Tantric (Esoteric) School

See Five Types of Buddhist Study and Practice--Mysteries.


See Thus Come One.


A Sanskrit word meaning 'treasury of the Thus Come One.'


1) Ch. ru lai dzang , 2) Skt. tathagatagarbha.

See also: Thus Come One.

Ten Dharma Realms

The Ten Dharma Realms are composed of the four realms of the sages--Buddha, Bodhisattva, Pratyekabuddha, and Arhat-- and the Six Paths of Rebirth--gods, humans, asuras, animals, ghosts, and hell-dwellers--also known as the Six Mundane Dharma Realms. The ten are described under the individual listings.

The realms other than that of the Buddhas are called the Nine Dharma Realms. All the living beings of the Nine Dharma-realms are dreaming. The Bodhisattva dreams of seeking the Way of the Buddha above, and of transforming living beings below. He wishes to realize the Way of the Buddha in order to take living beings across, yet it is all in a dream.

"The Condition-Enlightened, the Pratyekabuddhas, are also dreaming. About what? They dream of looking out for themselves alone. Living deep in desolate mountain valleys, they are Arhats who 'comprehend for their own sakes'...'incapable of promoting the common good'. That is also dreaming.

"Hearers, the Shravakas, dream of the one-sided emptiness which is the one-sided truth of nirvana with residue.

"The gods have dreams of happiness and peace; they are at ease and enjoy an especially peaceful, superior and wonderful happiness.

"People dream of seeking fame and fortune. They wish to make a lot of money or to become officials. In their current lives, they are all upside down and take suffering to be happiness. Every day they are busy dreaming of fame and fortune.

"What dream do the asuras have? They dream of fighting. For instance, someone going and fighting someone else is an affair of asuras. To be an asura is to be someone who likes to fight, and to be in the dream of fighting.

"Those in the hells dream of undergoing bitter suffering. Hungry ghosts dream of starving, and animals dream a dream of stupidity.

"Each of the nine Dharma-realms has its own dream. The Buddha, in ultimate nirvana, is the only one who does not dream, and so his realm is called 'ultimate nirvana'." (HS 104-105)

"If one wishes to understand fully

All Buddhas of the Three Periods of Time,

One should contemplate the nature of the Dharma Realm:

Everything is made from mind alone."



1) Ch. shr fa jye , 2) Skt. dasa-dharmadhatu, 3) Pali-----, 4) Alternate Translations: Dharmafields, Dharma-worlds; Dharma-spheres.

See also: Dharma Realm, Six Paths of Rebirth, Buddha, Bodhisattva, Pratyekabuddha, Arhat.

BTTS References: TD; HS 104-5; TT 46-49; FAS-VP 23-27; VBS #206, p. 4.

Ten Grounds/Stages of the Path of the Bodhisattva

1) Happiness

2) Leaving Filth

3) Emitting Light

4) Blazing Wisdom

5) Difficult Conquest

6) Manifestation

7) Travelling Far

8) Not Moving

9) Wholesome Wisdom

10) Dharma Cloud

"I. Ground of Happiness. The Bodhisattva at the very beginning of the Ten Grounds is like an infant who has just left the sagely womb and been born into the lineage of the Tathagatas. He perfects the conduct of benefitting self and benefitting others, and is certified as to his sagely location. Hence he gives rise to great happiness.

II. Ground of Leaving Filth. The Bodhisattva becomes replete with pure precepts and renounces all actions that are contrary to morality and comportment. Hence on this ground he leaves the filth of afflictions behind.

III. Ground of Emitting Light. From supreme samadhi, the wondrous teaching, and four types of dharani, the Bodhisattva gives rise to the Three Wisdoms: the wisdom of hearing, the wisdom of consideration, and the wisdom of cultivation. From the attainment of those kinds of wisdom, he emits a sublime light.

IV. Ground of Blazing Wisdom. On this ground the Bodhisattva achieves a dazzling wisdom light that consumes the tinder of all afflictions. Whereas the former three grounds are still located in the world, this ground marks the beginning of a world-transcending position.

V. Ground of Difficult Conquest. Upon this ground the Bodhisattva testifies to the interaction between wisdom of relative truth and the non-discriminating wisdom of absolute truth. Through the mutual and non-obstructive functioning of those two kinds of wisdom, he accomplishes clever expedient means, such as the Five Sciences, to teach living beings. On this level he transcends the world and yet completely accords with the world. Since this is a position that is difficult to surpass, it is called Difficult Conquest.

VI. Ground of Manifestation. The Bodhisattva gives rise to great prajna wisdom through contemplation of the Twelve Links of Causal Co-production (see Twelvefold Conditioned Arising) and is no longer caught up in the discrimination of purity and defilement. Thus there is the manifestation of sublime conduct." (EDR V 279-280)

"VII. Ground of Travelling Far. This ground is characterized by cultivation that is without an appearance and without effort. Since effortless functioning is accomplished, the Bodhisattva far transcends all the conducts of the Two Vehicles. Hence the name 'Travelling Far.'

VIII. Ground of Not Moving. As a reward of the Bodhisattva conduct, the Bodhisattva has now reached the state which is without marks and without interval; hence the name 'Not Moving.' On this ground the Bodhisattva casts off the activities of production within the Three Realms--the realms of desire, form, and formlessness. He also attains the Patience with Non-Production. Through the wisdom of the contemplation of marklessness, he is 'not moved' by all afflictions.

IX. Ground of Wholesome Wisdom. The Bodhisattva attains the Four Unobstructed Eloquences and perfects the merit of being a great Dharma Master. He is able to speak Dharma that perfectly suits the potentials of all living beings. Hence on this ground he achieves "wholesome wisdom.'

X. Ground of the Dharma Cloud. By this stage the Bodhisattva attains a vast Dharma body. He is full and accomplished, like a huge Dharma cloud that protects all under heaven, and which sends down Dharma rain to nourish all beings. In this way the Bodhisattva benefits sentient creatures in boundlessly inconceivable ways." (EDR VI 280)


1) Ch. shr di , 2) Skt. dasabhumi, 3) Pali -----.

See also: Bodhisattva.

BTTS References: FAS Ch26.1&2; EDR V 279-280; EDR 278; SS; "Transformation of Consciousness into Wisdom," VBS # , pp .

Ten Titles of a Buddha

"Every Buddha has a myriad titles, but people's memories are too poor to remember so many names clearly in a single lifetime. Somewhere in time, the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time held a meeting and decided they would simplify the myriad titles of a Buddha to one thousand. However, eventually a thousand were still too many, so the Buddhas investigated the question again and further simplified the matter so that each Buddha had one hundred titles. With the passage of time, that again was still too many, and so finally they were reduced to ten titles, which all Buddhas share. Those ten titles are:

1) Thus Come One

2) One Worthy of Offerings

3) One of Proper and Universal Knowledge

4) One Perfect in Clarity and Practice

5) Well Gone One

6) Unsurpassed One Who Understands the World

7) Hero Who Subdues and Tames

8) Teacher of Gods and Humans

9) Buddha

10) World-Honored One.

I. "The first title is Thus Come One.

He has followed the way which is Thus

And come to realize Proper Enlightenment.

That is one explanation. The Vajra Sutra says:

The Thus Come One does not come from anywhere, nor does he go anywhere; therefore he is called the Thus Come One.

Furthermore, 'Thus' represents noumenon, the basic substance of principle, while 'Come' represents phenomenon, the names and characteristics of specifics. Principle and specifics are nonÄ dual. The Flower Adornment Sutra takes as its creed the harmony of principle and specifics. The title 'Thus Come One' exemplifies the non-obstruction of noumenon and phenomenon.

II. "The second title is 'One Worthy of Offerings.'. The Buddha is one who should receive offerings from the humans and gods of the Three Realms, and who deserves the respect and reverence of those in and beyond the world.

III. "The third title is 'One of Proper and Universal Knowledge.' There is nothing which he does not know and nothing which he fails to understand. His knowledge is both proper and pervasive.

IV. "The fourth title is 'One of Perfect Clarity and Conduct,' for the light of his Four Types of Wisdom is perfect and full.


1) Wisdom of Successful Performance.

2) Wonderful Contemplating and Investigating Wisdom.

3) Impartial Wisdom of the Nature.

4) Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom.

V. "The fifth title is 'Well Gone One,' one who has gone to a good place, the very best place.

VI. "The sixth title is 'Unsurpassed One Who Understands the World.' Bodhisattvas are called 'Surpassed Ones,' for there are still the Buddhas above them. A Buddha, however, is unsurpassed. Since he understands all doctrines, both mundane and transcendental, he is one who well understands the world.

VII. "The Seventh title is 'Hero Who Subdues and Tames,' one who subdues and tames all the living beings in the world.

VIII. "The eighth title is 'Teacher of Gods and Humans.' The Buddha is the master of the gods in the heavens and the people in the world.

IX. "The ninth title is 'Buddha" . . . .

X. "The tenth title is 'World-Honored One.' World-Honored One means one who is honored by those in the world and those beyond the world. Those beyond the world have transcended the Three Realms. . . ." (FAS Ch7 1-3)


1) Ch. fwo jr shr hau , 2) Skt. buddha-dasa-nama , 3) Pali .

See also: Buddha, Thus Come One.

BTTS References: FAS Ch7; SPV 121-123; DFS II 291-295; DFS IV 540Ä 542

Ten Wholesome Deeds

Abstention from 1) killing, 2) stealing, 3) sexual misconduct, 4) duplicity, 5) harsh speech, 6) lying, 7) irresponsible speech, 8) greed, 9) anger, 10) foolishness.

The Buddha said: 'Living beings may perform ten good practices or ten evil practices. What are the ten? Three are of the body, four are of the mouth, and three are of the mind. The three of the body are killing, stealing, and lust. The four of the mouth are duplicity, harsh speech, lies, and irresponsible speech. The three of the mind are jealousy, hatred, and stupidity. Thus these ten are not in accord with the Holy Way and are called ten evil practices. To put a stop to these evils is to perform the ten good practices.' (S42 14)

The Flower Adornment Sutra says this of the Bodhisattva who, by his very nature, practices the Ten Wholesome Deeds.

I. Abstention from Killing

By nature he naturally leaves all killing far behind. He does not collect knives or staves. He does not cherish resentment or hatred. He has shame and he has remorse. He is endowed with humaneness and reciprocity. Toward all beings who have lives, he always brings forth thoughts of benefit and kindly mindfulness. This Bodhisattva should not with evil mind even trouble living beings, how much the less give rise to heavy intent and actually kill or harm any whom he realizes are living beings. (FAS Ch26(2) 4)

II. Abstention from Stealing

By nature he does not steal. The Bodhisattva is always content with his own possesions. He is always kind and forgiving towards others and does not wish to encroach upon them. If an item belongs to someone else, he gives rise to the thought that it is someone else's item and would never consider stealing it, down to a blade of grass or a leaf--if not given, he does not take it--how much the less any other of the necessities of life. (FAS Ch26(2) 10)

III. Abstention from Sexual Misconduct

By nature he does not engage in sexual misconduct. The (married, lay) Bodhisattva is content with his own wife and does not seek the wives of others. Toward the wives and concubines of others, the women protected by others, by relatives of those betrothed, and those protected by the law, he does not even give rise to the thought of greedy defilement, how much the less follow it into action, and how much the less give himself over to what is not the Way. (FAS Ch26(2) 17)

IV. Abstention from Lying

By nature he does not lie. The Bodhisattva always utters true speech, actual speech, and timely speech, to the point that even in a dream, he would never think of wanting to do so, how much the less deliberately commit violations. (FAS Ch26(2) 20)

V. Abstention from Divisive Speech

By nature he does not engage in divisive speech. The Bodhisattva, towards all living beings, has no thought of dividing them against each other. He has no thought of troubling or harming. He does not report the speech of one person to break his relationship with a second person, nor does he report the speech of the second person to break his relationship with the first person. If people have not already broken with each other, he does not break them up. If they have already broken with each other, he does not increase the break. He does not enjoy dividing people against each other, nor is he happy when people are divided against each other. He does not utter speech that would divide people against each other, nor does he report speech that would divide people against each other--regardless of whether it is true or false. (FAS Ch26(2) 20-21)

VI. Abstention from Harsh Speech

By nature he does not engage in harsh speech, that is, cruel, malicious speech, coarse, wild speech, speech that brings suffering to others, speech that provokes anger and hatred in others, blunt speech, furtive speech, vile and evil speech, cheap and vulgar speech, speech unpleasant to hear, speech that does not delight the listener, angry hateful speech, speech that burns the heart like fire, speech bound up in resentment, heated, irritating speech, disagreeable speech, displeasing speech, speech that can destroy oneself and others--all such types of speech as those he completely abandons. He always utters kind, encouraging speech, soft and gentle speech, speech that delights the mind, speech pleasant to the listener, speech that makes the listener happy, speech that wholesomely enters into people's hearts, elegant and refined speech, speech agreeable to most people, speech that gladdens most people, and speech that brings joy to body and mind. (FAS Ch26(2) 25-26)

VII. Abstention from Irresponsible Speech

By nature he does not engage in loose speech. The Bodhisattva always delights in thoughtful, examined speech, in appropriate speech, in true speech, in meaningful speech, lawful speech, speech that accords with Way-principle, skilfully taming and regulating speech, speech which is reckoned and measured according to the time and which is decisive. This Bodhisattva, even when making jokes, always weighs his words, so how much the less would he deliberately pour out scattered and abandoned talk. (FAS Ch26(2) 28)

VIII. Abstention from Greed

By nature he does not engage in greed. The Bodhisattva does not give rise to greed for others' wealth and property, or things owned and used by others. He does not wish for them or seek them. (FAS Ch26(2) 28)

IX. Abstention from Anger

By nature he is free from anger and hatred. The Bodhisattva, towards all living beings, constantly brings forth a mind of kindness, a benefitting mind, a mind of pity and sympathy, a happy mind, a compatible mind, a mind of accepting and gathering them in. He once and for all abandons anger,hatred, resentment, malevolence, rage, and irritation. He is always considerate and cooperative in his conduct, humane, kind, and helpful. (FAS Ch26(2) 29)

X. Abstention from Foolishness

He is, further, free from deviant views. The Bodhisattva dwells on the proper Paths. He does not practice astrology or divination. He does not grasp at evil precepts. His mind's views are proper and upright. He does not deceive; he does not flatter. Towards the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, he brings forth decisive faith. (FAS Ch26(2) 29-30)


1) Ch. shr shan (shr) ; 2) Skt. dasa-kusala; 3) Pali dasaÄ sikkhapadani, dasa-sila; 4) Alternate Translations: good deeds, good acts, good practices; [not to take life, take what has not been given to us, practice sexual misconduct, lie, use harsh speech, engage in idle talk, slander, hold thoughts of covetousness, keep anger and resentment, keep and foster deluded thoughts; TO HAVE compassionate caring, generosity, contentment, truthfulness, kindly speech, meaningful speech, harmonious speech, generous thoughts, compassionate thoughts, clear thoughts.]

See also: moral precepts, five precepts.

BTTS References: S42 14-15; DFS X 6; FAS Ch26(2) 4-35.

Theravada Buddhism

Theravada Buddhism, sometimes referred to as Southern Buddhism, belongs primarily to the Hinayana tradition and is the only so-called Hinayana School to survive to the present. Theravada means 'teachings of the elders' (Skt. sthavira-vada).

Today Theravada Buddhism is found primarily in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, and other countries of Southeast Asia.


1) Ch. syi ta pi la , 2) Skt. sthavira-vada, 3) Pali theravada.

See also: Mahayana and Hinayana Compared.

Thirty-Two Major Physical Characteristics of a Buddha

'Subhuti, what do you think, can the Tathagata be seen by his physical marks?'

'No, World-Honored One, the Tathagata cannot be seen by his physical marks. And why? It is because the physical marks are spoken of by the Tathagatha as no physical marks.'

The Buddha said to Subhuti, 'All with marks is empty and false. If you can see all marks as no marks, then you see the Tathagata.' (VS 46)

'Subhuti, what do you think, can the Tathagata be seen by means of the Thirty-Two Marks?'

'No, World-honored One, one cannot see the Tathagata by means of the Thirty-Two Marks. And why? The ThirtyÄ Two marks are spoken of by the Tathagata as no ThirtyÄ Two Marks; therefore, they are called thirty-Two Marks.' (VS 85)

All Buddhas possess these physical characteristics. They are said to be the karmic result of a hundred kalpas of cultivation on the Bodhisattva Path.


1) level feet

2) thousand-spoked wheel sign on the feet

3) long, slender fingers

4) pliant hands and feet

5) toes and fingers finely webbed

6) full-sized heels

7) arched insteps

8) thighs like a royal stag

9) hands reaching below the knees

10) well-retracted male organ

11) height and stretch of arms equal

12) every hair-root dark colored

13) body hair graceful and curly

14) golden hued body

15) ten-foot aura around him

16) soft, smooth skin

17) soles, palms, shoulders and crown of head well-rounded

18) area below the armpits well-filed

19) lion shaped body

20) body erect and upright

21) full, round shoulders

22) forty teeth

23) teeth white, even and close

24) four canine teeth pure white

25) lion-jawed

26) saliva that improves the taste of all food

27) tongue long and broad

28) voice deep and resonant

29) eyes deep blue

30) eyelashes like a royal bull

31) white urna curl that emits light between brows

32) fleshy protuberance on the crown of the head


1) Ch. syang , 2) Skt. laksana, dvatrimsat mahapurusalaksana, dvatrimsat varalaksana, 3) Pali lakkhana, dvattimsa mahapurisalakkhana, dvattimsavara-lakkhana, 4) Alternate Translations (including 80 minor characteristics not included here): marks and minor characteristics, subsidiary characteristics, fine marks and special characteristics, magnificent characteristics and subsidiary qualities, hallmarks, attributes.

See also: Buddha, Three Bodies of a Buddha.

BTTS References: EDR I 189-190; EDR VI 212-213, 215; VS 85-86; SS VI.

Thousand Handed Thousand Eyed Dharani Sutra

See Dharani Sutra.

Three Aspects of Learning to Be Without Outflows

1) moral precepts, 2) samadhi, 3) wisdom.

"Diligently cultivate precepts, samadhi and wisdom;

Put to rest greed, hatred, and stupidity.

"Diligently cultivating precepts means putting a stop to evil and avoiding wrong-doing. It is also doing no evil but offering up all good. It means when you recognize your true and actual goal, you should go forward and make courageous progress with vigor, and not change your initial resolution. It also means that you should be firm, sincere, and constant. Your resolve should be solid and firm, it should be sincere, and its should be long-lasting. Constantly and forever one should do no evil and should offer up all good conduct. When you cultivate precepts, you certainly must have patience. That is, you must endure what you cannot endure. In that way the precepts will spontaneously be pure. When the substance of the precepts is pure, then you will be able to give rise to samadhi-power. Samadhi-power means not being moved by outer circumstances. What is meant by wisdom? People with wisdom don't do stupid or upside-down things. They don't do ignorant and afflicted things. That's wisdom.

"If you can diligently cultivate precepts ,samadhi, and wisdom, and in turn, put to rest greed, hatred, and stupidity, then in everything you say and do, you won't calculate for yourself. You should consider the entire world and all of humanity as your responsibility and be concerned about them. Don't be concerned about yourself, and then you won't have any greed. If you make all of humanity your personal responsibility, and set out to benefit each and every person, then you are practicing the Bodhisattva Path. If further you can have no stupidity and afflictions, then your hatred will be put to rest. Stupidity means not recognizing truth and instead doing all kinds of deluded things. If you have no more of all that, then you have put to rest greed, hatred, and stupidity. . . ." (TT 117)


1) Ch. san wu lou sywe/syau , 2) Skt. , 3) Pali , 4) Alternate Translations: no outflow studies, kinds of learning that lead to the elimination of outflows.

See also: moral precepts, samadhi, prajna, Three Poisons., outflows.

BTTS References: TT 117ff.

Three Bodies of a Buddha/Three Types of Buddha-Bodies

1) Dharma-body, 2) Reward-body, 3) Transformation-body (Responsebody)

"The Dharma Body is the principle and nature of Fundamental Enlightenment. The Reward Body is Perfect Wisdom, or Initial Enlightenment. The Transformation Body is a compassionate appearance in response to living beings. The Buddha responds to the needs of living beings who are suffering by compassionately appearing in response to them.

"Another way to explain this is that the Dharma Body is Vairochana Buddha, which translates as 'All-Pervasive light.' The Reward Body is Nisyanda Buddha, which means 'Fulfillment of Purity.' The Transformation Body is Shakyamuni Buddha, which translates as 'Capable of Humaneness,' and 'Still and Silent.' The three bodies are not one and yet not different. The bodies are one, because there are three bodies. But they are not different, because the three issue from one Buddha. It is because the potentials and conditions of living beings are different that beings see differently. Some see the Reward body, others see the Response Body, and still others see the Dharma Body. Again, taking a pearl as an analogy, the Dharma Body is the substance of the pearl, which is round and perfect. The Reward Body is like the pure light emitted by the pearl. The Response Bodies are like the inter-reflections of pearls--pearl reflected within pearl. Apart from the substance, there is no light. Apart from the light, there is no refection. The three are one." (BNS I 11)

If you meet a Good Knowing Advisor, if you listen to the true and right Dharma and cast out your own confusion and falseness, then inside and out there will be penetrating brightness, and within the self-nature all the ten thousand dharmas will appear. That is how it is with those who see their own nature. It is called the clear, pure Dharma-body of the Buddha. . . .

What is the perfect, full Reward-body of the Buddha? Just as one lamp can disperse the darkness of a thousand years, one thought of wisdom can destroy ten thousand years of delusion.

Do not think of the past; it is gone and can never be recovered. Instead think always of the future and in every thought, perfect and clear, see your own original nature. Although good and evil differ, the original nature is non-dual. That non-dual nature is the real nature. Undefiled by either good or evil, it is the perfect, full Reward-body of the Buddha. . . .

What are the hundred thousand myriad Transformation bodies of the Buddha? If you are free of any thought of the ten thousand dharmas, then your nature is basically like emptiness, but in one thought of calculation, transformation occurs. Evil thoughts are transformed into hell-beings and good thoughts into heavenly beings. Viciousness is transformed into dragons and snakes, and compassion into Bodhisattvas. Wisdom is transformed into the upper realms, and delusion into the lower realms. The transformations of the Self-nature are extremely many, and yet the confused person, unawakened to that truth, continually gives rise to evil and walks evil paths. Turn a single thought back to goodness, and wisdom is produced. That is the Transformation body of the Buddha within your self-nature." (PS 188-193)


1) Ch. san shen ; 2) Skt. trikaya; 3) Pali tikaya.

See also: Buddha, Thirty-Two Major (Physical) Characteristics of a Buddha....

BTTS References: PS 188-194; FAS-PII(3) 74-75; BNS I 11; EDR I 14; FAS Ch24 50-51. VBS #196, p. 6.

Three Jewels

1) Buddha, 2) Dharma, 3) Sangha.

The Three Jewels are Buddhism's greatest treasures.

For further information, see the individual entries for



1) Ch. san bau ; 2) Skt. triratna, ratna-traya; 3) Pali tiratana; 4) Alternate Translations: three gems, three treasures, triple jewel.

See also: refuge taking, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.

BTTS References:

Three Poisons

1) greed, 2) anger, 3) foolishness.


1) Ch. san du ; 2) Skt. tridosa; 3) Pali tidosa; 4) Alternate Translations: three basic afflictions: greed/avarice/attraction, hatred/aversion, delusion, ignorance.

See also: affliction.

BTTS References: PS 4; TD 5-14.

Three Refuges

See refuge-taking.

Three Realms

See Three Worlds.

Three Vehicles

1) Bodhisattva-vehicle, 2) Pratyekabuddha-vehicle, 3) Shravaka- vehicle.

In the Dharma Flower Sutra the Buddha reveals that his three teachings--the Shravaka vehicle that leads to Arhatship, the Pratyekabuddha-vehicle that leads to Pratyekabuddhahood, and the Bodhisattva-vehicle that traverses the stages of the Bodhisattva Path--are all provisional, expedient teachings. They lead to fruitions that have no reality in themselves. There is only one reality, and that is Buddhahood.

'It's like taking some milk and dividing it into three different glasses. Three people could each drink one glass, or one person could drink all three glasses, and it would be the same. It's just that if his or her capacity was not that great it might burst his or her stomach. And so the Buddha starts by dividing things up into smaller amounts for you, and when you`ve polished that much off, he pours you out some more. That's just what's going on.' (FAS-PII(1) 249)


1) Ch. san cheng ; 2) Skt. triyana; 3) Pali -----.

See also: Mahayana and Hinayana Compared, Dharma Flower Sutra, Bodhisattva, Pratyekabuddha, Arhat, shravaka.

BTTS References: FAS-PII(1) 248-250.

Three Worlds

1) world of desire, 2) world of form, 3) formless world.

"The Three Worlds refers to the world of desire, the world of form, and the formless world. Living beings within the world of desire still have desire--greed and lust. Living beings within the world of form do not have such heavy desire; however, they still have a physical form and appearance. They are still attached to appearances, and therefore, they are not apart from the marks of self, others, living beings, and lifespans. Living beings of the formless realm are without form or shape, yet they still have consciousness, and they are attached to that consciousness....

"Because living beings within these three worlds are still attached, they cannot get out. Only those who have been certified as having attained the fourth stage of Arhatship can completely escape. But Arhats still belong to the Lesser Vehicle; only Bodhisattvas belong to the Great Vehicle. . . ." (TT 47)


1) Ch. san jye ; 2) Skt. triloka, utpattisthana, 3) Pali tiloka, uppattithana, 4) Alternate Translations: triple world, three realms.

See also: Six Paths of Rebirth.

BTTS References: TT 47; EDR VIII 218-219; FAS-PII(2) 139-141.


----------------------------------------------------------------Ä Chart of the Three Worlds

Thus Come One

If one seeks me in forms,

If one seeks me in sounds,

He practices a deviant way,

And cannot see the Thus Come One.

(VS 141)

Thus Come One is one of the Ten Titles of a Buddha (see entry). The Sanskrit, tathagata, can mean both 'thus come' and 'thus gone'. The Vajra Sutra says, "The Tathagata does not come from anywhere, nor does he go anywhere. Therefore, he is called the Tathagata." (VS 147)

The title Thus Come One refers to a Buddha'a Dharma-body (see Three Bodies of a Buddha). "The Buddha's transformation-bodies come and go, but his Dharma body does not. Maitreya Bodhisattva spoke this gatha:

What comes and goes are the Buddha's transformation- bodies.

The Tathagata is eternally unmoving.

He is neither the same nor different from

Every place within the Dharma-realm.

You should know that it is not the Tathagata who comes and goes; rather the distinctions of our eighth consciousness perceive a coming and a going. When the Vajra Sutra tells you not to consider the Buddha as either sitting, lying, coming, or going, it is telling you not to make such distinctions. When you no longer make distinctions, your wisdom can appear. . . ." (VS 149)


1) Ch. ru lai , 2) Skt. tathagata, 3) Pali tathagata, 4) Alternate Translations: Thus Gone One, Thus Come.

See also: Buddha.

BTTS References: DFS IV 540; VS 141ff; EDR VIII 217-218; TD 26.


The Buddhist teaching about time is closely linked to the doctrine of impermanence (see entry). What we see as the passage of time when analyzed in large segments becomes ungraspable when analyzed on the level of single moments of time. Nonetheless, when operating on the ordinary level of discourse, the Buddha taught about the passage of time on both the macrocosmic and microcosmic levels. Just as all beings are born, grow old, get sick and die, so too do entire world-systems come into being, achieve stasis, decay, and cease to be. And every moment of thought can also be seen as coming into being, abiding, decaying, and disappearing.

The length of the process on the level of a world system is called a great aeon, or mahakalpa in Sanskrit. The length of a mahakalpa is calculated as follows: "Starting from a lifespan of ten years, for every hundred years the age of people increases by one year, and their height increases by one inch. This keeps on increasing until the lifespan of humans reaches a full 84,000 years. Then this is followed by a process of decrease in the same ratio. For every hundred years, there is a decrease of a year and an inch from the lifespan and the height of a human being, until his age reaches ten years again. One complete process of increase and decrease makes up one kalpa--16,798,000 years. A thousand of these make up on small kalpa. Twenty small kalpas make up one medium-sized kalpa. Four medium-sized kalpas make up one great kalpa (1,343,800,000,000 years). Each of the four stages takes up twenty small kalpas--twenty kalpas for coming into being, twenty kalpas for dwelling, twenty kalpas for decaying, and twenty kalpas for going empty." (EDR I)

"The very first kalpa [of a particular world-system] , of course, begins the cycle of coming into being, stasis, decay, and emptiness. Those four terms are explained as follows. A thousand small kalpas together make up a middle sized kalpa. One middleÄ sized kalpa covers a period of coming into being. A period of stasis also spans twenty small kalpas, a period of decay is twenty small kalpas long, and a period of emptiness is also twenty small kalpas.

"'But,' you say, ' I can't possibly conceive of that long a period of time.' Well, if you can't grasp this concept, then I'll shrink the kalpa down a bit for you to enable you to understand. Let's discuss the lifespan of a person. A person's lifespan extends for several decades, and those years span the time of being born, the time of growing old, the time of sickness, and the time of death. Those four different periods of time are synonymous with the coming into being, stasis, decay, and emptiness of a worldÄ system.

"Then you say, 'Well, I still don't understand--I still can't comprehend this idea.' Well, we'll shrink it some more and talk about a single year's time. A year has four seasons; Spring, summer, fall, and winter. Spring is the period of coming into being; summer is the period of stasis; fall is the period of decay; and winter is the period of emptiness. Do you see? In the springtime we prepare the fields for planting. The fields are planted with the intention that the plants will come into being. Seeds are planted in the earth, and the summertime, after the seeds have sprouted and the plants are flourishing is the period of stasis. In the fall the plants reach maturity, and their harvest takes place in the autumn, just as the period of decay sets in. Then, with the coming of winter, after everything that grew from the earth has been harvested, there is a period of emptiness. The principle applies in the same way." (FAS Ch5-6 115-117)

Suppose, o monks, there was a huge rock of one solid mass, one mile long, one mile wide, one mile high, without split or flaw. And at the end of every one hundred years a man should come and rub against it with a silken cloth. Then that huge rock would wear off and disappear quicker than a kappa (i.e., kalpa). (SN XV 5, quoted in Trevor Ling, Dictionary of Buddhism, p. 72)

The Buddha also taught that time is relative to our state of mind; it passes more quickly when we are happy and less quickly when we are unhappy. Therefore, passage of time and lifespan differs on the different paths of rebirth (see Ten Dharma Realm, Six Paths of Rebirth).

"The Heaven of the Four Kings (see Six Desire Heavens) is the heaven closest to us, located halfway up Mount Sumeru, as explained in the Buddhist sutras. It does not reach the peak of Mount Sumeru. The four great heavenly kings are the eastern heavenly king, the southern heavenly king, the western heavenly king, and the northern heavenly king. The lifespan of beings in the Heaven of the Four Kings is five hundred years; after five hundred years, they are destined to fall, and the Five Marks of Decay appear [i.e., signs of the impending death of a god]. . . . A day and a night in the Heaven of the Four Kings is equivalent to fifty years among humans. 'How is that the case?,' you ask.

"I'll give you an example to help you understand. If we feel very happy on a given day, the day passes without our even being aware of it. We feel the day was very short. All of us are like that. Because it is blissful in the heavens, a day and a night there is equal to fifty years among humans.

"Why is fifty years such a long time in the realm of humans? In the realm of humans there is continual disturbance and affliction, suffering and difficulty, fighting and quarrelling. People are busy from morning to night,a nd they don't have any idea what they are doing. They are like flies in the air, flying north, south, east, and west without knowing what they are doing. You haven't any bliss here, and so the time is very long.

"Then again, a day and a night among humans is equivalent to fifty years in the hells, because the pain and suffering in the hells is so intense, and so the beings there feel the time is extended. From this you should understand that time is neither short nor long." (SS II 68-69)

According to Mahayana Buddhist teaching, time is fundamentally unreal and is the product of distinction-making in the mind.

Past thought cannot be got at, present thought cannot be got at, and future thought cannot be got at. (VS 124)

"Earlier a disciple asked me, 'What is time?' I haven't any time. There is no time. Time is just each person's individual awareness of long and short; that is all. If you are happy every day, fifty years can go by and you won't feel it has been a long time. If one's life is very blissful, if one has no worries, anxieties, anger, or afflictions, one's entire life seems but a short time--the blink of an eye. Ultimately, time is nothing more than a distinction based upon each person's awareness. . . . (SS II 69)

If 'the present' and 'future' exist presupposing the 'the past,' 'the present' and 'future' will exist in 'the past.'

If 'the present' and 'future' did not exist there [in 'the past'], how could 'the present' and 'future' exist presupposing that 'past'?

Without presupposing 'the past' the two things ['the present' and 'future']cannot be proved to exist.

Therefore, neither present nor future time exist.

In this way the remaining two [times] can be inverted.

Thus one would regard 'highest,' 'lowest' and 'middle,' etc., and oneness and difference.

A non-stationary 'time' cannot be 'grasped;' and a stationary 'time' which can be grasped does not exist.

How, then, can one perceive time if it is not 'grasped?'

Since time is dependent on a thing (bhava), how can time [exist] without a thing?

There is not any thing which exists; how, then, will time become [something]?

(Nagarjuna, "Mulamadhyamakakarikas", Streng, tr. Emptiness)


1) Ch. shr , 2) Skt. kala, 3) Pali kala.

See also: world-system.

BTTS References: TT 6; EDR I 28-29; UW 219-220, 222; FAS Ch5-6 115Ä 117; FAS Ch9 147-148; SS II 68-69; SS IV ?; VS 124.

transference of merit

The practice of transference of merit is a natural and logical development of a fundamental principle of the Path of the Bodhisattva: one uses the benefits that karmically accrue to oneself to benefit others. Transfer of merit means transferring one's own merit to others so that they may benefit from it.

"What does it mean to bring forth a Bodhisattva's mind of transference?

1) He makes transference from himself to others. He transfers his merit and virtue as a universal gift to all living beings in the Dharma Realm. He dedicates it to all living beings. If you can have All-Wisdom, then you may be able to see the Buddha. But if you have All-Wisdom, then you should make a vow to use it t make transference to all living beings so that they too will be able to attain All-Wisdom. You should make transference from yourself to them.

2) He makes transference from the cause to the effect. In the future everyone will obtain the fruit of Buddhahood. Now we are cultivating on the cause ground. The aim of this transference is to help living beings throughout the Dharma Realm accomplish the Buddha Way together.

3) He makes transference of the specifics to the principle. We want to dedicate all our specific practices to the still, unsurpassed, and pure principle substance of all Buddhas.

4) He makes transference from the small to the great. At present the measure of our minds and thoughts is very small. We must make a vow that our minds will pervade the Dharma Realm, fill empty space, and include the ten thousand things. If we are now cultivating the Dharmas of the Small Vehicle, then we should dedicate our practice to the Great Vehicle. There are all kinds of transference." (FAS Ch9 27)


1) Ch. hwei syang ; 2) Skt. parinamana, 3) Pali -----, 4) Alternate translations: dedication.

See also: merit, Six Paramitas--giving.

BTTS References: UW 38-39; FAS Ch9 26-28; EDR IV (Ten Transferences); FAS Ch25; RH 71, 82, 146-157, 158-162; SS VII 50-59 (Ten Transferences).


See Three Bodies of a Buddha. Bodhisattvas also may have transformation-bodies.


Tripitaka is a Sanskrit word meaning literally 'three baskets'. It refers to the Buddhist canon, which is divided into three portions: Sutra, Vinaya, and Abhidharma. They are sometimes listed as Sutra, Vinaya, and Shastra.

'The Sutra Store describes and reveals the study of concentration. The Vinaya Store describes and reveals the study of precepts. And the Shastra Store describes and reveals the study of wisdom. Sutras, Vinaya, and Shastras are precepts, samadhi, and wisdom, and they put to rest and eradicate greed, hatred, and stupidity.' (FAS Ch9 185)


1) Ch. san dzang ; 2) Skt. tripitaka; 3) Pali tipitaka; 4) Alternate Translations: Three Storehouses, Three Treasuries.

See also: sutra, vinaya, abhidharma.

BTTS References: HS 13, VS 11; UW 3; FAS-PII(1) 109-111; FAS Ch9 185.

Tripitaka Master

An honorific title used by a someone who has fully master all three divisions of the Buddhist canon, or Tripitaka. See Tripitaka.


1) Ch. san dzang fa shr ; 2) Skt. tripitaka-acarya; 3) Pali tipitaka-acariya.

See also: Tripitaka.

Tushita Heaven

See Six Desire Heavens.

Twelvefold Conditioned Arising

1) Ignorance, 2) Karmic Formation, 3) Consciousness, 4) Name and Form, 5) Six Involvements, 6) Contact, 7) Feeling, 8) Craving, 9) Grasping, 10) Existence, 11) Birth, 12) Old Age and Death.

"...ignorance. Where does it come from? What is its beginning? It cannot be classified as either conditioned or unconditioned but falls between the two. ...ignorance leads to karmic activity.

"Karmic activity is a conditioned dharma, and when it appears, consciousness, which makes distinctions about the manifestations of activity, arises. With the making of distinctions the trouble starts.

"Name and form are the trouble. Just mentioning them is asking for trouble, because you're bound to say, 'How are name and form troublesome? I don't understand.' Before I said anything, you did not have any problem of not understanding, but once I referred to name and form as trouble, the problem of your not understanding arose and with it the desire to know.

"This quest for knowledge results in the use of the six organs, the faculties through which you attempt to achieve understanding. You decide you want to know, and suddenly a visual consciousness appears as do the consciousnesses of the ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. You think you can gain understanding through the six organs without realizing that the more you 'understand' the more confused you become, and the more confused you are, the less you understand.

"Since you do not understand, you tend toward further involvement, which takes the form of contact. You constantly seek encounters, east, west, north, south, above, and below, like a fly madly bouncing off walls. All that results from this desperate attempt to understand is a lot of bruises from all the bumps.

"After the determination to understand sets in and the encounters occur, there is feeling. 'OW! It hurts!' you exclaim when you are bumping into things, and 'Boy do I feel good!' when you are not. ' If no one bothers me I'm fine, but I can't stand criticism.' This is where feeling lies. Don't look for it anywhere else.

"Once there is feeling, love arises. With love comes hate. You like to get involved in pleasant situations, but you detest painful circumstances. Happiness and unhappiness come from love, and every day the trouble grows.

"Wishing to prolong your contact with the objects of love, you indulge in grasping. The reason you clutch at objects of love is that you wish to become one with them. You want them to be inseparable from you, and this grasping leads to becoming.

"Your attempt to have them for your own results in further births, which lead to old age and death. This is the Twelvefold Conditioned Arising." (TD 31)

And what, brethren, is old age-and-death?

That which, of this and that being, in this and that group, is decay, decrepitude, breaking up, hoariness, wrinkling of the skin, shrinkage of a life-span, overÄ ripeness of faculties: this is called old age. That which , of this and that being from this or that group, is falling or decease, separation, disappearance, mortality or dying, accomplishment of time: separation of component factors, laying down of the carcass: this is called death. Thus it is this decay and this dying that is called old age-and-death.

And what, brethren, is birth?

That which, of this and that being in this and that group, is birth, continuous birth, descent, reproduction, appearance of component factors, acquiring of senseÄ spheres. This is called birth.

And what, brethren, is becoming?

Three are these becomings: becoming in Kama(i.e., desire)-[worlds], becoming in Rupa(i.e., form)-[worlds], becoming in Arupa(i.e., formless)-[worlds]. This is called becoming.

And what, brethren, is grasping?

There are these four graspings: grasping of desires, grasping of opinion, grasping of rule and ritual, grasping of soul theory. This is called grasping.

And what, brethren, is craving?

There are these six groups of craving: craving for things seen, for things heard, for odours, for tastes, for things tangible, for ideas. This is called craving.

And what, brethren, is feeling?

There are these six groups of feeling: feeling that is born of eye-contact, feeling that is born of earÄ contact, feeling that is born of nose-contact, feeling that is born of tongue contact, feeling that is born of body-contact, feeling that is born of mind-contact. This is called feeling.

And what, brethren, is contact?

There are these six groups of contact: eye-contact, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body-, mind-contact. This is called contact.

And what, brethren, is sixfold sense?

The sense of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind. This is called sixfold sense.

And what, brethren, is name-and-shape.

Feeling, perception, will, contact, work of mind. This is called name. The four great elements and the shape derived from them. This is called shape. This is the name, this is the shape called name-and-shape.

And what is consciousness?

There are six groups of consciousness:--eyeÄ consciousness, ear-consciousness, smell-, taste-, touchÄ , and mind-consciousness. This is called consciousness.

And what are activities?

These are the three activities:--those of deed, speech, and mind. These are activities.

And what is ignorance?

Nescience concerning ill, its rise, its cessation and concerning the way going to the cessation of ill. This is called ignorance.

So thus, brethren:--'conditioned by ignorance activities, conditioned by activities consciousness,' and so on to 'despair'--such is the uprising of this entire mass of ill.

But from the utter fading out and ceasing of ignorance ceasing of activities, from the ceasing of activities ceasing of consciousness, and so on to 'despair'--such is the ceasing of this entire mass of ill. (Kindred Sayings II 3-5)


1) Ch. shr-er yin ywan , 2) Skt. nidana, pratityasamutpada, 3) Pali paticca-samuppada 4) Alternate Translations: causes, causes and conditions, conditioned causes, dependent origination, interdependent origination, dependent arising, conditioned co-production, chain of causation, metabolism of kamma, conditioned links.

See also: causation.

BTTS References: HS 61-65; SS IV 32-35; TD 31; FAS 10 Grounds Ch.--5th Ground, p. 52ff; FAS 10 Grounds Ch.--6th Ground, pp. 70-89; 10DR 9-10; AS 3.

Two Vehicles

1) Pratyekabuddha-vehicle, 2) Shravaka-vehicle.

A common way of refering to those who follow the Hinayana teachings.


1) Ch. er cheng ; 2) Skt. .

See also: Three Vehicles, Mahayana and Hinayana Compared.

Tyan-Tai School

One of the major schools of Buddhism in China, based on the teachings of the Dharma Flower (Lotus) Sutra.

Major early patriarchs of the Tyan-T'ai Schools's lineage include:

1) Hwei-Wen (fl. 550)

2) Hwei-Szu (515-577)

3) Jr-Yi (538-597) [See entry.]

4) Gwan-Ding (561-632)

The school is named after Mount Tyan-Tai in Chekiang Province where the third patriarch Jr-Yi lived, practiced, and taught.

In addition to the school's emphasis on the Dharma Flower Sutra's teaching about the one Buddha vehicle that supercedes the teachings of the Three Vehicles, the school is known for its system of Ranking the Teachings and for its method of sutra exegesis called the Fivefold Esoteric Meaning. The school also emphasized the jr-gwan or 'calming and contemplation' method of meditation (Skt. samnatha-vipasyana).


1) Ch. tyan-tai (Jap. tendai).

See also: Five Types of Buddhist Study and Practice-teaching, JrÄ Yi, Dharma Flower Sutra, ranking the teachings.

BTTS References: DFS; FAS-PII ?.