the Kanji reading of Chinese chen-yen or zhen-yan, literally meaning “true words,” which in turn is the Chinese translation of the Sanskrit word mantra. Chen-yen (Zhen-yan) Buddhism was popular in China during the eighth century and until the persecution of 845.

shraddha: Faith or devotion. One of the five indriyas and an essential component of esoteric practice. See DHARMA.

shramanera: Novice monk. Novice nuns are known as shamanerikas. One who has taken the ten shramanera precepts.

Shravasti (Sravasti, Savatthi) : Very beautiful affluent capital city in which King Prasenajit lived and home of the Jeta Grove where the Buddha taught. Site for the Third Turning of the Wheel when the Buddha taught about Buddha-Nature.

Shri Devi (Palden Lhamo): Only wrathful female dharmapala of the “Eight Guardians of the Law.” She rides sideways on a white mule, over a sea of blood, sitting on the flayed hide of her son who was an enemy of Buddhism. See “dharma protectors” and TANTRA.

Shri Singha (299 BCE-  ): Received the Great Perfection dharma fromManjushrimita and transmitted it to Vimalamitra and Jnanasutra. SeeNyingma Lineage.

Shubhakarasimha (637-735): Indian monk who went to China in 716 and translated the esoteric Mahavairocana-sutra into Chinese.

Shurangama Sutra: 25 sages explain to Manjushri Bodhisattva the various methods that they used to pierce the knots of the senses, transcend the realm of birth and death, and attain enlightenment. It also contains the Buddhas secret causes of cultivation and the 50 demons of the five aggregates.

siddha: Literally an accomplished one who has achieved the siddhis. An enlightened master who has attained magical powers and has the ability to work miracles. Tibetan Buddhism recognizes a lineage of 84 Mahasiddhas (great siddhas).

Siddhartha Gautama was the worldly name of the Buddha. Siddhartha (meaning “one whose aim is accomplished”) was his personal name and Gautama was his family name. Shakyamuni, his name after he became a buddha, means “Sage of the Sakyas.”

siddhis: The supernormal or extraordinary attainments of tantric practice. Includes the mundane of performing miracles like shape-shifting, invisibility, flying; clairaudience; clairvoyance; reading minds; and knowing past lives as well as the supermundane category of enlightenment itself. the “six supernormal powers.

sila (jìng ji):  Sanskrit for morality, which can also be translated as moral discipline or moral practice.

Simhamukha (Lion-faced Dakini): Sometimes she represents a secret manifestation of Guru Padmasambhava, but this dark blue, wrathful dakini has different functions in different sects of Tibetan Buddhism.

Single Hair Mother Vajra:  See “Ekajati.”

six consciousnesses:  See “consciousness.”

Six Fulfillments given at the beginning of all sutras spoken by the Buddha: the Fulfillment of Faith; the Fulfillment of Hearing; the Fulfillment of Time; the Fulfillment of a Host – one who speaks the Dharma; the Fulfillment of a Place; and, the Fulfillment of an Audience

six great elements are earth, water, fire, wind, space, andconsciousness. They are what make up the physical aspect of a human being. 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.

Six Jewels of India: Also sometimes called the six scholarly ornaments:AryadevaDharmakirtiDignagaGunaprabhaSakyaprabha, andVasubandhu. Sometimes the two leading scholars, Nagarjuna and Asangaare listed instead of Gunaprabha and Sakyaprabha. The Tibetans include all of them as the eight greatest scholars of Buddhist India plus Shakyamuni Buddha as the Genduk Chogngi. See also “seventeen great panditas.”

six paramitas: Also known as the six perfections or qualities that a Bodhisattva perfects in the process of becoming a Bodhisattva. They aregenerosity (dana), virtue (moral discipline or sila), patience (ksanti), energy or exertion or courage (virya), concentration (dhyana or samadhi), and wisdom (prajna). One of the “wholesome dharmas” that produces good “karma.” See the “Vajrasamadhi Sutra.”

six realms of existence or reincarnation (gati, liu dao): Sentient beings continually transmigrate to the various realms of existence known assamsara. The human realm is not the only realm that is open to us. Depending on your karma, you can also take birth as animals, hell-beings or hungry ghosts (preta). Even as humans we sometimes experience the stupidity of animals, the hatefulness and anger of hell, and the frustration and greed of hungry ghosts, but most human beings don’t spend their entire lives in such states. You can also take rebirth in the higher realms as devas (gods) or other celestial beings, but this is not a permanent state and when your good karma expires (and you don’t normally generate more good karma in those realms), you have to return to the lower realms to pay off your karmic debts. Sometimes the asurasor demigods are combined with the devas as five realms or they may be counted as a separate realm. As humans we do sometimes also get a taste of the bliss and pleasures of these higher realms. See also “three lower realms,” “three higher realms,” and “ten dharma realms.”

six sense bases (vedanskandha): The sense-faculities: the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.

six supernormal powers or superknowledges (abhijna or liu shen-tong-li) are 1) the ability to fly (travel physically at an extremely high speed) and perform other miracles, 2) the divine ear, 3) the ability to read the minds of others, 4) the ability to perceive past and future lives, 5) the divine eye (clairvoyance),  and 6) the extinction of all defilements (nirvana), the knowledge of the ending of suffering by ending the cycle of birth and death. One can only manifest these powers according to certain dharma rules. Non-Buddhists in this realm and beings in other realms can manifest the first five (known as the “five supernormal powers”), but the sixth can only be obtained by a Buddha. “The Buddha did oppose his monks using supernormal powers to save living beings for several reasons including the fear that disciples will crave supernormal powers and that will thereby preclude them from attaining transcendent wisdom. This does not mean theBuddha-dharma does not include supernormal powers. ” (p 103, True Stories About a Holy Monk.) See MIRACLESsiddhis.

Six Yogas of Naropa: Advanced tantric practices that can help in the attainment of supernormal powers and enlightenment in an accelearated manner. They include the yogas of Inner Heat (tummo), the Illusory Body, the Clear Light, the Dream State, the Intermediate State (bardo), and the Transference of Consiousness (phowa).

Sixteen Arhats: The saints of ancient India to whom Shakyamuni Buddha entrusted His doctrine and who remained in this world to help living beings after Shakyamuni Buddha departed: Suvinda, Svaka, Nagasena, Panthaka, Pindolabharadvja, CudapanthakaRahula, Kanakabharadvaja, Nakula, Kanakavatsa, Bhadra, Vajraputra, Karika, Vanavasin, Ajita, and Ingata. See Macang Monastery.

Skanda Bodhisattva (Wei Tuo Fo): Great Dharma Protector who watches over the holy Dharma. The Diamond Sutra is recited on Dharma ProtectorSkanda’s birthday which is celebrated on the third day of the sixth lunar month. Form of “Vajrapani.” See “Hua Zang Si” and “dharma protectors“.

skandha-mara: Internal demons of the “five aggregates.” One of the “four maras.”

skandhas:  See “five aggregates.”

skillful means: See “COMPASSION.

sky burial is a special Buddha-dharma used in Tibet to help those with relatively light karma eliminate their dark karma. Such a person makes a vow during his life to offer his flesh and blood to special birds after his death. Their bodies are dismembered and left for these very large condors to consume. Their bones may then be collected and used to create a variety of dharma instruments and for other holy purposes. For example, a certain type of mala or rosary is made from skull bones and musical instruments are made from leg bones. These are used in various rituals and ceremonies. These holy birds will not touch the remains of a person who has very heavy black karma.

smriti: perfect mindfulness. One of the five indriya and seven limbs of enlightenment. See Maha-Sapipatthana Sutta.

smrty-upasthana: The foundations of mindfulness, four of the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment.

Soki Gaki International (SGI): Japanese subsect of Nichiran Buddhism. Daisaku Ikeda (1928- ) is current president.

Song Dynasty (Sòng Cháodài): The ruling dynasty in China from 960-1279.

spirits: See “ghosts.”

sravakas: Also called voice hearers or auditors. Means those who hear the Buddha, but do not yet understand Him. A type of realized hinayana practitioner who has achieved the realization of the nonexistence of a personal self. Early disciples were mostly sravakas. Sravakayana refers to the vehicle of the sravakas. See also “arhats.”

Sravasti: One of the Eight Holy Sites for pilgrimage, the site of the Miracle of the Pairs and Anathapindika’s monastery —Jeta’s grove where the Buddha meditated and spent many rainy seasons.

srotapanna: The first stage in becoming an arhat known as the Stream-winner or Stream-enterer.

stages on the path: See SEVEN JEWELS.

stressful: Sometimes used instead of “suffering” to describe “dukha.”

stupa (ta, chorten, dagoba, chedi): Literally “heap” or “pile.” See “eight types of stupas” and STUPAS.

styana: Laxity.

Subhuti: Important disciple of the buddha, especially in mahayana sutras. The Buddha declared him to be the foremost among his disciples in the practice of the concentration on emptiness. When the Buddha returned from the Trayastrimsa heaven Subhuti did not go with the other disciples to meet him, but remained in meditation. The Buddha said that Subhuti was the first to greet Him. See “disciples,” “Shurangama Sutra.”

Suchandra, King: (Ziang-ba-la Su-chan-de-la-yue Xian-wang): A manifestation of Vajrapani Bodhisattva who received the Kalachakra Tantra directly from Shakyamuni BuddhaShakyamuni Buddha manifested as the wrathful Kalachakra Buddha at Dhanyakataka (present day Amaravati), a small town in southeastern India, to transmit this dharma while at the same time he was delivering the Prajnaparamita Sutras at Vulture Peak in Bihar in northeast India. Ruler in the Pure Land ofShambala. Currently incarnated as H.H. Dharma King Jigme Dorje, the head of the Jonang Sect.

suchness:  Absolute reality.  See “bhuta-tathata.”

Sudatta: Wealthy layman who bought the Jeta Grove in Shravasti from Prince Jeta for the Buddha. Also known as Anathapindika, “the Benefactor of Orphans and the Solitary (childless)” because of his charity work. SeeAnathapindikovada Sutta.

sudurjaya-bhumi: The Hard to Conquer Bhumi, the fifth stage on the Bodhisattva path where the bodhisattva devotes himself to his own development and to the welfare of others.

suffering (dukha): Sometimes translated as stressful, unsatisfactory, or even frustration, it is used to characterize the defective nature of life in samsara. There are three main types: 1) duhkha-duhkha (pain of pain) is the obvious sufferings of physical pain, illness, old age, death, the loss of or separation from a loved one, not getting what one desires, etc.: 2) viparinama-duhkha (pain of alteration or change) the suffering of impermanence; and 3) samskara-duhkha (pain of formation) is a subtle form of suffering inherent in the nature of conditioned things. See “dukha.”

sugatagarbha (der sheg nying po): Closely related to concept of tathagatagarbha.  Also known as “Buddha-nature” or that enlightened essence present in all beings that allows them to thave the capacity to achieve enlightnment.

Sukhasiddhi (10th-11th centuries): An elderly and poor housewife who was kicked out of her home by her six children and husband for her generosity and who went on to become an enlightened being. She learned how to support herself by selling beer. She continued her generous ways and gave the beer away to a holy man who taught her the dharma. Her level of realization was such that she was able then to learn directly from Dorje Chang Buddha. Her physical appearance became as that of a beautiful 16 year old fair-skinned girl. She was one of the major root gurus of Khyungpo Naljor, the founder of the Shangpa Kagyu sect. See Shangpa Lineage Chart.

sukha: Pleasure or happiness. One of the “eight winds.”

Sukhavati:  See “Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss.”

Sumeru, Mount: This mountain is akin to Mount Olympus in function, being a huge mountain at the center of the world that holds up the heavens in which the gods dwell. In Buddhist cosmology, all worlds have a Mount Sumeru. Because of its size, it is often used in parables or metaphors. Also known as Mt. Meru. See “Svayambhu Mahachaitya Stupa.”

summer retreat: In ancient India, for a period of ninety days, from the fifteenth of the fourth lunar month to the fifteenth of the seventh lunar month, the members of the Sangha lived in one place and did not go anywhere; they didn’t go traveling or take a vacation. There were two reasons for this. First, the weather was very hot and made for especially uncomfortable traveling. Second, insects and other small creatures are particularly abundant on the earth in summer. To avoid stepping on them and squashing them to death, to nurture compassion for all living beings and to protect them, the Bhikshus, the Bhikshunis, and the Buddha lived in one place and did not go out. This custom was observed in other places as well, especially to protect the young rice plants that were beginning to grow and could have been trampled by thousands of roaming monks and nuns. Since this was an intense period of practice, many obtained enlightenment during this time. See Pravarana for ceremony marking the end of these retreats.

Sun Wukong: Famous character from Chinese classic, Journey to the West who had great magical powers. He was the Monkey King who accompanied the monk Xuan Zang to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India.

sunyataEighteen types of emptiness listed with the thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment as supermundane dharmas . See SEVEN JEWELS.

supermundane paths: The hinayana tradition holds the four-fold path of the arya-marga while the mahayana tradition has the five-fold path (panca-marga).

supermundane dharmas: They include the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment [the four applications or foundations of mindfulness (smrty-upasthana), four right or perfect efforts (samyak-prahana), four bases of psychic power or roads to power (riddhi-pada), five roots or controlling factors or dominants (indriya)five powers (bala), seven limbs (factors or branches) of enlightenment or awakening (bodhyanga), and the eight-fold path (marga)] plus the five sciences (vidya), six superknowledges (abhijna), and eighteen emptinesses (sunyata). These plus wholesome (punya) or meritorious actions that are also followed by ordinary beings are the dharmas that are followed by saints or holy ones.

supernatural events: See HOLY MANIFESTATIONS.

supernormal powers: See HOLY MANIFESTATIONS.

sutras (sutta, jing-zang) represent the scriptural texts or canons of the open teachings of the Buddha contained in the Tripitaka.  The term can also mean any teaching of an enlightened being or a treatise or short book, but that is not a true sutra. Only the words of a Buddha should be considered a sutra. Even the teachings of Maitreya Bodhisattva toAsanga are only considered commentaries. The Platform Sutra of Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of Zen, is included under the listings of sutras, but it should not be considered a true sutra. Only the teachings of Vimalakirti have been considered a sutra, because Vimalakirti was an incarnation of Dorje Chang Buddha. See “Six Fulfillments.”

svabhavikakaya (zi-xing shen) is the essential body or naked truth body of a Buddha. Also sometimes called the dharmadhatu svabhava body. See also “four bodies.”

Svatantrika-Madhyamaka: One of the two major sects of the Madhyamaka School.