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(Skt.). The term literally means ‘retention’ and refers to high levels of mindfulness (smṛti) and insight (prajñā) derived from spiritual practice. In early Mahāyāna Buddhism.four categories were distinguished: the retention of patience (kṣānti-dhāraṇī), the retention of mantra (mantra-dhāraṇī), the retention of words (pada-dhāraṇī), and the retention of meaning (artha-dhāraṇī). Mantra-dhāraṇīs were a mnemonic form of mantra designed to facilitate the retention of various teachings, often considered to be a summary version of long sūtras. Later, with the rise of tantric Buddhism, dhāraṇīs became indistinguishable from mantras in general though they are generally of greater length than ordinary mantras and can largely be understood as normal speech.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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