Lama (T): Literally, "superior one." Teacher. Title for experienced and learned religious teachers, often casually used for members of the clergy in general. Tibetans take the word as "la na me pa" (insurpassable), plus "ma," (mother), alluding to the compassion a mother has for her only child. A person who, by virtue of entensive practice, study and devotion to accomplished teachers, is able to teach and transmit the Dharma. The word Lama pertains not only to the external teacher, but to the inner teacher or enlightened nature. The Lama, therefore, is one who reflects the beginingless enlightened nature of their students.

Langdarma In its first diffusion in Tibet during the time of Trisong Deutsen, the Buddhadharma was supported by the royal court. His descendant, King Ralpacan, was a tantric practitioner who was assassinated in 838 ce and replaced by his brother, Langdarma who nearly destroyed the first wave of dharma transmission in Tibet. He vigorously persecuted Buddhist monasteries throughout his realm. Monks fled and had to go underground to persist. He was finally assassinated by the arrow of a Buddhist monk named Palgyi Dorje during a Black Hat dance performance. He concealed his bow in the dance costume until the moment that he let the arrow fly, after which he escaped into the hills on a horse. After Langdarma's death, the 'second diffusion' or a re-spreading of the Dharma in Tibet was spearheaded by teachers like Atisha and the translations referred to as gSarma.

Law of Cause and Effect Also expressed as the "Law of Causality" This is a fundamental doctrine of Buddhism: That all phenomena in the universe are produced by causation. Since all phenomena result from the complicated causes and effects, all existing things in the universe are interdependent, i.e., all self-natures or seeming independent entities are merely relative and impermanent. Moreover, all phenomena and nominal things are impermanent (i.e. constantly changing). When Shakyamuni awakened he had a great insight into the workings of karma. The law of Karma, is the doctrine which explains how cause and effect creates all phenomena in the universe.

Law of Dependent Organization: S. pratityasamutpada/T. Tendrel States that all phenomena arise depending upon a number of casual factors. Ilustrated on the outer rim of the Wheel of Life, (S. bhavachakra) There are 12 links (S. nidanas) in the chain:

Lhasa (T): Capital and largest city in Tibet, pop. 170,000. Lhasa is a shortened form of "lha sacha," which means "gods' place."

Lha tong (T): Sanskrit: Vipashyana. Pali: Vipassana. Tibetan: lhag thong. Meditation that develops insight into the nature of mind and mental events. It is sometimes described as analytical meditation. One of the two types of meditation found in all Buddhist traditions, the other being tranquility meditation (Skt., Samatha, Tib., Shinay).

liberation: Sanskrit: moksha, abhimukti/ T. tharpa. In Vajrayana Buddhism, liberation from the involuntary cycle of existence occurs when one recognizes the emptiness of mind and is liberated from all perturbing thoughts and feelings. However, it is also considered a state where you have not reached complete Enlightenment and have not gained complete understanding of "the way things are."

liberation of thoughts: see self-liberation

lineage: Line of succession of preceptors, each one initiating the next.

Lingam (S): Also, linga. Phallus. A Sanskrit term of reverence for the statues and images of the god Shiva’s genital organ, lingam is also used as a technical term for the male phallus. The thousands of lingas one finds throughout India and Nepal, on almost every street corner and in every village square, are worshipped even today as sacred symbols of Shiva (the "Destroyer" aspect in the all-male Vedic trinity); most especially the twelve sacred jyotirlinga. People kiss and touch the statues, which are generally sculpted from stone; they offer rice, flowers, or fruit to them and will often color them with red ocher. The Gupta-sadhana Tantra states that "infinite result is obtained by worship of a Sivalinga that should be made of crystal etc., but never of clay". Sometimes a lingam is represented together with its female equivalent, the yoni, and such an image then is called yonilinga.

Lojong (T): Mind training. The mental discipline of the 59 proverbs associated with tonglen (taking and sending) practice and help to keep the practice on track and in balance. A particular way of looking at the world with total acceptance and joy.

Long-chen Nying-thig The Longchen Nyingthig cycle of teachings translates as "The essence of the heart" and they became very popular in Tibet, being widely studied among the Nyingmapa. Teachings of Vimalamitra and Guru Rinpoche were brought together by the great master Longchenpa. They were later revealed (as hidden teachings, termas) and elaborated on by Jigme Lingpa who carried the Longchen Nyingthig teachings to their highest level and popularity. Containing the essence of previous Nyingthig teachings, this lineage traces back to Kuntuzangpo, the primordial or 'All-good Buddha', down through great masters like Garab Dorje, Manjushrimitra, Shrisinga, Vimalamitra, Longchenpa, and into our modern age, through Jigme Lingpa to last century's Tibetan Buddhist masters such as Dudjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse. Longchen Nyingthig includes sadhanas, commentaries, roots texts and tantras. The scope, power and clarity of this round of teachings made them easy to comprehend and powerful to practice and thus they have become a mainstay among Nyingmapa practitioners.

Longchenpa: Longchen Rabjam, 1308-1363. The most eminent 14th-century Nyingma master of special importance in the transmission and development of Dzogchen. He combined the teachings of the Vima Nyingtig lineage with those of the Khandro Nyingtig, making way for the fully unified system of teachings that became known as the Longchen Nyingtig (by Jigme Lingpa). Longchenpa, credited with more than 250 written Dzogchen teachings, among them the famous Seven Treasures (Dzo-dun), the Trilogy of Natural Freedom (Rangol Korsum) and his compilation of the Nyingtig Yabshi. He also wrote a commentary to the Kunje Gyalpo Tantra, "The King Who Creates Everything," a text belonging to the Mind Class (Tibetan: Semde) of the Ati Yoga Inner Tantras. Seven Treasures is a reformulation of Dzogchen and an encyclopedia of inspiring thought and practice. These seven texts teach about each of The Treasures: Philosophy; The Sublime Vehicle; Wish fulfillment; Secret Instructions; The Dharmadatu; The Natural State; Word and Meaning. Excerpts have been translated in "Buddha Mind: An Anthology of Longchen Rabjam's Writings on Dzogpa Chenpo" by Tulku Thondup Rinpoche. Publication of the complete seven-volume text began in 1998. The first volume to have appeared is entitled "The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding." (Padma Publishing)

Apart from Longchenpa's names given below, he is sometimes refered to by the honorary title Second Buddha (Tibetan: Gyalwa Nyi) a term usually reserved for Padmasambhava, showing the high regard for his work has received. A reincarnation of Pema Ledrel Tsal, Longchenpa is also regarded as an indirect incarnation of the princess Pema Sal. During a stay in Bhutan (Tibetan: Mon), Longchenpa fathered a daughter and a son, of which the latter, Trugpa Odzer (b. 1356), also became a holder of the Nyingtig lineage. A detailed account of the life and teachings of Longchenpa is found in Buddha Mind by Tulku Thondup Rinpoche. Various forms and spellings of Longchenpa's full names, in which "Longchen" means Great Expanse, Vast Space or Immense Knowledge: Longchen Rabjam (realization of vast knowledge); Longchen Rabjampa; Longchenpa Drimey Özer; Künkhyen Longchenpa (The Omniscient Longchenpa) ; Künkhyen Longchen Rabjam; Künkhyen Chenpo (Omniscient Great One) ; Künkhyen Chenpo Drimey Özer; Künkhyen Chökyi (All-knowing Dharma King) ; Gyalwa Longchen Rabjam; Gyalwa Longchen Rabjam Drimey Özer.

Losar (T): Tibetan New Year. In February.

lotus: Sanskrit: Padma. The sacred lotus (nelumbo nucifera) is the Indian or Oriental lotus. Native to southern Asia, it is found at altitudes of up to 1,600 metres. The lotus is a perennial plant growing from a thick rhizome, usually sprouted in the silt bottom of a still pond. The first few leaves that appear are flat and float on the surface, followed by thicker leaves that stand above the water. The flower stalk rises above the leaves, ending in large, sweet-smelling, white or pink blooms which appear one at a time. Each flower lasts from 2-5 days. After blooming, the petals fall, leaving a cone-shaped seed head that resembles the rose of a watering can. Each of its 15 to 20 openings contains a fruit.

Iconographic Types: White, pink or blue lotuses can represent three types of humans since they either stand on the surface, slightly above, or up and out of the water. Emerging from slime and decay, they grow up through progressively clearer water to emerge in the sunlight, where they are seen in all their glory. This habit of growth has led to the lotus becoming a common metaphor for the development of individuals towards enlightenment. The flower stands for renunciation of the entanglements of samsara, the pure aspiration that is the desire for enlightenment for the sake of all beings. Thus the stylized lotus seat of buddhas and bodhisattvas is an indicator of their dharmakaya origins. It shows that the figure is not being presented as an ordinary person, but as a timeless manifestation of that ultimate reality. The style and color of the petals of this lotus corresponds to certain characteristics of the depicted being. One of the best-known figures in Tibetan Buddhism associated with the lotus flower is Padmasambhava. The biographies of Guru Rinpoche tells how he manifested in this world, in the midst of a lake in Oddiyana, as an 8-year old boy sitting on the pollen bed of a great lotus. It is for this reason he is called Padmasambhava (S. lotus born). Another famous figure associated with the lotus is Chenrezi, the bodhisattva of compassion, whose epithet is Padmapani or, lotus-bearer and whose mantra (in rough translation) refers to the jewel of primordial awareness contained within the lotus of space. Green Tara is so eager to help in any situation that she is depicted on a lotus seat with her right foot on a small lotus cushion, as if she were in the process of standing up. In the Pure Land of Amitabha, pratyekabuddhas are reborn in lotus buds which open after a certain time measured in ages, depending on the individual's karma. The lotus is one of the eight auspicious symbols not only to Tibetans, but also to the Chinese where they are called "pa hsi-hsiang."

The lotus in sadhana/practice: The chakras (wheels) or energy vortices of the body are depicted as various lotuses. Their petals range in number from two to a thousand at the crown of the head. The number of these chakras varies according to the tantric/yogic system; five are referred to in Tibetan Buddhism but there are said to be seven in the Hindu version. On a torma, a ritual offering cake, we often see only two wheels represented. The seated meditation posture [asana] in which the legs are crossed and feet placed on the thighs is called padmasana, or lotus seat or posture (also called Vajrasana or diamond seat Lotus (Padma) Family: This Buddha Family symbolizes the Speech of the Buddhas and the development of spiritual potentials, the evolution from the ground of confusion to full awakening in the light of discriminating wisdom, gradually unfolding one's spiritual petals in the process of revealing the Buddha Nature. Associations include the western direction, evening twilight, springtime, the color red, the element fire, all of which communicate the warmth of passion, the play of light, feeling and other qualities of the heart. The spontaneous perfection of all things is discovered through recognition of the Original Purity. This is the path of discriminating wisdom, love and compassion. Members include Shakyamuni, Avalokitesvara, Amitaba, Padmasambava, White Tara, Hayagriva and Padmanarteshvara.

Lotus Sutra: Sanskrit: Saddharma Pundarika Sutra. Short name of the "Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law," a Mahayana sutra c. 1st century CE. It consists of a series of sermons delivered by Shakyamuni towards the end of his life. The Lotus Sutra became exceedingly popular in 6th century China among the Tien Tai sect, becoming that sect's primary teaching. This was maintained by Tien Tai's Japanese counterpart, the Tendai. According to the Tien Tai/Tendai traditions, the Lotus Sutra encapsulates all the Buddha's teachings and that no other teachings are needed. The Sokka Gakai movement of contemporary Japan is centred on this teaching, partly for that reason. Recitation of Om Namu-myoho-renge-kyo, the Lotus Sutra mantra, is alone considered a complete form of Buddhist practice by followers of Nichiren (13th century Japanese teacher).

rLung T. -rlung - air; wind (element); breeze; breath; psychic energy; vital current of energy or air; In the terminology of Vajrayana 'rLung' refers to specific energy currents that regulate bodily function.