Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jain Syādvāda: The Theory of Conditioned Predication


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"The ancient Jain texts often explain the concepts of anekāntvāda and syādvāda with the parable of the blind men and an elephant (Andhgajanyāyah), which addresses the manifold nature of truth. This parable resolves the conflict, and is used to illustrate the principle of living in harmony with people who have different belief systems, and that truth can be stated in different ways (in Jain beliefs often said to be seven versions). This is known as the Syadvada, Anekantvada, or the theory of Manifold Predications."..."Elephant and the blind men". Jain Stories.

Syādvāda (Sanskrit: स्याद्वाद) is the theory of conditioned predication....The dialectical concepts of syādvāda "conditioned viewpoints" and nayavāda "partial viewpoints" arose from anekāntavāda."

"Syādvāda (Devanagari: स्यादवाद meaning "Could-be-ism") is the Jain doctrine of epistemological relativism underpinning all Jain logic, which is central to their philosophical perspective that all propositions about truth are based on finite, limited, and contextual postulates. In other words, Syādvāda is the theory of conditioned predication which provides an expression to anekānta by recommending that epithet Syād be attached to every expression. Syādvāda is not only an extension of Anekānta ontology, but a separate system of logic capable of standing on its own force. Jainism claims that since reality is complex, no single proposition can express the nature of reality fully. Thus the term "syāt" should be prefixed before each proposition giving it a conditional point of view and thus removing any dogmatism in the statement.".... John M. Koller, Syādvāda as the epistemological key to the Jaina middle way metaphysics of Anekāntavāda, Philosophy East and West 50

"Andhagajanyāyah can be illustrated through the Jain parable of the "blind men and an elephant". In this story, each blind man felt a different part of an elephant (trunk, leg, ear, etc.). All the men claimed to understand and explain the true appearance of the elephant, but could only partly succeed, due to their limited perspectives...."

"Anekāntavāda (Devanagari: अनेकान्तवाद) is one of the most important and fundamental doctrines of Jainism. It refers to the principles of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints, the notion that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view, and that no single point of view is the complete truth... any religion or philosophy—even Jainism—which clings too dogmatically to its own tenets, is committing an error based on its limited point of view.".....Dundas, Paul (2004). "Beyond Anekāntavāda : A Jain approach to religious tolerance". In (ed.) Tara Sethia. Ahimsā, Anekānta, and Jaininsm.

"Andhagajanyāyah, can be illustrated through the parable of the "blind men and an elephant". In this story, each blind man felt a different part of an elephant (trunk, leg, ear, etc.). All the men claimed to understand and explain the true appearance of the elephant, but could only partly succeed, due to their limited perspectives

"The origins of anekāntavāda can be traced back to the teachings of Mahāvīra (599–527 BC), the 24th Jain Tīrthankara. The dialectical concepts of syādvāda "conditioned viewpoints" and nayavāda "partial viewpoints" arose from anekāntavāda, providing it with more detailed logical structure and expression. The Sanskrit compound an-eka-anta-vāda literally means "doctrine of non-exclusivity or multiple viewpoints (an- "not", eka- "one", vada- "viewpoint")"; it is roughly translated into English as "non-absolutism". An-ekānta "uncertainty, non-exclusivity" is the opposite of ekānta (eka+anta) "exclusiveness, absoluteness, necessity" (or also "monotheistic doctrine")."....

Mahavira (540 BCE–468 BCE), also known as Vardhamana, was the twenty-fourth and last tirthankara of Jainism. He was born into a royal family in what is now Bihar, India...... Mahavira was born into the royal family of King Siddartha of Kundgraam and Queen Trishala....At the time of his birth, the whole town was marked by prosperity in terms of agriculture, health, wealth and wisdom. It is for this reason that he was named as Vardhman (Hindi : Vridhi) by his parents. At the age of 30 he left his home in pursuit of spiritual awakening (Diksha). For the next 12 and a half years he practiced intense meditation and severe penance, after which he achieved Kevala Jnana or enlightenment. He travelled all over India for the next 30 years to teach his philosophy which is based on ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya and aparigraha.....Mahavira attained nirvana after his physical death at the age of 72."....

"The story of the blind men (or men in the dark) and an elephant is a parable that has crossed between many religious traditions and is part of Jain, Buddhist, Sufi and Hindu lore. . It has been used to illustrate a range of truths and fallacies; broadly, the parable implies that one's subjective experience can be true, but that such experience is inherently limited by its failure to account for other truths or a totality of truth. At various times the parable has provided insight into the relativism, opaqueness or inexpressible nature of truth, the behavior of experts in fields where there is a deficit or inaccessibility of information, the need for communication, and respect for different perspectives."...

Reality and Truth (Anekāntavāda) by Nagin J. Shah". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….July 2014


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kālidāsa....Classical Sanskrit Poem: Mégha Dúta ...5th C. AD


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"Kalidasa (Devanāgarī: कालिदास "servant of Kali") was a renowned Classical Sanskrit writer, widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language. .....Kālidās, or Kalidasa, was a Sanskrit poet and dramatist and one of the most important later poets in later India. Known to be an ardent worshipper of Shiva......Very little is known about Kalidasa's life and background, although there are many myths surrounding him. Clearly he was a well-educated Brahmin and probably lived in the 4th Century. From his writings it is surmised he was born near the foothills of the Himalayas......From his poems we can also ascertain he traveled throughout India, searching for knowledge. He was also a worshipper of the goddess Kali. His name literally means ‘Kali’s servant.”....Legend has it that he was murdered by a courtesan in Sri Lanka."

"The Cloud Messenger.....Meghadūta considered to be one of the greatest Sanskrit poems......By Indian standards it is a short poem (only 111 stanzas,). It recounts how a Yaksa, an attendant of Kubera (the God of Wealth) after being exiled for a year to central India for some unknown transgression, convinces a passing cloud to take a message to his wife on Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas. The yaksa accomplishes this by describing the many beautiful sights the cloud will see on its northward course to the city of Alaka, where his wife awaits his return......In 1813, the poem was first translated into English by Horace Hayman Wilson.......An excerpt is quoted in Canadian director Deepa Mehta's film, Water."....

"Kālidāsa ("servant of Kali" Sanskrit: कालिदास) was a Classical Sanskrit writer, widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language. His floruit cannot be dated with precision, but most likely falls within the 5th century AD......His plays and poetry are primarily based on the Puranas .... Encyclopædia Britannica: Kalidasa

"Scholars have speculated that Kālidāsa may have lived either near the Himalayas, or in the vicinity of Ujjain, or in Kalinga. The three speculations are based respectively on Kālidāsa's detailed description of the Himalayas in his Kumārasambhava, the display of his love for Ujjain in Meghadūta, and his highly eulogistic descriptions of Kalingan emperor Hemāngada in Raghuvaṃśa (sixth sarga).....But some scholars tend to describe him as a Kashmiri saying that, far from being contradictory, these facts just show that he was born in Kashmir (based on topographic descriptions, rural folklore, the region's fauna and flora, ... only local populations could know) but moved for diverse reasons and sought the patronage of local rulers to prosper......It is believed that he was from humble origin, married to princess and challenged by his wife, studied poetry to become great poet. Some believe that he visited Kumaradasa, the king of Ceylon and, because of some treachery, Kalidasa was murdered there. His wife's name was Vidyotama."......Lakshmi Dhar Kalla:...'The Birthplace of Kalidasa' (1926).

" it is generally accepted that Kalidasa's period falls between 5th and 6th Century C.E.His name, along with poet Bharavi's name, is mentioned in a stone inscription dated 634 C.E. found at Aihole, located in present day Karnataka.

"Meghadūta (Sanskrit: मेघदूत literally "cloud messenger") is a lyric poem written by Kālidāsa, considered to be one of the greatest Sanskrit poets.....A short poem of 111 stanzas, it is one of Kālidāsa's most famous works ever. The work is divided into two parts, Purvamegh and Uttaramegh. It recounts how a yakṣa, a subject of King Kubera (the god of wealth), after being exiled for a year to Central India for neglecting his duties, convinces a passing cloud to take a message to his wife at Alaka on Mount Kailāsa in the Himālaya mountains.The yakṣa accomplishes this by describing the many beautiful sights the cloud will see on its northward course to the city of Alakā, where his wife awaits his return.

"Alaka (Sanskrit: अलक), which is also sometimes called Alakapuri, is a mythical city. It is the home of Kubera, the king of Yakshas and the lord of wealth, and his attendants called yakshas. The Mahabharata mentions this city as the capital of the Yaksha Kingdom. This city rivals the capital of Indra the king of the Devas in its architecture, opulence, and overall splendor. It is quoted in the famous lyrical poem Meghadūta by Kalidasa."... Kramrisch, Stella. 1994. The Presence of Siva.

"Yaksha (Sanskrit: यक्ष yakṣa...Tibetan: གནོད་སྦྱིན་ gnod sbyin) is the name of a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, who are caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots. They appear in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist literature. The feminine form of the word is yakṣī (यक्षी) or Yakshini (yakṣiṇī, यक्षिणी)..... the yakṣa has a dual personality. On the one hand, a yakṣa may be an inoffensive nature-fairy, associated with woods and mountains; but there is also a darker version of the yakṣa, which is a kind of ghost (bhuta) that haunts the wilderness and waylays and devours travelers, similar to the rakṣasas......In Kālidāsa's poem Meghadūta, for instance, the yakṣa narrator is a romantic figure, pining with love for his missing beloved. By contrast, in the didactic Hindu dialogue of the Yakṣapraśnāḥ "Questions of the Yakṣa", it is a tutelary spirit of a lake that challenges Yudhiṣṭhira. The yakṣas may have originally been the tutelary gods of forests and villages, and were later viewed as the steward deities of the earth and the wealth buried beneath.....In Indian art, male yakṣas are portrayed either as fearsome warriors or as portly, stout and dwarf-like. Female yakṣas, known as yakṣiṇīs, are portrayed as beautiful young women with happy round faces and full breasts and hips.".....

Yaksha of Kalidasa's Meghadut Speaking to Clouds....

" In the Hindu religion, Mt. Kailash is seen as the throne of Mahadeva, the great god Shiva. On Kailash, Shiva sits in perpetual meditation with his consort Parvati. Due to the apparent phallic appearance of the incredibly symmeric mountain, the Hindus identify the mountain with the lingam, which is a phallic symbol of Shaivism. Another Hindu belief maintains that Kuvera, the god of wealth, ruled from a remarkably rich and exotic city of pleasure called Alaka, which was situated on or near Kailash, along with eight neighboring lesser peaks used as treasure houses for the god. In another Hindu myth, Mt. Kailash was overturned and used as a churning stick by the deva gods and asura demons to churn the cosmic oceans in order to make Amrita, the Elixer of Immortality.
The Jain religion, which arose in India around the sixth century b.c., also sees Kailash as a spiritually significant peak. It has many goals, but one of the major ones is the attainment of liberation from the pains of burdens of a worldy existence. In the Jain religion, Kailash is called Astapada, and is known as the place where a man named Rishabha, the first Tirthankara, attained Liberation, called Moksha.
The Bön religion originated possibly somewhere near modern Soviet Central Asia before the arrival of Buddhism in the 7th century. Its main religions functions were concerned with control of powerful spirits, exorcism, divination, death and burial, and a few other related matters. It wasn't a very formalized religion for a long time, but it did have an important cult center called Zhang Zhung. Zhang Zhung was an ancient kingdom that covered a lot of western Tibet, but also some of the north and northeastern parts of the Tibetan plateau as well. The capitol was located just west of Kailash at the "Silver Castle" of Khunglung. Eventually, with the introduction of Buddhism into the area, there was more of a push to develop and organize the Bön religion onto a firmer doctrinal basis. While doing so, Bön adapted some principles of Buddhism and vice versa. In the ancient Bön cults, mountains were seen as important power points that linked heaven and earth, and in so doing were endowed with powerful cosmogonic and geneological associations. This made them considered to be the "souls" of certain areas. In Mt. Kailash's case, it was seen as the Soul Mountain of Zhang Zhung.
To Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains, Mt. Kailash is seen as a cosmic axis, about which the entire universe revolves. "....

"Kubera (Sanskrit: कुबेर, Pali/later Sanskrit: Kuvera) also spelt Kuber, is the Lord of Wealth and the god-king of the semi-divine Yakshas in Hindu mythology. He is regarded as the regent of the North (Dik-pala), and a protector of the world (Lokapala). His many epithets extol him as the overlord of numerous semi-divine species and the owner of the treasures of the world. Kubera is often depicted as a fat man, adorned with jewels and carrying a money-pot or money-bag, and a club....Originally described as the chief of evil spirits in Vedic-era texts, Kubera acquired the status of a Deva (god) only in the Puranas and the Hindu epics. The scriptures describe that Kubera once ruled Lanka, but was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, later settling in the city of Alaka in the Himalayas. Descriptions of the "glory" and "splendours" of Kubera's city are found in many scriptures......Kubera has also been assimilated into the Buddhist and Jain pantheons. In Buddhism, he is known as Vaisravana, the patronymic used of the Hindu Kubera and is also equated with Pañcika, while in Jainism, he is known as Sarvanubhuti....Vaiśravaṇa is also known as Kubera (Sanskrit) or Kuvera (Pāli), and as Jambhala (Sanskrit)."

Thangka représentant Vaiśravana chevauchant un lion des neiges, 2e moitié du xive siècle, musée Guime

Wilson, Horace Hayman (1813). The Mégha Dúta, Or, Cloud Messenger: A Poem, in the Sanscrit Language. Calcutta: College of Fort William. Retrieved 11 November 2010.. 2nd ed 1843 Introduction, text with English verse translation, and assorted footnotes.


Northern New Mexico….July 2014


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ekajaṭī, Māhacīna-tārā, Mahakali Vetali, and Durga


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" “The Tantra Protectress, the Single Dreadlock Mother, Ralchigma... Ekajati (Tib. ral gcig ma)...the Bön goddess of heaven....(2)”

"Ekajati is the primary protector of the Dzogchen teachings, and the guardian of all Termas. Her name literally means “One Braid of Hair,” and alludes to her extremely symbolic non-dual appearance. In the Dzinpa Rangdröl cycle (and most Nyingma systems), she has one eye, one fang, one breast, and one lock of hair. Being a quintessential embodiment of non-duality, one of her epithets is “the mother of the mother of all the Buddhas.” In the Sakya tradition she is considered to be the mother of Palden Lhamo. It’s not known for certain whether Ekajati originated in the Hindu, Buddhist, or Bön pantheon, but some have suggested that Nagarjuna brought her practice from India to Tibet in the 7th century. According to most Tibetan sources, she was a Bön goddess whom Guru Rinpoche bound under oath as a protector of the teachings. He is said to have gauged out one of her eyes with his Phurba, leaving her with only one."....

"Ekajaṭī or Ekajaṭā, (Sanskrit; Tibetan: ral chig ma. English: One Braid of Hair), also known as Māhacīna-tārā (1), one of the 21 Taras, is one of the most powerful and fierce goddesses of Indo-Tibetan mythology. According to Tibetan legends she is an acculturation of the Bön goddess of heaven, whose right eye was pierced by the tantric master Padmasambhava so that she could much more effectively help him subjugate Tibetan demons. Ekajati is also known as 'Blue Tara'. She is generally considered one of the three principal protectors of the Nyingma lineage, along with Rāhula and Vajrasādhu (Dorje Legpa)."

"Often she appears as liberator in the mandala of Green Tara. Along with that her ascribed powers are removing the fear of enemies, spreading joy and removing personal hindrances on the path to enlightenment."

"Ekajati is also known as Blue Tara, or Māhacīna-tārā, the most wrathful form of Tara. In the Dzinpa Rangdröl (3) protectors’ text, she is holding “the enemy’s heart” (the enemy being samaya breakers/breakages, and those who are vicious towards the Dharma) in her right hand, which she is feeding into her mouth. In her left hand, she is commanding her messenger (Tib. spyan gzigs), which is a female turquoise wolf. In some Bön depictions of Ekajati, the turquoise wolf actually serves as her mount."....

"Ekajati is the protector of secret mantras and "as the mother of the mothers of all the Buddhas," represents ultimate unity. As such her own mantra is also secret. She is the most important protector of the Vajrayana teachings, especially the inner tantras and termas. As the protector of mantra she supports the practitioner in deciphering symbolic dakini codes and properly determines appropriate times and circumstances for revealing tantric teachings. Because she completely realizes the texts and mantras under her care, she reminds the practitioner of their preciousness and secrecy.[4]

"According to Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, Ekajati is the principal guardian of the Dzogchen teachings and is "a personification of the essentially non-dual nature of primordial energy."[5]

Dzogchen is the most closely guarded teaching in Tibetan Buddhism, of which Ekajati is a main guardian as mentioned above. It is said that Sri Singha (Sanskrit: Śrī Siṃha) himself entrusted the Nyingthik teachings to her care. To the great master Longchenpa, who initiated the dissemination of certain Dzogchen teachings, Ekajati offered uncharacteristically personal guidance. In his thirty-second year, Ekajati appeared to Longchenpa, supervising every ritual detail of the Heart Essence of the Dakinis {Khandro Nyingthik (6)} empowerment, insisting on the use of a peacock feather and removing unnecessary basin. When Longchenpa performed the ritual, she nodded her head in approval but corrected his pronunciation. When he recited the mantra, Ekajati admonished him, saying, "Imitate me," and sang it in a strange, harmonious melody in the dakini's language. Later she appeared at the gathering and joyously danced, proclaiming the approval of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) and the dakinis."[4]

"Visions of Ekajati are considered highly auspicious and to be treasured."

"Ekajaṭī is found in both the Buddhist and Hindu pantheons; it is most often asserted that she originated in the Buddhist pantheon but some scholars argue this is not necessarily so.(7)"

"Ekajati (San. “single twisted lock of hair”) is a dharmapali, described as a wrathful mamo or dakini, who is an especially important protectress of the ati teachings. She is dark blue, with a single topknot, one eye, one fang, and one breast. She wears a skull crown and bone ornaments, with a tiger skin around her waist. Enveloped in clouds, she holds a heart in her right hand and emanates wolves from her left.....mamos (Tib.): Wrathful goddesses, usually pictured as furious, ugly women. They can be dakinis acting as protectors. Ekajati is their queen."...

"Ekajati....The primary protectress of the Nyingma Tradition.....Mamo Ekajati (man mo e mKha dza ’ti) is the non-dual queen – the most inportant of the Ma Za Dor Sum (the three protectors of the Nyingma tradition). There are various spellings of the Sanskrit name Ekajati in Tibetan – either ‘e mKha’ or ‘ye ka’. Either ‘e’ or ‘ye’ mean ‘primordial’. ‘E mKha’ means primordial sky, and relates to Ekajati particularly as she functions with regard to the Dzogchen teachings. In relation to the Dzogchen teachings she is known as ral-chig ma (ral gCig ma) – the single-plait mother. Her single tuft of hair, eye, tooth, and breast, are symbolic of non-duality. She wears a cloud as a garment to indicate that she dwells within the expanse of the sky. "....

"Ekajati is one of the Twenty One Taras and considered one of the most powerful and fierce goddesses of Indo-Tibetan mythology. According to Tibetan legend, Ekajati, is a Bon goddess, belonging to a religion that pre-dated Buddhism in Tibet......There are many images of Ekajati some in her peaceful form with a dark blue body, one face and two arms, holding a skull bowl and a chopping knife at her heart. Between her eyes she has a vertical wisdom eye gazing into space and sitting in the vajra position and wearing ornaments of the joy state. Sometimes she appears in wrathful form twice her human size; shrieking, her eye boiling as she gnashing her fang and brandishing weapons."...

"Is Vetali a "real entity"?.......Well, are these forces "real", and are they like "persons", and do they come from Tibet (or India)? Let's take Mahakali Vetali as an example (if she permits). The Vidyadhara suggested that we visualize Vetali in the context of the chant "Pacifying the Turmoil of the Mamos", because, he said "she is the Queen of the Mamos" in the sense of having sovereignty over them......Perhaps at our level of development we might say that Mahakali Vetali is a symbolic teaching that suggests how to relate with feminine energy in its complete spectrum of manifestations, and how to invoke the help of the lineage in transmuting and pacifying obstacles. On the one hand, "she" -- or rather her many emanations -- are very close to us. On the other hand Vetali-Rangjung Gyelmo is a cosmic principle, she is an activity manifestation of enlightened lineage. By suggesting this is "symbolic teaching" I don't mean it is not real. On the contrary, what "Vetali" actually refers to, may be much more real and pervasive than our projections of some little protective deity we have with us. Perhaps to say that she is an "entity" limits too much the scope of what Vetali "means." "Entity" is the language of solidified ego-projection, and no doubt such ego-projection does not see a force like this as it truly is."....

"Durga (Sanskrit: दुर्गा), meaning "the inaccessible" or "the invincible", one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti in the Hindu pantheon. Durga is the original manifested form of Mother Adi-Parashakti. Durga is Adi- Parashakti herself.... she is considered the supreme goddess and primary deity in Shaktism.....Devi Durga is a Hindu concept of the Ultimate Shakti or Mahashakti, the ultimate power inherent in all Creation. This is especially prevalent in the Shakta denomination within Hinduism, which worships the Goddess Devi in all her manifestations. She is Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati in her mild form; Goddess Kali and Goddess Chandi in her wrathful form.....

"Durga......Shailaputri, daughter of the mountain.....Tibet, circa: 18th century.....Private Collection....."This mysterious Tibetan sculpture derives its subject from the Hindu tradition of the goddess Durga, a form of Shakti worshipped for her gracious as well as terrifying aspects as Mother of the Universe. She represents the infinite power of the universe and is a symbol of female energies. Of her nine forms, the one shown here is Shailaputri, daughter of the mountain, who gave birth to the elephant-headed god Ganesh, the son of Shiva, whose mount is Nandi the bull. Shailaputri is depicted on her own garlanded and bejeweled bull, holding her attributes of an open lotus and a trident, or in this case, a victory banner which proclaims the triumph of Buddhism."....

(1.)....The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India By David Gordon White. pg 65
(2.)....(Drupchen Binder, pg 119)....."Drupchen (Tib. གྲུབ་ཆེན་, Wyl. sgrub chen) — literally “vast accomplishment,” is a form of intensive group practice that epitomizes the depth, power, and precision of the Vajrayana, drawing together the entire range of its skilful methods—mystical, ritual, and artistic—and including: the creation of the mandala house; the complete sadhana practice with visualization, mudra, chant, and music; continuous day and night practice of mantra; the creation of tormas and offerings, with sacred substances and precious relics; the tsok feast; the sacred dance of cham; as well as the construction of the sand mandala. All blend to create the transcendent environment of the pure realm of the deity and awaken, for all those taking part, the pure perception of this world as a sacred realm.".....
(3.)....The Dzinpa Rangdröl Ngöndro (foundational practices) of the Yangsang Khandro Tug Tig (Exceedingly Secret Heart Essence of the Dakini) cycle is the gateway for entering the profound lineage of the Dzinpa Rangdröl cycle.
(4).....Dakini's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism By Judith Simmer-Brown. pg 276
(5.)...Namkhai Norbu (1986). The Crystal and the Way of Light.
(6.)....Khandro Nyingtig. Khandro Nyingtig means 'Heart Essence / core of the Dakinis.' A profound collection of Dzogchen teachings transmitted through Padmasambhava to Princess Pema Sal and revealed as terma teachings revealed by pad ma las 'brel rtsal. Is included within the famous Nyingtig Yabshi present wisdom. (7.)...."The Goddess Mahācīnakrama-Tārā (Ugra-Tārā) in Buddhist and Hindu Tantrism" by Gudrun Bühnemann. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 59, No. 3 (1996), pp. 472......Kooij, R. K. van. 1974. "Some iconographical data from the Kalikapurana with special reference to Heruka and Ekajata", in J. E. van Lohuizen-de Leeuw and J. M. M. Ubaghs (ed.), South Asian archaeology, 1973.

"Queen of Heaven.....Asherah, The Lion Lady.....These days a naked lady holding a snake and riding a lion is not the first image which comes to mind when the word “holy” is spoken. However, that is exactly the title of the goddess at the center of the picture above.... She is labeled Qadesh (Qudshu), which means “the Holy One.” Who is she? Some say an as yet unknown deity whose name is Qadesh..... Astarte (Ashtart, biblical Ashtoreth), the western variant of Babylonian Ishtar, goddess of the planet Venus (a.k.a. the Morning and Evening Star) and the Goddess of Love and War. This goddess was associated with a lion there. But more likely she is Asherah, the Mother Goddess, who is called in some written documents the Qadesh and also is frequently given the title the Lion Lady."….


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….July 2014


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mahajanapada: Sixteen Great Kingdoms (1500-500 BC)


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"... the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, or Oxus civilisation, and is peopled by Indo-European tribes.......Climate change from around 2000 BC onwards greatly affects this civilization, denuding it of water as the rains decline. The people are forced to migrate southwards, with some groups crossing the Afghan rivers and the Hindu Kush mountains and enter India between 1700-1500 BC. They eventually form their own kingdoms there such as Magadha, plus Kalinga and Kauravas. "

Click on the map to enlarge

"Between 1500 and 500 B.C., 16 city-states that are known as Mahajanapadas emerged in the Indian subcontinent from the west in modern Afghanistan to the east in Bangldesh. These kingdoms were Kasi, Kosala, Anga, Magadha, Vajji, Malla, Chedi, Vatsa, Kuru, Panchala, Machcha, Surasena, Assaka, Avanti, Gandhara, and Kamboja. The largest were Magadha, Kosala, Kuru, and Gandhara.....The Mahajanapadas gave way to the Persian Empire, Alexander's invasion, and finally to the Indian empire known as Magadha."

"....the Solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (powerful realms) in 6th to 5th centuries BC....."

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"Mahājanapada (Sanskrit: महाजनपद, Mahājanapada, literally "great realm" from maha, "great", and janapada "foothold of a tribe", "country") refers to one of the sixteen kingdoms and oligarchic republics that existed in ancient India from the sixth to fourth centuries BCE. Ancient Buddhist texts like Anguttara Nikaya make frequent reference to sixteen great kingdoms and republics which had evolved and flourished in a belt stretching from Gandhara in the northwest to Anga in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent and included parts of the trans-Vindhyan region, prior to the rise of Buddhism in India."

"Early Vedic texts attest several Janas or tribes of the Indo-Aryans, living in a semi-nomadic tribal state and fighting among themselves and with other Non-Aryan tribes for cows, sheep and green pastures. These early Vedic Janas later coalesced into the Janapadas of the Epic Age......The term "Janapada" literally means the foothold of a tribe. The fact that Janapada is derived from Jana points to an early stage of land-taking by the Jana tribe for a settled way of life. This process of first settlement on land had completed its final stage prior to the times of the Buddha and Pāṇini. The Pre-Buddhist north-west region of the Indian sub-continent was divided into several Janapadas demarcated from each other by boundaries. In Pāṇini, Janapada stands for country and Janapadin for its citizenry. Each of these Janapadas was named after the Kshatriya tribe (or the Kshatriya Jana) who had settled therein. The Buddhist and other texts only incidentally refer to sixteen great nations (Solasa Mahajanapadas) which were in existence before the time of Buddha. They do not give any connected history except in the case of Magadha. The Buddhist Anguttara Nikaya, at several places, gives a list of sixteen great nations:

Kosala....According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya and the Jaina text, the Bhagavati Sutra, Kosala was one of the Solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (powerful realms) in 6th to 5th centuries BC...... Shravasti is recorded as the capital of Kosala during the Mahajanapada period (6th-5th centuries BC)....A Buddhist text, the Majjhima Nikaya mentions Buddha as a Kosalan (which indicates that Kosala may have subjugated the Shakya clan, which the Buddha is traditionally believed to have belonged to)

Kashi....King Brihadratha of Kasi had conquered Kosala but Kasi was later incorporated into Kosala by King Kansa during Buddha's time. active center of Jainism in ancient times.
Vriji....The Second Buddhist Council was held at Vaishali. The Licchavis were followers of Buddha. Buddha is said to have visited them on many occasions.
Malla....Kuśināra and Pava are very important in the history of Buddhism and Jainism since Buddha and Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara took their last meals at Kushinara and Pava/Pavapuri respectively.
Chedi....The Chedis were an ancient people of India and are mentioned in the Rigveda
Vatsa (or Vamsa)....Udayana was the ruler of Vatsa in the sixth century BC, the time of Buddha. He was very powerful, warlike and fond of hunting. Initially king Udayana was opposed to Buddhism but later became a follower of Buddha and made Buddhism the state religion.
Kuru....The Kurus of the Buddhist period did not occupy the same position as they did in the Vedic period but they continued to enjoy their ancient reputation for deep wisdom and sound health.
Panchala.... corresponded to modern Budaun, Farrukhabad and the adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Machcha (or Matsya).... In Pali literature, the Matsyas are usually associated with the Surasenas.
Surasena....Avantiputra, the king of Surasena was the first among the chief disciples of Buddha, through whose help Buddhism gained ground in Mathura country.
Assaka (or Asmaka).... located on the banks of the river Godavari (south of the Vindhya mountains). important center of Buddhism and some of the leading theras and theris were born and resided there.

Gandhara...."Gandhāra (Sanskrit: गन्धार, Pashto: ګندارا‎, Urdu: گندھارا‎) was an ancient kingdom in the Swat and Kabul river valleys and the Pothohar Plateau, in modern-day states of northern Pakistan and northeastern Afghanistan.....The Kingdom of Gandhara lasted from the Vedic period (c. 1500-500 BC) to the 11th century AD. As a center of Buddhist culture, it attained its height from the 1st century to the 5th century under the Kushan Kings. The Persian term Shahi is used by history writer Al-Biruni to refer to the ruling dynasty that took over from the Kabul Shahi and ruled the region during the period prior to Muslim conquests of the 10th and 11th centuries.....A Persian form of the name, Gandara, is mentioned by Herodotus: 'the city of Caspatyrus in Gandara (Κασπάτυρος, πόλις Γανδαρική).'......on the identity of Caspatyrus, there have been two opinions, one equating it with Kabul, the other with the name of Kashmir (Kasyapa pur, condensed to Kaspapur as found in Hecataeus).....The Gandhāri people were settled since the Vedic times on the banks of the Kabul River (aka Sita).

Kamboja...."The Kambojas were a Kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature. Modern scholars conclude that the Kambojas were an Avestan speaking Eastern Iranian tribe who later settled in at the boundary of the ancient India......The ancient Kambojas were an Indo-Iranian tribe. They are however, sometimes described as Indo-Aryans and sometimes as having both Indian and Iranian affinities. The Kambojas are also described as a royal clan of the Sakas.....The earliest reference to the Kamboja is in the works of Pāṇini, around the 5th century BC..The confederation of the Kambojas may have stretched from the valley of Rajauri in the south-western part of Kashmir to the Hindu Kush Range; in the south–west the borders extended probably as far as the regions of Kabul, Ghazni and Kandahar, with the nucleus in the area north-east of the present day Kabul, between the Hindu Kush Range and the Kunar river, including Kapisa possibly extending from the Kabul valleys to Kandahar.....others locate the Kambojas and the Parama-Kambojas in the areas spanning Balkh, Badakshan, the Pamirs and Kafiristan......"

Click on the map to enlarge

"The Vedic period (or Vedic age) (ca.1750–500 BCE) was the period in Indian history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed.....During the early part of the Vedic period, the Indo-Aryans settled into northern India, bringing with them their specific religious traditions. The associated culture (sometimes referred to as Vedic civilization) was initially a tribal, pastoral society centred in the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent; it spread after 1200 BCE to the Ganges Plain, as it was shaped by increasing settled agriculture, a hierarchy of four social classes, and the emergence of monarchical, state-level polities...The end of the Vedic period witnessed the rise of large, urbanized states as well as of shramana movements (including Jainism and Buddhism) which challenged the Vedic orthodoxy."

Click on the map to enlarge

"The main deities of the Vedic pantheon were Indra, Agni (the sacrificial fire), and Soma and some deities of social order such as Mitra–Varuna, Aryaman, Bhaga and Amsa, further nature deities such as Surya (the Sun), Vayu (the wind), Prithivi (the earth). Goddesses included Ushas (the dawn), Prithvi and Aditi (the mother of the Aditya gods or sometimes the cow). Rivers, especially Saraswati, were also considered goddesses. Deities were not viewed as all-powerful. The relationship between humans and the deity was one of transaction, with Agni (the sacrificial fire) taking the role of messenger between the two. Strong traces of a common Indo-Iranian religion remain visible, especially in the Soma cult and the fire worship, both of which are preserved in Zoroastrianism."

Indo-European Numerals......edited by Jadranka Gvozdanovic


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….July 2014


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lhamo Youdrönma.....Goddess of the Turquoise Lamp


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Trungpa Rinpoché asked his personal deity for a pramana prediction during the rituals called létsok, or activity practices..... a deity is invoked - a yidam or Dharma protector - and highly accomplished practitioners can ask them questions. Their answers appear in a mirror. Trungpa Rinpoché’s deity for this practice was the deity Lhamo Youdrönma, Goddess of the Turquoise Lamp.

Lha....God....the Tibetan word used to translate the Sanskrit deva, meaning “deity,” “god,” or “divine.”
mo.....indicates the female gender, 'woman'...'lady'
Youdronma....An especially resplendent turquoise is poetically referred to as ‘turquoise lamp’ (g.yu-sgron), or simply as ‘lamp’ (sgron-ma).

"Some confusion exists between two Tibetan words, sometimes used interchangeably: lha and la. The first, lha, is the Tibetan word used to translate the Sanskrit deva, meaning “deity,” “god,” or “divine.” This is also the term used in the Shambhalian sense of natural hierarchy: lha, nyen, and lu. (If we were to be more daring in writing this word like it is actually pronounced, we might spell it hla!)......The word la (bla) literally means that which is “higher” or “above,” as in the word lama, the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit guru (which literally means “heavy,” —heavy with good qualities, as the tradition explains). Lama Ugyen once explained lama as “one who looks down from above (la) with the love that a mother (ma) has for her children.” La is also a Pön term, meaning “soul,” “life force.”.......An example of the confusion between these words comes in the alternate spellings of the term drala or dralha. Both are found in texts, and they are usually referring to the same principle or type of deity. The Dorje Dradül much preferred the former spelling, explaining that the word means “above” or “beyond” the “enemy” or “aggression.” We used to translate this as “war gods,” which might be seen to favor the other reading, but it was actually just an attempt to characterize this deity type. "......

" the Tibetan syllable mo......has two distinct meanings:
One the one hand, mo indicates 'divination' as well as 'prophecy', and it occurs in terms such as 'astrological chart' (mo rtsis) or 'to foretell' (mo btab pa). In this sense, the mo in chenmo could refer to the fact that a terma is usually discovered by a specific terton (terma-discoverer) in accord with prophecies made by those who have originally hidden such texts. This is a reasonable explanation but it would not warrant to leave this information out when translating the title into Western languages. So it would seem, as I'll show, that the mo in Rinchen Terzö Chenmo is meant differently.
More often than prophecy, mo indicates the female gender and is used as the equivalent of English terms such as 'woman' and 'lady'. As chen mo, this would simply add up to 'great woman', but chen mo is used more specifically. In fact, it indicates 'Great Mother' in the sense of 'Goddess' in general; yet also 'Great Mothers' as a term used specifically for the Tibetan concept of the Dakini or Khandroma (Tib., mkha' 'gro ma), the deities and initiate women ever present in Tibetan literature and tales, in visualizations and yogic techniques. Back to our simple syllable mo, it occurs in terms such as 'female lineage' (mo rgyud), 'female demon' (mo 'dre) and 'male & female' (pho mo); but also in specifically sexual terms such as 'female genitals' (mo mtshan) and 'the female organ' (mo dbang); the latter also meaning 'female faculty'.

"Tibetan language is generally full of double meanings and hidden associations and it perfectly fits (has given rise to and has been created by) what I call the awesome fullness of the Tibetan mind's void."......

Turquoise: " a sacred material, turquoise was used to produce the armor, helmets, and weapons of various deities and epic heroes. An insignia (yig-tshang) of turquoise was conferred by Tibetan kings on those of the high political ranking such as ministers. A Bon historical text relates that a protohistoric Tibetan king awarded a priest of Zhang Zhung, Gyerchen Tsophen (Gyer-chen btso-’phen), turquoise as an award for helping defeat the Chinese kingdom. The text states that from that time, the Bonpo have worn turquoise around their necks.....Some deities are envisioned wearing a turquoise head ornament (g.yu yi zur-phud), which was also used by one of the eight core commanders of imperial Tibet, Khyungpo Mepo (Khyung-po mes-po). Another type of highly prestigious turquoise head ornament was called yuyi thorchok (g.yu yi thor-cog). Also in ancient times, regal headgear with turquoise for males called trapue (pra-phud) and trokshu (prog-zhu) were known. The counterpart for females was the zeprok (ze-prog) coronet. According to Bon literature, great priests and potentates of ancient times also erected horns of turquoise on their heads as a kind of crown.....In Tibetan medicine, specially processed turquoise is used to treat poisoning, purify the blood, and cure fevers, eye diseases, and disorders of the liver. Traditionally, to guard against poisoning, the drinking cups of the nobility had a turquoise set with gold mounted inside.......Special types of Tibetan turquoise (g.yu) include gajang (ga-ljang, green in color), drukar (drug-dkar, blue with a whitish cast), yumar (g.yu-dmar, drug-dmar, reddish in color), and matang yu (ma-tang g.yu, of a very fine quality). An especially resplendent turquoise is poetically referred to as ‘turquoise lamp’ (g.yu-sgron), or simply as ‘lamp’ (sgron-ma)."......

Dorje Yudronma.’...

"At the 2010 monthlong retreat on the “Three Words That Strike the Vital Point” by Garab Dorje in Crestone, Colorado, Tsoknyi Rinpoche had the entire group of approximately 95 retreatants join him in prayers to Dorje Yudronma every day. He also spoke about his personal connection to her through an important dream and his subsequent conversations with some of his teachers about her significance for practitioners in his lineage. Rinpoche recently retold the story of his dream: 'When I was in Tashi Jong, around the age of 20, I did a three-month retreat under the guiidance of Tokden Amtrin. One night, I had a very clear dream: I was walking toward a hillside, following a lady who appeared to be in her mid-30s, wearing traditional Tibetan dress. It seemed like there was a connection between us, like she had something to say to me or give to me. But if I walked faster to catch up to her, she walked faster; if I slowed down, she slowed her pace, as well. This kept on for some time. At some point, we came to a slight bend in the road up the hill where she stopped and from the pocket of her dress pulled out a brilliant turquoise mirror. She laid it on the ground underneath a pile of dust and leaves and pointed to it, indicating that the mirror was for me, and I should pick it up. Then she walked quickly on ahead, glancing back from time to time. I reached the spot where she’d left the mirror, and just as I was bending to pick it up, I suddenly woke up with a feeling of great warmth and joy.....When I told Tokden Amtrin about this dream, without any hesitation, he replied, ‘Oh, that was Dorje Yudronma.’...".....

The Longsal Divination of Dorje Chogyal Namkhai Norbu....."The art of divination or Mo has always been widespread in Tibetan culture. Various methods of prediction have been practiced and passed down from ancient times. The Tag-ril Divination of Dorje Yudrönma (Rdo rje g.yu sgron ma’i phywa mo’i brtag ril) is a short, cryptic text on divination that the Author received in 2009 as part of the Longsal cycle of teachings. Dorje Yudrönma, queen of the Pramohas, is the guardian of the Longsal teachings."....

" Dorje Yudronma, a worldly protector also invoked for mirror divination. Dorje Yudronma holding mirror in right hand and arrow in the left, from a 19th century wall painting of a Drukpa Kagyu temple in Bhutan. The image is from the photographic collection of Francoise Pommaret."


"Shamar Rinpoché speaks about Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoché’s divination - 1973.......Trungpa Rinpoché sent me this eight-point prediction letter in 1973. He wrote it in his own hand, as he was young and able at that time. Rinpoché asked his personal deity for a pramana prediction concerning my activity. During the rituals called létsok, or activity practices, a deity is invoked - a yidam or Dharma protector - and highly accomplished practitioners can ask them questions. Their answers appear in a mirror. Trungpa Rinpoché’s deity for this practice was the deity Lhamo Youdrönma, Goddess of the Turquoise Lamp. Rinpoché copied her answers from the mirror and sent them to me via Aché Tséphel, the secretary of the 16th Karmapa. I still have this letter. - Shamar Rinpoché, June 2010"........

"Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoché’s original letter..........Word by word translation......

Concerning Kyabjé Shamar Rinpoché’s life prediction:
Dzaya Ho!
Everlasting, indestructible Vajra Spring: the profound, clear symbolic wording is shown by Youdrönma, Turquoise Lamp, unconstrained and unhurried.
Always keep the life deity of emerald radiance in your innermost heart.
The light of the evil youth’s messenger will be burnt by the fire of the end of time.
Please do the ritual of the Wrathful Guru!
The darkness of the era can be consumed by the fire of the ruby-colored crown.
The ring of five times ten (age) should be inserted into the mantra of indestructible life.
Accomplish Vajrakilaya which overcomes black magic and vigorously purify through the practice of Mamaki!
Beware of those intoxicated and maddened elephants who would stir up internal conflicts.
There is the possibility that the prosperous yellow intellectualists will damage the lineage of true meaning. Therefore, sharpen the speartip of your wise and prudent mind.
Please do a closed three-year, three-fortnight retreat in the very blessed practice place of the holy masters, the vajra rock mountain which glitters like gold.
By the white light of Vajrasattva, you will move to the non-meditation level of Dharmakaya.
In your innermost heart, please develop these points.

"At the request of the Bodhi Path administrators and several of his oldest disciples, both Tibetans and non-Tibetans, Shamar Rinpoché has agreed to present this precious prediction letter. He asked me to work on the translation and guided me through the wording. Below are some of the additional explanations he gave for the sake of clarification.".- Pamela Gayle White, translator, June 2010

"In the first three lines, Lhamo Youdrönma, Goddess of the Turquoise Lamp, says: I will give profound and clear instructions about your present and future activity. Her words indicate that Shamar Rinpoché should do the practice of the emerald-colored deity, Green Tara. Rinpoché explains that this was really quite wonderful, because at the time he was in fact writing a Green Tara practice sadhana which many lamas are now using. Trungpa Rinpoché couldn’t possibly have known this – they had met briefly when Shamarpa was young but had no personal contact at that time of the prediction. In 1973 the rinpochés who lived on different continents had to communicate by sending letters through the post – it seems that even exchanging Happy New Years cards was a challenge."

"The next three verses indicate that Shamar Rinpoché, who was 23, was in a phase in his life where he might be distracted by his youthful energy. He explains that he needed the light of a very strong remedy that could outshine the youthful light of romance, as these distractions could potentially disrupt his beneficial activity. The powerful light that could burn through obstacles was Guru Drakpo, the practice of a wrathful aspect of Padmasambhava.

"Shamar Rinpoché says that a year or so after receiving this letter, he went to Dharamsala with the 16th Karmapa, as there were official meetings with the Dalaï Lama and the government-in-exile there. He was very ill with food poisoning contracted in the Punjabi city of Ludhiana, so he stayed behind and was sleeping alone in the Dalai Lama’s guest house. Suddenly, there appeared at the door an extremely powerful-looking monk in a yellow cap who seemed intent on harming Rinpoché. Rinpoché thought he must be the deity Shukden; he explains that at the time there was general concern about problems related to certain practices of the Gelug sect. He immediately invoked Guru Padmasambhava. “I tried to imagine myself in his form,” Rinpoché says, “thinking that I needed to develop lovingkindness and compassion as Padmasambhava had in order to get rid of this demon. I concentrated very hard, then looked up and saw that he had disappeared – now I only saw the door shutter. Up until this time, I had not been so aware of Guru Rinpoché – of course, I did not doubt the power of his practice, but it had not been a focus of mine. After that, I did the practice much more seriously.”

"The next verse refers to the ruby crown which, according to Tibetan history, refers to the Shamarpas – ‘sha’ means hat or crown; ‘mar’ means red. It states that it would be possible for the Shamarpa to eliminate the darkness of an era, but the time is not indicated. Since the 14th Shamar Rinpoché carries the Shamarpa title, because of his past karma he may be connected to one of the Shamarpas who made such a wish, and great benefit might spontaneously occur through his activity. In the divination, Youdrönma doesn’t say: Shamar Rinpoché should do this; rather, she is saying that beneficial activity may naturally happen based on past wishes."

"As for the next verse, Rinpoché believes it refers to being 49 years old – Tibetans consider this to be an age where life-endangering obstacles are more likely to arise than most other years. Because Lhamo Youdrön specifically said that at fifty he should do this specific practice, Shamarpa went with Sangzang Rinpoché by helicopter to the Marathika cave in Nepal where Trulshik Rinpoché was practicing at the time. There they received the Chimé Phagma White Tara long life empowerments from him in very auspicious circumstances, as this was the cave where Guru Rinpoché accomplished his own long life practice."

"As for the Vajrakilaya and Mamaki practices she mentioned, Rinpoché explains that he has already done them."

"Concerning the verses that begin with the mad elephant, it seems that these directly refer to the ongoing Karma Kagyu controversies. Rinpoché says, “I can now say that I did not follow Youdrönma’s explanations carefully enough. I did not know who to be careful about and many mistakes were made – collaboration and betrayal took place but I did not expect them. I was wary of outsiders, yes, but not of insiders, and the mad, intoxicated elephants turned out to be people I never would have suspected – people from inside our organization who collaborated with outsiders.”

"This controversy is well documented in works such as the Karmapa Papers; The Buddha Cries! Karmapa Conundrum by Anil Maheshwari of the Hindustani Times; Buddha’s Not Smiling by Eric Curren; and the Karmapa Prophesies by Sylvia Wong – there is no need to explain these topics again here. The books of Lea Terhune, Mick Brown and Michelle Martin tell the other angle of the story. Rinpoché says that there is no ‘religious’ pressure to take sides; readers are free to inform themselves and make their own conclusions about where the truth lies."

"The rest of the divination verse refers to Shamarpa’s meditation practice. It says that he should do certain practices according to connections from past lives. The end of the divination infers that a very high level of meditation can be achieved in this lifetime."



John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….July 2014