Lama

Lama (Tibetan: བླ་མ་, Wylie: bla-ma; "chief" or "high priest"[1]) is a title for a teacher of the Dharma in Tibetan Buddhism. The name is similar to the Sanskrit term guru and in use it is similar, but not identical to the western monastic rank of abbot.[2]

Historically, the term was used for venerated spiritual masters[3][4] or heads of monasteries.[2] Today the title can be used as an honorific title conferred on a monk,[2][4] nun or (in the Nyingma, Kagyu and Sakya schools) advanced tantric practitioner to designate a level of spiritual attainment and authority to teach, or may be part of a title such as Dalai Lama[4] or Panchen Lama[4] applied to a lineage of reincarnate lamas (Tulkus).

Perhaps due to misunderstandings by early western scholars attempting to understand Tibetan Buddhism, the term lama has historically been erroneously applied to Tibetan monks in general. Similarly, Tibetan Buddhism was referred to as "Lamaism"[2] by early western scholars and travelers who perhaps did not understand that what they were witnessing was a form of Buddhism;[2] they may also have been unaware of the distinction between Tibetan Buddhism and Bön. The term Lamaism is now considered by some to be derogatory.[5]

In the Vajrayana path of Tibetan Buddhism, the lama is often the tantric spiritual guide, the guru to the aspiring Buddhist yogi or yogini. As such, the lama will then appear as one of the Three Roots (a variant of the Three Jewels), alongside the yidam and protector (who may be a dakini, dharmapala or other Buddhist deity figure).

Dalai Lama 1430 Luca Galuzzi 2007crop
The current Dalai Lama.
Lama Dance, Dharamsala, India
Lama Dance, Dharamshala, H.P., India c. 1980.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  2. ^ a b c d e "lama" from Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. ^ Lama:definition at About.com
  4. ^ a b c d Marcotte, Amanda (2000-01-14). "Who Are the Tibetan Lamas?". Slate.com. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  5. ^ Frank J. Korom (1997). Constructing Tibetan Culture: Contemporary Perspectives. World Heritage Press. ISBN 1-896064-12-4.
13th Dalai Lama

Thubten Gyatso (shortened from Ngawang Lobsang Thupten Gyatso Jigdral Chokley Namgyal; Tibetan: ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་, Wylie: Thub Bstan Rgya Mtsho; 12 February 1876 – 17 December 1933) was the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet.In 1878 he was recognized as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. He was escorted to Lhasa and given his pre-novice vows by the Panchen Lama, Tenpai Wangchuk, and named "Ngawang Lobsang Thupten Gyatso Jigdral Chokley Namgyal". In 1879 he was enthroned at the Potala Palace, but did not assume political power until 1895, after he had reached his maturity.

Thubten Gyatso was an intellectual reformer who proved himself a skillful politician. He was responsible for countering the British expedition to Tibet, restoring discipline in monastic life, and increasing the number of lay officials to avoid excessive power being placed in the hands of the monks.

14th Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama (religious name: Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso; born Lhamo Thondup; 6 July 1935) is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism, which was formally headed by the Ganden Tripas. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama to 1959, the central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the position of Dalai Lama with temporal duties.The 14th Dalai Lama was born in Taktser, Amdo, Tibet. He was selected as the tulku of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 and formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama in a public declaration near the town of Bumchen in 1939. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on 22 February 1940 and he eventually assumed full temporal (political) duties on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, after the People's Republic of China's incorporation of Tibet. The Gelug school's government administered an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region, just as the nascent PRC wished to assert control over it.

During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he currently lives as a refugee. He has traveled the world and has spoken about the welfare of Tibetans, environment, economics, women's rights, non-violence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health, and sexuality, along with various topics of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist teachings. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, Time magazine named him one of the "Children of Mahatma Gandhi" and his spiritual heir to nonviolence.

5th Dalai Lama

Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso (Tibetan: ངག་དབང་བློ་བཟང་རྒྱ་མཚོ་, Wylie: Ngag-dbang blo-bzang rgya-mtsho; Tibetan pronunciation: [ŋɑ̀wɑ̀ŋ lɔ́psɑ̀ŋ cɑ̀t͡só]; 1617–1682) was the 5th Dalai Lama and the first Dalai Lama to wield effective temporal and spiritual power over all Tibet. He is often referred to simply as the Great Fifth, being a key religious and temporal leader of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibet. Gyatso is credited with unifying all Tibet after a Mongol military intervention which ended a protracted era of civil wars. As an independent head of state, he established diplomatic relations with China and other regional countries and also met early European explorers. Gyatso also wrote 24 volumes' worth of scholarly and religious works on a wide range of subjects.

Buddhism in Kalmykia

The Kalmyk people are the only people of Europe whose national religion is Buddhism. They live in Kalmykia, a federal subject of the Russian Federation. It borders Dagestan to the south, Stavropol Krai to the southwest, Rostov Oblast to the west, Volgograd Oblast to the northwest and Astrakhan Oblast to the east. The Caspian Sea borders Kalmykia to the southeast.

The Kalmyks are the descendants of Oirats who migrated to Europe during the early part of the 17th century. As Tibetan Buddhists, the Kalmyks regard the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader. The Šajin Lama (Supreme Lama) of the Kalmyks is Erdne Ombadykow, a Philadelphia-born man of Kalmykian origin who was brought up as a Buddhist monk in a Tibetan monastery in India from the age of seven and who was recognized by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the Buddhist saint Telo Rinpoche. Ombdaykow divides his time between living in Colorado and living in Kalmykia.

Kalmyk political refugees opened the first Buddhist temple in Central Europe, the Belgrade pagoda, located in Belgrade, Serbia, in the 1920s. Many of their offspring relocated to the United States in late 1951 and early 1952, where they established several Kalmyk Buddhist temples in Monmouth County, New Jersey and its environs. Ngawang Wangyal, a Kalmyk Buddhist monk, established the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center and monastery in Washington, New Jersey.

Central Tibetan Administration

The Central Tibetan Administration, also known as CTA (Tibetan: བོད་མིའི་སྒྲིག་འཛུགས་, Wylie: bod mi'i sgrig 'dzugs, THL: Bömi Drikdzuk, Tibetan pronunciation: [pʰỳmìː ʈìʔt͡sùʔ], literally Exile Tibetan People's Organisation) is an organisation based in India. It was originally called Tibetan Kashag Government in 1960, then later renamed to "the Government of the Great Snow Land". The CTA is also referred to as the Tibetan Government in Exile which has never been recognized by China. Its internal structure is government-like; it has stated that it is "not designed to take power in Tibet"; rather, it will be dissolved "as soon as freedom is restored in Tibet" in favor of a government formed by Tibetans inside Tibet. In addition to political advocacy, it administers a network of schools and other cultural activities for Tibetans in India. On 11 February 1991, the CTA became a founding member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) at a ceremony held at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.

Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama

Lobsang Trinley Lhündrub Chökyi Gyaltsen, born Gönbo Cêdän (19 February 1938 – 28 January 1989), was the tenth Panchen Lama, officially the 10th Panchen Erdeni (Chinese: 第十世班禅额尔德尼; literally: 'Number-10-lifetime Great Scholar the Treasure'), of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. He was often referred to simply as Choekyi Gyaltsen (which can be Choekyi Gyaltse, Choskyi Gyantsen, etc.), although this is also the name of several other notable figures in Tibetan history.

Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama (UK: , US: ; Standard Tibetan: ཏཱ་ལའི་བླ་མ་, Tā la'i bla ma, [táːlɛː láma]) is a title given by the Tibetan people for the foremost spiritual leader of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest of the classical schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.

The Dalai Lama is also considered to be the successor in a line of tulkus who are believed to be incarnations of Avalokiteśvara, a Bodhisattva of Compassion. The name is a combination of the Mongolic word dalai meaning "ocean" or "big" (coming from Mongolian title Dalaiyin qan or Dalaiin khan, translated as Gyatso in Tibetan) and the Tibetan word བླ་མ་ (bla-ma) meaning "master, guru".The Dalai Lama figure is important for many reasons. Since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century, his personage has always been a symbol of unification of the state of Tibet, where he has represented Buddhist values and traditions. The Dalai Lama was an important figure of the Geluk tradition, which was politically and numerically dominant in Central Tibet, but his religious authority went beyond sectarian boundaries. While he had no formal or institutional role in any of the religious traditions, which were headed by their own high lamas, he was a unifying symbol of the Tibetan state, representing Buddhist values and traditions above any specific school. The traditional function of the Dalai Lama as an ecumenical figure, holding together disparate religious and regional groups, has been taken up by the present fourteenth Dalai Lama. He has worked to overcome sectarian and other divisions in the exiled community and has become a symbol of Tibetan nationhood for Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile.From 1642 until 1705 and from 1750 to the 1950s, the Dalai Lamas or their regents headed the Tibetan government (or Ganden Phodrang) in Lhasa which governed all or most of the Tibetan Plateau with varying degrees of autonomy under the Qing Dynasty of China, up to complete sovereignty. This Tibetan government also enjoyed the patronage and protection of firstly Mongol kings of the Khoshut and Dzungar Khanates (1642–1720) and then of the emperors of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty (1720–1912). Tibet's sovereignty was later rejected, however, by both the Republic of China and the current People's Republic of China.

Gelug

The Gelug (Wylie: dGe-Lugs-Pa) is the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded by Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), a philosopher and Tibetan religious leader. The first monastery he established was named Ganden (which gives an alternative name to the Gelug school, the Ganden-Pa), and to this day the Ganden Tripa is the nominal head of the school, though its most influential figure is the Dalai Lama. Allying themselves with the Mongols as a powerful patron, the Gelug emerged as the pre-eminent Buddhist school in Tibet and Mongolia since the end of the 16th century.

The Gelug school was also called the "New Kadam", because it saw itself a revival of the Kadam school founded by Atisha."Ganden" is the Tibetan rendition of the Sanskrit name "Tushita", the Pure land associated with Maitreya Buddha. At first, Tsongkhapa's school was called "Ganden Choluk" meaning "the Spiritual Lineage of Ganden". By taking the first syllable of 'Ganden' and the second of 'Choluk', this was abbreviated to "Galuk" and then modified to the more easily pronounced "Gelug".

Guanaco

The guanaco (Lama guanicoe) (from Quechua "Wanaku", via Spanish) is a camelid native to South America, closely related to the llama. Its name comes from the Quechua word huanaco (modern spelling wanaku). Young guanacos are called chulengos.

Karmapa

The Karmapa (honorific title His Holiness the Gyalwa (རྒྱལ་བ་, Victorious One) Karmapa, more formally as Gyalwang (རྒྱལ་དབང་ཀརྨ་པ་, King of Victorious Ones) Karmapa, and informally as the Karmapa Lama) is the head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest sub-school of the Kagyu (བཀའ་བརྒྱུད, Wylie: bka' brgyud), itself one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

The historical seat of the Karmapas is Tsurphu Monastery in the Tolung valley of Tibet. The Karmapa's principal seat in exile is the Dharma Chakra Centre at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, India. His regional monastic seats are Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in New York and Dhagpo Kagyu Ling in Dordogne, France.

Due to a controversy within the Karma Kagyu school over the recognition process, the identity of the current 17th Karmapa is disputed by some. See Karmapa controversy for details.

Lama Lama National Park

Lama Lama National Park is a national park on Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, Australia. The name comes from the Lama Lama people who are the traditional owners of the land. The park protects coastal plains, beach ridges and sandy hills of the Annie River water catchment. The river marks the southern border of the park.Lama Lama National Park was the first national park in Queensland to be jointly managed between the traditional owners and the Government of Queensland. A signing ceremony marking the creation of the new national park was held at Coen on 10 July 2008. It contains an important plant species Eucalyptus tetrodonta also known as Darwin stringybark. It also protects the habitat of the critically endangered Red goshawk.

Llama

The llama (; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈʎama]) (Lama glama) is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era.

A full-grown llama can reach a height of 1.7 to 1.8 m (5 ft 7 in to 5 ft 11 in) at the top of the head, and can weigh between 130 and 200 kg (290 and 440 lb). At birth, a baby llama (called a cria) can weigh between 9 and 14 kg (20 and 31 lb). Llamas typically live for 15 to 25 years, with some individuals surviving 30 years or more.They are very social animals and live with other llamas as a herd. The wool produced by a llama is very soft and lanolin-free. Llamas are intelligent and can learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack, they can carry about 25 to 30% of their body weight for 8 to 13 km (5–8 miles).The name llama (in the past also spelled 'lama' or 'glama') was adopted by European settlers from native Peruvians.Llamas appear to have originated from the central plains of North America about 40 million years ago. They migrated to South America about three million years ago during the Great American Interchange. By the end of the last ice age (10,000–12,000 years ago), camelids were extinct in North America. As of 2007, there were over seven million llamas and alpacas in South America, and due to importation from South America in the late 20th century, there are now over 158,000 llamas and 100,000 alpacas in the United States and Canada.

Panchen Lama

The Panchen Lama (Tibetan: པཎ་ཆེན་བླ་མ།, Wylie: paN chen bla ma) is a tulku of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The Panchen Lama is one of the most important figures in the Gelug tradition, with a spiritual authority second only to Dalai Lama. "Panchen" is an abbreviation of "Pandita" and "Chenpo", meaning "Great scholar".

The recognition of Panchen Lamas began with Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen, tutor of the 5th Dalai Lama, who received the title "Panchen Bogd" from Altan Khan and the Dalai Lama in 1645. "Bogd" is Mongolian, meaning "holy". Khedrup Gelek Pelzang, Sönam Choklang and Ensapa Lobsang Döndrup were subsequently recognized as the first to third Panchen Lamas posthumously.

In 1792, Qianlong Emperor issued a decree known as the 29-Article Imperial Decree for Better Governing in Tibet, and Article One of the decree was designed to be used in the selection of rinpoches, lamas and other high offices within Tibetan Buddhism, including the Dalai Lamas, Panchen Lamas and Mongolian lamas.Traditionally, the Panchen Lama was the head of Tashilhunpo Monastery, and held religious and secular power over the Tsang region centered in Shigatse, independent of the Ganden Podrang authority led by Dalai Lama. However, Dalai and Panchen Lamas are closely connected, and Panchen Lama is part of the process by which each new Dalai Lama is chosen.The identity of the current, 11th Panchen Lama is controversial. Under Chinese official support, Chökyi Gyalpo currently acts as the 11th Panchen Lama in Tibet. However, he has been rejected abroad. The Chinese government has been accused of kidnapping Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the Panchen Lama recognized by the 14th Dalai Lama.

In the Qianlong Emperor's essay "Speech on the Lamas" (喇嘛说) published in 1792, the emperor wrote that the Golden Urn system is a fairer mechanism than the method of identifying the reincarnation of the Lama using only one person. (虽不能尽去其弊,较之从前一人之授意者,或略公矣。).

Shamarpa

The Shamarpa (Tibetan: ཞྭ་དམར་པ་, Wylie: zhwa dmar pa; literally, "Person (i.e. Holder) of the Red Crown"), also known as Shamar Rinpoche, or more formally Künzig Shamar Rinpoche, is a lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and is regarded to be the mind manifestation of Amitābha. He is traditionally associated with Yangpachen Monastery near Lhasa.

The first Shamarpa, Drakpa Senggé (Wylie: grags pa seng+ge, 1283–1349), was the principal disciple of Rangjung Dorje, 3rd Karmapa Lama. Rangjung Dorje gave this disciple a ruby-red crown and the title "Shamarpa", establishing the second line of reincarnate lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa being the first.

The Shamarpa is often referred to as the "Red Hat Karmapa", especially in early Kagyu texts.

The 5th Dalai Lama saw the Shamarpa as equal to the Karmapa: Since Je Chen-nga Thamchad Khyenpa Chokyi Dragpa (the Fourth Shamarpa) ascended the throne of the Phagdrupa dynasty, there was no longer any difference between the Red Hat and the Black Hat Karmapas. This was the reason why I afforded them both equal status."

Tibet

Tibet ( (listen); Tibetan: བོད་, Lhasa dialect: [/pʰøː˨˧˩/]; Chinese: 西藏; pinyin: Xīzàng) is a region covering much of the Tibetan Plateau in modern-day China. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa, and Lhoba peoples and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 5,000 m (16,000 ft). The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain, rising 8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level.

The Tibetan Empire emerged in the 7th century, but with the fall of the empire the region soon divided into a variety of territories. The bulk of western and central Tibet (Ü-Tsang) was often at least nominally unified under a series of Tibetan governments in Lhasa, Shigatse, or nearby locations; these governments were at various times under Mongol and Chinese overlordship. Thus Tibet remained a suzerainty of the Mongol and later Chinese rulers in Nanjing and Beijing, with reasonable autonomy given to the Tibetan leaders. The eastern regions of Kham and Amdo often maintained a more decentralized indigenous political structure, being divided among a number of small principalities and tribal groups, while also often falling more directly under Chinese rule after the Battle of Chamdo; most of this area was eventually incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. The current borders of Tibet were generally established in the 18th century.Following the Xinhai Revolution against the Qing dynasty in 1912, Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet Area (Ü-Tsang). The region subsequently declared its independence in 1913 without recognition by the subsequent Chinese Republican government. Later, Lhasa took control of the western part of Xikang, China. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following the Battle of Chamdo, Tibet became incorporated into the People's Republic of China, and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising. Today, China governs western and central Tibet as the Tibet Autonomous Region while the eastern areas are now mostly ethnic autonomous prefectures within Sichuan, Qinghai and other neighbouring provinces. There are tensions regarding Tibet's political status and dissident groups that are active in exile.

Tibetan activists in Tibet have reportedly been arrested or tortured.The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture, though tourism has become a growing industry in recent decades. The dominant religion in Tibet is Tibetan Buddhism; in addition there is Bön, which is similar to Tibetan Buddhism, and there are also Tibetan Muslims and Christian minorities. Tibetan Buddhism is a primary influence on the art, music, and festivals of the region. Tibetan architecture reflects Chinese and Indian influences. Staple foods in Tibet are roasted barley, yak meat, and butter tea.

Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (also Indo-Tibetan Buddhism) is the form of Buddhism named after the lands of Tibet where it is the dominant religion. It is also found in the regions surrounding the Himalayas (such as Bhutan, Ladakh, and Sikkim), much of Chinese Central Asia, the Southern Siberian regions such as Tuva, as well as in Mongolia.

Tibetan Buddhism is a form of Mahayana Buddhism stemming from the latest stages of Indian Buddhism (and so is also part of the tantric Vajrayana tradition). It thus preserves "the Tantric status quo of eighth-century India." However, it also includes native Tibetan developments and practices. In the pre-modern era, Tibetan Buddhism spread outside of Tibet primarily due to the influence of the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), founded by Kublai Khan, which ruled China, Mongolia and parts of Siberia. In the modern era, it has spread outside of Asia due to the efforts of the Tibetan diaspora.

Apart from classical Mahayana Buddhist practices like the six perfections, Tibetan Buddhism also includes Tantric practices, such as deity yoga and the Six Dharmas of Naropa. Its main goal is Buddhahood or rainbow body. The main language of scriptural study in this tradition is classical Tibetan.

Tibetan Buddhism has four major schools, namely Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug. The Jonang is a smaller school, and the Rimé movement is a recent nonsectarian movement which cuts across the different schools. Each school is independent and has its own monastic institutions and leaders.

Tulku

A tulku (Tibetan: སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་, Wylie: sprulsku, ZYPY: Zhügu, also tülku, trulku) is a reincarnate custodian of a specific lineage of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism who is given empowerments and trained from a young age by students of his or her predecessor.

High-profile examples of tulkus include the Dalai Lamas, the Panchen Lamas, the Samding Dorje Phagmos, the Karmapas, Khyentses, the Ngawang Namgyals, and the Kongtruls.

Women in Buddhism

Women in Buddhism is a topic that can be approached from varied perspectives including those of theology, history, anthropology and feminism. Topical interests include the theological status of women, the treatment of women in Buddhist societies at home and in public, the history of women in Buddhism, and a comparison of the experiences of women across different forms of Buddhism. As in other religions, the experiences of Buddhist women have varied considerably.

Scholars such as Bernard Faure and Miranda Shaw are in agreement that Buddhist studies is in its infancy in terms of addressing gender issues. Shaw gave an overview of the situation in 1994:

In the case of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism some progress has been made in the areas of women in early Buddhism, monasticism and Mahayana Buddhism. Two articles have seriously broached the subject of women in Indian tantric Buddhism, while somewhat more attention has been paid to Tibetan nuns and lay yoginis.

However Khandro Rinpoche, a female lama in Tibetan Buddhism, downplays the significance of growing attention to the topic:

When there is a talk about women and Buddhism, I have noticed that people often regard the topic as something new and different. They believe that women in Buddhism has become an important topic because we live in modern times and so many women are practicing the Dharma now. However, this is not the case. The female sangha has been here for centuries. We are not bringing something new into a 2,500-year-old tradition. The roots are there, and we are simply re-energizing them.

As a present evaluation of women (and equality) in Buddhism, Masatoshi Ueki gave a diachronic textual interpretation of Buddhist texts from Early Buddhism to the Lotus Sutra. Ueki examined the terms 'male' and 'female' as based not solely on the physical characteristics of each sex biologically but also on their functional roles within society, calling them the 'male principle' and 'female principle,' and concluded that no difference is preached in the Shakyamuni's teachings regarding the enlightenment of woman.

The establishment of the male principle in equal measure with the female principle is the natural order of things. They should never exist in a mutually exclusive relationship. They should not be an emphasis on one at the expense of the other, for both are indispensable. ... will the establishment of the true self be a fact of reality for both men and women.

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