Dictionary of Key Spiritual Terms

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  1. bla chen/ 

    [lit. priest + great] [var. bla ma chen po/ ]

    Biblical: chief priest or high priest: 1) chief priest: bla chen dang mkhan po/  chief priests and teachers of the law (Mt. 2:4), rgan mi dang bla chen dang mkhan po rnams/  elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law (Mt. 16:21), bla chen dang pha ru shi pa rnams/  chief priests and Pharisees (Mt. 21:45); 2) high priest: bla chen ab ya thar/  Abiathar the high priest (Mk. 2:26), ye shu bla chen gyi rtsar gdan drangs nas/  they took Jesus to the high priest (Mk. 14:53); 3) used also of Jesus' high priesthood: sku tshab dang bla chen ye shu la som zhig fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest (Heb. 3:1), mal ki tshe deg gi rim par bla chen/  high priest in the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:10), dkon mchog gis khong la mel ki tshe deg gi lugs su bla ma chen po zhes pa'i mtshan gnang ngo /  (Heb. 5:10 SV).

    Buddhist: a head lama or religious leader: bla chen/  a great living Buddha (e.g. the Dalai Lama) (AMD), a mdo bla ma chen po/  a great lama from Amdo (DPD), bla chen dgongs pa rab gsal/  the great lama Gongpa Rabsel (TRC 115), bla chen gyi sku drung nas sdom pa blangs/  received their vows from the great lama (TRC 115).

  2. bla ma/ 

    Biblical: priest: za kar ya bya ba'i bla ma zhig a priest named Zechariah (Lk. 1:5), bla ma la ston zhig go show [yourselves] to the priests (Lk. 17:14), bla ma dang mchod g.yog pa/  priests and Levites (Jn. 1:19), khyed ni gtan gyi bla ma yin/  you are a priest forever (Heb. 7:21).

    Buddhist: 1) bla ma/  a Tibetan Bst. priest who is the intermediary between the believer and the spiritual powers of the Buddhas. The lama is thought to be the source of all spiritual progress. Complete reliance on one's lama for one moment is said to create the same amount of merit as a thousand aeons of practicing the six perfections; and making offerings to even one hair of the lama is said to make more merit than offerings to all the Buddhas. Devotion to lamas bla ma'i rnal 'byor/  is said to help progress towards enlightenment, to delight all the Buddhas, to give protection from demons, and to fulfill all wishes (JPG 99). Hence tantric disciples are expected to ci mdzad legs mthong /  see whatever one's teacher does as good (TQP 85). On the other hand, breaking the bond of commitment bla slob kyi dam tshig (TQP 151) with one's lama is said to destroy all good karma, cause sickness, possession by evil spirits, and rebirth in hell (JPG 105); 2) the founder of a guru-to-disciple teaching lineage: rtsa ba'i bla ma mgon po/  the root lama of a teaching lineage (HTE 180); 3) a tantric religious teacher: rgya gar dang bal po'i bla ma brgya dang lnga bcu/  150 Indian and Nepalese gurus (TRC 137).

    Cognates: bla ma dbu mdzad/  a lead lama, one who has passed an examination in sutra and tantra (TRC 53).

  3. dge 'dun/ 

    Biblical: priesthood: dge 'dun dam pa/  a holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5,6), rgyal srid dang dge 'dun du mdzad pa/  made us to be a kingdom and priests [lit. a priesthood] (Rev. 1:6).

    Buddhist: see church.

  4. mchod shoms pa/ 

    Biblical: priest: rang gi lus mchod shoms pa la bstan/  show yourself to the priest (Mt. 8:4).

    Buddhist: a mchod shoms pa/  is a person who arranges a religious service and places offerings before the lama or deity to be worshipped (AMD).

  5. mchod dpon/ 

    [lit. offering + master]

    Biblical: priest: mchod dpon za dog Zadok the priest (2 Sam. 15:35 NTV).