Glossary of Terms

bindu - (Tib. tig lee) Vital essence drops located within the body and visualized in vajrayana practices.
bodhicitta - (Tib. chang chup sems) Literally, the mind of enlightenment. There are two kinds of bodhicitta - absolute bodhicitta: which is completely awakened mind that sees the emptiness of phenomena and relative bodhicitta: which is the aspiration to practice the six paramitas and free all beings from the sufferings of samsara.
dharma - (Tib. cho) This has two main meanings: Any truth such as the sky is blue, and secondly, as it is used in this text, the teachings of the Buddha (also called buddhadharma).
dharmakaya - See kayas.
dorje - (Skt. vajra) This is an implement held in the hand during certain vajrayana ceremonies.
insight meditation - (Skt. vipashyana, Tib. lha tong) Meditation that develops insight into the nature of mind. The other main meditation is shamatha meditation.
Kagyu - One of the four major schools of Buddhism in Tibet. It is headed by His Holiness Karmapa. The other three are the Nyingma, the Sakya, and the Gelupa schools.
kayas, three - (Tib. ku sum) The three bodies of the Buddha: the nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya and dharmakaya. The dharmakaya, also called the "truth body," is complete wisdom of the Buddha which is unoriginated wisdom beyond form which manifests in the sambhogakaya and the nirmanakaya. The sambhogakaya, also called the "enjoyment body," is a realm in which the Buddha manifests only to bodhisattvas. The Buddha manifests in the world as an ordinary being as the historical Buddha.
mahamudra - Literally means "great seal" or "great symbol." This meditative transmission is especially emphasized in the Kagyu school.
mahasiddha -(Tib. drup chen) A great practitioner who has achieved great realization.
nadi - (Tib. tsa) Psychic channels through which the psychic energy flows.
shamatha or Tranquility Meditation - (Tib. she nay) This is basic sitting meditation in which one usually follows the breath, while observing the workings of the mind, while sitting in the crosslegged posture.
samsara - (Tib. kor wa) Conditioned existence; ordinary life suffering which occurs because one still possesses passion, aggression, and ignorance. It is contrasted to nirvana.
sambhogakaya - See the kayas.
tathagatagarba - (Tib. deshin shekpai nying po) Thathagatagarba, also called buddha nature, is the seed or essence of enlightenment which all persons possess and which allows them to have the potential to attain Buddhahood.
vipashyana meditation - Sanskrit for "insight meditation" (Tib. lha tong) This meditation develops insight into the nature of mind. The other main meditation is shamatha meditation.
Thrangu Rinpoche
The VII Gyalwa Karmapa founded Thrangu monastery about 500 years ago and appointed one of his most gifted disciples, the first Thrangu Rinpoche as abbot. Many recent incarnations of Thrangu Rinpoche have spent much of their lives in retreat. The present incarnation, the ninth, was recognized at the age of four in 1937 by the Gyalwa Karmapa and Palpung Situ Rinpoche.
From the age of seven until sixteen he learned to read and write, memorized texts and studied the practice of pujas. He then began his formal studies in Buddhist philosophy, psychology, logic, debate, and scriptures with Lama Khenpo Lodro Rabsel. At the age of twentythree along with Garwang Rinpoche and Chšgyam Trungpa Rinpoche he received the Gelong ordination from the Gyalwa Karmapa.
Following this Thrangu Rinpoche engaged in a period of intense practice and received further instructions from his lama, Khenpo Gyangasha Wangpo. At the age of 35 he earned the degree of Geshe Ramjam from the Dalai Lama and was appointed "Vice Chancellor of the Principle Seat of the Kagyu Vajra Upholder of the Three Disciplines" by His Holiness Karmapa. He is full holder and teacher of all the Kagyu vajrayana lineages and has a special, direct transmission of the Shentong philosophical tradition. Being so gifted he was chosen to educate the four great Kagyu Regents.
Thrangu Rinpoche has traveled extensively in Europe, North and South America and the Far East. He has a threeyear retreat center at Namo Buddha in Nepal, is abbot of Gampo Abbey in Canada, and offers three yearly Namo Buddha Seminars for beginning and advanced students of Buddhism.

1. There are three main traditions in Buddhism: the Hinayana, the Mahayana, and the Vajrayana. The Vajrayana is principally practiced in Tibet.
2. Dorje Chang is a sambhogakaya form of the Buddha.
3. The Karmapa is the head of the Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
4. Mahamudra is the principal method of meditation of the Kagyu lineage.
5. This lineage prayer is given at the end of this text.
6. The vajra or full lotus posture is with both legs crossed.
7. The three jewels are the Buddha, the dharma (the teachings of the Buddha), and the sangha (the Buddhist practioners).
8. The lineage prayer to the Kagyu lineage is given at the end of this text. This prayer and the visualization is available from Namo Buddha Publications ($1.00).
9. These are channels (Skt. nadi, Tib. tsa) that carry subtle energies (Skt. bindu, Tib tiglee). These are not anatomical structures, but more like the meridians in acupuncture.
10. The seven point method of Vairocana is given in Thrangu Rinpoche's Shamatha and Vipashyana Meditation, Namo Buddha Publications.
11. There are three main channels that carry the subtle energy: the right, left, and central channel. The central channel runs roughly along the spinal cord.
12. Bodhicitta is the original Buddha Nature which all persons have.
13. These are (1) having correct posture, (2) holding the mind on any visual object, (3) cutting the stream of conceptual thoughts and mental chatter, (4) eliminating dullness and agitation in meditation, (5) not keeping the mind too tight or too loose, and (6) not breaking the continuity between meditation and non-meditation.
14. These are usually seed syllables such as OM AH HUM.
15. Thrangu Rinpoche's The Uttara Tantra is available from Namo Buddha Publications.