Padmasambhava

Padmasambhava

(circa 755 -797)

Padmasambhava introduced Buddhist doctrine into Tibet and exorcised its demons. He is one of the historically identifiable founders of Tibetan Buddhism and of the Lamas, as Tibetan Buddhist monks are generally called.

Padmasamhhava (literally, born of the Lotus) was born in the extreme north-west of India, now Pakistan. He was already an accredited Tantric master at the Nalanda university when he was called to Tibet by King Thn-Srong Detsan (740-786). Buddhism had doubtlessly arrived in Tibet one century before, during the reign of the first king, Tri-srong Detsan (c.610-649) who had married two Buddhist princesses, one from Nepal, and the other from China.


 

However, it was only under Tri-srong Detsan that the new religion began to spread. There had been no indigenous Buddhist monks in Tibet, although many visits had been made by Indian and Chinese monks from the time of King Tri-srong Detsan. King Tri-srong Detsan invited the highly educated monk Santirakshita to his kingdom, where he began construction of the first Buddhist monastery, but could not complete his task because of the interference of demons from the ancient indigenous religion. These demons were most probably the priests themselves. Santirakshita, who was a philosopher, did not have the means to fight them, and advised the king to call in Padmasambhava who was a Tantric siddha, and therefore, an exorcist.

Padmasambhava’s journey to Tibet was a triumphant march. One by one the demons were beaten and one by one they had to swear to become loyal protectors of the Doctrine. The methods of Padmasambhava ranged from the use of ritual implements such as the phurba to the mastery of the meditation techniques of dzogchen.

The Samye monastery was opened in 779, at the same time as Buddhism was declared the state religion and the first seven Buddhist monks ordained. A few years later, the last representatives of Ch’an, the Chinese school of Buddhism which had been very influential, were expelled, and the Vajrayana school, or Indian Tantric Buddhism reigned supreme.

King Srong Detsan caused two pillars to be constructed in Lhasa which contain epigrams stating that Padmasambhava’s patron was himself, Tri-srong Detsan. These
pillars are dated 783 and approximately 790. In these edicts, the word Lama does not occur, thought the kings states “by a blessing, the orthodox religion was procured”. This ‘orthodox’ or ‘inside’ religion is still the ordinary term applied to Buddhism as opposed to the Bon Religion or other faiths.

It is significant of the enthusiasm and skill imparted by Padmasambhava that seven of the first group trained by him and his deputy attained literary distinction shown in their scrupulously accurate work of translation of Indian Buddhist canons to Tibetan language. They had remarkable attainment in both Sanskrit and Tibetan languages.

 


Bas-relief of Padmasambhava

Padmasambhava disposed of the antagonistic priests of the old Bön religion. In later times he was denigrated by the resentful older Bön tradition in relating his achievements. There are extant witnesses to his character that he was flagrantly magical and necromantic. Tibetan Buddhism has certain tantric elements which give rise to such tales. Ritualistic spells are also ascribed to the Buddha himself in certain 14th century manuscripts, which date from the era that ascribe similar ritualism to Padmasambhava.

After the persecution of Buddhism which accompanied the collapse of the monarchy (842), a popular form of the religion survived which remained faithful to the teachings of the Great Guru (Padmasambhava) whose writings were hidden and not discovered until several centuries later.

Padmasambhava is closely linked to the oldest Tibetan monastic order, Nyimgma-pa. In the course of centuries the figure of Padmasambhava, who continued the tradition of the maha-siddhas, took on an increasingly legendary character. Throughout Buddhist Himalaya, he is known as the Great Guru, or Precious Jewel (Lopon Rinpoche) and is worshipped as the Lama par excellence and is even considered by some to the ‘Second Buddha’. His birthday, (the tenth day of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar (end of June/beginning of July) is celebrated with sacred dances, particularly at Hemis in Ladakh. He is the patron saint of the
Red-Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Coda

 


Padmasambhava is escorted by two of his female students

According to legend, Padmasambhava was born in the country of Urgyen in northwest Kashmir. He quickly mastered all the learned disciplines of his time, especially the teachings of the Tantras. In the 8th century he made his appearance in history through his mission to Tibet, then under the dominance of nature religion and the Bön faith. His campaign in Tibet came to an end with the construction of the Samye Monastery (775). Concerning the remainder of Padmasambhava’s stay in Tibet, the sources diverge, giving anywhere from a few months to many years.

Especially important among the teachings were the eight logos. For the benefit of future generations he also hid a great number of teachings in the form of texts (terma). The most important female student of Padmasambhava and author of his biography was Yeshe Tsogyel.

The followers of the Nyingmapa school celebrate the important events in the life of Padmasambhava (honoured as Guru Rinpoche) on the tenth day of each month. Thus on the tenth of the first month they celebrate his renunciation of the world; the second month, his ordination; on the tenth of the third month, his transformation of fire to water in the Kingdom of Zahor—and so forth. The best known invocation of Padmasambhava is that in seven lines:

In the Northwest of the land of Urgyen
On a blooming lotus flower
You attained supreme wondrous perfection.
You are called the Lotus-born
And are surrounded by a retinue of dakinis
I follow your example—
Approach and grant me your blessing.

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Tenzin Gyatso – The Fourteenth Dalai Lama


Ocean of Compassion

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

Born: 1935
Residence: Dharamsala, India
Birth Name: Tenzin Gyatso

Dalai Lama: “teacher whose wisdom is as great as the ocean”; an honorary title bestowed by the Mongolian prince Altan Khan on the third head of the Gelukpa school in 1578. This close connection with Mongolia brought the school of Tsongkhapa into a position of political preeminence, which with the fifth dalai lama (1617-82) was consolidated into rulership over all of Tibet. Since this time, the Dalai Lama has been regarded as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, and the Panchen Lama has been venerated as his spiritual representative. Each Dalai Lama is considered a reincarnation (tulku) of the preceding Dalai Lamas. The Dalai Lamas not only fulfilled their role as heads of state. Among them are also great scholars and poets filled with joie de vivre, like the sixth Dalai Lama. The fourteenth Dalai
Lama, in exile since 1959, combines in his person a spiritual and political authority that is still binding for the Tibetan people.

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Ibn-al-Arabi

Ibn-al-Arabi
born: 1165, Murcia, Spain
obit: Damascus 1240 Abu Bakr Muhammad

 

Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-Arabi was born in Murcia into a very pious and cultured milieu. When he was seven, he and his family moved to Seville, the capital of the Almohades Empire which extended all over North Africa. At 16, having studied with Andalusian spiritual leaders, he‘ entered on the path’. He was so cultured that at an early age he was awarded an important administrative post; it was also at this time that he met and married a young woman whom he considered to be the spiritual ideal. But a grave illness which brought with it powerful visions led him to give up his career and his possessions in order to practise asceticism in strict seclusion. Several long years of pilgrimage followed, during which Ibn’Arabi met the greatest mystics in Spain and the Mahgreb, where he spent some time before a vision compelled him to go to the East. In 1201-02 he travelled to Cairo, Jerusalem, and finally to Mecca, where he was welcomed into the home of an eminent Persian sheikh and his sister.

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al-Ghazali: The Seven Obstacles

The Seven Obstacles

The following brief description of the path that the devotee travels in his journey to Jannah (Paradise) is taken from the introduction of Imam al-Ghazali’s Minhaj al-‘Abidin ila Jannati Rabb al-‘Alamin (The Path that the Devotee has to traverse in order to reach the Garden of the Lord of the Universe). This path to Jannah is no more than the devotee’s actual worship and servitude of Allah, the Almighty. However, in undertaking this journey the devotee is confronted with Seven Obstacles which he needs to overcome if he is to accomplish his goal and reach his destination. These Seven Obstacles are:

  1. the Obstacle of Knowledge
  2. the Obstacle of Repentance
  3. the Obstacle of the Barriers
  4. the Obstacle of the Four Distractions
  5. the Obstacle of the Forces
  6. the Obstacle of the Nullifiers
  7. the Obstacle of Praise and Gratitude

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al-Ghazali

The Alchemist of Happiness

Algazel, better known as al-Ghazali, was born Abu Hamid Ibn Muhammad Ibn Muhammad al-Tusi al-Shafi’i al-Ghazali in 1058 A.D. in Khorasan, Irandad, in the west of what is now called Iran. He was an Islamic theologian, philosopher, and mystic. He is considered one of the greatest theologians in Islam. Al-Ghazali made a significant philosophical contribution at a time which was important for the continuing legitimate existence of the sufi component of Islam.

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Baba’s Letter to his brother, 1947

“To all who are devoted to Me:

My dear Ones! I received the communication that you wrote and sent; I found in it the surging floods of doubts and anxiety. Let Me tell you that it is impossible to plumb the hearts and discover the nature of Jnanis, Yogis, ascetics, saints, sages and the like. People are endowed with a variety of characteristics and mental attitudes so that each one judges according to his own angle. talks and argues in the light of his own nature. But we have to stick to our own path, our own wisdom, our own resolution without getting affected by popular appraisal. As the proverb says, It is only the fruit-laden tree that receives the shower of stones from passers-by. The good always provoke the bad into calumny; the bad always provoke the good into derision. This is the nature of this world. One must be surprised if such things do not happen.

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Spiritual Intelligence

p>This page is an overview of and introduction to Spiritual Intelligence. The spiritual focus here is not on any one particular religion or belief system, rather, on practical elements which are common to spiritual activity by humans.

All intelligence is problem solving skill. Intelligence(s) in all its forms, are used to solve problems we encounter.

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The Immortals of Meluha

The Immortals of Meluha is the first novel of the Shiva trilogy series by Amish Tripathi. The story is set in the land of Meluha and starts with the arrival of the Tibetan tribal Shiva. The Meluhan belief that Shiva is their fabled saviour Neelkanth, is confirmed when he consumes the Somras, a legendary healing potion, which turns his throat blue. Shiva decides to help the Meluhans in their war against the Chandravanshis, who had joined forces with a cursed group called Nagas; however, in his journey and the resulting fight that ensues, Shiva learns how his choices actually reflected who he aspires to be and how it led to dire consequences.


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Three Mothers (and a camel)


 

 Three Mothers
(and a camel)

 

Three Mothers (and a camel) is actress Phyllidia Law’s chronicles about her relationship with her own mother who suffered from dementia, and her caring for her mother-in-law (who was deaf), told from the notes she wrote to her “Gran”.

We first read the notes to her mother-in-law, and slowly build up a picture of a hidden, unseen lady who never speaks in this narrative; a narrative of scribbled notes. Over many notes, we read of the cares and concerns of “Gran” who lived upstairs, and her deafness, and her good habits of washing on Mondays, ironing on Tuesdays, cleaning the house on this day, shopping on other days, fish and chips on Fridays; the patterns are those that many mothers would recognise.

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Sathya Sai Sath Sambhashana


 

translation, Shravan Kumar Wupendram, 2012
released Sathya Sai Birthday Celebrations, November 2012

Sathya Sai Sath Sambhashana is a book compiled by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in his own Telugu handwriting. Some time beofre taking leave of his body, Sathya Sai Baba called Sri Sravan Kumar Wupendrum to Yajur Mandir (where Baba resided) and gave the handwritten book to Sravan Kumar.

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Conversations with Spiritual Master

 Conversations with Spiritual Master
First Steps to Love

Daniel Ostoja, 2010

Daniel Ostoja shares the narrative of his life journey, in particular, his spiritual experiences from the days of his youth. As a young man, Daniel read of meditation and practised it himself, right from reading about it in a book.

My meditation did not have any religious character at that time. I used to merely sit with my legs crossed, focusing my mind on a place inside of my stomach and controlled my breath, waiting until my thoughts became quiet. It was very difficult at the beginning, but at the beginning everything is difficult and I was aware of this. I used to sit in zazen three times a day, for half an hour each time, and sometimes also for thirty minutes before going to bed.

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The Quiet Revolution


 

 The Quiet Revolution
The emergence of Interfaith Consciousness

ABC Books (The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Peter Kirkwood, 2007
ISBN 978 0 7333 2002 6

Born of a production called Tomorrow’s Islam for Compass, a weekly religion program broadcast in Australia, the program’s producer encountered the Interfaith movement for the first time. Peter Kirkwood was then to encounter the Cordoba Initiative, the American Society for Muslim Advancement, and the Affinity Intercultural Foundation of Sydney, Australia.

The author quickly uncovered a multitude of interfaith organisations world-wide (and growing daily) which led to a three part series and an accompanying book. This book is the narration of the encounters with individuals in the Interfaith movement as well as serving as an oversight and introduction to the movement as a whole.

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The Effulgent Sai

 The Effulgent Sai

compilation, Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
for World Youth Conference, 2007

This slim book is a compilation of eight Divine Discourses specially selected for reading by Sai Young Adults, upon the occasion of the World Youth Conference held in Prashanthi Nilayam, July 2007. Attention is drawn to the urgent need for moral reconstruction of society, the uplift of rural masses and the underprivileged, and the need for Sai Youth to remain unpolluted physically, mentally and morally.

It is fitting that this small book opens with Sathya Sai’s letter to his brother Seshama Raju, written in May of 1947. Seshama Raju loved his brother and was devoted to him – the letter is addressed, To all who are devoted to Me… This letter gives calm, clear assurance that none may prescribe the acts and deeds of a mahatma, and their lives are marked by beneficial acts and self reliance. No one takes notice of dogs that howl at the moon and the stars, so why should anyone take notice of what the naysayers are saying? In this letter, Baba says that naysayers and critics have no comprehension of the glory and the reality of the One they are criticising. If they knew, they would remain silent.

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under the quandong tree


 

This reviewer has had numerous experiences of spiritual energy relating to places of profound spiritual power, which belong to various groups of Australian Aboriginals. In 1988, when I took photographs of a women’s sacred place at Uluru, the negatives came out blank; I developed the negatives myself and recall thinking at that time, well, serves you right!

Back in 2005, I drove a car up to Mt Warning, Sacred Wollumbin, and the car broke down about two thirds of the way up to the lookout. I had to turn around and go back. The same happened the next week when I tried to visit. Hmm, Sacred Wollumbin did not want me there. And so it has also happened in other places associated with Australian Aboriginals, in Wauchope, NSW, and in The Olgas and in several other places.

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