views updated

Abhiṣek(a) (Skt., abhi + ṣich, ‘sprinkle water’). In Hinduism, a general word for anointing or sprinkling, especially in order to consecrate: Abhiṣeka in later Hinduism is transferred to a religious context and is sometimes a synonym for dīkṣa or sometimes follows from dīkṣa.

In Buddhism, abhiṣeka is the means by which the guru transmits the power and authority to a pupil to engage in specific forms of meditation. It is important especially in Tibet (Tib., dbang.bskur, ‘empowerment’), where it is an initiation ritual in Tibetan Buddhism preceding Tantric practice.