Obaku (J): The smallest and least known of the three remaining schools of Zen in Japan.

Oddiyana (S): Also, Uddiyana. Tibetan: Orgyen. A kingdom northwest of India to which tradition ascribes the origin of the Dzogchen teachings of the Buddhist tradition. For a long time, Oddiyana was regarded as a legendary and mythical place, a symbolical realm of the dakinis; divine/demonic "sky dancing women" of the Hindu and Tibetan pantheon. But as with the Greek city of Troy, Oddiyana has been located. This ancient kingdom was in the Swat Valley, west of Kashmir and now part of Northern Pakistan. In contemporary maps and non-Buddhist publications, the name is often written as Udyana. The mountainous kingdom may have also bordered on Turkestan and may have extended from Western Tibet to Afghanistan. It is widely believed that in the country of Oddiyana there was a great lake named Danakosha. Eight years after the death of Shakyamuni, an extraordinarily large lotus flower appeared in this lake, upon which the great Lotus born Guru, Padmasambhava, appeared in this world in the form of an eight year old boy. Uddiyana was the homeland of Tibet's most beloved teachers (Garab Dorje, Padmasambhava, King Indrabhuti , Luipa, Tilopa) and the Vajrayana Buddhism's most influential teachings, including Dzogchen. Before the Muslim invasion in the 12th century, Oddiyana seems to have been a center of tantric theory and practice that attracted adepts and masters from different backgrounds; and from here they also went forth to teach their newly found insights elsewhere. Oddiyana's close proximity to the famous Silk Road, then the most important trade route between China, Afghanistan, the Near East and Europe, aided this constant traffic in ideas, and it also helps explain the traces of Chinese influence often said to be present in Dzogchen. The language of Uddiyana was different from Tibetan and many of the originating texts were translated, passing into the tradition of the early Nyingma school during the "first dispersion" (c.600-836). This was a period during which many Buddhist scriptures were translated into the then newly improved Tibetan alphabet and grammar; a language strongly influenced by Sanskrit and more or less designed in c. 645 by Thonmi Sambhota. Note: One of the lesser known schools of Vajrayana is known as Orgyenpa.

(courtesy of Rupert C. Camphausen)

Om (S): Sanskrit bija, or seed syllable, "the Vajra body of all Buddhas." Alternate transliteration: Aum (the sounds A and U blend to become O). It invokes the power of universal creativity and resonates with current of the all-pervading divine energy of being, thus is used at the beginning of many mantras.

Om Mani Padme Hum (S); Om Mani Peme Hung (T): Famous Six-syllable Mantra used most often by practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, invoking the wisdom and power of the Buddha of compassion, Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara). This is the mantra typically found in prayer wheels. Literally translated: "OM - the jewel in the lotus - HUM," the jewel being the primordial reality of awareness and the lotus being organic existence.

Opame (T): Amitabha, the Buddha of Limitless Light.

Orissa: A state on the eastern coast of India which flourished as a center of Buddhism from the 3rd century b.c.e. to the 12th or 13th century c.e. In the 3rd century b.c.e., Orissa was considered within or adjoining the Mauryan Empire and was known in part as Kalinga. The third king of the Maurya Empire, Asoka, undertook to conquer Kalinga and succeeded at the cost of much bloodshed. Seeing the horrors of war, Asoka repented and decided to devote his life to spiritual achievement. He seriously embraced the study and practice of Buddhism and began to incorporate the Dharma into his reign. Reflecting this change throughout his kingdom, Asoka had stone monuments inscribed with edicts covering law and administration, morality, and tolerance for religious practice that were the result of his newfound spirituality. Two such monuments were inscribed with edicts specifically written for the people of Kalinga. The following centuries saw the creation of Buddhist monasteries, stupas, shrines and statues in various locations throughout Orissa. Around the 8th-9th centuries Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism developed in the area as indicated by the sculptures of the time.