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Key Term bodhigarbha
In Tibetan Script བྱང་ཆུབ་སྙིང་པོ་
Wylie Tibetan Transliteration byang chub snying po
Devanagari Sanskrit Script बोधिगर्भ
Romanized Sanskrit bodhigarbha
Tibetan Phonetic Rendering jangchub nyingpo
English Standard quintessence of awakening
Dan Martin's English Term bodhi heart
Ives Waldo's English Term essence of enlightenment
Alternate Spellings snying po byang chub
Term Type Noun
Source Language Tibetan
Basic Meaning An alternative term for tathāgatagarbha found in early Nyingma sources. Though it is back-translated as bodhigarbha, this term does not seem to be found in Sanskrit sources.
Has the Sense of Buddha-nature in its ultimate sense as the primordially existing essence of buddhahood present in all beings. It is treated as a Tantric/Dzogchen equivalent of the more Sūtra based terms tathāgatagarbha and sugatagarbha.
Usage Example

Rongzompa states in his commentary on the Guhyagarbha Tantra,

དེ་ལ་བདེ་བར་གཤེགས་པའི་སྙིང་པོ་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ནི། །ཐུན་མོང་དུ་གྲགས་པ་སེམས་ཅན་རྣམས་བྱང་ཆུབ་ཀྱི་རྒྱུ་ཅན་ཟག་མེད་ཀྱི་ས་བོན་དང་ལྡན་པ་འོ།་།ཞེས་འདོད་དོ། །ཟབ་མོ་ལྟར་ན་སེམས་ཀྱི་རང་བཞིན་ཉིད་བྱང་ཆུབ་ཡིན་པས་བྱང་ཆུབ་ཀྱི་སྙིང་པོའོ།

"The term *sugatagarbha is widely known in ordinary [scriptures] which claim that all sentient beings possess the cause of awakening [and] are endowed with the seed of incorruptibility. According to the profound [scriptures], it is called the ‘quintessence of awakening’ (*bodhigarbha) because the very nature of mind is awakening."

-Translated in David Higgins. The Philosophical Foundations of Classical rDzogs chen in Tibet: Investigating the Distinction Between Dualistic Mind (sems) and Primordial Knowing (ye shes). Wien: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, Universität Wien, 2013, p. 177.

Buddha-nature, literally the "womb/essence of those who have gone (to suchness)."

The Nyingma, which is often described as the oldest tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, traces its origin to Padmasambhava, who is said to have visited Tibet in the eighth century.

Literally the "essence" or "heart of the Bliss Gone One(s)", a synonym for tathāgatagarbha that is likewise often rendered into English by the term "buddha-nature." Though it is often back translated into Sanskrit as sugatagarbha, this term is not found in Sanskrit sources.

A seed, commonly used figuratively in the sense of something which has the potential to develop or grow, and likewise as the basic cause for this development or growth.

Commonly found in Dzogchen and Mahāmudrā literature, this term denotes the true natural state of mind as it is. Often used in these traditions as a synonym for buddha-nature.