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Cakra (Skt., ‘wheel’). A centre of psychic energy in the body conceived as a lotus, especially in Tantrism. Six main cakras connected by the suṣumnā nāḍī (in Buddhism called avadhūtī) came to be recognized in Hinduism, the mūlādhāra (‘root support’) at the base of the spine, the svādhiṣṭhāna (‘own place’) in the genital region, the maṇipūra (‘jewel city’) at the navel, the anāhata (‘unstruck’) at the heart, the viśuddha (‘pure’) at the throat, and the ājña (‘command’) between the eyebrows. Just above here are two minor cakras: the manas and soma. Above the top of the head is the thousand-petalled lotus (sahasrāra padma; or ūṣṇīṣa kamala for Buddhists), the abode of bliss which is not classified as an ordinary cakra. See also MAṆḌALA.

For its meaning in non-Tantric Buddhism, see DHAMMA-CAKRA

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