Initiation: 2 definitions


Initiation means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

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In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Initiation in Shaivism glossary
Source: SOAS University of London: Protective Rites in the Netra Tantra

Initiation (in Sanskrit: dīkṣā) in the Netratantra is discussed in the form of a concise outline.—The Netra-tantra explains how the initiand becomes fused with various cosmic elements, such as the tattvas, mantras, and in Kṣemarāja’s non-dualistic reading, the highest reality, i.e., Śiva. From both the Netratantra and Kṣemarāja’s commentary, it becomes clear how the process of initiation completely separates the initiand from both his physical body and his social self. This separation occurs at the various stages of initiation, from Samayin to Ācārya, wherein each level is associated with different tattvas. The change that the initiand goes through during the rites are not, “a mere development of preexisting seeds but...a transformation totius substantiae”. According  to Durkheim, this change in one's entire essence stems from a literal death and rebirth wherein the newly initiated practitioner is instantly replaced by his new self.

Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Initiation in Mahayana glossary
Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (mahayana)

Initiation (in Sanskrit: dīkṣā) refers to one of the core Tantric rituals.—Scholars familiar with Tantric traditions know well that initiation (dīkṣā) is one of the core Tantric rituals. As Goodall explains, tantric initiation was novel and different from earlier Indic forms of religious initiation, being not only “a preparation for a particular religious undertaking, but … also a transformative rite that purifies the soul””.

Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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