Sanskrit for space or openness.

Akasha: The Mother in Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat, this vampire was - according to Marius - the second vampire to come about. Wife of Enkhil, the first vampire, Akasha and Enkhil are vampires of immense power, and are synonmous with Isis and Osiris. The pair form "Those Who Must Be Kept", the vampires from whence came all others. As the first vampires, Akasha and Enkhil are immensely powerful, only slightly bronzed by a full day in the sun. To drink the blood of the mother imbues a lesser vampire with a measure of her power.

From Hindu metaphysics, akasha is the primary element of nature from which spring the four natural elements of earth, air, fire, water. It is the subtle substance upon which the Akashic Records are imprinted.

In Legend of the Five Rings, the Akasha is the name for the collective consciousness of the Naga. It is essentially the wellspring of souls from which the newborn Naga are drawn, and is where their spirits return to when they die- bringing their experiences with them into the pool, enriching the race as a whole.

The Akasha's nature is less that of a hive mind than it is a shared awareness- individuality is encouraged in the young, and is in fact expected of more mature Naga. In the L5R RPG, the Akasha trait is the Naga analog for the (purely human) Void trait, reflecting their spiritual harmony with the spirit of their race.

Unfortunately, the fate of the Naga is inextricably linked to that of the Akasha. As the years passed in the times before the fall of the Kami, the Naga noticed a disturbing trend- fewer children were being clutched, and even fewer hatched. The problem was traced to a fault in the Akasha, and the cure ended up being their doom. Now, the Naga have gone to rest once more, after having done their part in two great wars- the world belongs to the humans, now. When it is their time again, they will wake... but who knows what kind of world they will see in the years ahead?

Also, in the aftermath of the Legacy of the Naga storyline tournament for the CCG, the Unicorn Clan was rewarded for their victory with a human Personality who bears the name Akasha, as well as the legacy of the now-sleeping race.

Akasha is a term, as well as appearing in Hindu philosophy, appears in Buddhist philosophy.

It is a very interesting concept, mainly because it is one of only three things (dharmas) that is permanent. The other two are forms of extinction of phenomena (pratisamkhyanirodha and apratisamkhyanirodha). It is also one of the six elements, alongside earth, air, fire, water and consciousness.

To be permanent, something has to be uncreated - because all things that are created from causes and conditions eventually change in some way, so the original no longer is in existence. Since space as defined here is not a created thing, is is not subject to cessation.

But what is akasha? Basically, it is space. But there are two kinds of space to be considered in Buddhist philosophy, one permanent, the other impermanent. The impermanent form of space is that create by cavities or partitions, for example the rooms of house, or even the cardinal directions. Any kind of partitioned space or volume is impermanent, since when the partitions are removed, the space can no longer be found to be in existence since it was only known by reference to the material or conceptual parts that define it – it is therefore something that is conditioned. This is not akasha, though. Because of how it is defined, it is not a 'thing', unlike a cavity.

Akasha has a definition of 'that which does not hinder'. It is essentially the fact that there is the possibility of 'somewhere' for things to exist in, and in this way it exists only as a negative definition. It has no positive qualities - even no positive existence. But of course if it did not exist, then there would be no absence of obstruction, so there would be no possibility of objects existing in the universe, since there would be nowhere for them to exist.

Space in this definition is a frequent synonym in Mahayana Buddhism and in Tantra for the empty nature of phenomena, and for the ultimate nature of the mind itself. Padmasambhava says it beautifully when he teaches "sentient beings and their defilements are like knots tied in space", that is to say beings and other phenomena are 'clearly apparent non-existents' - when analysed using Madhyamaka reasoning, phenomena are not found to exist, nor are they found to be non-existent - or any combination of these two facts (the addition of both, or the negation of both). They are ultimately like a mirage or a dream. The contemplation of akasha can therefore be conducive to the contemplation of the mind (as echoed by the famous statement "none of the Buddhas of the three times have ever found their mind") and emptiness, which is the means by which complete the enlightenment of a Buddha is achieved.

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