Tag Archives: dharani

A Unique Cosmogonic Narrative

I love to read the cosmologies of different cultures, certainly the Buddhist ones come to mind but in researching the Dharma Thakur cult their own offering is marvelously represented in the liturgical text, Śūnya Purāṇa. It is presented here in its entirety for our archives. Notice perhaps the best portrayal of the Primordial Void wherein dwells the Unborn Lord, Ullūka the owl, (Dharma’s mount—he is a sort of all-seeing Wisdom-Eye), the cosmic-tortoise (seen in many diverse and indigenous cultures), as well as the birth of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Later we shall also investigate the significance of Mantric Speech. read more

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Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī

The Most Noble Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī forthwith 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. read more

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Cultivating Prajñāpāramitā

The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “When cultivating Prajñāpāramitā thusly, how should one abide in Prajñāpāramitā?” Mañjuśrī said, “Not abiding in dharmas is abiding in Prajñāpāramitā.” The Buddha again asked Mañjuśrī, “Why do you say that not abiding in dharmas is abiding in Prajñāpāramitā?” Mañjuśrī said, “Not abiding in appearances is itself abiding in Prajñāpāramitā.” The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī again, saying, “When abiding in Prajñāpāramitā thusly, do one’s good roots increase or decrease?” Mañjuśrī said, “If one is able to abide in Prajñāpāramitā thusly, then one’s good roots neither increase nor decrease, just as all dharmas neither increase nor decrease, and the characteristic of the nature of Prajñāpāramitā likewise neither increases nor decreases. Bhagavān, cultivating Prajñāpāramitā thusly is not abandoning the dharmas of ordinary beings, nor is it grasping the dharmas of the noble ones. Why? Prajñāpāramitā does not perceive the existence of a dharma which may be grasped or abandoned. Cultivating Prajñāpāramitā thusly is also not seeing Nirvāa to delight in, nor birth and death to despise. Why? One does not perceive birth and death, much less something to leave behind. One does not perceive Nirvāa, much less something to delight  in. read more

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The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism

Most interesting find:

Paul Copp’s new book, The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (Columbia University Press, 2014), focuses on Chinese interpretations and uses of two written dhāraṇī during the last few centuries of the first millennium.  Based on extensive research on the material forms that these dhāraṇī took, Copp departs from a tradition of scholarship that focuses on the sonic quality and spoken uses of these spells, drawing our attention instead to how written and inscribed dhāraṇī were used to adorn and anoint the body.  A central theme is Copp’s assertion that the diffuse dhāraṇī practices that appeared centuries prior to the flowering of a high Esoteric Buddhism in the eighth century were not simply a crude precursor to the later development of a fully systematized Esoteric Buddhism, but rather were a set of loosely related practices and ideas that continued to develop alongside Esoteric Buddhism.  Through rich descriptions of dhāraṇī use and interpretation, and liberal use of Dunhuang materials, he shows that dhāraṇī were ubiquitous in all sectors of Chinese Buddhism: before, during, and after the eighth century.  In this way Copp challenges the teleological view of early dhāraṇī-based practices as being but one stage leading to the eventual triumph of a comprehensive Chinese Esoteric Buddhism.  In addition, Copp demonstrates how material dhāraṇī practices were a product of both Chinese and Indic input.   Drawing on archeological evidence, he notes that the way in which dhāraṇī were actually worn reflects Indian precedents, while on the other hand Chinese textual records describe and prescribe the wearing of dhāraṇī in terms borrowed from Chinese practices of wearing amulets, seals, medicines, and talismans.  The book contains thirty-two illustrations of amulets, written dhāraṇī, dhāraṇī stamps, dhāraṇī pillars, and funerary jars that help the reader to better visualize and understand the material practices at the center of Copp’s work. read more

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Go Beyond the Beyond

“Therefore, Shariputra, because there is no attainment, Bodhisattvas abide relying on the Perfection of Wisdom, without obscuration of thought, and so they are unafraid. Transcending perverted views, they attain the end, Nirvana.” read more

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The Unborn Mind Dharani

The following is another gift from Tozen; a Dharani that protects the adept from all evil proclivities and assures proper spiritual refuge: read more

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Mark against Evil

For this study of the Vimalakirti Sutra I have been referring to four different translations. My primary source has been Robert Thurman’s text; the root base of his text is akin to another, truly marvelous, translation by the renowned Belgian scholar and Indologist, Étienne Lamotte; Lamotte’s translation was difficult to come by. It was long out of print and the surviving available hard-copies were too astronomical in price. Fortunately, I was able (finally, just two weeks ago) to get a recently released softbound copy from the Pali-Text Society (being more than willing to become a member to do so). Lamotte’s version is fantastic in the depth of its scholarly impetus and encyclopedic footnote material. The other translations utilized are by Charles Luk and Burton Watson. Thruman’s text has been magnificent, although he incorporates the remaining chapters into one (naming it epilogue), basically to guarantee the apparent original 12 chapter text, in league with Lamotte. Both Luk and Watson have broken it up into two—and for salient reasons I am following their lead, since the last chapter is basically ascribed to Maitreya, which is as it should be. read more

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Now Voyager

Purification of the Buddha-field, cont’d

Their mindfulness, intelligence, realization, meditation, incantation, and eloquence all were perfected. They were free from all obscurations and emotional involvement, living in liberation without impediment. They were totally dedicated through the transcendences of generosity, subdued, unwavering, and sincere morality, tolerance, effort, meditation, wisdom, skill in liberative technique, commitment power, and gnosis. They had attained the intuitive tolerance of the ultimate incomprehensibility of all things. They turned the irreversible wheel of the Dharma. They were stamped with the insignia of signlessness. read more

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