THE VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF KHMER ART
GLOSSARY

 

 

     
 
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  Mahabharata (Sanskrit, महाभारत) [the great tale of the Bharats]: TheMahabharata is one of the two most important epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana. With more than 74.000 verses it was written down between 400 B.D. and 400 A.D. The legend says it was Ganesha who, at the request of Vyasa, wrote down the text to Vyasa's dictation.  
  Mahisa [Mahisha]: The buffalo-headed demon (asura) killed by Durga in her battle with the Asuras. The fight between Mahishasura and Durga took place at a time when the demons had taken over power from the gods. They controlled the priests and consumed the offerings made in honour of the gods. Faced with dwindling powers, the gods created a powerful goddess to help them: Durga. She destroyed Mahisha and the Asuras.  
  Mahisasura-Mardani: The one who killed the buffalo-daemon Mahisasura.  
  Mahayana (Sanskrit, महायान) [maha=great, yana=vehicle: Greater Vehicle]: Mahayana is a vast religious and philosophical structure. The fundamental principles of Mahayana doctrine were based around the possibility of universal liberation from suffering for all beings.  
  Maitreya (Sanskrit, मैत्रेय [maitri=universal love, mitra=friend]: The Bodhisattva who is the future Buddha to come to attain the enlightment and to lead to salvation.  
  Meru (Sanskrit: मेरु): In Hindu and Buddhist cosmology an unimaginable high mountain which is the centre of the universe. Here lives Brahma and the other deities. Many Khmer temples are a stylized representation of Mt. Meru.  
  Modaka: A round lemon-sized sweet made of rice, coconut, sugar, etc. It is a favorite treat of Ganesha.  
  Mon: An ethnic group in Southeast Asia, also known as Talaing. The most important early Mon state was Dvaravati (6th to 10th century) with a culture that was strongly influenced by India. Starting with the 10th century the Mon were replaced by the Khmer and the new centre became Lamphun (Haripunjaya) in the north.  
  Mucalinda [Mucilinda]: The name of a Naga (a snake-like being) who protected the Buddha from the elements after his enlightenment. This relates to the story of the seven days of rain that started on the Buddha's sixth day of enlightenment. Under threat of drowning from the rising waters of the near by lake, Mucalinda emerged from the forest and sheltered the Buddha so that he could continue his meditation without distraction.  
  Mudrā (Sanskrit: मुद्रा) [seal]: A symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. Along with āsanas [seated postures], they are employed statically in the meditation.  
     
     

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