Vaibhashika (Po-sha-bu): One of the two major schools of hinayana Buddhism of ancient India. Also called the Detailist or Abhidharma School.
Vairocana Buddha (Da-ri Fo): The white central Sun Buddha. Sometimes portrayed as deep blue in certain esoteric teachings. See “Mahavairocana Buddha” and “five wisdoms of a buddha.”
Vairotsana (Vairocana), the Translator (8th-9th centuries). See Bairotsana.
Vaishali (Vesali): Site of the famous mango grove donated to the Buddha by the Courtesan Ambapali, the mother of Doctor Jivaka. One of the Eight Wonders–a pilgrimage site because of monkeys offering the Buddha a gift of honey there.
Vaishravana (Pi-Sha-Men Tien-Wong or To-Wen Tien-Wong): He is the golden lord of the north, the best known and most venerated of the Heavenly Kings. He is said to have practiced austerities for a thousand years and been rewarded with great wealth. He is also called Kuvera, the “God of Wealth.” In his palace in the Himalayas, he is attended by Yaksas (guardians of the earth’s treasures) and Kinnaras (horse-headed celestial musicians). He is often shown with a sword, trident, or banner (representing his triumphs) in his right hand and a vessel or stupa containing treasure in his left. Sometimes he is shown holding a jewel-spitting mongoose in his left hand.
vajra (jin-gang): Literally, “diamond” or “adamantine.” In general, it is that which is beyond arising and ceasing—hence, indestructible. It is a symbol of unchanging and indestructible wisdom capable of penetrating through everything. Vajra is also a small implement used in conjunction with a bell during Tantric rituals. Called a dorje in Tibetan.
vajra brother or sister (jingang xiong-di): Someone who has the same vajra master. A particular close connection is had among those who receive empowerment or initiation together.
Vajra Hell: Once you have practiced the Vajra Tantra, if you commit a crime in this lifetime, you will only degenerate into the Vajra Hell and not the lowest level that will hold you forever. Whoever falls into the Vajra Hell will eventually get out and after getting out , his previous level of cultivation will be reinstated immediately, without practicing what he had learned earlier. However, the suffering in the Vajra Hell is extremely severe. See “hell”
Vajra Pill: Holy precious pills made from nectar bestowed by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that can help dispel demons and increase longevity and good fortune. They may exhibit miraculous powers like singing, chanting, dancing, or transforming into colored light. They are also used to test the level of realization of certain practitioners.
vajra seeds: Seeds that are planted by the Master in the practitioner during initiation. The true vajra seed requires inner initiation. It has to come from the nectar initiation or nectar blessing or empowerment. There is also an inner or three Dharma water initiation which can also plant the seed, but it is not as stable as the nectar seed.
Vajra Throne (putidaochang): See bodhimanda.
vajra thunder (jingang leisheng): The laughter of vajra beings that can sound like thunder. Often heard at holy Buddhist rituals and ceremonies or whenever these holy beings are present.
Vajra Yoga Perfection Dharma (Jingang Yujia Yuanman Fa): Tantric dharma practice transmitted by the Supreme Leader of Esoteric Buddhism, H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu that is found in the book True Stories About a Holy Monk. Also known as the Kuan Yin Bodhisattva Accomplishment Esoteric Dharma.
Vajrabodhi (671-741) (Jin-gang Zhi-san-zang): Indian Buddhist monk who arrived in China in 720 with his disciple Amoghavajra. Helped translate certain esoteric scriptures into Chinese and transmit esoteric dharma. Considered Fourth Patriarch of Shingon Buddhism.
Vajradhara (Jing-gang Chi): The term is used in two ways. Its more common use is to describe a high level practitioner of Vajrayana as it literally means the “holder or practitioner of the vajra.” It is often used to describe various vajra masters. However it also means “ruler of the vajra beings” and is the title of a particular holy being who from time to time incarnates in this world to help living beings and who is the supreme ruler of all esoteric and exoteric Buddhism. This is Buddha Vajradhara and also known as Dorje Chang Buddha. His first incarnation as Dorje Chang Buddha II was over 2500 years ago when he came as Venerable Vimalakirti to help Shakyamuni Buddha teach His disciples.
Vajrapani (Jin-gang-shou): Represents the wisdom as manifested in the power of the buddhas–the “skillful means.” Referred to as Mahasthamaprapta (Da Shi Zhi Pu-sa or Thuchenthop — “Great Strength as Elephant”) when portrayed standing next to Amitabha (Amitayus) along with Avalokiteshvara (Kuan Sher Yin Pu-sa). He is also known as the Lord of Secrets. In his wrathful form he is known as Chana Dorje to the Tibetans. He is usually royal blue or blue-black and yields a vajra (dorje) in his hand. In his very wrathful form he has garuda wings. An emanation appeared in the Kindom of Shambala as King Suchandra who was the first to receive the Kalachakra Tantra. Recently this great Bodhisattva incarnated as a nirmanakaya as H.H. Penor Rinpoche, a Dharma King of the Nyingma Sect and former head of that sect.
vajrasana: Vajra seat or bodhimanda.
Vajrasattva Mahasattva (Jin-gang-sa-duo Fo Mo-he-sa): Bodhisattva who oversees esoteric practice in this world. Transmitted the dzogchen or Great Perfection Dharma to Vajrapani and Guru Padmasambhava. Disciple of Dorje Chang Buddha.
Vajrasattva Visualization Dharma (Jingangsaduo Guan Fa): Tantric purification ritual that is found in Know the True Doctrine.
Vajravarahi (Dorje Phagmo, Jingang Pa Mu): Literally, “indestructible sow.” Vajravarahi is a female yidam deity who is also the ruler of the dakinis. She is usually depicted with a sow’s head protruding from the crown of her head. The sow represents basic ignorance, which is transformed into highest wisdom.
Vajrayana Buddhism (jin-gang-cheng): Secret and more advanced aspects of mahayana that include all of exoteric Buddhism, including hinayana Buddhism. Also called Mantrayana as reciting or chanting mantras is one of its practices. See “esoteric Buddhism” and “tantra.”
Vaipulya Sutras: Literally means huge or extensive sutras such as the large Prajnaparamita Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, and the Avatamsaka Sutra.
Vedas: These are the ancient hymns brought as an oral tradition by the Aryans when they migrated into India. They became the basis of the Brahmin traditions and the later Hindu religion.
vehicle: That which carries one and then establishes one in the respective result: the path. There are five types: the two mundane vehicles that belong to the higher realms of Samsara–the vehicle used by gods and men, the Brahma vehicle; and the three used for the sake of liberation and enlightenment that are utilized by shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas. The mundane vehicles serve as support for the three higher supramundane paths since they merely provide temporary bodily support of the higher realms and are not the permanent abode of emancipation.
Venerable (sthavira): Title given to one who is worthy of veneration. It usually refers to an arhat, but it can refer to certain bodhisattvas. For example Guru Padmasambhava’s 25 main disciples were called venerable ones or venerables, but were actually reincarnated bodhisattvas.
vidya rajas: Knowledge kings who are vajra deities.
Vikramashila Mahavihara: Great Buddhist monastic institution located in the Bihar district in north-east India and founded around the ninth century. It lasted for approximately 300 years as a center for tantric practice and studies.
Vimalakirti, the Licchavi (6th-5th BCE-??): The first incarnation of Dorje Chang Buddha into this world in the ancient republic of Licchavi (now Bihar State, India), known as a famous holy layman in the Mahayana sutra bearing his name. He demonstrated amazing supernormal powers and taught Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciples the Bodhisattva Path of the Mahayana and why it was superior to the Hinayana Path of the Arhat. It was also Vimalakirti, who according to prophecy, twenty-eight years after Shakyamuni Buddha left this world, aroused himself from his inner meditative absorptions and miraculously assembled on the peak of Malayagiri in Sri Lanka along with holy representives of other non-human beings to lament the loss of the Great Teacher and receive the secret mantra vehicle (tantra) from Vajrapani.
Vimalamitra: Upon the advice of Vajrasattva, Vimalamitra went to China and received the complete oral lineage from Shri Singha. Dakinis then told him to go to the Bhasing charnel ground where he received more empowerments, instructions and texts from his old friend Jnanasutra. Later he went to Tibet and became one of the great masters who introduced dzogchen to Tibet. After thirteen years in Tibet he returned to the Five Peaks (Wu-tai Shan) in China where he attained the rainbow body. He vowed to send an incarnation to Tibet every century to continue the Nyingthik teachings. See Nyingma Lineage.
Vinaya (Lu Zang) is part of the Tripitaka or open teachings of the Buddha that includes the monastic rules and various precepts. Literally means good healing. See “Disciple Upali.”
Vipashyana or vipasyana, vipassana (guan, lha tong): Meditative technique used to develop wisdom. Also referred to as insight meditation. The technique leads to the direct personal apprehension and verification of the truth of the Buddha’s teachings and thus entry into the supermundane paths to nirvana. See also “meditation” and “bhavana.”
virtues: See “ten good characteristics.”
Virtuous One: An enlightened lay person.
Virudhaka (Tseg-Chang Tien-Wong): Lord of the south, the green king of the Kumbhandas. He is often depicted holding a sword and trampling a demon. His helmet is often shown as being made from the skin of an elephant’s head.
Virupaksa (Kwang-Mu Tien-Wong): Lord of the west, the red king of the Nagas (Serpents or Dragons). He is also called “Wide Eyed” or “Ugly Eyes” or “Three Eyed.” He personifies the awareness of evil. He is often depicted holding a jewel in the form of a reliquary in his right hand (representing his remembrance) and a serpent in his left (representing the power of the serpent).
vows (samaya): In general it refers to a promise or commitment to do or not do something. 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. One of the eight fundamental right views of cultivation. It can also refer to the pledges and commitments made by disciples concerning their practice of tantra. Making vows is something very complicated. There are the ordinary oral vows one makes that one will do a certain thing. There is also the kind of vow made in front of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If this type of vow is not fulfilled, then one must receive serious karmic retribution. See DHARMA.