Nada (S): Sound; tone, vibration. Metaphysically, the mystic sounds of the Eternal, of which the highest is the transcendent or Soundless Sound, Paranada, the first vibration from which creation emanates. From Paranada comes Pranava, Aum, and further evolutes of nada. These are experienced by the meditator as the nadanadi shakti, "the energy current of sound," heard pulsing through the nerve system as a constant high-pitched hum, much like a tambura, an electrical transformer, a swarm of bees or a shruti box. Most commonly, nada refers to ordinary sound. See Shabda.

nadi (S): Conduit, or channel. Nerve fiber or energy channel of the subtle (inner) bodies of man. It is said there are 72,000 in a human being. . See channels, winds and drops; chakra, kundalini, raja yoga

Nagarjuna (S): Traditional founder of the Great Vehicle (Mahayana) of Buddhism. According to Buddhist literature, Nagarjuna traveled to the undersea palace of the Dragon Kings (Nagas) where he discovered important documents left there by Shakyamuni Buddha, notably, the Prajnaparamita literature.

nagas (S): Naga goddesses and gods are a mystical, primeval race of divine serpent people that play an important role in religion, mythology, and fairy tales worldwide. They live in oceans, lakes, rivers, springs or wells. Considered as protectors and keepers of the treasures of the water element (magical gems and precious stones) they are often portrayed holding a gem in their hands, being adorned with jewels, or wearing a gem in their crown. Possessing these magical gems (crystallized wisdom-power) exposes them to many enemies, who would like to steal this huge source of power. An arch-rival, the mythological birds called Garudas (T. Shang-shang) fight the Nagas. This fight is the essential force or polarity which creates the worlds of existence. Half-human and half-snake they are associated with having strong magical powers (siddhis), vast esoteric knowledge, and a capricious character which can quickly change from friendly and helpful to angry and malicious. Worshipped in southern India as bringers of fertility and rain, they are also thought to bring disasters such as floods, diseases and drought. In Buddhism Nagas and Naga kings (Nagarajas) play a very important part. Beside the folkloristic beliefs, often mixed with superstition and being more down to earth (Naga offerings are left near lakes, wells, trees etc. for rain, fertility, etc.) there are the higher esoteric levels of meaning for the advanced tantrika. It is said that before the final enlightenment can take place, bodhisattvas of the 9th and 10th level take rebirth in the mystical Naga worlds to get all final necessary empowerments and hidden teachings. It is also stated that the historical Buddha Shakyamuni took rebirth in the Naga realm just before his last incarnation on earth. In the weeks following his enlightenment , Shakyamuni was magically protected by a Naga from the seasonal rains. Rebirth in a Naga realm is auspicious in that one has great potential to reach buddhahood in a very short time without needing further rebirth. These so-called Naga-Buddhas are often invoked to grant special insights and siddhis for the Buddhist practitioner.

Nalanda: Nalanda Monastic University was a center of higher buddhist studies located in north-eastern India. It was founded around the second century by King Shakraditya of Magadha and quickly became a renowned university with a vast library. It is estimated that some ten thousand monks studied there at a time, not just Buddhist teachings of the Hinayana and Mahayana, but also medicine, math, logic and other religions as well. For centuries this was one of the best known places in the world for higher learning; among its notable abbots were Saraha, Nagarjuna, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Naropa, Dharmapala, Dignaga and others. The great middle way philosophy (Madhayamaka) was honed to its highest form here and close connections were developed between Nalanda and Tibet where a center of learning with the same name was started in 1351. Nalanda was said to have been destroyed, it's library sacked and burned by Muslim raiders, somewhere between the 12th and 13th century.

naljor (T): Yogi; naljorma: yogini.

namah / namo (S): Lit., "Adoration (or homage) to."

namaste (H): "Reverent salutations to you." Traditional Indian greeting.

Naropa (1016-1100): A scholar at the famous Nalanda University who left to follow the noted yogi, Tilopa. After undergoing severe hardships under Tilopa, Naropa received teachings and became a renowned yogi. Later some of these teachings became known as the Six Yogas of Naropa and formed a major part of the practices of the Tibetan Kagyu School.

negative attachment: Fear, worry or doubt of the future or a lingering regret about the past that keeps one from flowing with the river of life and living fully in the moment as a compassionate and impartial, spiritual being, facing each experience in the light of understanding.

ngakpas: Tibetan term referring to one who works with mantra. The present day ngakpa tradition consists of ordained, robe wearing members who are neither 'lay', nor 'monastic', but represent a parallel stream of practice to the better known monastic sangha, and represent an opportunity for western people to establish the highest possible commitment to the Buddhist path without having to become celibate.

ngöndro (T): The preliminary or foundational practices of Tibetan Buddhism, or Vajrayana. Four are general and four are special. First comes a thorough self-motivation through the understanding of four basic facts about life: 1) The rarity and preciousness of our present existence, which can be utilized to reach liberation and enlightenment; 2) Impermanence, that one should use it now as the time of death is uncertain; 3) Karma - cause and effect - that we create our own lives on the basis of our actions; 4) the fact that enlightenment is the only lasting joy. Meditation on the latter in the form of a set of four repetitive but intensely rewarding phrases helps create masses of good imprints in one's subconscious. These work deeply in the mind, giving increasing joy, and removing the causes of future suffering. Ngondro is the basis for purifying mental habits and recognizing mind both through its nature as energy and as awareness. There are four other distinct practices involved, each a step that leads to specific results. The performance of each phase is to be engaged 100,000 times: Prostrations and Refuge practice; Vajrasattva Mantra Meditation; Mandala Offering Meditations; and Guru Yoga (Meditation on merging with the Teacher).

nilopala: Multi-bloomed flower found in Buddhist iconography, much like the anemone.

Nirmanakaya (S): The Creation Body, the worldly form of a Buddha or other enlightened being.

Nirodha (S): Cessation of suffering, one of the Four Noble Truths.

Nirvana (S): Transcendence of suffering; cessation of birth in Samsara.

Nyingma / Nyingmapa (T): "School of the Ancients" or "Early School," the Buddhism brought to Tibet by great Indian teachers and translators, also the "Early Translation School." Founded by Padmasambhava, this is the oldest and second largest of the four Tibetan Buddhist Schools. "The early translation school of the King of the Victorious Ones, Padmasambhava; the Conquerer's Doctrine; The Sole Swift Path of All the Buddhas; The Supreme Vehicle, The Great Perfection ... The Great Tradition of Khenpo Shantarakshita, Lobpon Padmasambhava; and Dharma King Trison Detsen." It maintains a sophisticated system of study and practice, and its special tantric training is Dzogchen. The Nyingma teachings are uniquely categorized in nine yanas, or vehicles. The main practices are emphasized in the three inner tantras of Maha Yoga, Anu Yoga, and Ati Yoga. Ati Yoga is also known as the Great Perfection (Dzogpa Chenpo or Dzogchen). This is the heart of the Nyingma tradition and is the most ancient and direct stream of wisdom within the Buddhist teachings. Dzogchen incorporates Ch’an-like teachings from Chinese and Central Asian sources of a type rejected after the Samye debates of the 8th century. Nyingma teachings also preserve many tantras derived from India during the first transmission but thought to be apochryphal (and thus non-canonical) by second-transmission schools. The order also gave to Tibetan Buddhism a wealth of terma (treasure texts) hidden by Padmasambhava and discovered by later generations.Nyingma lamas and yogins are not usually required to be celibate. The order’s rituals include many elements that were derived from Tibet's pre-Buddhist Bon religion.

Nyingthig (T): Heart Essence. A category or class of teachings and its related texts that form the essential part of what is better known as Dzogchen, the "Great Perfection" lineage of teachings at the apex of Vajrayana (also known as 'Esoteric Tibetan Buddhism' or 'Tibetan Tantra'). All Nyingtig teachings are traced to Indian teachers and adepts -- Garab Dorje, Manjushrimitra, Sri Singha, Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra; with the latter two actually passing the tradition into Tibet.

The term Nyingthig actually pertains solely to the Mengak-De (pith instructions) group of Dzogchen teachings. Moreover, it often refers in particular to the innermost or most profound and secret core of those pith-instructions, known as Yangsang Lame. They were brought to Tibet separately by both Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra in the 9th century. Padmasambhava, though miraculously born from the compassion of Amitabha and self-realized, received these teachings from Garab Dorje, the first human Dzogchen master. Garab Dorje also taught them to Sri Singha, who passed them on to Manjusrimitra, at least in some versions. The latter’s disciple, Vimalamitra, was later invited to Tibet and also gave transmission there. The form transmitted from Vimalamitra is call the Vima Nyingthig.

Padmasambhava transmitted the Nyingthig teachings to several of his heart students and then had them buried for future discovery. Around the end of the 13th century, Pema Le Drel Sal, an incarnation of Dharma King Trisong Deutsen’s daughter, discovered terma. Because it was transmitted through a female teacher, or khandro, this lineage is called the Khandro Nyingthig. In the early 14th century, the scholar, Kun Khyen Longchen Rabjam (1308-1363) wrote commentaries on each version. In the mid 18th c., after a period of decline, the Nyingtig tradition was once more revitalized by the visionary Jigme Lingpa, who received the wisdom mind of Lonchenpa while meditating in a cave. He combined the two sets of Nyingthig teachings into what is now called the Longchen Nyingthig, or Heart-essence of the Vast Expanse.

Since then, these teachings have continuously grown in importance; especially through the efforts of the 19th century, non-sectarian Rimé movement. The various collections of texts, transmission lineages and teaching cycles are known as: Vima Nyingtig: lineage of Vimalamitra; Khandro Nyingtig: lineage of Padmasambhava; Nyingtig Yabshi: 14th century compilation and commentaries mainly by Longchenpa; Longchen Nyingtig: 18th century terma revealed by Jigme Lingpa. Practitioners of the Nyingtig teachings are variously known as independent, shamanic yogis (Tibetan: Naljor-pa) and yoginis (Naljor-ma) of the Nyingma ("Old School"), rather than the domesticated nuns or monks of most later New School monasteries. These extraordinarily profound teachings explain various essential methods for directly actualizing the innermost teachings of Ati Dzogpa Chenpo, the Great Perfection, which is the direct method for swiftly realizing the ultimate nature of mind and attaining Buddhahood in the Rainbow Body. The Longchen Nyingthig is the main practice at the center of all Dzogchen teachings and pith-instructions.

Nyung-ne (T): Ritual which consists of prayers, recitations of mantras, prostrations and which is accompanied by fast. It is related in general to the practice of Chenrezi with thousand arms, a powerful practice to purify negative karma.