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Archive for August 6th, 2009

From Wikipedia,

Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher in the northern region of the Indian subcontinent who founded Buddhism.[1] He is generally seen by Buddhists as the Supreme Buddha (Sammāsambuddha) of our age. The time of his birth and death are uncertain: most early 20th-century historians dated his lifetime as c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE; more recently, however, at a specialist symposium on this question,[2] the majority of those scholars who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha’s death, with others supporting earlier or later dates.

Gautama, also known as Śākyamuni or Shakyamuni (“sage of the Shakyas“), is the key figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to Gautama were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later. Early Western scholarship tended to accept the biography of the Buddha presented in the Buddhist scriptures as largely historical, but currently “scholars are increasingly reluctant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha’s life and teachings.”[3]

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From Wikipedia,

Cakrasaṃvara, Chinese: 胜乐金刚 shènglè jīngāng; Tibetan: Korlo Demchog (Tibetan: འཁོར་ལོ་སྡོམ་པ / བདེ་མཆོག; Wylie: khor lo sdom pa / bde mchog) is a heruka (and known simply as Heruka to Gelugpa Buddhists) and one of the principal iṣṭha-devatā, or meditational deities of the Sarma schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Cakrasaṃvara sadhana is considered to be of the mother class of the Anuttara Yoga Tantra. Cakrasaṃvara is typically depicted with a blue-coloured body, four faces, and twelve arms, and embracing his consort Vajravarahi (in Chinese 金刚亥母 jīngāng hàimǔ)in the yab-yum position. Other forms of the deity are also known, with varying numbers of limbs. Cakrasaṃvara and consort are not to be thought of as two different entities, as an ordinary husband and wife are two different people; in reality, their divine embrace is a metaphor for the union of great bliss and emptiness, which are one and the same essence.

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From Wikipedia,

Vajrasattva (Tibetan: Dorje Sempa, Japanese: Kongōsatta, Chinese: 金剛薩埵 Jīn gāng sà duǒ) is a bodhisattva in the Mahayana and Vajrayana buddhist traditions. Vajrasattva’s name translates to Diamond Mind. In the Japanese Vajrayana school of Buddhism, Shingon, Vajrasattva is the esoteric aspect of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra and is commonly associated with the student practitioner who through the master’s teachings, attains higher and higher levels of esoteric practice.

Vajrasattva appears principally in two Buddhists texts: the Mahavairocana Sutra and the Vajrasekhara Sutra. In the Diamond Realm Mandala, Vajrasattva sits to the East near Akshobhya Buddha.

In some esoteric lineages, Nagarjuna was said to have met Vajrasattva in an iron tower in South India, and was taught tantra, thus transmitting the esoteric teachings to more historical figures.[1]

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From Wikipedia,

Mahakala is a Dharmapala (“protector of dharma“) in Vajrayana Buddhism (Tibetan Buddhism and Japanese Shingon Buddhism).

In Japanese Buddhism, Mahakala (大黒天, Daikokuten?), belongs to the fourth hierarchy of deities (tenbu).

Name

Mahākāla is a Sanskrit bahuvrihi of mahā (“great”) and kāla (“black”). The literal Tibetan translation is “Nagpo Chenpo” (Wylie: gnag po chen po) though, when referring to this deity, Tibetans usually use the word “Gonpo” (mgon po) [the translation of the Sanskrit word Nāth meaning “lord” or “protector”] instead.

Description

Mahakala is relied upon in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. However, he is depicted in a number of variations, each with distinctly different qualities and aspects. He is also regarded as the emanation of different beings in different cases, namely Avalokiteshvara (Tib: Chenrezig) or Chakrasamvara (Tib: Korlo Demchog, Wylie: ’khor-lo bde-mchog).

Mahakala is typically black in color. Just as all colors are absorbed and dissolved into black, all names and forms are said to melt into those of Mahakala, symbolizing his all-embracing, comprehensive nature. Black can also represent the total absence of color, and again in this case it signifies the nature of Mahakala as ultimate or absolute reality. This principle is known in Sanskrit as “nirguna“, beyond all quality and form, and it is typified by both interpretations.

Mahakala is almost always depicted with a crown of five skulls, which represent the transmutation of the five kleshas (negative afflictions) into the five wisdoms.

The most notable variation in Mahakala’s manifestations and depictions is in the number of arms, but other details can vary as well. For instance, in some cases there are Mahakalas in white, with multiple heads, without genitals, standing on varying numbers of various things, holding various implements, with alternative adornments, and so on.

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