landlocked country approximately the size of Texas in the center of south-central Asia. Its longest border of 1,125 miles is with Pakistan, to the east and south. It also borders Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. During the Gandhara empire (first through fifth centuries A.D.), artists in the region first portrayed the Buddha in human form, modeling his figure on the Greek god Apollo. The region that comprises current-day Afghanistan once had been controlled by the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great (fourth century B.C.). Even in the first century A.D., Kushan rulers of the Afghan-Pakistan border region maintained contacts with Rome.
one who rejects wordly attachment, going without basic needs and experiencing hardship, in the belief that this deprivation will lead to spiritual wisdom; adopting the ways of an ascetic
incarnation or appearance of a god, who may assume many forms
compassionate being destined to become a buddha who refrains from entering nirvana to guide others on the path to Buddhahood
Buddha/Buddhist/Buddhism (n/n or adj/n)
historical figure, Buddha Shakyamuni, who lived in India in the sixth century B.C. During this lifetime, Shakyamuni discovered a means to escape the endless cycle of death and rebirth that, according to his teachings, is determined by an individual's karma. Through meditation Buddha attained a state of being known as nirvana, signifying the merging of the inner spirit with the void from which all reality is believed to emerge. Buddha's teachings developed into what is known today as Buddhism; literally "the enlightened one"; a follower of the Buddha's teachings; the religion born of Buddha's teachings.
The Kingdom of Cambodia; a country in the southwestern Indochinese peninsula of Southeast Asia. It is bordered on the west and northwest by Thailand, on the northeast by Laos, on the east and southeast by Vietnam, and on the southwest by the Gulf of Thailand.
division within a society, in this case Hindu socity, that is determined by birth and is based on an occupation that is handed down from parent to child. There are four main castes, which are ranked high to low; members of a caste usually do not marry outside of their caste.
a powerful weapon that symbolizes dharma; its circular shape suggests that the circles of existence are assured by proper behavior
Chola dynasty (n)
south Indian dynasty that flourished from the end of the 9th century until the 13th century. The socially and economically prosperous Chola kingdom was marked by a flowering of Hindu culture. Chola rulers are reknowned for their construction of complex Hindu temples decorated with stone sculpture. Chola artists also excelled in bronze casting.
objects or figures situated in the front of a composition of a painting or drawing
region that is now northwestern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan; style of Buddhist visual art developed between the first century B.C. and the seventh century A.D. The style had its origins in Greco-Roman culture.
Ganges River (n)
India's most sacred river, it is 1,560 miles long and flows southeast from the Himalayas in north India into the Bay of Bengal. Hindus believe that the river has flowed eternally from a sacred mountain in the center of the universe and that its waters will wash away their sins. Many bathe in the Ganges before dying to be cleansed of bad karma, which determines an individual's next life.
mountain range 1,500 miles wide that includes Nepal, Tibet, and hill states of northern India. The highest Himalayan peak is Mount Everest (29,028 feet), which is the highest mountain in the world.
Hinduism/Hindu (n/n or adj)
range of related religious practices and beliefs that have their origins in India and exist today in many areas of south Asia. Hinduism's three major deities are Brahma, the creator; Shiva, the destroyer; and Vishnu, the preserver of universal order. The supreme goddess is Devi or Parvati (consort of Shiva); a follower of Hinduism; of or characteristic of Hinduism
possessing a body, especially human; embodiment of a deity or spirit in some earthly form
country occupying the central part of south Asia; with nearby Bangladesh and Pakistan, it forms a triangle-shaped subcontinent that juts into the Indian Ocean to the south and is set apart from the rest of Asia by the Himalayas in the north; of or characteristic of India
Indian design influenced by Corinthian (of ancient Greece) characteristics; the Corinthian column, for instance, is characterized by a deeply carved capital decorated with acanthus leaves; more ornate than other Greek styles
country in Southeast Asia that is an archipelago of more than 13,500 islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, the Moluccas, parts of Borneo, New Guinea, and Timor; Indonesia extends 3,000 miles, forming a natural barrier between the Indian and Pacific oceans; of or characteristic of Indonesia
religious faith of Muslims, as set forth in the Koran, the text that teaches that Allah is the only god and that Muhummad is his prophet; of or characteristic of Islam
faith founded in India in the sixth century B.C. by Mahavira, a reformer, as a reaction against the caste system and the elaborate spiritual beliefs of Hinduism. Jainism emphasizes the renunciation of the material world and advocates nonviolent, humanitarian behavior; follower of Jainism
Kushan empire (n)
people who ruled over most of northern India, Afghanistan, and parts of central Asia during the first three centuries A.D. The Kushans became affluent through trade, particularly with Rome. They were instrumental in spreading Buddhism in central Asia and China. The Kushans also developed schools of art in the regions of Gandhara and Mathura (Kushan's Indian capital) that produced some of the earliest known Buddhist sculpture.
graceful flowering water plant, which in India and other eastern civilizations has been a symbol of purity, perfection, and enlightenment since ancient times. The enlightened state is symbolized by its blossom, which grows on top of the water, compared to its roots in the mud below, symbolizing earthly existence.
powerful demon who took the form of a buffalo and terrorized the earth and heaven, causing the Hindu gods to combine all their might to create a single deity named the goddess Durga. After a ferocious battle, Mahishasura was decapitated by Durga.
sacred maze-like diagram of circles and squares representing the cosmos in miniature and serving as both a guide to and an object of meditation. A sacred symbol or deity is usually shown in the center.
a follower of Islam; of, relating to, or characteristic of Islam
the Kingdom of Nepal; an independent nation in central Asia laying along the southern slopes of the Himalayas. It is a landlocked country between India to the east, south, and west and Tibet, an autonomous region of China, to the north. Both Buddhism and Hinduism are practiced in Nepal.
country in south Asia bordered to the west by Iran, to the north by Afghanistan, to the northeast by China, to the east and southeast by India, and to the south by the Arabian Sea; contains ancient Gandhara, the region in which some of the earliest representations of the Buddha in human form were produced
form of the great goddess Devi, whose name means "daughter of the mountain;" consort of Shiva
crust or film that appears gradually (as a result of chemical reactions) on the surface of a metal object, often green in color when found on bronze. A patina is sometimes applied deliberately but most often develops on objects placed out of doors or underground.
loose-fitting, skirtlike garment formed by wrapping a width of cloth around the body below the shoulders or at the waist; commonly worn by women in India, other Asian nations, and the islands of the South Pacific
active and creative energy that enlivens a male god. Shakti is often personified as a female consort.
"the Shakya Sage;" Buddha after his enlightenment
dome-shaped structure that was originally said to contain the relics of Buddha; used for Buddhist worship
region of southwest China that occupies plateaus and mountains of Central Asia, including Mount Everest. Tibet is bordered on the south by Myanmar, India, Bhutan, and Nepal and on the west by India. China annexed Tibet in 1951. In 1965 it was declared the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China; of or characteristic of Tibet
three-pronged weapon; an emblem of Shiva's threefold nature—male, female, and androgynous
prominent bump on the top of Buddha's head, which refers to his wisdom and openness as an enlightened being
animal or composite creature that serves as the transport or mount of a god, providing cosmic transportation
"the preserver;" supreme Hindu god; one of the three major Hindu gods, who include Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu has 10 avatars, or incarnations, savior gods who come to earth to save humanity from evil at different intervals during the cycles of existence.
ancient Indian female fertility deity