Dhyāna

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Dhyāna (Skt., ‘meditation’, ‘absorption’). In Indian religions, a term denoting both the practice of meditation and a higher state of consciousness (generally involving enstasy), though the term takes on more precise meanings in different traditions; thus the Buddhist use of the term is distinct from the Hindu—see JHĀNA.

In Tantrism dhyāna comes to mean visualization of one's own deity (iṣṭadevatā), maṇḍala, centres (cakra) of the subtle body (liṅga/sūkṣma śarīra), or guru, accompanied by mantra repetition (japa) and symbolic hand gestures (mudra). Dhyāna as visualization is thus the visual equivalent of auditory mantra and corporeal mudra and is an essential part of sādhana.