Tag Archives: anointing

Sweet Anointing From Above

Upon hearing the Blessed One expound on his eternal-lifespan, the Lotus Sutra goes on to explain in the ensuing chapters how immeasurable sentient beings may draw merit from this realization. read more

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You have Anointed Me

When a bodhisattva ascends into higher modes of advancement, the Tathagatas themselves appear to procure their progress: “Moreover, Mahamati, the tathagatas employ two kinds of powers for the support of bodhisattvas who come before them for instruction. And which two supporting powers? The power to appear in bodily form and speak to those in Samadhi and the power to anoint their foreheads.” (Red Pine, pg 130) Suzuki goes even further and refers to these as “sustaining” powers: “Further, Mahamati, there are two kinds of the sustaining power which issues from the Tathagatas who are Arhats and Fully-Enlightened Ones; and sustained by this power the Bodhisattvas would prostrate themselves at their feet and ask them questions. What is this twofold power that sustains the Bodhisattvas? The one is the power by which they are sustained to go through the Samadhis and Samapattis; while the other is the power whereby the Buddhas manifest themselves in person before the Bodhisattvas and baptize them with their own hands.” Interesting how Suzuki employs “baptism” in reference to “anointing”—almost as if this is some kind of Christian initiation, yet the terms are interchangeable. The Lanka describes a beautiful mystical transformation that occurs when the bodhisattvas reaches the tenth-stage, or dharmamegha (dharma-cloud): “As they work their way through the easy and difficult aspects of the various stages, they finally reach the dharma cloud stage, where they dwell inside a magnificent lotus flower palace seated upon a jeweled lotus flower throne surrounded by a retinue of their fellow bodhisattvas adorned with necklaces of jewels that shine like the sun or the moon or golden champaka flowers. The great victors of the ten directions then appear before their thrones in this lotus flower palace and anoint their foreheads…this is what is meant by the power to anoint the foreheads of bodhisattvas. Mahamati, this is what is meant by the two powers that support bodhisattvas. Bodhisattvas who rely on these two powers will meet the tathagatas. Otherwise, they will not.” (Red Pine, pg 131) Quite a revelation here as the Lanka portrays a mystical anointing that needs to occur for initiation into the Tathata family. read more

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