meanings of the term ’phang

’phang pa: 1) to propel, throw, hurl, shoot, spring, drive, force, cast, suggest, to direct toward. 2) driven, propelled, forced, impelling.

With regard to the word Ngak’phang – the meaning of the second syllable ’phang is highly varied depending on context. When used in conjunction with the term ngak (sNgags / mantra / awareness-spell) to describe the gö kar chang-lo’i dé (gos dKar lCang lo’i sDe), the resulting meaning relates to powerful use of mantra, i.e. ‘mantra hurling’, or ‘mantra wielding’.

In relation to the practices of the protectors, the term also implies impelling, compelling, and forcing. This relates to the fact that it was the gö kar chang-lo’i dé who most often dealt with the subjugation of negativity through rites of coercion and exorcism. The term ngak’phang is an archaic term seldom used or understood in recent centuries. The Aro tradition in the West uses the term because Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen were introduced to it by Gyaltsen Rinpoche – a Nyingma scholar-yogi, a friend of Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, and founder of Tsogyel Gé’phel Jong in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen chose to adopt the term for its usefulness as a more simple, gender-free equivalent for gö kar chang-lo’i dé.

The suggestion has been made that ngak’phang means ‘to throw away mantra’ – but this idea arises from ignorance both of Tibetan etymology and the range of terms and phrases which include the term ’phang. The following list given at the end of this explanation, although not exhaustive, provides a useful indication of the range of meaning achieved through incorporating the term ’phang. It can be seen from this list that the majority of meanings are highly positive. It is therefore highly unlikely that any negative meaning could be ascribed to ngak’phang. The word mGu ’phang, for example, means ‘overjoyed’ rather than ‘throwing joy away’. Nam ’phang means ‘flying’ rather than ‘throwing away the sky’. dBu ’phang means ‘status, position, state, or supreme, glory’ rather than throwing those qualities away.  To ascribe a negative or inauspicious meaning to the term ngak’phang is therefore either to misunderstand, or to deliberately manipulate linguistics for the purpose of derision.

’phang ’bras – the result of propulsive causes, effectuated result
’phang gCod pa – to soar; to fathom, soar [in the air]
’phang g mTho – uplifted [mind], elevated
dBu ’phang – status, position, state, supreme, glory
dBu ’phang bsTod pa – to glorify, uplift
dBu ’phang mTho – are exalted, uplifted, exalted, glorified, sublime, attained the summit
dBu ’phang mTho ’dug – has attained the summit
dGra bCom pa’i go ’phang – the arhat level, arhathood
dKon mChog dbu ’phang bsTod – to elevate the Three Jewels
dPag chen gyi mDa’ ’phang ba ltar – like an arrow loosed from the bow of an archery master
dPal kun tu bZang po’i go ’phang – the state of the glorious Samantabhadra
go ’phang – state, level, position, rank, status, station, stage.
go ’phang bLa med – unsurpassed stage
go ’phang bLa na med pa – unexcelled state
go ’phang mChog tu – at the supreme level
go ’phang mYur thob – quickly / swiftly attain the state of… .
go ’phang – status, position, state, supreme, glory
grub pa’i go ’phang – the state of accomplishment, accomplished level
gTan bDe’i go ’phang – the state of permanent happiness
khri ’phang – 1) height of a seat, high chair 2) rank of an official position, high official position
khu ’phang – sleet or small hail
mDa’ ’phang g – an arrow-shot
mGo ’phang – state, level, rank, position, status
mGo ’phang mTho – exalted, lifted, raised, boosted, hoisted, uplifted, upraised
mGu ’phang – overjoyed
mi sLob zung ’jug gi go ’phang – the unified level of non-learning
mNgon par rDzogs pa’i sangs rGyas pa’i go ’phang – true and complete Buddhahood
nam ’phang bsTod pa-nam ’phang che cher bsTod – to soar higher and higher into space
sNgags ’phang – wielding or hurling mantra – as applied to the gos dKar lCang lo’i sDe or lineage of vidhyadharas
nam ’phang – flying
nam ’phang bsTod pa – soaring in the firmament
nam ’phang dGung la bsTod pa – gliding in the sky and, soaring higher and higher
nam ’phang gCod pa – soar through the heights / high in the sky
rGyal tShab gyi go ’phang – regency
rNam mKhyen sangs rGyas kyi sGo ’phang – Buddhahood of omniscience
rNam mKhyen snags rGyas kyi go ’phang – the omniscient state of Buddhahood
sKar mDab’ ’phang pa – shooting star
sKu gSum bLa ma’i go ’phang – the state of the Trikaya Guru
zung ’jug gi go ’phang – stage of unity; unified state
zung ’jug gi go ’phang – unified state; refers to the unity of kaya and wisdom