Author: FANG CHAO-YING
Tshangs-dbyangs-rgya-mtsho 策養［倉洋］嘉錯 , Feb.11, 1683-1706, the Sixth Dalai Lama and poet, was born at Mon in southern Tibet. His full name was bLo-bzang-rig-hdsins （羅布藏仁青)-tshangs-dbyangs-rgya-mtsho.
The year before he was born the Fifth Dalai Lama had died. According to Tibetan law, the death of a Dalai Lama should be publicly announced, and high commissioners should then convene to select some new-born infant as the reincarnation of the deceased Lama. This infant is then educated in the monastery, Potala, and the Panchan Lama rules at the head of a body of regents, until the child comes of age. But this procedure was ignored in this instance as the Tipa (temporal administrator under the Dalai Lama), whose name was sDe-srid Sangsrgyas-rgya-mtsho, known in Continue reading
In the top centre sits Vajradhara, flanked by Gedun Drukpa, the first Dalai Lama (left) and his disciple Panchen Zangpo Tashi (right). In the bottom corner are two of the great stupas, on the left Budhgaya (India) and on the right Borobudur (Indonesia).
The Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist Pantheon
The principal beings are the five Dhyani Buddhas – the esoteric meditation Buddhas of the five colors found in The Tibetan Book of the Dead and other sources. The deities are not Buddhist Gods, but rather different aspects of the one God. Among these are several teachers or gurus, who have attained notoriety and importance, and as such are venerated.
Like the Hindu Deities, these are meant to express particular aspects of the Infinite, and are are used as devotional images helping the seeker visualize, concentrate on, and thus in time attain, that aspect of the Infinite in him or herself. Each of the deities represents a unique spiritual personality or essence.
The essence of each being is: Continue reading
There are two main traditions of bodhisattva vow: the tradition of Profound View, coming from Nagarjuna, and the tradition of Vast Conduct, coming from Asanga. In Asanga’s tradition the vows of bodhichitta in aspiration and bodhichitta in action are taken separately, whereas in Nagarjuna’s tradition they are taken together.
The Bodhisattva vow consists of the preliminary practices, main part and conclusion. The preliminaries can consist of gathering the accumulations by means of the seven branch offering, training the mind and giving away the three possessions. The main part consists of taking the vows of bodhichitta in aspiration and action, either separately or together. The conclusion consists of rejoicing oneself and encouraging others to rejoice as well. Continue reading
The Twelve Nidanas
The twelve links of dependent origination, are the twelve nidanas in the chain of the causation of samsara. The twelve nidanas are usually depicted in Tibetan Thankas as the ‘Wheel of Life’ drawn with twelve scenes forming a circle.
In the center of the circle, passion, aggression and ignorance, usually depicted by a chicken, snake and a pig respectively, represent the basic pull-push-ignore dynamic intrinsic of a dualistic ‘I’ and ‘other‘ relationship. As the ego and its projections need constant maintenance, the nidanas constantly spin.
1. Ignorance – Avidya (Skt), Ma-rig-pa (Tb)
(Image: An old blind person groping for his way with a cane.)
Avidya is the fundamental ignorance of the truths and the delusion of mistakenly perceiving the skandhas as a self. Avidya represents the very beginning of the formation of ‘I’ and ‘other’. ‘I’ and ‘other’ arise together and with dependence on each other. The formation and relationship between ‘I’ and ‘other’ occurring in an atmosphere of ignorance leads to the ever-recurring conceptual phantoms that rule the life of being in samsara. Avidya marks the beginning of self-consciousness. Continue reading