NAMO GURU-KARMAKAYE (San.): This homage means something like “I pay homage (namo) to the manifestation (kaya) of the guru’s activity (karma).”

utpattikrama (San.; Tib. kyerim, “development stage”): Meditation practice that employs mentally created pure images to overcome our habitual tendencies.

sampannakrama (San.; Tib. dzog-rim, “completion stage”): Meditation practice that is resting in the unfabricated nature of mind.

anuttarayoga: The highest of the four yanas of the vajrayana. The other three yanas are kriya, upa, and yoga.

tantra (San. “thread, continuity”): A synonym of the vajrayana, emphasizing the continuity of mindfulness and awareness.

secret: The “secret vehicle” (San. guhya-yana) is a synonym of the vajrayana path. “Secret” refers to the self-secret nature of vajrayana teachings. One cannot understand their meaning without previous training in the hinayana and mahayana, and without the guru’s personal instructions.

mantra (San. “mind protection”): Mantrayana is a synonym of the vajrayana. The skillful methods of vajrayana practice protect the mind from falling into the extremes of nihilism and eternalism.

vidyadhara (San. “wisdom holder”): A holder of the crazy-wisdom lineage.

Chökyi Gyatso (Tib. “Ocean of Dharma”): One of the principle names of Trungpa Rinpoche.

siddhis (San.): Yogic accomplishments. Supreme siddhi is enlightenment; ordinary siddhis involve various types of mastery over the phenomenal world.

Jambudvipa (San.): Traditionally thought to be the southern continent in Indian cosmology, it is the world that we inhabit.

terma (Tib. “treasure”): A discovered dharma text or artifact. Terma originally refered to teachings or artifacts concealed by Padmakara and Yeshe Tsogyal. Mind terma is a dharma text that arises effortlessly in the mind of a great teacher. Trungpa Rinpoche received several Shambhala texts in this way.

Kalapa: The capital of Shambhala.

drala (Tib. “beyond aggression”): In this context, the embodiment of the Shambhala principles of wakefulness, bravery, and gentleness. Dralas are sometimes portrayed as wearing the armor of a warrior, riding a horse, and holding weapons or pennants. They are variously considered to be local protectors or embodiments of natural awaked energy in the world.

werma (Tib.): Very similar to drala, though sometimes said to be the messengers of the dralas.

datün (Tib. “month session”): A month-long intensive practice of shamatha and vipashyana.

samadhi (San.; Tib. tingdzin): Meditative absorption.

shamatha (San.; Tib. shiné, “dwelling in peace”): The sitting practice of developing mindfulness and gentleness.

greater and lesser vehicles: The mahayana and hinayana. Hinayana is indispensable, but it is called “lesser” because it aims for individual liberation. Mahayana is called “greater” because it aims for the liberation of all beings.

direct transmission: A situation in which the teacher points out the nature of mind to the student.

general and special preliminaries (Tib. ngöndro): The preparatory practices of the vajrayana. The general preliminaries, also called “the four reminders”, are contemplation of (1) the preciousness of human birth, (2) impermanence and death, (3) the inevitability of cause and effect, (4) the sufferings of samsara.

The special preliminaries are (1) taking refuge and arousing bodhichitta, (2) Vajrasattva mantra, (3) mandala offerings, and (4) guru yoga. The first two are intended to purify the obscurations of the practitioner; the third, to gather merit and wisdom; the fourth, to invite the guru’s blessing.

Varahi (San.): Also known as Vajrayogini, the principal female yidam of the Kagyü lineage; she embodies prajña or wisdom.

Chakrasamvara (San.): A principal male yidam of the Kagyü lineage, embodying skillful means.

Ashe (Tib.): In the Shambhala tradition, a symbol of wakefulness, bravery, and gentleness in the human heart.

dharmarajas (San. “dharma kings”): The first seven rulers of the kingdom of Shambhala.

rigdens (Tib. “possessor of noble family”): The subsequent twenty-five rulers of Shambhala.

three jewels: The objects of refuge common to the hinayana, mahayana, and vajrayana: Buddha, dharma, and sangha.

three roots: The three special objects of refuge in the vajrayana: gurus, yidams, and protectors.