Dictionary of Key Spiritual Terms

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Wylie | Tibetan


See also ambassador, apostle, evil spirit
  1. ཕོ་​ཉ།

    [lit. messenger]

    Biblical: 1) supernatural beings who serve as God's messengers: གཙོ་​བོ་​དཀོན་​མཆོག་​གི་​ཕོ་​ཉ་​རྨི་​ལམ་​དུ་​བྱུང་​། an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream (Mt. 1:20), ནམ་​མཁའི་​ཕོ་​ཉ། angels of heaven (Mt. 22:30); 2) supernatural beings who serve the devil: བདུད་​དང་​དེའི་​ཕོ་​ཉ། the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41); 3) angels of churches: སྐར་​མ་​བདུན་​པོ་​ནི་​ཆོས་​ཚོགས་​བདུན་​གྱི་​ཕོ་​ཉ་​ཡིན། the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches (Rev. 1:20); 4) human messengers: ཁྱེད་​ཀྱི་​སྔོན་​དུ་​ང་​ཡི་​ཕོ་​ཉ་​གཏོང་​། I will send my messenger ahead of you (Mt. 11:10), སྤུན་​གཞན་​གཉིས་​པོ་​ཆོས་​ཚོགས་​ཀྱི་​ཕོ་​ཉ། as for our brothers, they [are] representatives of the churches (2 Cor. 8:23); 5) delegation: གཞན་​དེ་​ཐག་​རིང་​ན་​ཡོད་​རིང་​ཕོ་​ཉ་​བཏང་​། while the other is far away, [he] will send a delegation (Lk. 14:32).

    Buddhist: 1) ཕོ་​ཉ། or ལྷའི་​ཕོ་​ཉ། a supernatural messenger who seeks to help those who practice the dharma; like an evil spirit, however, a ཕོ་​ཉ། is a mind consciousness which is afflicted by defilements (KTM); 2) a human messenger, a bearer of news (KTM); in the past one who rode a horse to carry or deliver a letter. Now used mainly in artistic writing, e.g. the bird who begins singing at the beginning of spring is called the ཕོ་​ཉ། of spring (AMD); 3) a messenger of the lord of death, གཤིན་​རྗེ། (KTM), or of the devil: བདུད་​ཀྱི་​ཕོ་​ཉ་​དགའ་​རབ་​དབང་​ཕྱུག the devil's messenger, Garab Wangchuk (SGN 22).

  2. ཕོ་​ཉ་​མཆོག

    [lit. messenger + best]

    Biblical: an archangel ཕོ་​ཉ་​མཆོག་​གི་​སྐད། voice of the archangel (1 Thes. 4:16).

  3. གཤེད་​མ།

    [lit. executioner, angel of death]

    Biblical: angel of destruction ལ་​ལས་​མ་​རངས་​པའི་​ཚིག་​སྨྲས་​ནས་​གཤེད་​མས་​བསད་​པ་​ལྟར། as the destroying angel killed some of them after they complained (1 Cor. 10:10).

    Buddhist: གཤེད་​མ། a class of killer demons which takes away life by seizing its victims' deteriorated life force (སྲོག). The exorcism of a གཤེད་​མ། from the home of the deceased is known as ཟ་​འདྲེ་​ཁ་​སྒྱུར།, (turning away the mouth of the eating demon), even though the གཤེད་​མ། is what caused the death (KTM).

    Secular: གཤེད་​མ། a term of contempt used of one completely selfish and without reason; in former Tibetan society the common people used this term of oppressive rulers (AMD). See also evil spirit.