Eastern Spirituality

Glossary Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Mother.

Example via www.ramdass.org: See Everything as the Mother

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: The Mother

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The name of Kingdom of Shtrughna.

Madhu (Hindustani: मधु or مدهو) is a word used in several Indo-Aryan languages meaning honey or sweet. It also means mead and is used for alcohol. The word originates in Sanskrit and has cognates in most Indo-European languages.

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Madhusudanah is another name of Vishnu or God and is the 73rd name in the Vishnu sahasranama.

According to Adi Sankara' s commentary on the Vishnu sahasranama, Madusudanah means the destroyer of the demon Madhu.

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Buddhist philosophical school, founded by Nagarjuna. Members of this school are called Madhyamikas. Madhyamaka refers primarily to a Mahāyāna Buddhist school of philosophy founded by Nāgārjuna. According to Madhyamaka all phenomena are śūnya, empty, of "substance" or "essence" (svabhāva) or inherent existence, because they are dependently co-arisen. But this "emptiness" itself is also "empty": it does not have an existence on its own, nor does it refer to a transcendental reality beyond or above phenomenal reality.

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The Mahabharata or Mahābhārata (Sanskrit: Mahābhāratam, pronounced [məɦaːˈbʱaːrət̪əm]) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana. The Mahabharata is of religious and philosophical importance in India; in particular, the Bhagavad Gita, which is one of its chapters (Bhishmaparva) and a sacred text of Hinduism.

Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pandava princes, the Mahabharata contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or purusharthas (12.161). Among the principal works and stories in the Mahabharata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Ramayana, and the Rishyasringa, often considered as works in their own right.

Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahabharata is attributed to Vyasa. There have been many attempts to unravel its historical growth and compositional layers. The oldest preserved parts of the text are thought to be not much older than around 400 BCE, though the origins of the epic probably fall between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE. The text probably reached its final form by the early Gupta period (c. 4th century CE). The title may be translated as "the great tale of the Bhārata dynasty". According to the Mahabharata itself, the tale is extended from a shorter version of 24,000 verses called simply Bhārata.

The Mahabharata is the longest known epic poem and has been described as "the longest poem ever written". Its longest version consists of over 100,000 shloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines (each shloka is a couplet), and long prose passages. About 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Ramayana. W. J. Johnson has compared the importance of the Mahabharata to world civilization to that of the Bible, the works of Shakespeare, the works of Homer, Greek drama, or the Qur'an.

Example via www.ramdass.org: The Way of the Guru

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Four great elements in traditional Buddhist thought. Mahābhūta is Sanskrit and Pāli for "great element." In Buddhism, the "four great elements" are earth, water, fire and air. Buddhism sometimes adds elements of space and consciousness, in Hinduism the fifth element is ether which relates directly to the 'Spiritual Sky' or Akash.

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Another name of Shiva.

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A method of direct introduction the understanding of sunyata, of samsara and that the two are inseparable. Mahāmudrā literally means "great seal" or "great symbol." It "is a multivalent term of great importance in later Indian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism" which "also occurs occasionally in Hindu and East Asian Buddhist esotericism."

The name refers to a body of teachings representing the culmination of all the practices of the Sarma schools of Tibetan Buddhism, who believe it to be the quintessential message of all of their sacred texts. The mudra portion denotes that in an adept's experience of reality, each phenomenon appears vividly, and the maha portion refers to the fact that it is beyond concept, imagination, and projection.

Example video:

Example via www.ramdass.org: Mahamudra: The Moonlight – Quintessence of Mind and Meditation

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: The Teacher by Chogyam Trungpa

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One of Ravana's generals.

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Neem Karoli Baba or Neeb Karori Baba (died September 11, 1973), also known to followers as Maharaj-ji, was a Hindu guru and devotee of the Hindu deity Hanuman. He is known outside India for being the guru of a number of Americans who travelled to India in the 1960s and 1970s, the most well-known being the spiritual teachers Ram Dass and Bhagavan Das, and the musicians Krishna Das and Jai Uttal. His ashrams are in Kainchi, Vrindavan, Rishikesh, Shimla, Bhumiadhar, Hanuman Gadi, Lucknow, Delhi in India and in Taos, New Mexico, USA.

Neem Karoli Baba left his home around the time when his youngest child (daughter) was eleven (1958) and wandered extensively throughout northern India as a sadhu. During this time he was known under many names including Lakshman Das, Handi Wallah Baba, and Tikonia Walla Baba. When he did tapasya and sadhana at Bavania in Gujarat, he was known as Tallaiya Baba. In Vrindavan, local inhabitants addressed him by the name of Chamatkari Baba (miracle baba).

He was a lifelong adept of bhakti yoga, and encouraged service to others (seva) as the highest form of unconditional devotion to God.

Neem Karoli Baba Ashram, Taos, New Mexico: www.nkbashram.org

Example video: Maharajji tells Raghvindra Das to "Meditate like Christ"

Example via www.ramdass.org: The Bees Come Uninvited

Example via www.ramdass.org: Darshan: A Meeting of the Spirit

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: Neem Karoli Baba – The Heart of Love

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: Discovering the Path of the Heart

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Son of Khara slain at Lanka.

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Completion of the final incarnation of a realized being.

Mahasamādhi (the great and final samādhi) is the act of consciously and intentionally leaving one's body. A realized yogi (male) or yogini (female) who has attained the state of nirvikalpa samadhi, will, at an appropriate time, consciously exit from their body. This is known as mahasamadhi. This is not the same as the physical death that occurs for an unenlightened person.

Enlightened yogis take their mahasamadhi during their final practice of samadhi: and they expire during this final sadhana practice. Therefore, mahasamadhi occurs only once in a lifetime, when the yogi finally casts off their mortal frame and their karma is extinguished upon death.

An enlightened or realized yogi is one who has attained the nondual state of nirvikalpa samadhi where duality of subject and object are resolved and the yogi becomes permanently established in the unity of full enlightenment (Videha mukti).

Each realized yogi enters and prepares for mahasamadhi in a unique fashion. Sushila Blackman (1997) furnishes a number of examples.

Example via www.ramdass.org: An Unknown Guest

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Great spiritual accomplishment. A yogi in Tantric Buddhism, often associated with the highest levels of enlightenment. Mahasiddha is a term for someone who embodies and cultivates the "siddhi of perfection". They are a certain type of yogin/yogini recognized in Vajrayana Buddhism. Mahasiddhas were tantra practitioners or tantrikas who had sufficient empowerments and teachings to act as a guru or tantric master. A siddha is an individual who, through the practice of sādhanā, attains the realization of siddhis, psychic and spiritual abilities and powers. Their historical influence throughout the Indian subcontinent and the Himalayas was vast and they reached mythic proportions as codified in their songs of realization and hagiographies, or namtars, many of which have been preserved in the Tibetan Buddhist canon. The Mahasiddhas are the founders of Vajrayana traditions and lineages such as Dzogchen and Mahamudra.

Robert Thurman explains the symbiotic relationship between Tantric Buddhist communities and the Buddhist universities such as Nalanda which flourished at the same time:

The Tantric communities of India in the latter half of the first Common Era millennium (and perhaps even earlier) were something like "Institutes of Advanced Studies" in relation to the great Buddhist monastic "Universities". They were research centers for highly cultivated, successfully graduated experts in various branches of Inner Science (adhyatmavidya), some of whom were still monastics and could move back and forth from university (vidyalaya) to "site" (patha), and many of whom had resigned vows of poverty, celibacy, and so forth, and were living in the classical Indian sannyāsin or sādhu style. I call them the "psychonauts" of the tradition, in parallel with our “astronauts”, the materialist scientist-adventurers whom we admire for their courageous explorations of the "outer space" which we consider the matrix of material reality. Inverse astronauts, the psychonauts voyaged deep into "inner space", encountering and conquering angels and demons in the depths of their subconscious minds.

Example via www.ramdass.org: Lama Garchen Rinpoche

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: Chogyam Trungpa Speaks About Loneliness & Love

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Mahatma (Mə-HÄT-mə) is Sanskrit for "Great Soul" (mahātmā: mahā (great) or ātman [soul]). It is similar in usage to the modern Christian term saint. This epithet is commonly applied to prominent people like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Munshiram (later Swami Shraddhananda), Lalon Shah and Jyotirao Phule. According to some authors Rabindranath Tagore is said to have used on March 6, 1915, this title for Gandhi;. Some claim that he was term Mahatma by the residents of Gurukul Kangadi in April 1915, and he in turn termed the founder Munshiram a Mahatma (who later became Swami Shraddhananda). However a document honoring him on Jan 21, 1915, at Jetpur, Gujarat, termed him Mahatma is preserved. The use of the term Mahatma in Jainism to denote a class of lay priests, has been noted since the 17th century.

Example via www.ramdass.org: Mahatma Gandhi

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Lord of the Universe who took human birth in order to wrest his kingdom from Emperor Bali for the salvation of the world. Lord Vishnu also took birth as Rama, son of Dasaratha, to kill Ravana, King of Lanka.

Mahavishnu is an aspect of Vishnu, the Absolute which is beyond human comprehension and is beyond all attributes. In Gauḍīya Vaishnavism, a school of Vaiṣṇavism, the Sātvata-tantra describes three different forms, or aspects, of Vishnu as Mahavishnu, Garbhodakśayī-Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Vishnu. The term Mahavishnu is similar to Brahman and Almighty Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means that the Absolute truth is realized first as Brahman (impersonal aspect) then as Paramatma (personal aspect) and finally as Bhagavan (incarnate perfection). So bhakti (loving devotion) goes to Bhagavan, Krishna (the Avatar of Vishnu, Narayana). In this way, bhakti surpasses even yoga, which is aimed at the Supersoul, Paramatma. Mahavishnu is the Supersoul of all living beings (jivaatmas) in all material universes. It is also often used interchangeably with Vishnu to indicate reverence, as the prefix "Mahā" exalts the noun to which it is attached.

Mahavishnu is said to lie in the causal ocean or the Karanodak. He puts the seed of this material universe in Mahāmāyā by glancing at her. Mahāmāyā remains the ever obedient material energy of the Supreme Lord. All the natural elements including sky, fire, water, air and land are created along with mind, intelligence and false ego.

After this, Mahavishnu enters each of the many universes so created (seeds emerging from the pores of His skin) as Garbhodaksayi Vishnu, who lays down in each and every of these individual material universes (Brahmandas). It can be interpreted that Garbodakshayi Vishnu is the collective soul of all souls in a particular material universe and that Mahavishnu is the collective soul of all souls in all of the material universes.

From Garbodakshayi Vishnu then emerges Brahmā who is the secondary creator (due to his need to meditate to create planets in the material universe) of the planetary systems within particularly this material universe (Brahmanda).

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"Great vehicle", A major branch of Buddhism practiced in China, Tibet, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Main goal is to achieve buddhahood or samyaksambuddha. Mahāyāna is one of two (or three, under some classifications) main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice. The Buddhist tradition of Vajrayana is sometimes classified as a part of Mahayana Buddhism, but some scholars may consider it as a different branch altogether.

According to the teachings of Mahāyāna traditions, "Mahāyāna" also refers to the path of the Bodhisattva seeking complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, also called "Bodhisattvayāna", or the "Bodhisattva Vehicle." A bodhisattva who has accomplished this goal is called a samyaksaṃbuddha, or "fully enlightened Buddha." A samyaksaṃbuddha can establish the Dharma and lead disciples to enlightenment. Mahayana Buddhists teach that enlightenment can be attained in a single lifetime, and this can be accomplished even by a layperson.

The Mahāyāna tradition is the largest major tradition of Buddhism existing today, with 53.2% of practitioners, compared to 35.8% for Theravāda and 5.7% for Vajrayāna in 2010.

In the course of its history, Mahāyāna Buddhism spread from India to various other Asian countries such as Bangladesh, China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Malaysia, and Mongolia. Major traditions of Mahāyāna Buddhism today include Zen, Chinese Chán, Pure Land, Tiantai, and Nichiren. It may also include the Vajrayāna Buddhist traditions of Shingon, Tendai and Tibetan Buddhism, which add esoteric teachings to the Mahāyāna tradition.

Example via www.ramdass.org: Lama Tsultrim Allione & the Divine Feminine

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A King who had attained heaven. Also the name of a mountain upon which Hanumana rushes while searchin Sita, shaking it in wrath and frightening every beast that lived in its woods and caves.

Mahendra is a Sanskrit compound word deriving from Maha (Highest Position) and Indra Deva (the King of Gods) from Hindu mythology. For a similar derivative see Mahindra.

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Another mountain, well wooded and full of fruits and roots, Hanumana coursed through the air while searchin Sita.

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Maithuna or Mithuna is a Sanskrit term used in Tantra most often translated as "sexual union" in a ritual context. It is the most important of the five makara and constitutes the main part of the Grand Ritual of Tantra variously known as Panchamakara, Panchatattva, and Tattva Chakra. Mithuna, Lakshmana Temple, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Although some writers, sects and schools e. g. Yogananda consider this to be a purely mental and symbolic act, a look at different variations (and translations) of the word maithuna clearly shows that it refers to male-female couples and their union in the physical, sexual sense and is synonymous with kriya nishpatti (mature cleansing). Just as neither spirit nor matter by itself is effective but both working together bring harmony so is maithuna effective only then when the union is consecrated. The couple become for the time being divine: she is Shakti and he is Shiva. The scriptures warn that unless this spiritual transformation occurs the union is carnal and sinful.

Yet, it is possible to experience a form of maithuna without physical union. The act can exist on a metaphysical plane without sexual penetration, in which the shakti and shakta transfer energy through their subtle bodies alone. It is when this transfer of energy occurs that the couple, incarnated as goddess and god via diminished egos, confronts ultimate reality and experiences bliss through union of the subtle bodies.

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The Buddha of the future epoch. Maitreya (Sanskrit), Metteyya (Pali), Maitri (Sinhalese), Jampa (Wylie: byams pa) or Di-lặc (Vietnamese), is regarded as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he is referred to as Ajita.

According to Buddhist tradition, Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor to the present Buddha, Gautama Buddha (also known as Śākyamuni Buddha). The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya refers to a time in the future when the dharma will have been forgotten by most on the terrestrial world. This prophecy is found in the canonical literature of all major schools of Buddhism.

Maitreya has also been adopted for his millenarian role by many non-Buddhist religions in the past such as the White Lotus as well as by modern new religious movements such as Yiguandao.

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One of the provinces asked by Pandavas, A province running along the banks of the Ganges, to the south of Hastinapura. Kampilya the capital city of Panchala was situated in the Makandi province within the southern Panchala kingdom (1,140).

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A huge Religious festival regarding Sun. Lit. Makara means Capricorn and Sankranti is transition. It is about transition of Sun into Capricorn on its celestial path.

Makar Sankranti is a Hindu festival celebrated in almost all parts of India and Nepal in a myriad of cultural forms. It is a harvest festival.

Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Makara rashi (Capricorn) on its celestial path. The day is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India and is a traditional event. Makara Sankranthi is a solar event making one of the few Indian festivals which fall on the same date in the Gregorian calendar every year: 14 January, with some exceptions when the festival is celebrated on 13 or 15 January.

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In Zen, unpleasant or distracting thoughts or illusions that occur during zazen. The term makyo is a Zen term that means “ghost cave” or “devil’s cave.” It is a figurative reference to the kind of self-delusion that results from clinging to an experience and making a conceptual “nest” out of it for oneself. Makyo is essentially synonymous with illusion, but especially in reference to experiences that can occur within meditation practice.

In Philip Kapleau's The Three Pillars of Zen, Yasutani Roshi explained the term as the combination of ma meaning devil and kyo meaning the objective world. This character for “devil” can also refer to Mara, the Buddhist “tempter” figure; and the character kyo can mean simply region, condition or place. Makyo refers to the hallucinations and perceptual distortions that can arise during the course of meditation and can be mistaken by the practitioner as "seeing the true nature" or kensho. Zen masters warn their meditating students to ignore sensory distortions. These can occur in the form of visions and perceptual distortions, but they can also be experiences of blank, trance-like absorption states. In the Zen school, it is understood that neither category of experience – however fascinating they may be – is a true and final enlightenment.

Contemplative literature contains numerous descriptions of the perceptual distortion produced by meditation. It is characterized in some schools as "going to the movies," a sign of spiritual intensity but a phenomenon that is considered distinctly inferior to the clear insight of settled practice. In some Hindu schools it is regarded as a product of the sukshma sharira, or "experience body," in its unstable state, and in that respect is seen to be another form of maya, which is the illusory nature of the world as apprehended by ordinary consciousness.

Tibetan contemplative literature uses the parallel term nyam, which fall into three categories, usually listed as clarity, bliss, and non-conceptuality. Many types of meditation phenomena can be classed under this rubric, and are generally tied to the reorganization of the body's subtle energies that can occur in meditation. See Dudjom Lingpa, (cited in Wallace, the Attention Revolution), and Padmasambhava (in Treasures from the Juniper Ridge) for more specific examples. Robert Aitken Roshi classifies speaking in tongues as "elaborate makyo" (Taking the Path of Zen).

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A string of 108 beads and a guru (Meru) bead, used for japa; rosary.

Example via www.ramdass.org: How to Use a Mala

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Manasa Devi the goddess of snakes; the daughter of Shiva by a beautiful mortal woman. She was no favourite of her step mother, Bhagavati, or Parvati, Shiva's wife.

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Conceit, arrogance, misconception. Māna (Sanskrit, Pali; Tibetan: nga rgyal) is a Buddhist term that is translated as "pride", "arrogance", or "conceit". It is defined as an inflated mind that makes whatever is suitable, such as wealth or learning, to be the foundation of pride. It creates the basis for disrespecting others and for the occurrence of suffering.

Māna is identified as:

  • One of the five poisons within the Mahayana Buddhist tradition.
  • One of the six root unwholesome mental factors within the Mahayana Abhidharma teachings
  • One of the fourteen unwholesome mental factors within the Theravada Abhidharma teachings
  • One of the ten fetters in the Theravada tradition
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Literally “sons of mind”. Wise men, created from the brain of Brahma. They are listed as Atri, Bharadwaja, Gotama, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Vashishtha and Vishwamitra. Some sources add more names to this list.

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A sacred lake in the Himalayas. Lake Manasarovar (also Manas Sarovar, Mapam Yumtso; Wylie: ma pham g.yu mtsho;) is a freshwater lake in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China, 940 kilometres (580 mi) from Lhasa. To the west of it is Lake Rakshastal; to the north is Mount Kailash.

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A spiritual and ritual symbol representing the Universe. Mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल Maṇḍala, 'circle') is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe. The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T. Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.

The term is of Sanskrit origin. It appears in the Rig Veda as the name of the sections of the work, but is also used in other religions and philosophies, particularly Buddhism.

In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.

In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: Vajravarahi Mandala

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The mountain used as a churning stick in Samudra manthan for churning the ocean using Vasuki nāga as rope by gods on one side and asuras on other side.

Mandara is the name of the mountain that appears in the Samudra manthan episode in the Hindu Puranas, where it was used as a churning rod to churn the ocean of milk. Mahadev's serpent, Vasuki, offered to serve as the rope pulled on one side by a team of asuras, and on the other, by a team of devas. The Puranas refer to various sacred places on the hill that are also believed to be the abode of god Krishna as Madhusudana or the destroyer of the demon called Madhu who was killed by Krishna and then covered by the Mount Mandara.

According to legends and popular belief, this Mandara Hill is located on the state highway between Bhagalpur and Dumka. They are laced with a landscape of extraordinary splendor exposing the 800 feet high granite hill. One of the specialty of the mountain is that it is not composed of fragmented stones but the whole hill is one single structure.

Kalidasa’s Kumarasambhava refers to foot marks of Lord Vishnu on the slopes of Mandara. The hill is replete with relics of bygone ages. Besides inscriptions and statues there are numerous rock cut sculptures depicting various Brahmanical images. The hill is equally revered by the Jains who believe that their 12th Tirthankara attained nirvana here on the summit of the hill.

The depiction of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk became very popular in Khmer art, perhaps because their creation myth involved a naga ancestor. It is a popular motif in both Khmer and Thai art; one of the most dramatic depictions is one of the eight friezes that can be seen around the inner wall of Angkor Wat--the others being the Battle of Kurukshetra, Suryavarman's Military Review, scenes from Heaven and Hell, the battle between Vishnu and the asuras, the Battle between Krishna and Banasura, a battle between the gods and asuras, and the Battle of Lanka.

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Mandavya was a sage, who according to Hinduism, was wrongly punished by the king by being impaled. This occurred as the chief of a band of robbers had hidden their stolen goods in a corner of his hermitage when he was in deep contemplation, and he was wrongly assumed to have stolen the goods. Lord Yama gave him this punishment for having tortured birds and bees in his childhood. In response, Mandavya cursed the Dharma, as his punishment exceeded the sins committed as an ignorant child. Therefore he cursed him to be born in the mortal world. He was born as Vidura, the wise, to the servant maid of Ambalika, wife of King Vichitravirya, who offered her to Sage Vyasa in place of Ambalika.

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Mandhatri was a king, son of Yuvanaswa, of the race of Ikshvaku, and author of a hymn in the Rigveda.

Mandhatri (Sanskrit: Māndhātṛ), in Hindu mythology, was an Ikshvaku dynasty king and son of Yuvanashva. He is the ancestor of the Maurya clan of Kshatriya and forefather of King Chandragupta Maurya The hymn 134 of the tenth mandala of the Rigveda is attributed to him. He married Bindumati Chaitrarathi, daughter of Yadava king Shashabindu and granddaughter of Chitraratha. According to the Puranas, he had three sons, Purukutsa, Ambarisha and Muchukunda.

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A Hindu temple (Sanskrit: mandir, prāsāda) is a house of god(s). It is a space and structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, infused with symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. A Hindu temple, states George Michell, functions as a place of transcendence, where man may cross over (do tirtha) from the world of illusion to one of knowledge and truth.

The symbolism and structure of a Hindu temple, states Stella Kramrisch, are rooted in Vedic traditions. A temple incorporates all elements of Hindu cosmos - presenting the good, the evil and the human, as well as the elements of Hindu sense of cyclic time and the essence of life - symbolically presenting dharma, kama, artha, moksa and karma.

The spiritual principles symbolically represented in Hindu temples are given in the ancient Sanskrit texts of India (for example, Vedas, Upanishads), while their structural rules are described in various ancient Sanskrit treatises on architecture (Brhat Samhita, Vastu Sastras). The layout, the motifs, the plan and the building process recite ancient rituals, geometric symbolisms, and reflect beliefs and values innate within various schools of Hinduism. A Hindu temple is a spiritual destination for many Hindus (not all), as well as landmarks around which ancient arts, community celebrations and economy flourished.

Hindu temples come in many styles, diverse locations, deploy different construction methods and are adapted to different deities and regional beliefs. Yet, almost all Hindu temples share certain core ideas, symbolism and themes. They are found in South Asia particularly India and Nepal, in southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and islands of Indonesia and Malaysia and countries such as Fiji, Mauritius, Guyana, Suriname, South Africa, Europe and North America with a significant Hindu community. The current state and outer appearance of Hindu temples reflect arts, materials and designs as they evolved over several millennia; they also reflect the effect of conflicts between Hinduism and Islam since the 12th century.

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Mandodari was the daughter of the King of Danavas, Mayasura and celestial dancer, Hema. She was the first wife of the Lord of Lanka Ravana.

Mandodari (Sanskrit Mandodarī, "soft-bellied") is the queen consort of Ravana, the king of Lanka, according to the Hindu epic Ramayana.

As with many characters in Indian legend, several versions of the main events of Mandodari's life are available, but all versions describe Mandodari as beautiful, pious and extremely righteous. She is extolled as one of the Panchakanya ("five exalted ladies"), whose veneration is believed to dispel sin. She presents the model of a sublime pativratha, a woman who is completely devoted to her husband and is especially venerated because the object of her wifely veneration was Ravana, a man with many unfortunate faults and evil tendencies, someone widely regarded as a demon.

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'City of jewels' in Sanskrit. Manipura is the third primary chakra according to Hindu tradition. It is positioned at the navel region and it has ten petals which match the vrittis of spiritual ignorance, thirst, jealousy, treachery, shame, fear, disgust, delusion, foolishness and sadness.

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Manthara (Sanskrit: "humpbacked") in the Hindu epic Ramayana is the maid who convinced Queen Kaikeyi that the throne of maharaja belonged to her son Bharata and that her step-son—crown-prince Rama(the hero of the Ramayana)—should be exiled from the kingdom.

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Chant used primarily to aid concentration, to reach enlightenment. "Mantra" means a sacred utterance, numinous sound, or a syllable, word, phonemes, or group of words believed by some to have psychological and spiritual power. A mantra may or may not have syntactic structure or literal meaning; the spiritual value of a mantra comes when it is audible, visible, or present in thought.

The earliest mantras were composed in Vedic times by Hindus in India, and those are at least 3000 years old. Mantras are now found in various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Similar hymns, chants, compositions and concepts are found in Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Christianity and elsewhere.

The use, structure, function, importance and types of mantras vary according to the school and philosophy of Hinduism and of Buddhism. Mantras serve a central role in the tantric school of Hinduism. In this school, mantras are considered equivalent to deities, a sacred formula and deeply personal ritual, and considered to be effective only after initiation. However, in other schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism, this is not so.

Mantras come in many forms, including ṛc (verses from Rigveda for example) and sāman (musical chants from the Sāmaveda for example). They are typically melodic, mathematically structured meters, thought to be resonant with numinous qualities. At its simplest, the word ॐ (Aum, Om) serves as a mantra. In more sophisticated forms, they are melodic phrases with spiritual interpretations such as human longing for truth, reality, light, immortality, peace, love, knowledge and action. Yet other mantras are literally meaningless, yet musically uplifting and spiritually meaningful.

Audio Example: Ram Dass teaches us the mantra “Aditya rdiyam punyam sari shatru bena shenam” meaning “All evil vanishes from life for him who keeps the sun in his heart.”

Example via www.ramdass.org: Mantras

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: The Mind & The Heart

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The Manusmṛti (or "Laws of Manu", also known as Mānava-Dharmaśāstra) is the most important and earliest metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism.

The text presents itself as a discourse given by Manu, the progenitor of mankind, to a group of seers, or rishis, who beseech him to tell them the "law of all the social classes" (1.2). Manu became the standard point of reference for all future Dharmaśāstras that followed it. According to Hindu tradition, the Manu smruti records the words of Brahma.

The Sanskrit text was edited in 1913 by P. H. Pandya and in 1920 by J.R. Gharpure. The text was first translated into English (from manuscripts) in 1794 by Sir William Jones.

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The "degenerate" Latter Day of the Law. A time period supposed to begin 2,000 years after Sakyamuni Buddha's passing and last for "10,000 years"; follows the two 1,000-year periods of Former Day of the Law and of Middle Day of the Law. During this degenerate age, chaos will prevail and the people will be unable to attain enlightenment through the word of Sakyamuni Buddha.

The Three Ages of Buddhism, also known as the Three Ages of the Dharma, are three divisions of time following Buddha's passing. The Latter Day of the Law is the third and last of the Three Ages of Buddhism. Mappō or Mofa, which is also translated as the Age of Dharma Decline, is the "degenerate" Third Age of Buddhism.

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A character in the Ramayana, uncle of Ravana who transformed himself into a golden deer at the behest of Ravana to entice Sita.

In the Hindu epic Ramayana, Maricha, or Mareecha (IAST: Mārīca), Indonesian: Marica, Malay: Martanja, Tamil: Marichan, Thai: Mareet) is a rakshasa (demon), who is killed by Rama, the hero of the epic and an avatar of the god Vishnu. He is mentioned as an uncle of Ravana, the antagonist of the epic. His most notable exploit is his role in the kidnapping of Sita, Rama's wife.

Cursed to be a rakshasa along with his mother Tataka and brother Subahu, Maricha initially led his life terrorizing sages. He was defeated by Rama at the behest of the sage Vishvamitra. He tried again to kill Rama, but had to run for his life again. Ultimately, Maricha assumed the form of a golden deer and helped Ravana kidnap Sita.

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Markandeya is an ancient rishi (sage) from the Hindu tradition, born in the clan of Bhrigu Rishi. He is celebrated as a devotee of both Shiva and Vishnu and is mentioned in a number of stories from the Puranas. The Markandeya Purana especially, comprises a dialogue between Markandeya and a sage called Jaimini, and a number of chapters in the Bhagavata Purana are dedicated to his conversations and prayers. He is also mentioned in the Mahabharata. Markandeya is venerated within all mainstream Hindu traditions.

Today, Markandeya Tirtha, where the sage Markandeya wrote the Markandeya Purana is situated on a trekking route to the Yamunotri Shrine in the Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand.

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A king of the Ikshwaku dynasty whose sacrifice was performed by Samvarta in defiance of Indra and Brihaspati.

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Charioteer of Indra who took Arjuna to the kingdom of gods.

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A rishi during Ramayana period, Rama and Laxman pass by while searching Sita on way to mountain Rishyamūk on which dwelt Sugriva.

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The capital of Yadavas which was invaded by Kams. Mathura (About this sound pronunciation) is a city in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Agra, and 145 kilometres (90 mi) south-east of Delhi; about 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from the town of Vrindavan, and 22 kilometres (14 mi) from Govardhan. It is the administrative centre of Mathura District of Uttar Pradesh. During the ancient period, Mathura was an economic hub, located at the junction of important caravan routes. The 2011 census of India estimated the population of Mathura to be 441,894.

Mathura is the birthplace of Krishna at the centre of Braj or Brij-bhoomi, called Shri Krishna Janma-Bhoomi, literally: 'Lord Krishna's birthplace'. It is one of the seven cities (Sapta Puri) considered holy by Hindus. The Keshav Dev Temple was built in ancient times on the site of Krishna's birthplace (an underground prison). Mathura was the capital of the Surasena Kingdom, ruled by Kansa the maternal uncle of Krishna.

Mathura has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.

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Matrikas (Matrika singular, Sanskrit: mātṝkā, "mother"), also called Matara (Sanskrit: mātaraḥ plural) and Matri (mātṛ, singular), is a group of Hindu goddesses who are always depicted together. Since they are usually depicted as a heptad, they are called Saptamatrika(s) (Sanskrit: saptamātṝkāh, "seven mothers"): Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Indrani, Kaumari, Varahi, Chamunda and Narasimhi. However, they may sometimes be eight (Ashtamatrika(s): ashtamātṝkāh, "eight mothers"). Whereas in South India, Saptamatrika worship is prevalent, the Ashtamatrika are venerated in Nepal.

The Matrikas assume paramount significance in the goddess-oriented sect of Hinduism, Tantrism. In Shaktism, they are "described as assisting the great Shakta Devi (goddess) in her fight with demons." Some scholars consider them Shaiva goddesses. They are also connected with the worship of warrior god Skanda. In most early references, the Matrikas are described as having inauspicious qualities and often described as dangerous. They come to play a protective role in later mythology, although some of their inauspicious and wild characteristics still persist in these accounts. Thus, they represent the prodigiously fecund aspect of nature as well as its destructive force aspect.

In the 6th century encyclopedia Brihat-Samhita, Varahamihira says that "Mothers are to be made with cognizance of (different major Hindu) gods corresponding to their names." They are associated with these gods as their spouses or their energies (Shaktis). Originally believed to be a personification of the seven stars of the star cluster the Pleiades, they became quite popular by the seventh century and a standard feature of goddess temples from the ninth century onwards.

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Matsya (Sanskrit: literally "Fish") is the avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu in the form of a fish. Often listed as the first avatar in the lists of the ten primary avatars of Vishnu, Matsya is described to have rescued the first man, Manu, from a great deluge. Matsya may be depicted as a giant fish, or anthropomorphically with a human torso connected to the rear half of a fish.

The earliest accounts of the legend associate Matsya with the creator god Prajapati (identified with Brahma). However, Puranic scriptures incorporate Matsya as an avatar of Vishnu. Matsya forewarns Manu about an impending catastrophic flood and orders him to collect all the grains of the world in a boat; in some forms of the story, all living creatures are also to be preserved in the boat. When the flood destroys the world, Manu - in some versions accompanied by the seven great sages - survives by boarding the ark, which Matsya pulls to safety. In later versions of this story, the sacred texts Vedas are hidden by a demon, whom Matsya slays: Manu is rescued and the scriptures are recovered. The tale is in the tradition of the family of flood myths, common across cultures.

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Maya is the limited, purely physical and mental reality in which our everyday consciousness has become entangled. Maya is believed to be an illusion, a veiling of the true, unitary Self—the Cosmic Spirit also known as Brahman. Maya originated in the Hindu scriptures known as the Upanishads.

Maya or Māyā (Sanskrit: māyā), literally means "illusion" and "magic". However, the term has multiple meanings depending on the context. In earlier older language, it literally implies extraordinary power and wisdom, in later Vedic texts and modern literature dedicated to Indian traditions, Māyā connotes a "magic show, an illusion where things appear to be present but are not what they seem". In Indian philosophies, Māyā is also a spiritual concept connoting "that which exists, but is constantly changing and thus is spiritually unreal", and the "power or the principle that conceals the true character of spiritual reality".

In Buddhism, Maya was the name of Gautama Buddha's mother. Maya is also the name of a manifestation of Lakshmi, the goddess of "wealth, prosperity and love", in Hinduism. For these reasons, it is a popular name for girls.

Example via www.ramdass.org: It’s All a Show

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In Hindu mythology, Maya, or Mayāsura was a great ancient king of the asura, daitya and rākṣasa races. He was also the chief architect of the people of the netherworld. Mayāsura was renowned for his architectural abilities. It is said he ruled over MayaRastra (present day Meerut in India). It was believed that Mayāsura and his people could even melt stones for constructing their great architectural wonders.

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Son of Sage Baladhi who desired that his son should live as long as a certain mountain lasted. Filled with conceit, Medhavi angered Dhanushaksha who killed him by taking on the form of a bull and butting the mountain until it was broken to pieces.

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Buddhist meditation refers to the meditative practices associated with the religion and philosophy of Buddhism.

Core meditation techniques have been preserved in ancient Buddhist texts and have proliferated and diversified through teacher-student transmissions. Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward Enlightenment and Nirvana. The closest words for meditation in the classical languages of Buddhism are bhāvanā and jhāna/dhyāna. Buddhist meditation techniques have become increasingly popular in the wider world, with many non-Buddhists taking them up for a variety of reasons.

Buddhist meditation encompasses a variety of meditation techniques that aim to develop mindfulness, concentration, supramundane powers, tranquility, and insight.

Example video: Krishna Das talks about how his Hindu Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, told him to "Meditate Like Christ".

Example via www.ramdass.org: Ram Dass ‘Radiating Love’ Meditation

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: Tara Brach – Guided Mindfulness Meditation

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In Hindu mythology, Menaka, or Menka is considered one of the most beautiful of the heavenly Apsaras.

She was sent by Indra, the king of the Devas, to break the severe penance undertaken by Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra was one of the most respected and revered sages in ancient India. Indra, frightened by his powers, sent a beautiful celestial nymph named Menaka from heaven to earth to lure him and break his meditation. Menaka successfully incited Vishwamitra's lust and passion when he saw her beauty. She succeeded in breaking the meditation of Vishwamitra and the two had sex for many years. However, she fell in genuine love with him. When Vishwamitra realized that he had been tricked by Indra, he was enraged. But he merely cursed Menaka to be separated from him forever, for he loved her as well and knew that she had lost all devious intentions towards him long ago.

Later, Menaka is also said to have been the mother of Shakuntala, who was left at the hermitage of a Sage Kanva when she was a baby. Later Shakuntala became the love of King Dushyanta and gave birth to his son Bharata, after whom India was named "Bharat".

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Merit is a concept in Buddhism/Hinduism. It is that which accumulates as a result of good deeds, acts, or thoughts and which carries over throughout the life or the subsequent incarnations. Such merit contributes to a person's growth towards spiritual liberation. Merit can be gained in a number of ways, one of the sutras that reflect this teaching is the Sutra on the Ten Wholesome Ways of Actions which suggest ten ways in which merit-making can occur in the Buddhist context. In addition, according to the Mahayana Sutra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, one can "transfer" one-seventh of the merit of an act they have performed to a deceased loved one, such as in the Shitro practice, in order to diminish the deceased's suffering in their new existence. Pariṇāmanā (Sanskrit) may be rendered as 'transfer of merit' or 'dedication' and involves the transfer of merit as a cause to bring about an effect.

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An ancient mountain and mythical centre of the universe on which was situated the city of Brahma. Becoming jealous of Meru, the Vindya began to grow very high obstructing the sun, the moon and the planets. Agastya whom the Vindhya mountain respected asked it to stop growing until he crossed it on his way to the south and returned to the north again. But he did not return at all, having settled in the south.

Mount Meru is a sacred mountain with five peaks in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist cosmology and is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.

Meru, also called Sumeru (Sanskrit) or Sineru (Pāli), to which can be added the approbatory prefix su-, resulting in the meaning "excellent Meru" or "wonderful Meru" and Mahameru i.e. "Great Meru" (Chinese: Xumi Shan;Pāli Neru; Burmese: Myinmo).

Many famous Hindu and similar Jain as well as Buddhist temples have been built as symbolic representations of this mountain. The highest point (the finial bud) on the pyatthat, a Burmese-style multi-tiered roof, represents Mount Meru.

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Loving kindness. Mettā or maitrī is benevolence, friendliness, amity, friendship, good will, kindness, close mental union (on same mental wavelength), and active interest in others. It is one of the ten pāramīs of the Theravāda school of Buddhism, and the first of the four sublime states (Brahmavihāras). This is love without clinging (upādāna).

The cultivation of benevolence (mettā bhāvanā) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism. In the Theravadin Buddhist tradition, this practice begins with the meditator cultivating benevolence towards themselves, then one's loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, and finally towards all sentient beings. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, this practice is associated with tonglen (cf.), whereby one breathes out ("sends") happiness and breathes in ("receives") suffering. Tibetan Buddhists also practice contemplation of the Brahmavihāras, also called the four immeasurables, which is sometimes called 'compassion meditation'.

"Compassion meditation" is a modern scientific field that demonstrates the efficacy of metta and related meditative practices.

Example video: Sharon discusses the Buddhist concept of Metta or Loving Kindness.

Example via www.ramdass.org: Featured Teacher: Sharon Salzberg

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: Metta Hour with Sharon Salzberg

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The practice of avoidance of extreme views and lifestyle choices. The Central Path, Middle Way or Middle Path is the term that Gautama Buddha used to describe the character of the Noble Eightfold Path he discovered that leads to liberation.

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: Michael Donovan – Erin Parsons

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Jetsun Milarepa (Wylie: rje btsun mi la ras pa) (c. 1052 – c. 1135 CE) is generally considered one of Tibet's most famous yogis and poets. He was a student of Marpa Lotsawa, and a major figure in the history of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Born in the village of Kya Ngatsa – also known as Tsa – in Gungthang, a province of western Tibet, to a prosperous family, he was named Mila Thöpaga (Thos-pa-dga'), which means "A joy to hear." His family name, Josay, indicates noble descent, a sept of the Khyungpo or eagle clan.

Example via www.ramdass.org: Milarepa

When his father died, Milarepa's uncle and aunt took all of the family's wealth. At his mother's request, Milarepa left home and studied sorcery. While his aunt and uncle were having a party to celebrate the impending marriage of their son, he took his revenge by summoning a giant hailstorm to demolish their house, killing 35 people, although the uncle and aunt are supposed to have survived. The villagers were angry and set off to look for Milarepa, but his mother got word to him, and he sent a hailstorm to destroy their crops.

Many of Milarepa's deeds took place in the homeland of Chö kyi Drönma, the Samding Dorje Phagmo, and his life and songs were compiled by Tsangnyön Heruka, sponsored by her brother, the Gungthang king Thri Namgyal De.

Milarepa later lamented his evil ways in his older years in conversation with Rechungpa: "In my youth I committed black deeds. In maturity I practised innocence. Now, released from both good and evil, I have destroyed the root of karmic action and shall have no reason for action in the future. To say more than this would only cause weeping and laughter. What good would it do to tell you? I am an old man. Leave me in peace."

According to the book Magic and Mystery in Tibet by French explorer Alexandra David-Néel, Milarepa boasted of having "crossed in a few days, a distance which, before his training in black magic, had taken him more than a month. He ascribes his gift to the clever control of 'internal air'." David-Néel comments "that at the house of the lama who taught him black magic there lived a trapa [monk] who was fleeter than a horse" using the same skill. After witnessing such a monk David-Néel described how:

He seemed to lift himself from the ground.. His steps had the regularity of a pendulum ... the traveller seemed to be in a trance.

This esoteric skill, which is known as Lung-gom-pa in Tibet, is said to allow a practitioner to run at an extraordinary speed for days without stopping. This technique could be compared to that practised by the Kaihōgyō monks of Mount Hiei and by practitioners of Shugendō, Japan.

Knowing that his revenge was wrong, Milarepa (Then known by his boyhood name 'Fortuitous') set out to find a lama and was led to Marpa the Translator. Marpa proved a hard taskmaster. Before Marpa would teach Milarepa he had him build and then demolish three towers in turn. Milarepa was asked to build one final multi-story tower by Marpa at Lhodrag: this 11th century tower still stands. When Marpa still refused to teach Milarepa, he went to Marpa's wife, who took pity on him. She forged a letter of introduction to another teacher, Lama Ngogdun Chudor, under whose tutelage he practiced meditation. However when he was making no progress, he confessed the forgery and Ngogdun Chudor said that it was vain to hope for spiritual growth without the guru Marpa's approval.

Milarepa returned to Marpa, and was finally shown the spiritual teachings. Milarepa then left on his own, and after protracted diligence for 12 years he attained the state of Vajradhara (complete enlightenment). He then became known as Milarepa. 'Mila' is Tibetan for; 'great man', and 'repa' means; 'cotton clad one.' At the age of 45, he started to practice at Drakar Taso (White Rock Horse Tooth) cave – "Milarepa's Cave", as well as becoming a wandering teacher. Here, he subsisted on nettle tea, leading his skin to turn green with a waxy covering, hence the greenish color he is often depicted as having, in paintings and sculpture.

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The practice whereby a person is intentionally aware of his or her thoughts and actions in the present moment, non-judgmentally. The 7th step of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Sati, translated as mindfulness or awareness is a spiritual or psychological faculty (indriya) that forms an essential part of Buddhist practice. It is one of the seven factors of enlightenment. "Correct" or "right" mindfulness (Pali: sammā-sati, Sanskrit samyak-smṛti) is the seventh element of the noble eightfold path.

Example via www.ramdass.org: Cultivating Mindfulness

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Mithila (Sanskrit: mithilā), located in Ancient India, was the capital city of the Videha Kingdom. With its name commonly used to refer to the Videha Kingdom itself, as well as to the modern-day territories that fall within the ancient boundaries of Videha (Mithila (India) and Mithila (Nepal)), the city of Mithila has been identified as modern day Janakpur in the Dhanusa district of Nepal. The Mithila kingdom existed on the eastern Indo-Gangetic Plain, an area which today is spread over more than half of India's Bihar state and parts of adjoining Nepal.

The legend of Mithila extends over many centuries. Both Gautama Buddha and Vardamana Mahavira are said to have lived in Mithila. It also formed the centre of Indian history during the first millennium, and has contributed to various literary and scriptural works.

The name Mithila is derived after Mythical King 'Miti'. He was supposed to have been created from the body of his father King Nimi. He established the capital of his kingdom at Mithilapuri and hence the region came to be called Mithila. Since he was born out of body of his father, he took the title Janaka. After this, the Kings of Mithila were called Janaka. The best known Janaka was Kushadhwaja, father of Sita. He was 21st Janaka of Mithila. This Dynasty was also called Videha Janaka. There were 57 kings in the dynasty of Videha Janaka.

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One of the Adityas. Mitra (Sanskrit Mitrá) is a divinity of Indic culture, whose function changed with time. In the Mitanni inscription, Mitra is invoked as one of the protectors of treaties. In the Rigveda, Mitra appears primarily in the dvandva compound Mitra-Varuna, which has essentially the same attributes as Varuna alone, e.g. as the principal guardian of ṛtá "Truth, Order", breaches of which are punished. In the late Vedic texts and the Brahmanas, Mitra is increasingly associated with the light of dawn and the morning sun (while Varuna becomes associated with the evening, and ultimately the night). In the post-Vedic texts – in which Mitra practically disappears – Mitra evolved into the patron divinity of friendship, and because he is "friend", abhors all violence, even when sacred.

Indic Mitra should not be confused with the Zoroastrian divinity Mithra (Miθra). Although their names both derive from the Proto-Indo-Iranian noun *mitra, "(that which) causes binding", a shared etymology through which the two also share some properties, Indic Mitra and Iranian Mithra developed differently, and the two figures are not identical. Indic Mitra should also not be confused with Roman Mithras.

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Liberation. In Indian religions and Indian philosophy, moksha, also called vimoksha, vimukti and mukti, means emancipation, liberation or release. In the soteriological and eschatological sense, it connotes freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth. In the epistemological and psychological sense, moksha connotes freedom, self-realization and self-knowledge.

In Hindu traditions, moksha is a central concept and included as one of the four aspects and goals of human life; the other three goals are dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life), and kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment). Together, these four aims of life are called Puruṣārtha in Hinduism.

The concept of moksha is found in Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism. In some schools of Indian religions, moksha is considered equivalent to and used interchangeably with other terms such as vimoksha, vimukti, kaivalya, apavarga, mukti, nihsreyasa and nirvana. However, terms such as moksha and nirvana differ and mean different states between various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The term nirvana is more common in Buddhism, while moksha is more prevalent in Hinduism.

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A wooden drum carved from one piece, usually in the form of a fish, also known as a Chinese temple block or Mokugyo, is a wooden percussion instrument. The wooden fish is used by monks and laity in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It is often used during rituals usually involving the recitation of sutras, mantras, or other Buddhist texts. The wooden fish is mainly used by Buddhist disciples in China, Japan, Korea, and other East Asian countries where the practice of Mahayana, such as the ceremonious reciting of sutras, is prevalent. In most Zen/Ch'an Buddhist traditions, the wooden fish serves to keep the rhythm during sutra chanting. In Pure Land Buddhism, it is used when chanting the name of Amitabha.

The Taoist clergy has also adapted the wooden fish into their rituals.

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In Zen, a short dialogue between teacher and student. The Mondō is a recorded collection of dialogues between a pupil and a Rōshi (a Zen Buddhist teacher). Zen tradition values direct experience and communication over scriptures. (Some teachers go so far as to instruct their pupils to tear up their scriptures.) However, sometimes the mondō acts as a guide on the method of instruction.

One example of a non-Buddhist mondō is the Sokuratesu-no-mondō, the Japanese translation of the "Socratic method", whereby Socrates asked his students questions in order to elicit the innate truth from assumed facts.

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A sadhu who uses silence as an upaya.

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Muchukunda was a great sage who kills Kalayavan, the great Yavana warrior king in the Indian epic Mahabharata.

Muchukunda, son of King Mandhata, was born in the Ikshvaku dynasty. Ikshvaku dynasty is also known as Suryavamsha. The important kings of this dynasty are Harishchandra, Dileepa, Raghu and Sri Rama.

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Method of yoga using bodily form or gesture. "Seal", a gesture made with hands and fingers in meditation. A mudra is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. A mudrā is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions.

One hundred and eight mudras are used in regular Tantric rituals.

In yoga, mudras are used in conjunction with pranayama (yogic breathing exercises), generally while seated in Padmasana, Sukhasana or Vajrasana pose, to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of prana in the body.

Example via www.ramdass.org: On Judging…

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Mukasura or Mukāsura was an asura in the Indian epic Mahabharata. He was a friend of the Kauravas and the son of Upasunda, who was sent to disturb the austerities that Arjuna was performing at Indra keeladri, geographically now in Andhra pradesh. Mukasura went to the forest where Arjuna was practicing his vows of prayer, vigil, and fast and attacked Arjuna in the form of a boar.

Arjuna was actually conducting his penance to please Siva and obtain the great weapon called pasupatha-astra (the missile of pasupatha, the lord of the animate world). Lord Siva sends Mukasara in the form of a boar to test the severity of Arjuna's penances. He follows the boar in the guise of a hunter.

Arjuna gets angry at the disturbing beast and shoots an arrow, while Siva simultaneously pierces it with an arrow of his own. A big argument over who has killed the boar follows, and a great fight ensues between Arjuna and Lord siva.

In the end, Siva appreciates the valour of Arjuna and grants hims the boon of the missile.

Kiratarjuneeyam of Bharavi and a Telugu kavyam with the same name has the same storyline.

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Muktananda (16 May 1908 – 2 October 1982) is the monastic name of the Siddha Yoga guru who was the founder of the Siddha Yoga spiritual path. Muktananda was a disciple and the successor of Bhagavan Nityananda. He wrote a number of books on the subjects of Kundalini Shakti, Vedanta, and Kashmir Shaivism, including a spiritual autobiography entitled The Play of Consciousness.

Muktananda was born in 1908 near Mangalore in Karnataka State, India, into a well-off family. His birth name was Krishna Rau. At 15 he encountered Bhagavan Nityananda, a wandering avadhoot who profoundly changed his life. After this encounter, Krishna left home and began his search for the experience of God. He studied under Siddharudha Swami at Hubli, where he learned Sanskrit, Vedanta and all branches of yoga, and took the initiation of sannyasa in the Sarasvati order of the Dashanami Sampradaya, taking the name of Swami Muktananda. After Siddharudha's death, Muktananda began wandering India on foot, studying with many different saints and gurus.

After more than 20 years of searching through the subcontinent of India, in 1947 Muktananda went to Ganeshpuri to receive the darshan of Bhagavan Nityananda, the renowned saint who had originally inspired Muktananda's search for God. He received shaktipat initiation from him in the early morning of 15 August of that year. Muktananda often said that his spiritual journey didn't truly begin until he received shaktipat from the holy man Bhagavan Nityananda. According to his description, it was a profound and sublime experience.

August 15, 1947 Nityananda stood facing me directly. He looked into my eyes again. Watching carefully, I saw a ray of light entering me from his pupils. It felt hot like burning fever. Its light was dazzling, like that of a high-powered bulb. As that ray emanating from Bhagavan Nityananda's pupils penetrated mine, I was thrilled with amazement, joy, and fear. I was beholding its color and chanting Guru Om. It was a full unbroken beam of divine radiance. Its color kept changing from molten gold to saffron to a shade deeper than the blue of a shining star. I stood utterly transfixed. He sat down and said in his aphoristic fashion, "All mantras... one. Each... from Om. Om Namah Shivaya Om... should think, Shivo'ham, I am Shiva... Shiva-Shiva...Shivo'ham...should be internal repetition. Internal...superior to external".

Muktananda spent the next nine years living and meditating in a little hut in Yeola. He wrote about his sadhana and kundalini-related meditation experiences, in his autobiography published in 1970 as GURU, by Harper & Row, and as Play of Consciousness, in India in 1971. In 1956, Bhagawan Nityananda acknowledged the culmination of Muktananda's spiritual journey, and gave him a small piece of land at Ganeshpuri, near Bombay, instructing Muktananda to create an ashram there.

Between 1956 and 1982, when he died, Muktananda taught the path he founded and named: the Siddha Yoga path. Central to his teachings were:

"See God in each other."—Swami Muktananda

"Honor your Self. Worship your Self. Meditate on your Self. God dwells within you as you."—Swami Muktananda Muktananda often gave a shorter version of this teaching: "God dwells within you as you."

From 27 to 30 August 1974, Muktananda led the first Shaktipat Intensive in Aspen, Colorado. Through Shaktipat Intensives, created by Muktananda, participants are said to receive shaktipat initiation (the awakening of Kundalini Shakti that is said to reside within a person) and to deepen their practice of Siddha Yoga meditation. Muktananda was known as a "shaktipat guru because kundalini awakening occurred so readily in his presence". Historically, Shaktipat initiation had been reserved for the few who had done many years of spiritual service and practices; Muktananda offered this initiation to newcomers and yogis alike. Making shaktipat much more widely available has been variously described as "Swami Muktananda's innovative transmission of shaktipat" and "an unprecedented and significant historical shift."

Between 1970 and 1981, Muktananda went on three world tours, establishing Siddha Yoga ashrams and meditation centers in many countries. In 1975, he founded the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland, in the California Bay area, and in 1979 he established Shree Nityananda Ashram (now Shree Muktananda Ashram) in the Catskills Mountains, northwest of New York City.

Muktananda established Gurudev Siddha Peeth as a public trust in India to administer the work there, and founded the SYDA Foundation in the United States to administer the global work of Siddha Yoga meditation. He wrote many books; sixteen are still kept in print by the SYDA Foundation.

In May 1982, Muktananda appointed two successors as joint leaders of the Siddha Yoga path, Swami Chidvilasananda and her younger brother, Swami Nityananda who later resigned and formed his own group. Muktananda died in October 1982 and is buried at Ganeshpuri, where the Gurudev Siddha Peeth ashram houses his samādhi shrine.

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In Hinduism, a murti, or murthi, or vigraha or pratima typically refers to an image that expresses a Divine Spirit (murta). Meaning literally "embodiment", a murti is a representation of a divinity, made usually of stone, clay or pottery, wood, or metal, which serves as a means through which a divinity may be worshiped. Hindus consider a murti worthy of serving as a focus of divine worship only after the divine is invoked in it for the purpose of offering worship. The depiction of the divinity must reflect the gestures and proportions outlined in religious tradition.

A murti is a means of communication with the god or Brahman in Hinduism. Murti is a Sanskrit term which is meant to point to the transcendent "otherness" of the divine; therefore the word "murti" cannot be substituted with or translated as statue or idol without losing the underlying concept's inherent meaning and taking on unrelated connotations.

Puja of murtis is recommended, especially for Dvapara Yuga, and described in Pancharatra texts. Only after achieving remarkable expertise in the portrayal of the Buddha figure and of animal and human, did Indian stonemasons turn to producing images of the orthodox 'Hindu' deities.

Example via www.ramdass.org: Manifestation of Murtis

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