Gampopa (1079-1153): Heart son (main disciple) of Milarepa and root guru of the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa. He was prophesized by the Buddha to spread the Dharma widely in Tibet and is the source of the monastic Kagyu transmissions. Gampopa was trained as a physician who devoted himself to the Dharma after the death of his wife and children. It is his synthesis of the traditions of Dharma teachings (the Kadampa lineage of Atisha) melded with the experiential meditative teaching (Mahamudra) of Milarepa that formed the Kagyu tradition, as we know it today. At Taklha Gampo he founded the first Kagyu Monastery in Tibet. Gampopa is the source of the four great and eight lesser lineages (schools) of the Kagyu lineage. He is also known as Takpo Lharja, the physician from Takpo. He wrote the "Jewel Ornament of Liberation" and is usually depicted wearing robes and a red hat, which has become synonymous with the Kagyu School.

Garab Dorje (T): Sanskrit: Pramodavajra, Prahevajra, Surati Vajra. Indian yogin and tantric adept who lived somewhere between 184 BCE and 57 CE. His life story is full of miraculous events and powers, yet Tibetans regard him as an historical figure, who like Padmasambhava, was born in Oddiyana from the virgin womb of a royal nun. He is generally regarded as the first human teacher of Dzogchen. As a nirmanakaya-emanation of the Buddha Vajrasattva, Garab Dorje received all the 6.4 million tantras and oral instructions of Dzogchen directly from the heavenly realm and thus became the first human vidyadhara (Skt., Knowledge Holder/T. rig-dzin) in the Dzogchen lineage. Having reached the state of complete enlightenment, he then transmitted these teachings to a retinue of exceptional beings, among who was Master Manjushrimitra, one of the greatest debaters of his day, who is regarded as the chief student of Garab Dorje who in turn passed them on to Sri Singha. Centuries later, Padmasambhava and Vairocana received the transmission of the Dzogchen tantras through Garab Dorje's wisdom form; i.e. through a pure vision on Lake Dhanakosa in Oddiyana. Garab Dorje composed the "Natural Freedom of Ordinary Characteristics" and the "three words that strike the essence" his last testament in the form of three essential points given to Manjushrimitra; summing up the teachings of Dzogchen: a direct introduction to one's own nature, deciding that there is nothing other than this and the capacity to abide in this unique state with confidence in liberation.

garuda (S): (T. shang-shang) An ancient Indian mythological bird, large and powerful, that hatches full-grown from the egg and thus symbolizes the awakened state of mind. Natural enemy of nagas.

gau (T): An amulet box, sacred reliquary, some of which are small enough to be worn around the neck.

Gelong (T): An ordained monk.

Gelugpa (T): The yellow hat sect, last to form of the four major Tibetan Buddhist Schools. A reformed order stressing scholarship and the monastic code, founded by the intellectual visionary Je Tsongkhapa in the 14th century. Je Tsongkhapa also tutored Gendun Drub who later became the first Dalai Lama. The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is also the current head of the Gelugpa order.

Gesar of Ling (T) Mythical Tibetan messianic hero whose cult was encouraged in Mongolia by the Manchu. Gesar seems to manifest in various traditions, for some as an emissary of the Rigden Kings of Shambhala, In the Buddhist tradition Gesar is an emanation of Padma Sambhava, while in the case of the Tibetan Bön tradition, Gesar is sent by Shen Lha Okar. He is believed to have incarnated from Guru Rinpoche to protect and propagate the dharma during the dark times after the persecution of the dharma by King Langdarma, and before the reviving of the dharma once again in Tibet which formed the scholastic and meditative traditions of the Sarma or new schools, as opposed to the original influx of teachings during the time the Great Three (T. Khen Lob Chö Sum), of Khenpo Shantirakshita, Guru Rinpoche (Lobpon Padmasambava), and King Trisong Deutsun, which became known as the Nyingma tradition. Amidst a mass of wisdom light, Gesar is depicted wearing the armor of a warrior of that period, riding a horse, holding a spear aloft in his right hand and a lasso in his left. He is most often propitiated as a protector of the dharma, but is also meditated upon as Guru. The epic tales of his heroic deeds are very popular and he is a national hero whose battles against enemies of Tibet and Mongolia have become synonymous with the defending and spreading of the Dharma itself. In this way, he is similar to the western legends of King Arthur. He is said to have ruled the kingdom of Ling, also known as Phrom. " The country of Phrom, where King Gesar ruled over the Turks (eastern Turkestan)." etymological connections: Gesar, Kesar, Caesar, Kaiser, Tsar, Shah, etc. ... ancient Persian word for sovereignity is "Sahr." See Shambhala.

Geshe (T): Sanskrit: Kalyanamitra. "Virtuous friend." Academic title given to accomplished Gelugpa scholars; similar to a Western doctoral (Ph.D.) degree.

Ghandharvas (S): "Odor Eaters." Celestial musicians who are nourished by odors. The name which designates a category of gods in the sphere of desire.

ghee: Hindi for clarified butter; ghrita in Sanskrit. Butter that has been boiled and strained. An important sacred substance used in temple lamps and offered in fire ceremony, yajna. It is also used as a food with many ayurvedic virtues.

Golok (T): Northern Kham, a very wild area of eastern Tibetan which is notorious for brigandry. There are many nomads in this area, and yogic encampments as well as tent monasteries.

Gomchenma (T): Greatly accomplished female meditator.

gomden (T): A meditation cushion.

gompa (T): Literally "to meditate." 1. Phase of practice which follows upon receipt of teachings and instruction and effort made to comprehend them. Gompa is the actual pursuit of meditational practice. 2. Buddhist monastery, temple, or dharma hall.

Gonpo (T): A protector.

Green Tara: The gentle and heartfelt Bodhisattva Tara, born from the tears of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. She offers us a hand to lift us up to a mountain of enlightenment qualities. Tara belongs to the Karma family of unobstructed compassionate activity, symbolized by her green color. She is the Wisdom Consort of the Dhyani Buddha Amogasiddhi. In a previous eon, in the presence of the Buddha Nga Dra, the Beat of the Drum, she took the vow to only incarnate in a female form to ceaselessly protect beings from the fears of samsaric life and to guide them upon the path of enlightenment. She is known as the Swift One, due to her immediate response to those who request her aid. She is none other than the mother of the Buddhas of the past, present and future; the Great Mother, Prajnaparamita, the matrix of ultimate truth itself, Shunyata. Appearing to be about sixteen years old, she sits on a lotus flower with her left leg drawn in as her right leg steps down gracefully out in front of her. Her left hand is held in front of her heart with palm outward, thumb and ring finger touching so the other three fingers point upwards in the mudra of granting refuge. Her right hand rests on her right knee with the palm facing upward in the mudra of generosity.

Guhyagarbha: One of the old tantras coming from the period of early translations. It has been looked upon (by some early Tibetan monks and scholars) as being inauthentic. When Sakya Pandita discovered a Sanskrit manuscript of this work at Samye Monastery and compared it with the existing Tibetan translations, it was determined that indeed, this was authentic. This Sanskrit version of The Guhyagarbha Tantra is the original and contains the principle Mahayoga scripture, involving sexual practice with a consort and the 'liberation' of evil-doers through magical rites without incurring any negative karma.

'The thoughts of believing in a self-entity persistently tie knots in the sky. Beyond bondage and beyond liberation -- These are the primordial attributes of the spontaneously perfect buddha.' - from the Guhyagarbha Tantra

guru (S): "heavy or weighty one," indicating a being of full of good qualities, great knowledge and skill. In Tibetan, the word for "guru" is "lama."

Guru Mantra: In Tibetan Nyingma practice, "guru mantra" refers to the Vajra Guru Mantra of Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche, the Twelve Syllable Mantra: Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum.

guru-shishya system: Hindu master-disciple system. An important education system of Hinduism whereby the teacher conveys his knowledge and tradition to a student. The principle of this system is that knowledge, especially subtle or advanced knowledge, is best conveyed through a strong human relationship based on ideals of the student's respect, commitment, devotion and obedience, and on personal instruction by which the student eventually masters the knowledge the guru embodies.

Guru Yoga (S): Tibetan: Lamai Naljor. One of the Four Preliminary Practices in Tibetan Buddhism. A meditation in which the meditator receives the blessing of the Lama and the lineage. Unification with the state of the teacher, the natural condition of the dharmakaya where its quality naturally manifests for the sake of those who require training. The Buddha taught on many occasions, that in the future time period called "degenerate," he would take the form of the Lama (Skt. Guru). One should therefore perceive the Lama with this view. This is the way Guru Yoga is to be understood most effectively: to realize the Great Perfection (T. Dzogchen), one must arrive at the union of one’s own mind with that of one’s root Lama, that one who is the essence concentrating all the Great Lamas of the lineage and the Yidam deity in a form which has compassionately manifested in this place for your liberation. Where the tantric process is alive, cultivating devotion to the Lama is a natural response to the blessings of initiation: gratitude for the opportunity manifesting through one’s thoughts, words and actions; the most important point is to develop the firm conviction that the Lama is the Buddha Dorje Chang himself. To see only these qualties in ones Lama is the best way to obtain them oneself. On the contrary, if one focuses on insufficiencies or faults, no realization can be obtained.

Gyalwa (T): Victorious One. The honorific name of the Karmapa, one of the most respected of the Tibetan tulkus, or reincarnated lamas.

Gyalwa Gyamtso (T): A red, four-armed form of Chenrezi. See Avalokitesvara

Gyüd (T):continuity/S. Tantra, associated with the art of weaving; the shuttle thread. Tantrayana, Vajrayana or Secret Mantra. The vehicle which derives from Long-ku (Samboghakaya) Visionary transmission. The path of transformation - in distinction to the Sutric path of renunciation.