Mudras are hand and body positions that carry meaning. The word comes from Indian culture (Southeast Asia, not North America).

Mudras are used in dance, art and simple sign language and are most often expressions of emotion used to accent communication. In American culture, I have heard the middle finger extended in a "fuck you" situation described as "the one-finger mudra of contempt." In actuality, this is a fairly accurate example of how mudras accent conversation. In my opinion, they may be equated with the modern written symbology of emoticons.

For a science fiction book depicting mudras in action and how they affect a culture, check out Walter Jon Williams' text Aristoi.

Mudra is the sanskrit word used to name a hand posture. The mudras, or hand postures, are used in meditation and esoteric ritual practice.

A popular application of mudras can be found in the art of kuji-in, a practical esoteric technique used to enhance spiritual, mental and physical abilities. kuji-in contains 9 mudras that generate powerful spiritual experiences. Some of those mudras are often seen on statues of Buddhas.

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