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svalakṣaṇa (T. rang mtshan རང་མཚན་; C. zixiang 自相), or "specifically characterized object", is defined as "an entity that exists with distinct aspects of place, time and nature"[1][2]

The specifically characterized object is the object (viṣaya) of non-conceptual direct perception (pratyakṣa). It is not subject to a mixing up of place, time, and features, meaning it has its own specific location, time, and features. And, it is not subject to being associated with the sound of its name. It is cognized without relying on imputation.[3]

Tsepak Rigdzin defines this term as:

A phenomenon which is established from its own side without being labelled by thought, e.g. a vase.[4]

In the context of meditation practice, Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics states:

specific characteristics - a real or causally effective thing [that] has its own specific characteristics that belong to itself as well as more general characteristics, such as impermanence, that belong to all conditioned things. The meditator can use either of these types of characteristics as a focal object for placement or analytical meditation.[5]

In Buddhist logic and epistemology, this term is contrasted with a "generally characterized object" (sāmānyalakṣaṇa).

Alternative Translations

  • specifically characterized object
  • specifically characterized thing
  • specifically characterized phenomena (Tsepak Rigdzin)[6]
  • self-characterized phenomena (Tsepak Rigdzin)
  • particular (Dunne)
  • unique particular (Dunne)
  • own characteristics (Buswell)
  • phenomena with individual characteristics
  • specifically defined object


  1. yul dus rang bzhin ma 'dres par gnas pa'i dngos po'.'
  2. RW icon height 18px.png Specifically characterized, Rigpa Shedra Wiki
  3. Khenjuk notes, TSTD GtK week 6
  4. Internet-icon.svg rang mtshan (Tsepak Rigdzin), Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  5. Thupten Jinpa 2020, s.v. glossary "specific characteristics".
  6. Dunne has objected to the use of the word 'phenomenon' here. See Dunne (2004), p. 83, n. 46