Glossary of Buddhist Terms

Full multilingual glossary


  1. Madhyamaka

    A Mahayana school of Indian Buddhism that does not assert the truly established existence of anything.

  2. Madhyamika

    A follower of the Madhyamaka school of Indian Buddhism.

  3. Mahayana

    The set of Buddhist texts and practices that emphasize the bodhisattva path to enlightenment.

  4. Maitreya

    A bodhisattva residing in Tushita pure-land, who will be the next Buddha to come as a universal teacher in this eon.

  5. Manjushri

    A bodhisattva, or sometimes a Buddha-figure (yidam), embodying and representing the wisdom and clarity of mind of all the Buddhas.

  6. mahamudra

    Literally, "the great seal," a Mahayana meditation practice that focuses on the nature of the mind.

  7. mahasiddha

    A great tantric practitioner with actual attainments (siddhi), especially used in reference to any of a group of 80 or 84 yogis.

  8. mahayoga

    In the Nyingma system, the first of the three classes of inner tantras.

  9. mandala

    A round symbol used to represent a meaning, and most often to represent a world system.

  10. mantra

    Sets of syllables which, when repeated, protect the mind from destructive states.

  11. mara

    Demonic forces that cause interference to practitioners and those trying to accomplish something constructive.

  12. meaning category

    The conceptual category into which fit all significances (meanings) of an audio category.

  13. meditation

    The repeated practice of generating and focusing on a beneficial state of mind in order to build it up as a habit.

  14. mental consciousness

    A primary consciousness that can take any existent phenomenon as its object.

  15. mental dullness

    A mental factor faulting the appearance-making (the clarity) of the mental hold by mindfulness on an object of focus.

  16. mental factor

    A way of cognizing an object that accompanies a primary consciousness, sharing five things in common with that consciousness, and which qualifies or helps with the cognition of the object.

  17. mental stability

    Single-pointed placement of the mind on any constructive focal object, without any mental wandering.

  18. mental urge

    The mental factor that causes the mental activity to face an object or to go in its direction.

  19. merit

    The type of karmic force or potential associated with a constructive action and which ripens intermittently into transitory happiness.

  20. mind

    The cognitive activity of merely giving rise to an appearance or mental hologram of something knowable and cognitively engaging with it.

  21. mind training

    A spiritual training in which one cleanses disturbing attitudes from one's mind and trains to replace them with constructive attitudes. Often called by its Tibetan name "lojong."

  22. mind-only

    A Mahayana school of Indian Buddhism that does not assert external phenomena, but which does assert the true existence of dependent phenomena.

  23. mind-stream

    The stream of continuity of mental activity of an individual being, which has no beginning, which continues even into Buddhahood, and, according to Mahayana, has no end.

  24. mindfulness

    The mental factor, similar to a mental glue, that keeps a mental hold on a cognitive object, so that it is not lost.

  25. moral self-dignity

    As defined by Asanga, the sense to refrain from negative behavior because of caring how one's actions reflect on oneself.

  26. mother tantra

    The division of anuttarayoga tantra that emphasizes practices for attaining a clear light mind.

  27. motivation

    A state of mind entailing an aim and an emotion that draws one to reach a certain goal for a certain purpose.

  28. mudra

    A hand gesture made during a tantric ritual.