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Glossary of Terms often used in Tantric Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism



A to Z


Abhidharmakosha: Literally The Treasury of Higher Knowledge. It is one of the five main texts that monks in monasteries study in much detail. It was written by Master Vasubandhu in the 4th century CE. The book presents various important topics such as ontology, psychology, cosmology, causality, states of consciousness, etc. This book is considered to be part of Hinayana, mainly of the Vaibhashika school.


Acupressure Points: The junctures of energy pathways in the body. Holding acupressure points for more than a minute or so causes the body to release neurochemicals called endorphins. The release of endorphins can create a euphoric "natural high" and encourage relaxation as well as magnetism and intimacy.


Adya Sakt : The Primal Energy.


Advaita ("nonduality"): the truth and teaching that there is only One Reality (/Atman, Brahman/), especially as found in the Upanishads;


Agama: Traditional doctrine, sacred knowledge related to Shaivism as revealed by Lord Shiva; tantric scriptures


Ahamkara ("I-maker"): the individuation principle, or ego, which must be transcended


Ahimsa ("nonharming"): the single most important moral discipline


Ajna: The sixth chakra or center of consciousness in the subtle body, situated between the

eyebrows. It is sometimes called the Third Eye. Two wing-like “petals” or subtle channels emanate from it.


Akasha* ("ether/space"): the first of the five material elements of which the physical universe is composed; also used to designate "inner" space, that is, the space of consciousness


Anahata: The fourth chakra or center of consciousness, situated in the cardiac region. It is sometimes called the “heart lotus.” Twelve mystic ducts or “petals” emanate from it.


Amrita ("immortal/immortality"): a designation of the deathless Spirit also the nectar of immortality that oozes from the psychoenergetic center at the crown of the head when it is activated and transforms the body into a "divine body" "Divine Nectar." Sanskrit term for female ejaculate. This fluid is different from urine and similar to the prostatic fluid of men. In Tantra Amrita is considered to be a powerfully healing substance.


Ananda: Divine bliss; joy; spiritual ecstasy the condition of utter joy, which is an essential

quality of the ultimate Reality


Anandamaya : The most subtle “bliss-formed” sheath (kosa) of the causal body, the sphere of the all-transcendent blissful consciousness.


Anga ("limb"): a fundamental category of the yogic path, such as asana, dharana, dhyana, niyama, pranayama, pratyahara, Samadhi, yama.


Anima : 1.Jung’s term for the feminine part of a man’s personality.

2. The part of the psyche that is directed inward, and is in touch with the subconscious.


Apavarga: Liberation, freedom, salvation; established in one’s true nature.


Apurva : From “a” meaning not, and “purva” meaning before. That which did not exist, now exists by virtue of practice; a ritual-created apurva creates a new pattern which projects into the future and creates a new reality.


Arhat: Sometimes also called Arhant, Arahat or Arahant; female Arhat is called Arhati. A being who has attained the fifth (and the last) path of no more learning by destroying mental afflictions and dualistic ego grasping.


Arya: A Noble being, who has attained the third path, the path of seeing emptiness directly. Arya knows the true nature of all phenomena and is a true Sangha refuge.


Asana: Yoga posture. Used to positively influence the energies of body and mind.


Ashta-anga-yoga, ashtanga-yoga ("eight-limbed union"): the eightfold yoga of Patanjali, consisting of moral discipline (yama), self-restraint (niyama), posture (asana), breath control (pranayama), sensory inhibition (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and ecstasy (samadhi), leading to liberation (kaivalya)


Asmita ("I-am-ness"): a concept of Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga, roughly synonymous with ahamkara


Atman ("self"): the transcendental Self, or Spirit, which is eternal and superconscious; our true nature or identity; sometimes a distinction is made between the atman as the individual self and the parama-atman as the transcendental Self


Avidya ("ignorance"): the root cause of suffering


Avatar: A divine Incarnation. Hindu Mythology. the descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form or some manifest shape; the incarnation of a god. An embodiment or personification, as of a principle, attitude, or view of life.


A-U-M: The three sounds which compose the root mantra, om. The sound-values of om and their symbolic interpretation are described in the Upanishads: ""A" as the waking consciousness, "U" as the dream-consciousness and "M" as the consciousness during deep sleep. Om as a whole represents the all-encompassing cosmic consciousness."


Aura: The aura is a term used to describe the field of energy that is generated by various energies in the body, it is the human energy field. .


Ayurveda: "Science of life." Ayurveda is the traditional system of medicine of India, which dates back thousands of years. The Sanskrit root ayu means "life," and veda means "pure knowledge."


Bandhas: Internal muscular exercises designed to strengthen the PC muscles and to direct and intensify sexual energy.


Bandha: Any of the three inner knots or locks that hold the pranic energy or psychic energy within certain areas (chakras) of the body


Banowa: A Tibetan word encompassing the Yoga of Ascendancy, by which the yogi can influence men, animals and inanimate objects.


Bardo: A Tibetan word meaning the intermediate state of the discarnate ego, between death and rebirth.


Bell: A tantric implement symbolizing wisdom which is held in the left hand (the female side), usually in conjunction with vajra, which symbolizes method (compassion or bliss), held in the right hand (the male side).


Bhagasana: Sexual posture in which the male member is “locked” in prolonged erection inside the yoni of a female partner while the female works the muscles of the vaginal area and the pair unite in a strong mental focus specified by the ritual practiced.


Bhagavan: One of the ten honorable titles of a Buddha. Bhagavat means possessing fortune, venerable, or holy. In Buddhism, it is used as an epithet for a Buddha and is often translated as a blessed one.


Bhakti-Yoga: Realization through love and devotion; intense desire and will for union with one’s chosen deity.


Bhavana: Meditation.


Bhoga: Enjoyment.


Bhagavad Gita ("Lord's Song"): the oldest full-fledged yoga book found embedded in the Mahabharata and containing the teachings on karma yoga (the path of self-transcending action), samkhya yoga (the path of discerning the principles of existence correctly), and bhakti yoga (the path of devotion), as given by the God-man Krishna to Prince Arjuna on the battlefield 3,500 years or more ago


Bhagavata-Purana ("Ancient [Tradition] of the Bhagavatas"): a voluminous tenth-century scripture held sacred by the devotees of the Divine in the form of Vishnu, especially in his incarnate form as Krishna.


Bhakta ("devotee"): a disciple practicing bhakti yoga


Bhakti ("devotion/love"): the love of the bhakta toward the Divine or the guru as a manifestation of the Divine; also the love of the Divine toward the devotee


Bhakti-Sutra ("Aphorisms on Devotion"): an aphoristic work on devotional yoga authored by Sage Narada; another text by the same title is ascribed to Sage Shandilya


Bhakti Yoga ("Yoga of devotion"): a major branch of the yoga tradition, utilizing the feeling capacity to connect with the ultimate Reality conceived as a supreme Person.


Bhumi: Literally ground. A stage of realization and activity of a Bodhisattva on the path to Buddhahood. Usually ten such levels are recognized. Chandrakirti says in the Bodhisattva-Avatara Shastra that the aspiration to climb the Bodhisattva Bhumis is reached by practicing the 6 Paramitas, which are then successively lead to perfection through the first six Bhumis.


BINDU—Dot: ("seed/point"): the creative potency of anything where all energies are focused a sacred symbol of the universe in its unmanifested form. Meaning a point, drop, dot; seed or source; union of Shiva and Shakti; synonym for sexual potency which must be stabilised along with the mind and prana to achieve the goal of yoga; in kundalini yoga, it refers to the concentrated energy field at or above the ajna chakra.


Bija Mantra: A Tantric technique for awakening, purifying, and activating the chakras. Bija means "seed," and the bijas used in this mantra are the core sounds that pertain to the seven chakras.


Bodhichitta: Usually translated as Wish for Enlightenment or Awakening Mind. Bodhichitta is defined as the wish to achieve Buddhahood for the benefit of others. Bodhichitta is the main mind and not a mental factor and it is an underlying motivation of practitioners of Mahayana Buddhism. Beings who have realized Bodhichitta are called Bodhisattvas.


Bodhisattva: "One whose essence is enlightenment." Bodhi is the Sanskrit word for "enlightenment" and sattva means "essence." in Mahayana Buddhist yoga, the individual who, motivated by compassion is committed to achieving enlightenment for the sake of all other beings


Brahma: "The Creator." In Hindu mythology, Brahma is the senior member of the triad of the great Gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. In Tantric cosmology, Brahma is the creator of the world and is the embodiment of all creativity.


Brahmacharya: The discipline of chastity, which produces ojas


Brahman: ("that which has grown expansive"): the ultimate Reality


Brahmana: a brahmin, a member of the highest social class of traditional Indian society; also an early type of ritual text explicating the rituals and mythology of the four Vedas.


Breath Orgasm: Breath orgasm works by removing negative emotions through breath and clearing the blocked energy pathway from the base of the spine to the crown. It is this clearance that allows the orgasmic, positive energy to flow freely towards the crown chakra and out of the body.


Bhairava: Vibrant form of Shiva; often associated with destruction; the form of Shiva that destroys ignorance and grants mental clarity and spiritual illumination.


Bon: The indigenous religion of Tibet. A form of nature-worship and shamanism, which through time merged with Buddhism to the extent that now His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama counts it as the fifth main school of Tibetan Buddhism. Some elements of the Bön religion can be traced also in the contemporary Buddhism, particularly in the Nyingma school.


Buddha ("awakened"): a designation of the person who has attained enlightenment (bodhi) and therefore inner freedom; honorific title of Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, who lived in the sixth century B.C.E.


Buddhi ("she who is conscious, awake"): the higher mind, which is the seat of wisdom

The principle of intelligence; that intelligence which reveals knowledge of the cosmic unity.

Chakras: Centers of consciousness and psychic energy in the body. The word chakra means "wheel" in Sanskrit There are many chakras in the body, including several major chakras along the median of the body (along the spine) and on the hands, feet, knees, and other body areas.


CHAKRA-PUJA : Literally, “circle worship” the group ritual of union, performed collectively by a circle of Tanrtic initiates. The rite is designated Panchamakara or “five sacrifices.”


CHAKRASANA: Sexual poses associated with rituals of the chakras. Also used to represent the sexual circle pose or ritual.


Cin-mudra: a common hand gesture (mudra) in meditation (dhyana), which is formed by bringing the tips of the index finger and the thumb together, while the remaining fingers are kept straight


Cit ("consciousness"): the superconscious ultimate Reality (see atman, brahman)


Citta ("that which is conscious"): ordinary consciousness, the mind, as opposed to cit


CIT-SAKTI: Consciousness as power, the supreme energy.


Chi (Qi): Chi is the Chinese word for the flows of subtle energy in the body that move along pathways called meridians. A clear flow of energy through the meridians is the key to radiant health, eroticism, and intimacy.


Chi Kung (or Qi-Gong): Literally means "breath work." It is a system of movement, meditation, and breathing that can unblock, align, and purify the body"s energy so that the entire being - body, mind, and spirit - can function more harmoniously.


COSMIC CYCLE: ”The sequence of yugas. India does not think in terms of historical time, but conceives of time as cyclical, through the doctrine of yugas or ages. A complete cosmic cycle consists of four successive ages of varying length. At the end of each maha-yuga, the world is

dissolved in a cosmological event known a laya, or dissolution, in order to manifest again. This phase is known as srsti, emanation or creation, and is followed by a phase called sthiti, evolution and preservation, then by samhara, dissolution. Thus is created a continuous cycle of cosmic events.


C.T.E. Certified Tantra Educator: The C.T.E. title is "an indication that this educator as having the necessary skills to provide quality, professional Tantric instruction to individuals and groups. This unique, trademarked certification process, verifies that students have completed several months of direct instruction over several years in advanced Tantric practices, principles, practical applications, and professional teaching techniques."


Dakini: "Skydancer.": The embodiment of cosmic feminine energy, enlightened wisdom. A female Tantrika or Yogini. Literally, a sky-goer, but sometimes also translated as space-goer, celestial woman or cloud fairy. A being who has attained high realizations and helps arouse blissful energy in a qualified tantric practitioner.


Damaru: A small hand drum used in tantric rituals.


Devas: External powers.


Deva ("he who is shining"): male deity, such as Shiva, Vishnu, or Krishna, either in the sense of the ultimate Reality or a high angelic being


Devata: A form of divinity, generally male.


Devi: "Shining one.": Refers to the feminine principle or the Goddess.

Dhyana: Sanskrit word for meditation.


Dharana ("holding"): Concentration. the sixth limb (anga) of Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga


Dharma: From the Sanskrit “dhamma” which means “the supporting element.

Used in Buddhism to represent the ultimate irreducible factors out of which everything is composed that we believe to perceive within and without ourselves. Also used by various sects to mean universal law, righteousness, duty, property, or object.


Dharma Protector: Beings who vow to protect and guard the teachings of the Buddha and its followers. Dharma protectors can be either mundane (virtuous samsaric beings) or wisdom Dharma protectors (emanations of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas).


Dharmavicaya: Discernment of what is Dharma and what is not.


Dhyana ("ideating"): meditation, the seventh limb (anga) of Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga Very deep meditation or concentration that can be reached by the practice of samadhi. This is where one attains supernormal powers, sees his past lives, and gains wisdom of the true nature of reality. There are four levels of dhyana which correspond to the four levels of the form realm. This very deep meditation can also result in being born in these four levels of the form realm.


Diksha ("initiation"): the act and condition of induction into the hidden aspects of yoga or a particular lineage of teachers; all traditional yoga is initiatory


Drishti ("view/sight"): yogic gazing, such as at the tip of the nose or the spot between the eyebrows.


Duhkha ("bad axle space"): suffering, a fundamental fact of life, caused by ignorance (avidya) of our true nature (i.e., the Self or atman) The root word of dukkha implies the axle of a wheel that is out of place, so that the wheel wobbles and creates inappropriate stresses on the axle. Thus dukkha is the pain and dissatisfaction in life that arises from thoughts, speech, and actions which are out of alignment.


Druidism: is a spiritual or religious movement that generally promotes harmony, connection, and reverence for the natural world.


Durga: "She who is difficult to go against." Durga represents the triumphant aspect of Shakti, the cosmic energy of destruction, particularly the removal of the ego which stands in the way of spiritual growth and ultimate liberation. The Goddess Durga evokes strength, health, and purity.


Dvandva: Pairs of opposites, such as light/dark, male/female, hot/cold, pleasure/pain, positive/negative.


Energy Orgasm: n orgasm should not be thought of as a sexual experience, but as an energy thing. This means that an orgasm can be experienced anywhere in the body and does not have to be connected with the genital area of a person, instead it can be experienced in the head. An energy orgasm does not require penetration, instead it requires the activation of the senses, touch, taste, sound, hearing, smell.


Equanimity: Attitude without the usual discrimination of sentient beings into friend, enemy and stranger, deriving from the realization that all sentient beings are equal in wanting happiness and not wanting suffering and that since beginningless time all beings have equally been ones mother in some previous life. An impartial mind that serves as the basis for the development of great love, great compassion and bodhicitta. This type of mind is characterized as an even-tempered attitude toward everyone, it manifests as a quieting of attachment and ill-will toward others. It fails when it manifests as indifference.


FEMALE PARTICIPANT: Partner in performing sexo-yogic ritual who is considered to be the reflection of Sakti, and plays the role of divine Energy, without which the practice of tantric asana cannot be successful.


Feng Shui: is the ancient Chinese science of arranging objects and surroundings in the best possible way to balance sacred energy and attract toward us all the benevolent forces of the cosmos.


Five paths: t refers to paths or stages along which beings progress to liberation and enlightenment:

1. path of accumulation (tib.: tsog lam) - we reach it when we realize renunciation and Bodhicitta (the latter in case of Mahayana path of accumulation);

2. path of preparation (tib.: jor lam) - deepening our understanding of reality and emptiness;

3. path of seeing (tib.: tong lam) - see emptiness directly and become Arya;

4. path of meditation (tib.: gom lam) - using insight gained in path of seeing we remove obscurations even further. In case of Mahayana path, we progress from first to tenth bhumi;

5. path of no more learning (tib.: mi lob lam) - achievement of Nirvana (Hinayana path) or Buddhahood (Mahayana path). We become Arhat (Hinayana path) or Buddha (Mahayana path

Ganesha: The elephant-headed God, son of Parvati and Shiva. Ganesha is the remover of all obstacles - physical, emotional, and psychic. He is invoked at the start of any new undertaking. In tantric tradition, he is the visionary inside us, the indomitable will within, the remover of obstacles, our own intelligence and conscience, and our constant guide and friend. He stands as the gatekeeper at the door of our conscience.


Genyen: Literally pursuer of virtue. Genyen is someone who keeps vows known as layman or laywomans vows. These five vows can either be taken all at once, or any of these vows can be taken distinctly, and they can either be taken for ones whole lifetime, or for a period of time that we decide ourselves. The lay ordination, when it is taken fully, is called the Genyen ordination.


Geshe: Literally virtuous friend. This title was given to spiritual masters in Atishas Kadam tradition, but nowadays it is more used as an academic title for a learned monk, who finished his study of important Buddhist scriptures and underwent series of rigorous oral examinations characterized by vigorous debate. According to the level of Geshe degree, it can take up to 25 years of study to reach it. There are usually four levels of Geshes: Lharampa (the highest, equivalent to PhD on the west), Tsogrampa, Dorampa and Lingse (the lowest).


Ghanta: Bell.


Ghata: A pot or sacred vessel.


Guru: Teacher, spiritual guide; lit., dispeller of darkness.


G spot: Rippled tissue located just behind the front wall of the vagina (towards the belly), about two inches inside. The G spot is short for Grafenberg or, in Tantric circles, for Goddess. Stroking this area can greatly deepen a woman's sexual response.


Granthi ("knot"): any one of three common blockages in the central pathway (sushumna-nadi) preventing the full ascent of the serpent power (kundalini-shakti/); the three knots are known as

brahma-granthi (at the lowest psychoenergetic center of the subtle body), the vishnu-granthi (at the heart), and the rudra-granthi (at the eyebrow center)


Guna ("quality"): a term that has numerous meanings, including "virtue"; often refers to any of the three primary "qualities" or constituents of nature (prakriti): tamas (the principle of inertia),

rajas (the dynamic principle), and sattva (the principle of lucidity)


Gyaispa: In Tibetan Tantrism, the power of procuring prosperity, fame, progeny, etHAKINI: The Sakti who presides over the Ajna chakra


Hatha Yoga: Hatha means "force" and represents the union of two words - ha, "sun," and tha, "moon." Hatha yoga is the ancient Indian system of physical postures and breathing exercises that balances the opposing masculine and feminine forces in the body, the "sun" and the "moon."


HA: The symbol of Shakti, while “A” is the symbol of Siva.


Hamsa ("swan/gander"): apart from the literal meaning, this term also refers to the breath (prana) as it moves within the body; the individuated consciousness (jiva) propelled by the breath


Ida-nadi ("pale conduit"): The prana current or arc ascending on the left side of the central channel (sushumna nadi) associated with the parasympathetic nervous system and having a cooling or calming effect on the mind when activated


Ida: One of the three principal channels of the subtle body. It is the (female, lunar) nadi going about the central sushumna


Ista-Devata: An individual’s chosen deity.


Ishvara ("ruler"): the Lord; referring either to the Creator or, in Patanjali's yoga-darshana, to a special transcendental Self (purusha)


Ishvara-pranidhana ("dedication to the Lord"): in Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga one of the practices of self-restraint (niyama)


Jaina (sometimes Jain): pertaining to the jinas ("conquerors"), the liberated adepts of Jainism; a member of Jainism, the spiritual tradition founded by Vardhamana Mahavira, a contemporary of Gautama the Buddha


Jagadauru: The world teacher.


Jagrat: Waking consciousness.


Japa ("muttering"): the recitation of mantras


Jataka: Birth stories or tales. Collection of 547 stories of previous lives of Buddha Shakyamuni which usually illustrate a point of doctrine or morality. These stories depict the good acts carried out by Buddha Shakyamuni in previous lifetimes that enabled him to be reborn as the Buddha in India. Jataka tales are part of Pali canon and are contained in Khuddaka nikaya section of Sutra Pitaka.


Jitandriya: Control of the senses; in Tantrism, control of the sexual act and orgasm.


Jiva-atman, jivatman ("individual self"): the individuated consciousness, as opposed to the ultimate Self (parama-atman)


Jivan-mukta ("he who is liberated while alive"): an adept who, while still embodied, has attained liberation (moksha)


Jivan-mukti ("living liberation"): the state of liberation while being embodied videha-mukti


Jhana: Very deep meditation or concentration that can be reached by the practice of samadhi. This is where one attains supernormal powers, sees his past lives, and gains wisdom of the true nature of reality. There are four levels of dhyana which correspond to the four levels of the form realm. This very deep meditation can also result in being born in these four levels of the form realm.


Jnana ("knowledge/wisdom"): both worldly knowledge or world-transcending wisdom, depending on the context


Jnana-Yoga ("Yoga of wisdom"): the path to liberation based on wisdom, or the direct intuition of the transcendental Self (atman) through the steady application of discernment between the Real and the unreal and renunciation of what has been identified as unreal (or inconsequential to the achievement of liberation)


Kaivalya ("isolation"): Realization of one’s self as being identical with Reality. the state of absolute freedom from conditioned existence, as explained in ashta-anga-yoga in the nondualistic advaita traditions of India, this is usually called moksha or mukti (meaning "release" from the fetters of ignorance)


Kali—The divine Sakti,: representing the creative and destructive aspects of nature, a transcendental symbol of human abilities. "Dark one.": The aspect of Divine Mother that fights evil and destroys the ego.


Kali Yuga.: "Age of Darkness.": The era of "spiritual decline" that is still in progress today. Described in Vedic scripture as a period "when society reaches a stage where property confers rank, wealth becomes the only source of virtue. . . falsehood the source of success in life. . . and when outer trappings are confused with inner religion." Tantra is a set of teachings intended for this particular age.


Kalpa: In ancient Indian cosmology, an extremely long period of time. There are various views on the length of kalpa. In general, a small kalpa is represented as 16,800,000 years, a kalpa as 336,000,000 years and a mahakalpa is 1,334,000,000 years. There is also another kalpa, even longer than mahakalpa, which is called Countless eon. This is the time it takes after you decide to begin collecting virtue to become a Buddha to actually become a Buddha. Master Vasubandhu says in his Abhidharmakosha that Countless eon is a period of three countless (countless actually means a number: about ten to the sixtieth power) mahakalpas.


Kalpa of continuance: Lifespans drop from 80,000 years down to ten years (this is called kalpa of decrease) because people are doing the ten nonvirtues more and more, which creates disturbances in the world. People create more and more powerful weapons. Most people are living in cities. Some people are out in the country when the weapons of destruction are unleashed, and only they survive. The few who survive are overcome with remorse, and decide to give up the ten non-virtues. Lifespans increase from ten years back up to 80,000 years (this is called kalpa of increase). This cycle repeats.


Kalpa of destruction: In the first nineteen small kalpas of the kalpa of decline, sentient beings in the six lower worlds from hell through the world of heavenly beings gradually disappearAt the beginning of the 20th eon, the rain stops and all vegetation dies, the sun supernovas, and splits into two. Later a third sun forms, and all rivers and streams evaporate. A fourth sun forms, and large lakes dry up. A fifth sun forms, and oceans dry up. A sixth sun forms, and continents go up in smoke. A seventh sun forms, and the planet burns up, which also causes the first level of the form realm to burn up. There are other kalpas of destruction by wind or water. There are also minor destruction eons where inhabitants destroy the planet with weapons, etc.


Kalpa of formation: According to Abhidharmakosha, the power of the karma of living beings first causes a small wind to arise in space. This wind grows and forms the windy circle thought to lie at the base of a world. Upon this windy circle, a watery circle and then a gold circle take shape, and upon them forms the land, with a Mount Sumeru, seas, and mountains. Then living beings begin to appear, first in the heavens, then in the human world, and successively in the lower of the six worlds, until finally beings appear in the hells. Human lives are immeasurable (a specific number with > 30 zeros) at this point. The formation eon ends when the first being is born in Avichi hell. Lifespans have dropped to 80,000 years at that point.


Kama Sutra: The classical Indian treatise on the Art of Love. It is the earliest of the surviving Hindu love manuals, written around the second century A.D. by a sage called Vatsyayana. Other later texts, such as the Ananga Ranga and Koka Shastra, drew their inspiration from the Kama Sutra.


KAMA ( Desire): Desire; an intrinsic aspect of divine will; the first step of the descent of consciousness toward manifestation of the material world. Enjoyment, especially in sexual coition and love; desire as a cosmic power.


Kama Tattva: Primordial will, intention, and desire to embrace the life force; essential nature, true reality.


Kanda: An egg-shaped electromagnetic sphere surrounding the Kundalini, which is the origin of nadis located in the area of the perineum.


Karana: Cause, source; Sanctified liquid (wine or juice) in Tantric Chakra-Puja ritual of union.


Karma: Action; the law of universal cause and effect. "The law of cause and effect." The accumulated effect of past deeds and actions


Karman, karma ("action"): activity of any kind, including ritual acts; said to be binding only so long as engaged in a self-centered way; the "karmic" consequence of one's actions; destiny


Karma-Yoga: A yoga of action, attaining liberation through reversing previous harmful actions and moving to liberating and energy-producing actions.


Karuna: Compassion. Universal sympathy in Buddhist youga the complement of wisdom.


Kaula: “Left-hand” sect of Tantra, usually associated with literal translation and use of the Tantric Scriptures. Rituals include physical coition and not “pretend” sexual actions.


Khata: No Tibetan custom is as well known as the offering of a khata or white scarf in greeting. The khata is an auspicious symbol. It lends a positive note to the start of any enterprise or relationship and indicates the good intentions of the person offering it. Khatas are offered to religious images, such as statues of the Buddha, and to Lamas and government officials prior to requesting their help in the form of prayers or other services. The offering of the khata indicates that the request is not marred by corrupt thoughts or ulterior motives.


Khecari-mudra ("space-walking seal"): the Tantric practice of curling the tongue back against the upper palate in order to seal the life energy prana.


Kirtanam: Discussing the sexual act with another, one of the eight levels of coition.


Kosha* ("casing"): any one of five "envelopes" surrounding the transcendental Self (/atman/) and thus blocking its light: anna-maya-kosha ("envelope made of food," the physical body), prana-maya-kosha ("envelope made of life force"), mano-maya-kosha ("envelope made of mind"), vijnana-maya-kosha ("envelope made of consciousness"), and ananda-maya-kosha ("envelope made of bliss"); some older traditions regard the last kosha as identical with the Self (atman/)


Krishna ("Puller"): an incarnation of God Vishnu, the God-man whose teachings can be found in the Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata-Purana.


Krishna: One of the many incarnations of Vishnu whose teaching is featured in the Bhagava Gita. Often depicted playing his flute, he embodies divine joy, love, playfulness, and male eroticism. Krishna's death inaugurated the Kali Yuga, which is still in full swing today.


Kumbhaka ("potlike"): breath retention


Kularnava Tantra: An important Tantra of AD 1150.


Kunda: Pond; fire pit; resting place of kundalini; sacred fireplace.


Kundalini: Shakti energy coiled like a sleeping serpent near the base of the spine, behind the genitals. When aroused, it ascends the central channel of the spine or sushumna.


Kundalini- Shakti: "She who is coiled." Refers to the powerful creative sexual energy coiled like a sleeping serpent near the base of the spine. One of the goals in Tantra is to gently awaken and guided it to the center at the crown (i.e., the sahasrara-cakra) for full enlightenment to occur.


Kundalini-Yoga: the yogic path focusing on the kundalini process as a means of liberation


Kwan Yin (Quan Yin): The Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion. Kwan means "to perceive" and yin means "the sound of the world": "She who hears the suffering of the world." The energy of Kwan Yin is gentle and peaceful. She was known as a great healer and the female energy counterpart of Buddha.


Lam Rim: It is a special set of instructions which is the essence of all that is taught by each and every Buddha, of past, present or future. Lam Rim presents these instructions in a clear, step-like arrangement that makes it easy for any individual practitioner to understand and practice Dharma. The Lam Rim was first formulated by great Indian teacher Atisha when he came to Tibet in 1042 and it was called Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (jang chub lam gyi dron me). Another Lam Rim, probably the most famous one, was written by Je Tsongkhapa and is called The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path (Lam Rim Chen Mo).


Lama: A spiritual guide or teacher. Literally, heavy - heavy with knowledge of Dharma. Lama is a highly advanced spiritual teacher, personifying all the three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma and the Holy Sangha. One who shows and guides a disciple on the path to liberation and Enlightenment. Lama can be an ordained or a lay person, a man or a woman.


Lakshmi: "Good Fortune." The Goddess of abundance, wealth, and beauty. The female counterpart of the god Vishnu.


Lata-Sadhana: Tantrik discipline requiring a female consort. Also the Tantric term for the Asana in which the woman embraces the man as a creeper enfolds a tree.


Laya: Merging, cessation, total dissolution.


Laya Yoga: The path of meditation and subtle energy work. A form of yoga intended to awaken and channel kundalini energy (also known as Kundalini Yoga). an advanced form or process of Tantric yoga by which the energies associated with the various psycho-energetic centers cakra of the subtle body are gradually dissolved through the ascent of the serpent power kundalini-shakti.


Lila: The divine play.


Linga: Phallus. Generative force in its creative aspect; according to Skanda Purana, the linga is the name for space in which the whole universe is in the process of formation and dissolution. the phallus as a principle of creativity; a symbol of God Shiva


Lingam: Sanskrit for the male sexual organ meaning "wand of light." The symbol of Shiva.


Linga-Sarira: Totality of the subtle or psychic body.


Lojong: Mind training tradition came to Tibet with Atisha who regarded these teachings as most precious. They are instructions developing the Mind of Enlightenment and are adorned by three qualities: - They are transforming selfishness into concern for others. (This way they are eliminating the core obstruction to our happiness and spiritual progress.)

- They are transforming adverse situations into advantages. (They see the real enemy in disturbing emotions.)

- They encourage us to watch all phenomena as like illusions.


Lotus Flower( Kamala): In Tantric art, the lotus is a symbol of purity, self-transcendence, and expanding consciousness. The lotus petals surrounding the chakras represent the varying intensities of the energies working in the different chakras. Because of its smooth and oily surface the lotus is not sullied by the mud and water in which it grows.


Madya: Wine as employed in the secret ritual of Panchatattva by certain schools of Tantra, commonly replaced by honey in rituals.


Mahamudra: Yogic asana known as the “great posture” in which the practitioner sits with the left heel pressed against the perineum (yoni place) with the right leg stretched outward, and holding the right foot with both hands. The nine orifices of the body are pressed closely into the chest (jalandhara) for the control of the breath.


Mahatma (from maha-atman, "great self"): an honorific title (meaning something like "a great soul") bestowed on particularly meritorious individuals, such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa


Maithuna: ("twinning"): Sanskrit word for sexual union. The ceremonial union of Shiva with Shakti. A Tantric rite aimed at raising the kundalini through physical love. the Tantric sexual ritual in which the participants view each other as Shiva and Shakti respectively


Mala: Rosary. The 108 or 27 beads or knots commonly used to keep track of the mantras or other ritual performances.


Manas* ("mind"): the lower mind, which is bound to the senses and yields information vijnana rather than wisdom


Mandala.: A mystic geometric-based diagram of squares, triangles, and circles, symbolic of cosmic forces, and specific to a deity used as a support for concentration.


Manipura Chakra: The chakra located in the area of the solar plexus. It has ten “petals.” Energy centre associated with the navel and solar plexus, and the fire element; pura means filled or full; the body is an island of gems of self-effulgence.


Mantra: An audible and sacredly empowered pattern of rhythm and words. A mantra is a spiritual formula, a combination of sacred syllables transmitted from age to age in a religious tradition that forms a nucleus of spiritual power. Om Shakti, for example, is a popular Hindu mantra and means "praise energy."


Mantra-Yoga: the yogic path utilizing /mantras/ as the primary means of liberation


Marman ("lethal [spot]"): in Ayurveda and yoga, a vital spot on the physical body where energy is concentrated or blocked


Matsyendra ("Lord of Fish"): an early Tantric master who founded the Yogini-Kaula school and is remembered as a teacher of Goraksha


Maya: Creative power, the limiting principle, illusion of the real nature of the world-appearance.


Meru: The mythical mountain supporting the world, merudanda; the spine in the human body.


Metta: In Buddhism, the Pali word for "lovingkindness." The practice of metta was first taught by the Buddha himself two thousand five hundred years ago as a supremely rich and powerful way of cultivating a generous heart. "Without a generous heart," the Buddha said, "there can be no true spiritual life."


Moksha: The ultimate spiritual liberation from material bondage. also the condition of freedom from ignorance and the binding effect of karma


Muladhara Chakra: The “root” chakra located at the base of the spine and behind the genitals. Its emanation on the surface of the body is in the area of the perineum and lower genitals. It has four “petals” surrounding it.


Mula-Prakriti: Primordial root energy.


Mudra: ("seal"): Potent hand positions or whole-body gesture such as viparita-karani-mudra also a designation of the feminine partner in the Tantric sexual ritual that profoundly influence and focus the body's energy.


Nada ("sound"): the inner sound, as it can be heard through the practice of nada yoga or kundalini yoga


Nada-Yoga ("Yoga of the [inner] sound"): the yoga or process of producing and intently listening to the inner sound as a means of concentration and ecstatic self-transcendence


Nadi: ("conduit"); one of 72,000 or more subtle channels along or through which the life force prana circulates, of which the three most important ones are the ida-nadi, pingala-nadi, and sushumna-nadi


Nadi-shodhana ("channel cleansing"): the practice of purifying the conduits, especially by means of breath control pranayama


Nadi. "River.": Invisible channels of psychic energy, woven throughout the subtle body. Conduits of prana. Yogic texts state there are 72,000 of them. Together with the chakras, the nadis constitute the composition of the subtle body in Tantra.


Naga; The Sanskrit word naga means snake or serpent. Nagas belong half to the animal realm and half to the god realm. Nagas are often snake-like in form, creatures with the torso and head of humans, and the body and tail of a snake, though they can assume human form at will. They dwell in a variety of locations ranging from waterways and underground locations and also in unseen realms. They are broadly divided into two classes: those that live on land (thalaja) and those that live on water (jalaja). The Jalaja-naga live in rivers as well as in the sea, while the Thalaja-naga are regarded as living beneath the surface of the earth.


Namaste: The traditional Indian form of salutation, a respectful greeting recognizing the equality of all and the sacredness of all. "The God/Goddess in me greets the God/Goddess in you." The gesture (mudra) of namaste is made by bringing together both palms of the hands before the heart.


Nataraj: the dancing form of Lord Shiva. This famous icon of Hinduism depicts Shiva in his "unending dance of destruction/creation," while trampling down "the demon of ego that hinders our progress to enlightenment."


Neti-neti ("not thus, not thus"): an Upanishadic expression meant to convey that the ultimate Reality is neither this nor that, that is, is beyond all description


Nirodha ("restriction"): in Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga, the very basis of the process of concentration, meditation, and ecstasy; in the first instance, the restriction of the "whirls of the mind"


Nirvana: Final emancipation. Literal translation from sanskrit could be blown out or extinction, while literal translation from tibetan could be gone beyond suffering. Nirvana is the goal of spiritual practice in Hinayana Buddhism, the liberation from the cycle of rebirth and suffering. Lord Buddha Shakyamuni in Anguttara Nikaya defined nirvana as: This is peace, this is exquisite - the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Nirvana. In commentary by Kedrup Tenpa Dhargye on Maitreyas work The ornament of Realizations another definition of nirvana is found: Nirvana is a cessation which comes from understanding, and which consists of having eliminated all mental afflictions


Niyama: Control; yogic discipline of the mind and body. the second limb of Patanjali's eightfold path, which consists of purity (saucha), contentment (samtosha), austerity (tapas), study (svadhyaya), and dedication to the Lord Ishvara-Pranidhana


Nyasa.: "Placing.": A ritual form of touch to awaken the chakras and the energy conduits of the body. Projection of divine entities into various parts of the body.


Ojas ("vitality"): the subtle energy produced through practice, especially the discipline of chastity


OM: Seed mantra composed of three sounds, a-u-m, embracing within it the "sound" of our own inmost divine consciousness, the "sound" of all of creation, and the "sound" of the Supreme Being creating reality.


Padma: Lotus; symbolic name of the chakras.


Padmasana : Lotus yogic posture in which one sits with legs crossed, right foot placed on left thigh, left foot crossed over on right leg, soles of feet turned upwards, with hands holding the toes.


Panchabhutas The five gross elements; earth, water, fire, air, ether, space or soul


Prana: Life force, the vital force that nourishes both body and mind; the breath of life; five major aspects are prana, apana, vyana, udana, and samana; and five minor aspects: naga, kurma, krikara, devadatta, and dhananjaya; also the cosmic vibratory power underlying creation.


Prana Anusadhana: Examination, study, research, or investigation of prana; usually in the context of breath awareness training or pranayama.


Prana Dharana: Concentration and stabilization of the pranic force using pranayama and inner focus to direct and hold prana in a specific inner field; activating, intensifying, and stabilising prana shakti.


Parama-atman or Paramatman ("supreme self"): the transcendental Self, which is singular, as opposed to the individuated self (jiva-atman) that exists in countless numbers in the form of living beings


Parama-hamsa, Paramahansa/ ("supreme swan"): an honorific title given to great adepts, such as Ramakrishna and Yogananda


Pingala-nadi ("reddish conduit"): the prana current or arc ascending on the right side of the central channel sushumna-nadi and associated with the sympathetic nervous system and having an energizing effect on the mind when activated


Parvati: "The one born of the mountain (Himalaya)." Consort of Shiva. Parvati represents not only physical but spiritual beauty.


PC muscles. Pubococcygeus (PC) muscles: Both women and men have PC muscles, which run from the pubic bone to the tailbone in a figure eight around the genitals. They play a vital role in both male and female sexual response. Strong PC muscles help to increase blood flow in the pelvic region, heighten sexual sensation, intensify orgasm, and help women to achieve orgasm and ejaculation.


Pingala: One of the three principal channels of the subtle body. It is the (male, solar) nadi opposite the ida nadi. It spirals around the central sushumna channel and terminates in the right nostril. It has a positive polarity.


Prana: The body's vital energy or life force; air; breath. The total energy, manifest and unmanifest of the cosmos. It is known to the earth sphere as the seven-rayed emanation from the sun. Also refers to the “vital air” or power of the breath.


Prajna("wisdom"): the opposite of spiritual ignorance (ajnana, avidya); one of two means of liberation in Buddhist yoga, the other being skillful means (upaya), i.e., compassion (karuna)


Prakriti ("creatrix"): nature, which is multilevel and, according to Patanjali's yoga-darshana, consists of an eternal dimension called pradhana or "foundation", levels of subtle existence called sukshma-parvan, and the physical or coarse realm called sthula-parvan; all of nature is deemed unconscious (acit), and therefore it is viewed as being in opposition to the transcendental Self or Spirit (purusha)


Prakriti-laya ("merging into Nature"): a high-level state of existence that falls short of actual liberation (kaivalya); the being who has attained that state


Prana ("life/breath"): life in general; the life force sustaining the body; the breath as an external manifestation of the subtle life force


Pranayama: Prana means "life force" and yama comes from ayama or "expansion." Pranayama serves to instill meditative peace and to foster calm, alertness, and concentration.


Prasada* ("grace/clarity"): divine grace; mental clarity


Pratyahara ("withdrawal"): sensory inhibition, the fifth limb (anga) of Patanjali's eightfold path


Prekshenam: Flirtation. One of the eight aspects of coition.


Prema: Love, wherein there is no longer a distinction between the love and the beloved.


Prithvi; Earth principle.


Priti: Rapture or inspiration.


Puja: Worship or celebration. There are different kinds of pujas that include many forms of ceremonial worship. In modern Tantric practice, there are community or group pujas, a transformational ritual gathering which awakens and brings forth the priest/priestess, the shaman, and the god-essence in each of us. It is an opportunity for the renewal of body, mind, and spirit.


Purak: Inhalation process in the practice of yogic breathing.


Purana ("Ancient [History]"): a type of popular encyclopaedia dealing with royal genealogy, cosmology, philosophy, and ritual; there are eighteen major and many more minor works of this nature


Purusha ("male"): the transcendental Self (atman) or Spirit, a designation that is mostly used in Samkhya and Patanjali's yoga-darshana


Raja Yoga: "Royal yoga." Emphasizes the mental and spiritual rather than physical. Its aim is to make one a "ruler" over all one's mental and spiritual equipment, the general aim of all Tantric schools.


Recaka ("expulsion"): exhalation, an aspect of breath control (pranayama)


Red Tantra: The aspect of Tantra that relates to the mastery of sexual skills.


Sacred Space: A sacred space is a place of tranquility created through intention, respect and focus. It is about cultivating an environment that is filled with energies that support, uplift, comfort, and transform our inner and outer awareness and benefits our highest good.


Sacred Spot: An energetic pole for sexual fulfillment. In a woman it is the energetic access to the second chakra located on or around the G spot in the Yoni. In a man it is located at the root of the second chakra located within the upper wall of the base chakra.


Sacred Spot Massage: An internal Yoni massage intended to heal past wounds and awaken and release unlimited orgasmic energy. An internal or external massage for men to awaken and release orgasmic energy


Sad-Guru A teacher of spiritual wisdom.


Sadhaka One who practices Tantric disciplines.


Sadhana Meditative practice combining the physical rituals of Tantra; Spiritual discipline.


Sadhu Holy person.


Sahasrara Chakra The thousand-petaled chakra located on the crown of the head and represented by the lotus flower. Considered the seat of the unmanifested Shiva.


Saivagama Saiva-Agamas, texts expounding the doctrines of Siva, known as sastras.


Sakini The Sakti presiding over the Visuddha chakra located in the throat area.


Sakti-Chalanas energy-movers.


Saktipat In kundalini yoga, the path through which kundalini ascends.


Samadhi ("putting together"): the ecstatic or unitive state in which the meditator becomes one with the object of meditation, the eighth and final limb (anga) of Patanjali's eightfold path; there are many types of samadhi, the most significant distinction being between samprajnata (conscious) and/asamprajnata (supraconscious) ecstasy; only the latter leads to the dissolution of the karmic factors deep within the mind; beyond both types of ecstasy is enlightenment, which is also sometimes called sahaja-samadhi or the condition of "natural" or "spontaneous" ecstasy, where there is perfect continuity of superconscious throughout waking, dreaming, and sleeping


Samsara Created forms. The world in which the law or reincarnation operates.


Samatva or samata ("evenness"): the mental condition of harmony, balance


Samkhya ("Number"): one of the main traditions of Hinduism, which is concerned with the classification of the principles (tattva) of existence and their proper discernment in order to distinguish between Spirit (purusha) and the various aspects of Nature (prakriti); this influential system grew out of the ancient pre-Buddhist Samkhya-Yoga tradition and was codified in the Samkhya-Karika of Ishvara Krishna 350 C.E.


Samnyasa ("casting off"): the state of renunciation, which is the fourth and final stage of life and consisting primarily in an inner turning away from what is understood to be finite and Secondarily in an external letting go of finite things.


Samsara ("confluence"): the finite world of change, as opposed to the ultimate Reality brahman or nirvana


Samskara ("activator"): the subconscious impression left behind by each act of volition, which, in turn, leads to renewed psychomental activity; the countless samskaras hidden in the depth of the mind are ultimately eliminated only in asamprajnata-samadhi


Samyama ("constraint"): the combined practice of concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and ecstasy (samadhi) in regard to the same object


Sat ("being/reality/truth"): the ultimate Reality


Sat-sanga ("true company/company of Truth"): the practice of frequenting the good company of saints, sages, Self-realized adepts, and their disciples, in whose company the ultimate Reality can be felt more palpably


Satya ("truth/truthfulness"): truth, a designation of the ultimate Reality; also the practice of truthfulness, which is an aspect of moral discipline


Santi Spiritual peace.


Sarira The material body, substance.


Sastras Sacred books of divine authority, scriptures.


Savasana The “corpse-like” yogic posture for complete relaxation. One of the sexual asanas in which the male lies corpse-like and the female completes the sexual act without movement from the male.


Saraswati. "She who flows.": The Goddess of arts and learning and patroness of the "Sixty-four Arts." Saraswati is the feminine energy counterpart of Brahma. She is typically portrayed holding a lute (vina).


Shamans are widely known as intermediaries who use trance and spirit guides to travel between realms. ... Both Tantra and Shamanism use specific principles and practices for sexual healing and enlightenment. Some of the basic tools include breath, sound, movement, prayer, chanting, lovemaking and ritual.


Shakti: Shakti means power, force, and feminine energy. The word shakti is derived from the Sanskrit root shak, meaning "potency" or "the potential to produce." She represents "the fundamental creative instinct underlying the cosmos, and is the energizing force of all divinity, of every being, and every thing." The Goddess Shakti is the feminine counterpart to each of the Gods of the Hindu pantheon, especially of Shiva.


Shakti-pata ("descent of power"): the process of initiation, or spiritual baptism, by means of the benign transmission of an advanced or even enlightened adept (siddha), which awakens the shakti within a disciple, thereby initiating or enhancing the process of liberation


Shishya ("student/disciple"): the initiated disciple of a guru


Shiva: The male divine symbol of the transcendental. Shiva stands for growth and transformation. In Tantra, Shiva represents pure consciousness manifesting in the creative union with his consort Shakti.


Shiva and Shakti. These two divine lovers are commonly portrayed in ecstatic embrace - yab-yum. Together they symbolize cosmic union between male and female, yin and yang. This condition of Unity or Oneness is another of Tantra's ultimate goals.


Shiva-Sutra ("Shiva's Aphorisms"): like the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, a classical work on yoga, as taught in the Shaivism of Kashmir; authored by Vasugupta (ninth century C.E.)


Shodhana ("cleansing/purification"): a fundamental aspect of all yogic paths; a category of purification practices in hatha yoga


Shraddha ("faith"): an essential disposition on the yogic path, which must be distinguished from mere belief


Shuddhi ("purification/purity"): the state of purity; a synonym of shodhana


Siddha ("accomplished"): an adept, often of Tantra; if fully Self-realized, the designation maha-siddha or "great adept" is often used


Siddha-Yoga ("Yoga of the adepts"): a designation applied especially to the yoga of Kashmiri Shaivism, as taught by Swami Muktananda (twentieth century)


Siddhi ("accomplishment/perfection"): spiritual perfection, the attainment of flawless identity with the ultimate Reality; paranormal ability, of which the yoga tradition knows many kinds There are two types of siddhis:

1. accomplishments on the spiritual path like renunciation, compassion, unshakeable faith, realization of the correct view, the supreme accomplishment of complete enlightenment, ...

2. eight mundane accomplishments such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, flying in the sky, becoming invisible, everlasting youth, powers of transmutation, ...


The Sixty-Four Arts: In ancient Tantra, the series of arts and sciences that the dedicated Tantrika aspired to master. The art of sexual love was the noblest of the sixty-four arts and relied on the other arts for its support. Included in this list are musicianship, culinary arts, dancing, flower arranging, swordsmanship, among others.


Soma A certain type of vine from which wine was made.


Spanda* ("vibration"): a key concept of Kashmir's Shaivism according to which the ultimate Reality itself "quivers," that is, is inherently creative rather than static


Sukra Male seed.


Sunyata The all-encompassing emptiness.


Sunya Void.


Subtle Body: A field of force, with energy vortexes at the psychic centers (chakras).


Sushumna: The principal nadi of the subtle body located in the spinal column. This psychic channel controls spiritual evolution and is the "highway" that connects this world with the next.


Sushumna-nadi* ("very gracious channel"): the central /prana/ current or arc in or along which the serpent power (/kundalini-shakti/) must ascend toward the psychoenergetic center (/cakra/) at the crown of the head in order to attain liberation (/moksha/)


Sutra ("thread"): an aphoristic statement; a work consisting of aphoristic statements, such as Patanjali's Yoga Sutra or Vasugupta's Shiva-Sutra


Svadhyaya ("one's own going into"): study, an important aspect of the yogic path, listed among the practices of self-restraint (niyama) in Patanjali's eightfold yoga; the recitation of mantras


Tai Chi: A spiritual and physical discipline, developed in China over millennia to bring balance to the body and flowing peace to the mind.


Tanmatra The five sensory potentials or subtle elements, the subtle aspect of the material elements of sense experience; the potentials of sound (shabda), touch (sparsha), form (rupa), taste (rasa), and odour (gandha).

Tantra: ("Loom") A spiritual path, originating in India, One of a series of scriptures that emphasize practical ways of self- enlightenment, especially relating to the power of Shakti. A method of attainment of higher powers and spiritual flowering through the use of the physical powers endowed from sexual polarity. a type of Sanskrit work containing Tantric teachings; the tradition of Tantrism, which focuses on the shakti side of spiritual life and which originated in the early post-Christian era and achieved its classical features around 1000 C.E.; Tantrism has a "right-hand" (dakshina) or conservative and a "left-hand" (vama) or unconventional, antinomian branch, with the latter utilizing, among other things, sexual rituals


Tantrika: A practitioner of Tantra.


Tantrayana It includes methods such as mantras and visualizations to work on ones subtle energies directly. Tantrayana is considered an abrupt path to the Enlightenment. It is an alternative to the safer, but longer Sutrayana path.



Tathagata An epithet for a Buddha, translated usually as thus gone one. This title indicates that a Buddha embodies the fundamental truth of all phenomena and has grasped the law of causality spanning past, present, and future.


Tapas ("glow/heat"): austerity, penance, which is an ingredient of all yogic approaches, since they all involve self-transcendence


Tattva ("thatness"): a fact or reality; a particular category of existence such as the ahamkara, buddhi, manas; the ultimate Reality


Tara: One of the most popular of the Buddhist Goddesses who is adored for her protection from evil and her support in overcoming obstacles. Her name is derived from the verb tara, meaning "to cross," for she enables the devotee to "cross the ocean of existence." Tara is the symbol of tranquility and cosmic peace.


Turiya ("fourth"), also called cathurtha: the transcendental Reality, which exceeds the three conventional states of consciousness, namely waking, sleeping, and dreaming


Ten Bhumis 1. Perfect Joy / Supreme Joy 2. Immaculate / Stainless 3. Luminous / Illuminating 4. Radiant / Bhumi of Blazing Wisdom 5. Hard to Keep / Very Difficult to Train For / The Unconquerable 6. Clearly Manifest / Appearance Stage 7. Far Progressed / Gone-Afa 8. Immovable / Unwavering 9. Perfect Intellect / The Wholesome Wisdom 10. Cloud of Dharma


Ten non virtuous actions (tib.: mi ge wa chu) These are the negative actions described in Buddhist scriptures as some of the most harmful. They are divided in:

- three negative actions committed with body: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct - four negative actions committed verbally: lying, divisive speech, harsh speech, idle talk

- three negative actions committed with mind: covetousness, ill will, wrong views


Tengyur (tib.: ten gyur) It is a large collection of texts, over 3500 books written mostly by Indian masters in Sanskrit from approximately 200 AD to 1000 AD and were later translated into Tibetan. These books are meant to explain Kangyur collection, but also include other subjects such as poetry, grammar, science, architecture, painting and medicine. It is one of the two (or three, if one includes Sungbum) parts of the Tibetan buddhist canon.


Three Poisons (tib: duk sum) These three are the source of all passions and delusions. In The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom (skt.: Mahaprajnaparamita shastra), the three poisons are regarded as the source of all illusions and earthly desires. The three poisons are so called because they prevent people turning their hearts and minds to goodness. They are:

1. (tib: du chag) attachment, desire or greed

2. (tib: zhe dang) hatred or anger

3. (tib: ti mug) ignorance


Tonglen Literally it means giving (tib. tong) and receiving (tib. len), so in English it is often called taking-and-giving meditation. This meditation is one of the methods to develop Bodhicitta. It involves your taking other beings suffering and its causes onto yourself when inhaling, destroying your ego, and giving your body, happiness, merit and all the good to other sentient beings when exhaling.


Tsatsa Small statues of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas or other religious symbols. Tsatsas are usually made from sun baked mud or pottery (clay).


Upanishad ("sitting near"): a type of scripture representing the concluding portion of the revealed literature of Hinduism, hence the designation Vedanta for the teachings of these sacred works


Upasaka Literally pursuer of virtue. Genyen is someone who keeps vows known as layman or laywomans vows. These five vows can either be taken all at once, or any of these vows can be taken distinctly, and they can either be taken for ones whole lifetime, or for a period of time that we decide ourselves. The lay ordination, when it is taken fully, is called the Genyen ordination.


Upaya ("means"): in Buddhist yoga, the practice of compassion


Vama-Marga “Left hand” or physical sexual path of Tantra.


Vedas the original source books of India, revealed knowledge of the Aryans, consisted of 100,000 verses and are in four divisions, the Rig-Veda from about 2000 BC, considered the oldest literature of the world; the Yajur-Veda; the Sama- Veda; the Atharva-Veda. Written in Vedic, an early Sanskrit dialect.


Vajra Literally means diamond or thunderbolt. A tantric implement symbolizing method (compassion or bliss), held in the right hand (the male side), usually in conjunction with a bell, which symbolizes wisdom and is held in the left hand (the female side)


Vajrayana Also called Tantrayana (path of Tantra) or Vajrayana (path of Diamond) or Mantrayana (path of Mantra). It includes methods such as mantras and visualizations to work on ones subtle energies directly. Tantrayana is considered an abrupt path to the Enlightenment. It is an alternative to the safer, but longer Sutrayana path.


Vedic: Ancient Indian/Hindu philosophy and science with a holistic approach. The Vedic period is dated c. 2500-500 b.c.e. The Vedas are considered to be the oldest extant scriptures in the world.


Vishnu: "The Preserver." The aspect of Brahma known as the protector of all humanity.


Vipashyana The principal meditation taught in the Theravada tradition. It is sometimes called mindfulness meditation. In the Mahayana, vipashyana can have a different meaning: investigation of and familiarization with the actual way in which things exist and is used to develop the wisdom of emptiness. If a state of mind is one of vipashyana, it is combined with shamatha. Therefore, although we may work on vipashyana before attaining shamatha, we cannot actually attain vipashyana without having first attained shamatha.


Wicca is a Earth-centered religion with roots in the ancient practices of our shamanic ancestors. Its practitioners, who call themselves Wiccan's, honor the life-giving and life-sustaining powers of Nature through ritual worship and a commitment to living in balance with the Earth.


White Tantra: White Tantra relates to the yogic or spiritual aspects of Tantric practice and consists of exercises or postures (asanas) combined with special breathing (pranayama), hand or finger gestures (mudras), internal muscular exercises (bhandas), chanting (mantra), and meditation. The skills and benefits of White Tantra practices increase ones ability to master Red (sexual) Tantra.


Yab-Yum. Seated astride position. An asana in which a woman sits astride facing her partner, heart-to-heart. The Tantric image of yab-yum represents the male principle uniting in perfect balance with the female principle, creating an image expressing the sacredness of sexuality as a spiritual path to enlightenment.


Yama The first stage of Tantra which restrains and controls the physical.


Yam The seed mantra of the Anahata chakra.


Yantra. A geometric diagram, usually of interlocking triangles and circles, used as a focus for healing meditation. The Sanskrit word yantra derives from the root yam meaning "to sustain," or "hold." In metaphysical terms a yantra is visualized as a "receptacle" of the highest spiritual essence.


Yellow Emperor. Known as Huang-Ti (2697-2598 b.c.e.), he figures prominently in the medical and sexological teaching of Taoism. The oldest books on love known as the Chinese "Handbooks of Sex" were written by this legendary emperor some 5000 years ago. He is said to have ascended to heaven, "having perfected himself through practicing the Sexual Secrets."


Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are complementary and interdependent aspects of a single unifying is warm, solar, active, productive, masculine, and external. Each is relative to the other and both contain a small amount of the other. These opposite forces interact in order to create balance. This is seen in the yin/yang symbol, illustrating the light within the dark and the dark within the light.


Yoga. Yoga is a term for spiritual discipline and derives from the Sanskrit yuj, which means, among other things, to "yoke," "to join together," "union and communion." Yoga is a holistic way of relating to the body that involves an increasing awareness on all levels: the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. The basic philosophy of yoga acknowledges the presence of divine energy in all people, all place, and all things.


Yogin A student of yoga; feminine, yogini.


Yogi One who seeks to attain essential identity with the Reality.


Yoni. The female sexual organ and representation of the Goddess. It is a Vedic term meaning "the source of all life." It is loosely translated as "sacred space" or "sacred temple." In Tantra the Yoni is seen from a perspective of love and respect, offering an alternative for many of the less honoring Western terms


Yoni Asana Secret sexual positions generally taught by ones guru.


Yoni-Mudra Yogic posture in which the adept is required to sit in siddhasana and contract the perenium.


Yonisthana “Yoni-place” or perineum, corresponding to the position of the female opening to the vagina.





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