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|+||Return to [[Alphabet]], [[Sanskrit alphabet]]|
|+||A is the [[first]] [[vowel]] and [[letter]] in the [[Sanskrit alphabet]]. The [[phoneme]] "a" is [[thought]] to be the [[source]] of all other [[phoneme]]s and its corresponding [[letter]] the [[origin]] of all other [[letter]]s. As the basis of both the [[Sanskrit]] [[phonemic system]] and the written [[alphabet]], the [[letter]] "a" [[Thus Come]]s to be [[invest]]ed with [[mystical]] significance as the [[source]] of [[truth]], [[non-differentiation]], and [[emptiness]] ([[shunyaTa]]), or even of the [[universe]] as a [[whole]]. The [[Prajna Paramita]][[sarva]][[tathaGATA]]MaTa-EKaKshARa, the [[shortest]] of the [[perfection of wisdom scripture]]s, also describes how the entirety of the [[perfection of wisdom]] is subsumed by this [[one]] [[letter]]. The [[letter]] in the [[Sanskrit]] [[SiddhaM]] [[alphabet]] gained [[special]] significance within the [[esoteric Buddhist]] [[tradition]]s in [[Japan]] ([[MIKKYo]]), such as [[Shingon]] (see [[SHINGON]]SHu), which considered it to be the "[[seed]]" ([[BiJA]]) of [[MAHa]][[Vairochana]], the [[central divinity]] of [[esoteric Buddhism]], and used it in a [[distinctive]] [[type]] of [[meditation]] called [[AJIKAN]] ("[[contemplation]] of the [[letter]] 'a'"). The [[letter]] "a," which is said to be [[original]]ly un[[created]] ([[AJI]] [[HONPUSHo]]), is [[interpreted]] to be the [[essence]] of all [[phenomena]] in the [[universe]] and the [[Dharmakaya]] of the [[Buddha]] [[Maha Vairochana]]. In the [[East Asian]] [[Chan tradition]]s, the [[letter]] "a" is also some[[time]]s understood to [[represent]] the [[Buddha nature]] ([[FOXING, S.]] [[Buddhadhatu]]) of all [[sentient being]]s.|