Dictionary of Key Spiritual Terms

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Wylie | Tibetan


See also commandment, law, revelation
  1. གསུང་​རབ།

    Biblical: Scripture: གསུང་​རབ་​བཤིག་​མི་​ཐུབ། Scripture cannot be broken (Jn. 10:35), གསུང་​རབ་​ཀྱི་​ཚིག་​མཚམས། passage of Scripture (Acts 8:32), གསུང་​རབ་​ཀྱི་​དོན་​གོ་​བའི་​ཕྱིར། so that they could understand the Scriptures (Lk. 24:45), གསུང་​རབ་​དང་​ཡེ་​ཤུའི་​བཀའ་​ལ་​དད་​པར་​གྱུར་​ཏོ། they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken (Jn. 2:22), གསུང་​རབ་​ན་​གསུངས་​པ་​བཞིན། according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3).

    Buddhist: 1) གསུང་​རབ། [lit. word + highest] The Bst. scriptures are understood to be guides to spiritual insight rather than the self-revelation of a supernatural power. Once spiritual insight or realizations are obtained, the doctrines of the Buddhist scriptures may be discarded, just as a raft is left behind after crossing a river. The scriptures are thought to be true and inerrant མི་​སླུ་​བ། only in the sense that they teach all that is needed for spiritual progress [rather than being true in the sense of free from logical contradictions or historical errors] (BAL 44). The Buddha's teachings གསུང་​རབ། are believed to have four qualities: i) they describe the methods for attaining liberation; ii) they are without grammatical errors; iii) they are given for the sake of eliminating suffering; and iv) they teach the benefits of overcoming obstacles to enlightenment (BAL 44). The scriptural books themselves are considered materially holy, and are placed in high places, wrapped in special cloth, and worshipped with incense, lamps, etc. (KTM): གླེགས་​བམ་​གསུང་​རབ་​རྣམས་​ཆོས་​དཀོན་​མཆོག་​དངོས། the volumes of the scriptures are really the dharma jewel (REF 115); 2) figuratively, the most important literary work in a class: འཆར་​ཡན་​རིང་​ལུགས་​རིག་​རྩལ་​གཞུང་​ལུགས་​ཀྱི་​གསུང་​རབ། the "Bible" of romantic literary theory (SBC-1, 62).

  2. མདོ།

    Biblical: 1) sacred writing, Scripture: དམ་​པའི་​མདོ། the Holy Scriptures (Rom 1:2), མདོ་​ན་​གསུངས་​པ་​འགྲུབ་​པའི་​ཕྱིར། that what the Scripture said would be fulfilled (Jn. 19:28), དཀོན་​མཆོག་​གིས་​ལུང་​དུ་​བསྟན་​པའི་​མདོ་​ཐམས་​ཅད། [lit.] all God-inspired Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16,17); 2) used of the names of various Biblical books: སྟོན་​པའི་​མདོ། Ecclesiates; ཡེ་​ཤ་​ཡའི་​མདོ། the Book of Isaiah (DPD).

    Buddhist: 1) མདོ། [Skt. sutra/} ] religious discourses ascribed to the historical Buddha, though in popular usage there may be no distinction between གསུང་​རབ། and མདོ། (AMD). མདོའི་​སྡེ། the discourses, one of the 12 divisions of the scriptures or གསུང་​རབ་​ཡན་​ལག (KBT 88), མདོ་​སྔགས་​གཉིས། sutra and tantra (TRC 52), ཐར་​གྱི་​མདོ། the Pratimoksha sutra (TRC 51); 2) མདོ་​སྡེ་​པ། the Sautrantika, a Hinayana school of the second century AD who accept only the sutras as scripture (TRC 95).

  3. བཀའ།

    Biblical: 1) commandment: དཀོན་​མཆོག་​གི་​བཀའ་​དང་​ཚུལ་​ཁྲིམས། God's commandments and regulations (Lk. 1:6); 2) Word: a) a pronouncement or communication from God: དཀོན་​མཆོག་​གི་​བཀའ་​ནི་​རྟག་​ཏུ་​གནས། the word of the Lord stands forever (Is. 40:8); b) Jesus Christ: ཐོག་​མར་​བཀའ་​ཡོད་​ལགས་​པ་​དང་​། བཀའ་​དེ་​དཀོན་​མཆོག་​མཉམ་​དུ་​བཞུགས། in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (Jn. 1:1). In these senses, God's བཀའ། is authoritative (Ps. 103:20), true (Jn. 17:17), and eternal (Is. 40:8). Compare གསུང་​རབ། above.

    Buddhist: སངས་​རྒྱས་​ཀྱི་​བཀའ། teachings or words of the Buddha recorded in the Bst. scriptures: མ་​ལོག་​པར་​སྟོན་​པའི་​སངས་​རྒྱས་​ཀྱི་​བཀའ། the inerrant scriptures of the Buddha (TRC 75). The Scriptures are traditionally divided into three parts by content: སངས་​རྒྱས་​ཀྱི་​བཀའ་​སྡེ་​སྣོད་​གསུམ། the "three baskets" of the Bst. scriptures: འདུལ་​བ། [Skt. vinaya] moral discipline and ethics, མདོ་​སྡེ། [Skt. sutra] religious discourses, མངོན་​ཆོས་​ཀྱི་​མཛོད། [Skt. abhidhamma] teaching on knowledge (TRC 113). They may also be divided into three parts by source: ཞལ་​ནས་​གསུངས་​པའི་​བཀའ། teachings supposedly spoken by the Buddha himself; བྱིན་​གྱིས་​བརླབས་​པའི་​བཀའ། teachings given later by others through the blessing of his word; རྗེས་​སུ་​གནང་​བའི་​བཀའ། approved or authorized teachings (CNG 20).