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(1,423 words)

Author(s): Badewien, Jan | Kleine, Christoph | Schneider, Johannes
[German Version] I. The word reincarnation, like the similar expression transmigration of souls (I), from which it is generally not distinguished, refers to various notions of how a person’s soul or spirit may be reembodied for a new life (or series of lives) on earth. A possible terminological distinction might be made between transmigration and reincarnation by restricting reincarnation primarily to the modern Western variant first proposed by G.E. Lessing ( Die Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts, 1780, §§94ff.; ET: The Education of the Human Race, 1858), but a certain overla…


(248 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Johannes
[German Version] (Sanskrit “liberation,” also mukti) designates the attainment of the state of salvation in the Indian religions (Hinduism) of the post-Vedic period (Vedas), i.e. release from the cycle of birth and rebirth (Reincarnation, saṃsāra). Largely synonymous concepts are apavarga (“completion”), kaivalya (“isolation”), niḥśreyasa (“the best”), and nirvāṇa (“cessation”). The liberated being also escapes the cyclical regeneration of the world (a view rejected by the Ājīvikas). Mokṣa is normally only possible during an incarnation as a human being; it is…


(331 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Johannes
[German Version] (Sanskrit “circle”). Especially in the Tantric forms of Indian religion (Tantrism), maṇḍala designates the arrangement of deities in a cosmos-palace. Traditional (Purāṇas) cosmology (ring-shaped continents surrounding a central mountain) persists in the concentric circles of the maṇḍala. The subdivision into four quadrants represents the cardinal points; squares symbolize the palace, further square elements mark its gates, etc. The main deity resides in the center of the maṇḍala, while other deities flank it in the peripheral segments. The Buddhist maṇḍala