Tathagata (tib: de shin sheg pa) — is one of the ten epithets of the Buddha Shakyamuni and all those who have attained Enlightenment and have gone beyond the cycle of existence.

The term mean: «one who has thus come» or «one who has thus gone». This epithet was used by the Buddha Shakyamuni when referring to himself and to other Buddhas.

Buddhist Symbols in Tibetan Culture

Loden Sherab Dagyab Rinpoche

Lama (tib. bla ma) — the Supreme teacher equal to Sanskrit Guru («weighty» meaning solid, heavy with knowledge). Tibetan Buddhism recognizes lama as the greatest treasure transcending the three jewels which are Buddha, the monastic community (Sangha) and the teaching itself (Dharma).

It’s impossible to receive the teaching, and therefore to follow it, without a teacher. The teacher is a source of all blessing and achievements.

Sacred images of Tibet

T. Sergeeva

The Dzogchen teachings are neither a philosophy, nor a religious doctrine, nor a cultural tradition. Understanding the message of the teachings means discovering one’s own true condition, stripped of all the self-deceptions and falsifications which the mind creates.

The very meaning of the Tibetan term Dzogchen, Great Perfection, refers to the true primordial state of every individual and not to any transcendent reality.

Dzogchen: The Self Perfected State

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

Bodhisattva means «Enlightened Being» or one who aspires to bodhi. In the earliest Jatakas, it means Sakyamuni in his previous lives and in his historic life before his Enlightenment as the Buddha.

After the rise of Mahayana, Bodhisattva came to mean «one who seeks and attains Enlightenment for self, but postpones entry into nirvana to lead others to this goal».

Tibetan Art

Lokesh Chandra

Tara means «Savior» (tib. sgrol ma). It is because of the fact that she saves from the eight outer fears: the fear of lions, elephants, fire, snakes, thieves, water, slavery and dark spirits.

Also she saves from the eight internal fears: the fear of pride, ignorance, anger, envy, wrong thoughts, attachment, miserable state and unfounded doubts. Tara saves us from the dangers to be born in one of the three lower rebirths.

Tibetan painting

George Nicolas de Roerich

Dharma protectors (tib. chos-skyong) — are male or female manifestations that prevent the obstacles which disturb our practice. At the core they represent our real awareness of emptiness and manifest as the powerful energies that are the best protection against obstacles.

There are worldly and wisdom protectors. The task of the worldly one is to protect the region, country or place from the problems or harmful influences.

His Holiness the XVII Karmapa

Preserving the Sacred Art is always a part of preservation of Buddha Dharma.

H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche