abhisheka Literally "sprinkling" (cf. the above passage on "The Ambrosia shop of the Buddha"), it is the Sanskrit word used for a tantric initiation. The Tibetan word is "dBang" (pronounced "wang").
ambrosia Skt. amrita.
amrita Sanskrit for " elixir of immortality", it literally means "deathlessness". This has obvious parallels in "ambrosia" the name of the classical Greek "food of the gods" which means "no death".
asuras A race of anti-gods, comparable to the Titans in classical Greek mythology.
beer Tibetan chhang ("barley beer").
bimba tree Probably Momordica monadelpha
dutsi A phonetic rendering of the Tibetan bDud.rTsi, equivalent to Skt., amrita, soma, Eng. "ambrosia".
eating ambrosia Considering that this ambrosia has been described as something which may be "sprinkled" we must suspect the accuracy of this translation.
empowerment A more literal translation of the Tibetan word dBang meaning "initiation".
goma This appears to be Japanese pronunciation of "homa".
hala hala (Sanskrit) Presumably a corrupt form of kalakuta or khalakuta, the equivalent terms in the Hindu myth. Like these terms neither its precise meaning nor its etymology is understood.
haoma The Iranian equivalent of soma. The word is cognate with Skt. homa, "fire ritual", "sacrifice".
herbal pills T. J. Tsarong gives the composition only of bDud.rTsi.Ril.dKar ("the white nectar pill"), which is used medicinally, but not of bDud.rTsi.Ril.dMar ("the red nectar pill") which is used by yogins and for initiations. The "white nectar pill" contains "Ash of a fossilized stone (Bya.rDo), Hedychium spicatum, black salt, Hippophae rhamnoides, Piper longum".
hevajra Tantra The "Hevajra Tantra" is a complex and arcane Buddhist work which concerns itself with the ecstatic, yogic and magical means to enlightenment.
homa Skt., "fire ritual", "sacrifice".
Jetsun A Tibetan honorific, in this case referring to Milarepa
Kyungpo Naljor Tib. K'yung.Po rNal.'Byor ("Garuda yogin")
lhamayin The Tibetan word Lha.Ma.Yin (literally "Not a god") is a translation of the Sanskrit asura.
Mandavya I have, as yet, been unable to find any other reference to "the sage Mandavya, who dwelt on the Vindhyas". The Vindhyas are a range of mountains in the South of India inhabited by Dravidian people. In the Indian tradition mountains are considered to be repositories of medicinal herbs.
Milarepa Tib. Mi.La.Ras.Pa ("Mila the cotton-clad")
naga-king Nagas are snake-spirits. They have the power to change their shape, their females (nagini) often assuming the guise of beautiful women. Although they inhabit the subterranean land of "Patala", they are connected with the water element and have the power to bring rain.
Natakubera The wealth deity Kubera (also written Kuvera, Sanskrit for "deformed") is considered the lord of the yakshas and is thus called yaksharaja. The name Natakubera literally means "the bent and misshapen one".
pacifying practice Tib. gCod
Patala The underworld realm of the asuras. Due to their common "anti-god" alignment, it is also said to house the yakshas and the nagas. Patala should not be confused with either:
(a) Potala, the "pure land" of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, or
(b) the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. This palace was the seat of the Dalai Lamas from the 16th to the 20th centuries. It was built by the "Great Fifth" Dalai Lama who named it after the realm of Avalokiteshvara.
piyusha The words piyusha, amrita, sudha are modern Hindi synonyms for soma. Das gives them in the Devanagari alphabet
Perfection of Wisdom Ashtasahasrika Praj˝aparamita Sutra (Skt., "The Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Verses"), a seminal Mahayana text, probably composed in the 1st century C.E.
sadhaka One who practices a sadhana.
sadhana A tantric system of meditation, often involving the visualization of a deity while reciting a mantra appropriate to that deity.
secret water A note on "secret water" explains "Probably she poured urine in the skull cup for him to drink."
siddha (Skt) "accomplished", "adept". One who has achieved enlightenment by following the Vajrayana path. See siddhi.
siddhi (Skt) "accomplishment". In the Vayrayana tradition there is only one accomplishment worth considering and that is enlightenment. See siddha.
soma-raja M. Monier-Williams, ("A Sanskrit-English Dictionary", Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi 1993) interprets the closely-related words soma-rajika and soma-raji as being the plant Vernonia anthelminthica.
tail of a dragon Actually the tail of a naga or giant, supernatural snake.
three essentials The three essentials components of an initiation are (1) the substance to be eaten or drunk, (2) the visualization of the deity and (3) the mantra of that deity.
Vajrapani Skt. Vajrapani, "Thunderbolt-holder", becomes, in Tibetan, P'yag.Na.rDo.rJe, "Thunderbolt-in-hand". This is frequently abbreviated to P'yag.rDor (pronounced Chak-dor).
vajrayana Skt., "diamond/thunderbolt vehicle", also known as the Guhyamantrayana, "secret mantra vehicle".
Vyasa Skt., "author"
world of the asuras see Patala
yaksha Originally a class of gigantic, goblin-like, chthonic demons in Indian popular culture, sometimes said to bring disease. In Buddhist literature, converted Yakshas are frequently cited as protectors of Buddhism.
yakshini Kali The word Yakshini is the feminine form of yaksha. I think we may confidently assume that the yakshini in question is the Hindu goddess Kali in Buddhist guise. That she is said to be a mere yakshini and a servant of Kuvera (Kubera) is an example of the mutual denigration of deities which typified the inter-religious rivalry between Hindus and Buddhists.