Contemplative Sojourn VII

Greetings from Vajragoni here at Unborn Mind Zen! Another blog season has come to its conclusion. The most recent series, Buddhism’s Black Holes, was a venture into the mystic associations of Icons and Relics in spiritual traditions. Prior to that was a series based on the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, refashioned in a version in Light of the Unborn entitled, The Sutra of Primordial Enlightenment. This Sutra is a good introduction to the Sudden and Gradual Ways towards Enlightenment. The Read more [...]
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Iconology

This blog is a mini-study into the nature of Icons, particularly within the Eastern Orthodox tradition and sundry Buddhist traditions as well. Perhaps when one first brings to mind the image of an icon, one is immediately drawn to those Orthodox representations. Within Eastern Orthodoxy precedence is given to apophatic-theology: Our negative statement about what God cannot be embodies within itself a statement about the existence of God, affirmation of that existence lying within our apophatic Read more [...]
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Śarīra

Śarīra is a beautiful word essentially connoting a Buddhist relic, “although in common usage it usually refers to pearl or crystal-like bead-shaped objects that are purportedly found among the cremated ashes of Buddhist spiritual masters.” (Wiki) The Mahaparinibbana Sutta makes reference to them after the Buddha’s cremation, after which they are referred to as dhātu and are “held to emanate or incite 'blessings' and 'grace' (Sanskrit: adhiṣṭhāna) within the mindstream and experience Read more [...]
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Buddhism’s Black Holes

The title for this blog-series is in reference to Bernard Faure’s excellent article, Buddhism’s Black Holes: From Ontology to Hauntology. In actuality it all has to do with the nature of Buddhist Icons and Relics, which also will be the main thrust of this series. Faure’s special focus in his article concerns the “practice of inserting miscellaneous things (relics or śārīra, fragments of stone and crystal, cloth viscera, texts, written incantations, list of donors, coins, etc.) inside Read more [...]
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Bodhisattva Boundless in Virtue and Goodness

Lastly, the Bodhisattva Boundless in Virtue and Goodness arose from his seat in the sacred assembly, bowed and then prostrated himself at the feet of the Tathagata and then circumambulated about him three times to the right. He then knelt down and with hands clasped in a manner depicting sublime devotion, invoked the Blessed One. “World-Honored One of Infinite Compassion! You have most magnificently revealed for us and all sentient beings in the degenerate age about the nature of this inconceivable Read more [...]
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Bodhisattva of Unexcelled Enlightenment

This chapter, which elaborates on the ritual practice appropriate for those of lesser spiritual faculties as well as Tsung Mi’s own “meditation retreat” based on this eleventh chapter, was given a nice treatment in the opening blog of this series. The Bodhisattva of Unexcelled Enlightenment arose from his seat in the sacred assembly, bowed and then prostrated himself at the feet of the Tathagata and then circumambulated about him three times to the right. He then knelt down and with Read more [...]
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Bodhisattva of Universal Enlightenment

Then the Bodhisattva of Universal Enlightenment arose from his seat in the sacred assembly, bowed and then prostrated himself at the feet of the Tathagata and then circumambulated about him three times to the right. He then knelt down and with hands clasped in a manner depicting sublime devotion, invoked the Blessed One. “Most Compassionate World Honored One! You have clearly revealed the nature of the many pitfalls that can befall one in meditation, thus allowing Bodhisattvas to discern Read more [...]
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Bodhisattva Cleansed of All Karmic Obstructions

The Bodhisattva Cleansed of All Karmic Obstructions arose from his seat in the midst of the assembly, bowed and then prostrated himself at the feet of the Tathagata and then circumambulated about him three times to the right. He then knelt down and with hands clasped in a manner depicting sublime devotion, invoked the Blessed One. “World Honored One of Great Compassion! You have expounded to us at considerable length concerning the practices of the Mind-ground of all Tathagatas, thus empowering Read more [...]
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Bodhisattva of Thorough Discernment

The Bodhisattva of Thorough Discernment arose from his seat in the sacred assembly, bowed and then prostrated himself at the feet of the Tathagata and then circumambulated about him three times to the right. He then knelt down and with hands clasped in a manner depicting sublime devotion, invoked the Blessed One. “World Honored One of Infinite Compassion, your guidance concerning these rare Dharma-techniques is wondrous indeed!" “World Honored One, for all the Bodhisattvas engaged in Read more [...]
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Bodhisattva of Marvelous Ease in Majestic Virtue

Then the Bodhisattva of Marvelous Ease in Majestic Virtue arose from his seat in the sacred assembly, bowed and then prostrated himself at the feet of the Tathagata and then circumambulated about him three times to the right. He then knelt down and with hands clasped in a manner depicting sublime devotion, invoked the Blessed One. “Blessed Honored One of Infinite Compassion! For the sake of this assembly you have finely articulated and clarified the sundry ways of being in accordance with Read more [...]
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