I AM TIBETAN GLOSSARY
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GLOSSARY 1. Amala—Mother 2. Amdo—One of the three states of Tibet, the others being Tsang and Kham. Amdo is the birthplace of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It makes up a large land mass between the Yellow River and the Yangtze River. 3. Avalokiteshvara— He/She is also known as Kuan-yin and Quan-yin and is considered the Bodhisattva of Compassion. He/She is one of the Three Pure Land Sages, the others being Buddha Amitabha and the Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta. In China she is known as”The Goddess of Mercy. Chenrezi is the Tibetan form of Avalokiteshvara and is depicted as female. 4. Bharat—the original Sanskrit word for India and is considered its sacred name. 5. Bodh Gaya—the town in Bihar, India, where Guatama the Buddha attained supreme Enlightenment. It is a sacred spiritual site. 6. Bodhichitta—the Bodhi Mind represents the spirit of Enlightenment, the aspiration to achieve it, the Mind set on Enlightenment. 7. Dakini—a liberated female being, a powerful deity, capable of flight, associated with Buddhist and non-Buddhist Tantric traditions and derived from earlier pre-Aryan India folklore. 8. Divination—a prediction of a future event, done after prayers and astrological consultation, usually by a specially trained lama or seer. The divination will show what course of action the seeker of an answer needs to follow. Generally more prayers and offerings are suggested with specific remedies, such as giving new clothes to the poor, for example. 9. Drapshi Prison—Tibet’s most dreaded prison, administered by the Chinese, located in Lhasa, the former capitol. Opened in 1956, the prison has innumerable monks and nuns incarcerated there for alleged crimes against the state. Some of the horror stories connected with Drapshi Prison can be read in books. One moving account is Ani Pachen, Warrior Nun of Tibet, translated by Gayle Hanson and published by Shambala Sun 10. Geshe La—Geshe is a title corresponding to Doctor of Divinity. La is used as a form of respect. At the end of the name or title it means one who is revered. 11. Hari Om—A Sanskrit mantra, chanted by Mahatma Gandhi and the last words he spoke just before he died on the day he was assassinated. Hari refers to the formless God. Om is the primordial sound, that from which all creation flows. 12. Kata—A traditional Tibetan white scarf used as a prayer offering, a symbol of good luck, for greeting, and for presenting to dignitaries. 13. Lhasa—The capitol of Tibet and the location of the Potala Palace, named after Mount Potala, the abode of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezi as the Embodiment of Compassion is known in Tibetan. The Potala Palace was the home of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama until he had to flee to India to escape the Chinese invaders. 14. Loka Samashtha Sukino Bhavantu—Universal Sanskrit prayer meaning, May all the beings in all the worlds be happy. 15. Majnu Katilla—Tibetan refugee camp, within walking distance of Delhi University. It was created by Tibetan refugees on the banks of the Yamuna River. Today it is a thriving commercial center of the exile community. 16. Mala—Japa Mala, prayer beads for Buddhists and for Hindus. Used for reciting mantras and repeating the name of God. 17. Manasarovar—Sacred lake in Tibet near Mount Kailash, home to Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati. It is the highest fresh water lake in the world and is a pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. Hindus believe that taking a bath and drinking water in this lake will cleanse one of all sins committed over a hundred lifetimes. 18. Mantra—A sound, a syllable, a word, or a group of words capable of creating spiritual transformation when repeated regularly by the spiritual aspirant. An initiate into the spiritual way of life is sometimes given a mantra by his or her teacher. 19. Momos—Steamed dumplings made with flour and water and stuffed with a variety of ingredients. 20. Puja—A religious ceremony performed for various purposes. 21. Quan Yin—Kuan Yin, another name for the Embodiment of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara. Quan Yin is said to take on the suffering of those who worship her. She appears in male and in female forms and is considered androgynous as well. 22. Rewalsar—A scared lake pilgrimage site of Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists, located in Mandi District of Himachal Pradesh. It is here that the great Indian Tantric, Padmasambhava set out for Tibet, and it is said that he flew there by his own power. To Tibetans he is known as Guru Rinpoche and his spirit is said to reside in the floating reed islands of the lake. 23. Shakyamuni—Guatama Buddha 24. Samsara—The cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. 25. Sangha—Spiritual community of like-minded others. 26. Thangka—A Tibetan scroll painting framed in silk depicting sacred images. 27. Tsampa— A Tibetan staple foodstuff made from roasted barley flour mixed with hot water and eaten as a breakfast food or snack. 28. Tulku—A reincarnate master. 29. Wrathful Deities—Ferocious, terrifying forms who are benevolent gods symbolizing the immense effort it takes to vanquish evil. They are known as defenders of right action.