Glossary

Glossary terms are identified throughout the website by the faint dashed underline. Click on the terms to see a popup of their definition.

  • Awareness
    The Tibetan term for this is rang rig, our natural capacity for reflection and self-awareness. We can be aware of the processes of knowing, perceiving, or thinking as they are happening. Mindful awareness, as is described in the four foundations of mindfulness, can be a close awareness of present experience arising and ceasing. Awareness can also be aware of the essential background quality of the mind, natural clarity. Awareness is more intimate than regular knowing. It has a quality of fully pervading, of directly touching an experience, not just labeling or noting it. Awareness is crucial for this course because while the other attributes are automatic or naturally present, awareness can be trained, developed, and strengthened.
  • Basic Clarity/Lucidity
    Rinpoche usually calls this 'clarity' and it is the basic home or foundation of the mind's nature. As the basic substance of the mind, it informs knowing, thinking and awareness.
  • Beautiful Monsters
    Rinpoche calls raw feelings, emotions, and neuroses “beautiful monsters” to reflect their complex nature. Instead of habitually fearing, resenting, rejecting, or identifying with our beautiful monsters, we learn how to handshake them, to allow them to be. Handshaking is a practice that requires guts and kindness.
  • Bindu
    “Drops”, “seeds” and “essences” are all translations of “bindu” or “tigle”, and refer to the vital generative energies which ideally flow throughout the body, and are associated with experiences of bliss, clarity, courage, inspiration, juiciness, humor and essence love.
  • Compassion
    The wish that living beings may be free from suffering and its causes.
  • Dropping
    Dropping is the foundation for all of the Fully Being practices.
  • Equanimity
    The wish that everyone may be free of attachment to some people and aversion to others. It is an attitude that is free of bias.
  • Essence Love
    Describes the same natural quality underneath our changing moods and emotions and basic okayness, warmth, or well-being. The term is used in contrast with “expression love” to emphasize the difference between love that is focused outwardly and expressed, and what is underneath that, a fundamental readiness to love, before it is expressed or focused outwardly.
  • Expressions
    The terms “qualities”, “display,” or “expressions” are often used in spiritual traditions to point to the fruits or results of our practice. For example, if we practice loving kindness meditation in a committed way, over time we will find ourselves to be more naturally loving, both with ourselves and others.
  • Four Immeasurables
    The Four Immeasurables Equanimity is the wish that everyone may be free of attachment to some people and aversion to others. It is an attitude that is free of bias. Love is the wish that everyone may have happiness and the causes of happiness. Compassion is the wish that living beings may be free from suffering and its causes of suffering. Joy is the wish that everyone remains happy and that their happiness may increase further and further.
  • Four Ways of Seeing
    A translation of the Tibetan word “sal-wa”.  It is also sometimes rendered as cognizance, lucidity, basic clarity, and awake-ness. This “sal-wa” is the raw material of all our mental states, including the first three qualities Rinpoche introduces -- knowing, thinking, and awareness.
  • Insight
    In the Insight module, Rinpoche uses a variety of terms to refer to the process of inquiry and its outcome, which is insight or wisdom. "Vipassana", literally "higher seeing", is a classic term in all Buddhist traditions and refers to a great many practices associated with investigation and wisdom. "Analytic meditation" refers to an approach of using focused analysis or inquiry to probe a topic (such as the nature of the body) or a question (such as, "Is my sense of self changing or unchanging?") “Prajna” is a Sanskrit term meaning “wisdom” or “insight”. “Understanding” can refer to an ordinary level or a breakthrough type of experience (like an AHA moment). "Space" and "openness" are experiential words meant to help transmit the outcome of the vipassana practices.
  • Interdependence
    All experience arises from prior causes and conditions; everything (mental and physical) is mutually dependent and co-arises with other things.
  • Joy
    The wish that everyone remains happy and that their happiness may increase further and further.
  • Knowing
    This is a direct and immediate apprehension of a sense object. For example, we see a flower and immediately, without thinking, know it’s a flower. There is no thinking or reflection here. It happens automatically.
  • Lama
    “Lama” traditionally refers to a qualified spiritual guide or mentor.
  • Love
    The wish that everyone may have happiness and the causes of happiness.
  • Monsters
    Rinpoche calls raw feelings, emotions, and neuroses 'beautiful monsters' to reflect their complex nature. Instead of habitually fearing, resenting, rejecting, or identifying with our beautiful monsters, we learn how to handshake them, to allow them to be. Handshaking is a practice that requires guts and kindness.
  • Nadi
    The "nadis" or "channels" are the energetic pathways through which the "prana" and "bindus" move in the subtle body.
  • Prana
    The term "prana" ("lung" or "speedy energy" or "wind energy") is important, as the practices taught in the course focus on working with speedy energy. Lung is roughly equivalent to the classic Chinese concept of "chi".
  • Settling the Mind
    The Tibetan word "shinay", literally "resting peacefully", is equivalent to the Sanskrit word "shamata." These terms appear in this module as well as "calm abiding," a classic translation of "shamata." You will also find the terms "concentration" and "tranquility," which convey different dimensions of this aspect of meditation practice. We have chosen to name the module "settling the mind," which is a more neutral term and contains all these different shades of meaning.
  • Subtle body
    Refers to our subtle energetic physiology, which connects our physical body with our thinking mind. The subtle body is related to how we feel, such as flat or inspired.
  • Thinking
    Using the flower example, thinking involves some reflection or analysis of the object. For example, we may ask, "Who made this flower arrangement?" or "I don't like this type of flower," or "I remember my mother liked white flowers,"  and so on. It is beyond just knowing the flower in the sense that it reflects upon, analyzes, ruminates, etc., about the object that the senses know automatically.
  • View
    The view depends on our state of mind, so we need to know what this mind is. There are two aspects of mind - the thinking mind and mind essence. These two are like water and ice -- same nature different form. It is possible for water to be ice. It is also possible for ice to be water. In the same way, our ordinary thinking mind and mind essence are not two totally separate things. They are interrelated in a fundamental way. So we need to find out what is our thinking mind. Then we discover the nature of this thinking mind-mind essence.  
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