Bhagavad-Gita: 18 Chapters in Sanskrit


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Here are the links to the short stories.
http://www.shortstoryteller.com/BrahmanaBoyandDalitGirl.html http://www.shortstoryteller.com/IndianPythonandtheBoy.html
http://www.shortstoryteller.com/CalufaTheWarDog.html http://www.shortstoryteller.com/PolyandrousMathanam.html
http://www.shortstoryteller.com/SadhuAndHisPeregrinations.pdf http://www.shortstoryteller.com/SeerKing.html
http://www.shortstoryteller.com/TheKingAndTheCow.html http://www.shortstoryteller.com/EggDiamonds.html
http://www.shortstoryteller.com/LecherKing.html http://www.shortstoryteller.com/BangleSalesman.html
http://www.shortstoryteller.com/ThreeDaughters.html http://www.shortstoryteller.com/MargaraTheCat.pdf
http://www.shortstoryteller.com/FourBrothers.html http://www.shortstoryteller.com/DemolitionDerbyDebates.html
http://www.shortstoryteller.com/SankaraAndMaleChauvinism.html http://www.shortstoryteller.com/SadhuAndHisPeregrinations.pdf
http://www.shortstoryteller.com/TwoFriends.html http://www.shortstoryteller.com/TheKingandHisKleptomania.html


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Japanese and Chinese Buddhist tradition



"The 'monks' order (Sangha), which began during the lifetime of the Buddha in India, is amongst the oldest organizations on earth." In Hindu tradition, The Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu. "

The Buddha, Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas

Who is Kannon?

Who is Naraen-kengo?

What has Naraengo to do with Lord Narayana?

Nārāyana = Nāra + Ayana = waters of the causal ocean + the resting place = Narayana is the resting place of the causal ocean.  Sumerian mythology says that the universe was created from the primeval waters that abided in the body of Nammu.  Thus, Nammu the Sumerian Goddess, and Narayana, the Hindu God are the repository of the waters of the oceans. The universe is Vishnu's (Narayana) body. Naraen-Kengo in the Japanese Buddhist tradition is the Narayana of Hindus with limited attributes. Buddhists reject the idea of  Primordial Creator God--no such Entity as Narayana of Hindus exists in Buddhist tradition. Buddhist Naraen-kengo of immense physical strength is the defender and protector of believers against evil. In Vaishnava tradition, Narayana is the abode of causal generative ocean, where the universe (life and matter) originates.

    As opposed to Hindu view of creation in the Causal Ocean, here is the Christian tradition

Julian Calendar: God's creation. The dates are variable according to Julian or Gregorian calendar and the flaws in calculation.

1st day: Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC. God creates light ("Let there be light!") - the first divine command. The light is divided from the darkness, and "day" and "night" are named.

2nd day: Monday October 24, 4004 B.C. Waters above was separated from waters below.

3rd day: Tuesday October 25, 4004 B.C.  Waters below coalesced into seas, so dry land appeared. God commands earth to bring forth grass, plants and fruit-bearing trees. Rivers and Garden of Eden were created.

4th day: Wednesday October 26, 4004 B.C. Sun, Moon and the Stars were created. Years, seasons, light, darkness, days, nights, weeks, months were created.

5th day: Thursday October 27, 4004 B.C. Teeming living creatures, birds, and sea creatures were created.

6th day: Friday October 28, 4004 B.C. More living creatures (beasts, livestock, reptiles) were created.  Man and Woman in the form of Adam and Eve were created and were asked to multiply and subdue earth (and not to exploit earth).  Man and animals were given plants to eat. (Man is not to eat animals.) Adam was created in His image so he will have knowledge of the divine.

7th day: Saturday October 29, 4004 B.C. God sanctifies the 7th day; it is a day of rest and Sabbath, Friday for Muslims, Saturday for Jews and Sunday for Christians.

In Japanese Buddhist tradition, Naraen-kengo (morphing of Narayana) is a minor god. The gods and goddesses of India somehow managed to permeate as far as Japan in a morphed, mutated, and downgraded forms. They are all the way down from the top which is occupied by The Buddha and Bodhisattvas (a person who attained enlightenment or Supreme Knowledge). The Supreme Persona and Boddhisattva of perfect compassion in Japanese Buddhist tradition is Kannon, which means Ju-Ichimen Senju-Kannon--EkaDasamukhasahasrabhuja-Avalokite-svara. (see image below.) This long name is from Sanskrit. Eka = one, Dasa = ten, mukha = face, sahasra = one thousand, bhuja = arms, Avalokitesvaradown look Lord (the Lord who looks down from above.  The Lord looking down to Svara (sound, instead of esvara or Isvara) means the 'Sound Perceiver' who hears the cries of sentient beings in need of help. The Northern Buddhists are of the belief that Avalakitesvara made a pledge that He will manifest himself to every creature in this universe and deliver them from sin. According to Lotus Sutra in Chinese tradition, "Avalokitesvara has the ability to assume any form required for the moment to relieve suffering, and grant progeny and is represented as a beautiful, white-robed woman."  Avalokitesvara does not rest until she delivers all sentient beings from Samsara, miseries of life on earth.  See the image of Avalokitesvara  below.

 ॐ अमिताभ ह्री: =  Om AmitAbha HrIh is the  Mantra of the Tibetan Buddhists.

In Tibetan Buddhism, Dalai Lama is one of the incarnations of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion and the fourteenth in the line of succession that began in 1391. The Male is Compassion and the Female is Knowledge; this union leads to realization. The sexual union is symbolism in Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. This union of Compassion and Knowledge is necessary to win over MAyA and the false duality of object and subject. This fusion results in enlightenment. To the Jews God is good and Lord and God: Lord with Female kindness and God with Male Justice. To the Jew, God is One, both female and male blended in One but He or She comes with many names and flavors. He invokes and thanks Lord Adonai for Her kindness; he invokes God Elohim for being harsh (justice) on him. Simply, Feminine Lord (Lady) Adonai becomes Masculine God Elohim depending upon dispensation. To him Female Lord Adonai and Male God Elohim are parents--though one-- keeping the children in line first by giving soft love and then some tough love. This reminds us of Androgynous Siva, Ardhanarisvara (The fusion of Sakti and Siva).

Dorje in Tibet means indestructible. It is known also as Vajra (Thunderbolt, Diamond Scepter). These symmetric oval ends are symbolic of masculine force, flash of inspiration, and cutting asunder of ignorance and illusion. The feminine counterpart is the bell. These two are used in rituals-- reminiscent of the bell and the clapper (= the female and the male, the labial vestibular pedestal with the lingam in situ in Hindu Saiva tradition --see Lingam in situ below).






In Sanjusangen-do, Kannon Bodhisattvas (65 to 66 inches) stand on either side of the Main Central Image. Each one of the 1001 images can multiply by 33 times and appear as 33,033 Kannons. Kannon's ability to multiply into 33 different forms shows its quick response (First Responders) to help the individual and its compassionate care to all sentient beings. Sanjusangen-do offers the intimacy one has with enveloping compassion of the Kannons, so much so that the visitor may locate the face of a loved one from among the Kannons.



Here you notice Sri Devi and Lakshmi of the Hindus is (Daibenkudoku-ten) a heavenly maid, 65 " tall.

Chinese Guanyin is Japanese Kannon, Korean Gan-eum, Thai Kuan Eim and Vietnamese Quan Am. Sanskrit Avalokitesvara is the origin (prototype) of Chinese Guanyin and its derivative-equivalents. Guan Yin or Kannon's head splits into eleven pieces after trying to comprehend the misery in the universe. (Kannon suffers literally a splitting headache trying to comprehend the misery of earthlings!) Amitabha Buddha (Heavenly Buddha with eternal,  infinite, endless bliss) morphed the 11 pieces into 11 heads (Ekadasa mukha = Sanskrit for 11 heads); with this new endowment, she was able to hear and comprehend the voices of suffering, but helping hands (two arms) split into pieces. Amitabha came to her rescue again and gave her one thousand arms. In the Hindu tradition, one thousand indicates literally one thousand and figuratively an infinite number. She needs infinite number of arms to salvage all sentient beings in misery and suffering.

Note: Amitabha is the Chinese rendition of Sanskrit word Amrta (immortal, enlightened).

Guanyin, the complete incarnation of compassion, decorates the walls of Chinese Vegetarian restaurants; her devotees plead with the public not to eat beef because one of her forms is equal to Hindu God, Nilakantha. Nilakantha is Siva with blue throat. Nilakantha in Chinese context is described as Harihara, who is both Vishnu and Siva, a  syncretic composite God of Hindus. Guanyin can assume any gender or form to liberate people from ignorance and dukkha ( Sanskrit for misery, unhappiness, grief).  What is the connection between prohibition of beef-eating, Guanyin and Nilakantha? In Hindu tradition, Nilakantha (Siva) rides a bull; Bull known as Nandi is the theriomorphic form of Nilakantha. That being so, it is obvious why Chinese vegetarian Buddhists of Guanyin persuasion forbid eating beef. Hindus consider that the Supreme Supernal Being (Paramatman) is all-pervasive so much so a fragment of Himself or Herself remains in every Boson and the like, atom, amoeba, arbor (plant), animal and human beings.

Siva has Spanda Power: quickening, quivering, vibration, throbbing, expansion and contraction.... The word Spandex is derived from the Sanskrit word Spanda. Spandex is a long-chain elastic Polymer that can expand and contract. Spanda Sakti consisting of Unmesa and Nimesa is Sakti of Siva.  Though they appear as sequential elements, they are concurrent in Siva. This is a divine energy; it appears to be spent by Siva and or Sakti and yet it does not diminish. Spanda is pulsation, quivering, motion, quickening in the womb…. The universe emerges from Spanda power of Siva. Siva on one hand, and souls and universe on the other hand are one. Spanda power has its hypostasis in Siva and manifests the 36 Tattvas TATTVAS-36, which are the building blocks of the universe and beings. The world is the product and the stage for the Spanda Energy of vibration according to Kashmir Saivism; the same is called in South India the Dance of Siva on the Cosmic Stage; the Lord dances in all elements; all his acts are dance, pulsation,  vibration or orbital motion down to subatomic particles; when the dance stops, the world ends with Nimesa (closing of eyes of the Lord); with Unmesa (unclosing of the eyes = opening of the eyes), the dance starts again and the universe pulsates with life. There appears to be some variance with Sankara's Vedic philosophy in that Spanda theory espouses that this world is NOT an illusion but a reality.  

Both genders can attain enlightenment according to Mahayana Buddhism of Chinese tradition; Bodhisattva can be god or goddess, always at the ready to break the shackles of karma. She releases them from the Wheel of Samsara and takes them to the Pure Land  wherein they acquire merit in one lifetime to become a Buddha. She is an embodiment of compassion, unconditional love, mercy, peace and contemplation and a champion of the last, the least, the loneliest, the sick, the handicapped, the poor and the troubled. In modern times she brings luck and fortune to the businessman and safety and protection to the air traveler. With the likes of Underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab among air travelers, we need the protection of Bodhisattva (Enlightenment and Virtue).

Amitabha Buddha is the object of worship by Mahayana Buddhists and one of the Prapancha Buddhas of Vajrayana Buddhism. This division is known as Pure Land Buddhism. Amita =  derived from Sanskrit Amrta (Tamil அமிர்தம்) meaning immortal, ambrosial, eternal. Abha = splendor. Amitabha Buddha is immortal splendor. His life is beyond time and limitation and so is called Amithāyus = Eternal life. yu = life. 

There are two Mahayana Buddhist Schools in Japan: The devotion-based Pure Land School and Zen School, the former forming the majority.  The Pure Land School emphasizes on salvation through faith in Amitabha Buddha (the Enlightened One with eternal and endless Bliss).  Sukhavati = heaven-like Pure Land = சுகவதி பௌதம் = Pure Land Buddhism.

The Pure Land school can be compared to Bhakti movement of Vaishnavism, which emphasizes personal devotion to Lord Krishna.  Vaishnavism does not encourage the difficult path of Jnana and Raja Yogas. Krishna says in BG: 18.66:  Abandoning all duties, surrender unto Me only. I shall deliver you from all sins. Do not lament.  By devotion, one will be born in Pure Land and acquire enlightenment for Nirvana. It was so popular that common man and people at the fringes of Japanese society embraced it. The Pure Land Buddhist School of Mahayana was established by Honen Shonin (1133-1212 CE) as a separate sect, known as Jodo Shu. Pure Land is the fork in the road; the Bodhisattvas can attain enlightenment and Nirvana and become a Buddha. Or the devotees attain enlightenment and instead of attaining Nirvana and Buddhahood, they return to earth to serve other deluded beings in the six realms in their capacity of Bodhisattvas.  Amitabha Buddha guarantees a transit to and life in the Pure Land to any one who can recite His name at least 10 times. That gave the peasants a sense of ease, comfort, confidence, and spiritual vigor to embrace the Pure Land Buddhism.

The Pure Land offers a simple solution for the common man. It is the way station from where a man can attain Nirvana and become a Buddha or go back to earth as Bodhisattva to help people.  In Hindu religion (Vaishnavism), by and large the main aim is to remove all shackles of Karma, surrender to Krishna and buy a one way ticket to Paramapadam or Vaikuntam.  Yet by consent, command, and compliance from the Supreme, some people are reborn to serve and uplift the public. They are the Alvars, (the Nayanars, Ramana Maharishi, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa) and scores of lesser known saints and seers.

Hindus believe that Vishnu-Narayana incarnated on this earth as The Buddha, the last incarnation, one of the Dasa (ten) Avatars. Buddhist tradition says there are many Buddhas in the past, in the present and in the future. A Buddha is Arahant who is awakened or enlightened. 

From Wikipedia:

At the culmination of the path is the Arahant, described as "one of developed self" (bhāvit-atto), who has carried the process of personal development and self-reliance to its perfection.[32] Such a person has developed all the good aspects of their personality.[35] An arahant is described as "one with a mind like a diamond", it can "cut" anything and is itself uncuttable; nothing can affect it.[36] The suttas (Sanskrit Sutras = Aphorisms) portray "one of developed self" in the following ways:

The World Buddhist Sangha Council in 1967 approved the formula for bringing different Buddhist traditions all over the world under one umbrella. The following is the text of promulgation. 

Samgha, sanga, or Sangha (சங்கம் = Meeting, society, assembly, company) is a community of Buddhist monks, nuns, and lay people, started between 4th and 2nd Centuries B.C. The vows taken are 1) I take refuge in the Buddha, 2) I take refuge in the Samgha, 3) I take refuge in the Dharma. These three jewels adorn every good Buddhist and every decent human being irrespective of affiliation; these vows appeal to the spiritual heart of humanity. The First Council met at Rajagriha soon after the death of the Buddha. The 2nd one met 100 years later.

Text of the Original Document--Wikipedia

  1. The Buddha is our only Master (teacher and guide)
  2. We take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha (the Three Jewels)
  3. We do not believe that this world is created and ruled by a God
  4. We consider that the purpose of life is to develop compassion for all living beings without discrimination and to work for their good, happiness, and peace; and to develop wisdom leading to the realization of Ultimate Truth
  5. We accept the Four Noble Truths, namely duhkha (துக்கம்= sorrow), the arising of duhkha, the cessation of duhkha, and the path leading to the cessation of duhkha; and the law of cause and effect (Pratītyasamutpāda)
  6. All conditioned things (samskāra) are impermanent (anitya) and duhkha, and that all conditioned and unconditioned things (dharma) are without self (anātma).
  7. We accept the thirty-seven qualities conducive to enlightenment (bodhipaksadharma) as different aspects of the Path taught by the Buddha leading to Enlightenment.
  8. There are three ways of attaining bodhi or Enlightenment: namely as a disciple (śrāvaka), as a pratyekabuddha and as a samyaksambuddha (perfectly and fully enlightened Buddha). We accept it as the highest, noblest, and most heroic to follow the career of a Bodhisattva and to become a samyaksambuddha in order to save others.
  9. We admit that in different countries there are differences regarding Buddhist beliefs and practices. These external forms and expressions should not be confused with the essential teachings of the Buddha.

1) Hindus agree that the Buddha is one among many Masters.

2) The three jewels are part and parcel Hindu belief system.

3) Hindus believe that God created and rules the universe.

4) Hindus are in total agreement with Buddhist compassion, wisdom and ultimate Truth (which is Realization of Universal Soul).

5) The concept of Duhka (unhappiness, misery, sorrow) are the result of karma in Hindu tradition.

6) Anatma concept in Buddhism and Hinduism carry two radically different meanings. The term 'anatma' has taken a new meaning in Buddhism. The word is derived from Sanskrit and existed before the Buddha was born. According to Hinduism's Brahma Sutra, anatma is explained as follows. The world is non-self substance (anatma-vastu) and finds its source and purpose in the Self (Brahman = God) of which it is an object. Disconnected from the Self, the world does not exist. Panchadasi says that Brahman sees his image in the mirror (Pratibimba); that image is the world and beings. Brahman is self-existent; the world of objects exists for Brahman, Isvara and the individual soul. The hypostasis of all that exist, seen, unseen, and  unknown, is Brahman, who is eternal Self.

In Buddhism, there is no Eternal Self, though it does not discard the idea of an empirical self which is a stream of ever changing physical and mental phenomena. The eternal Self in other religions is the root from which everything and every being sprout (Think of upside Asvatta tree in Hinduism.). Anatta in Pali (Sanskrit Anatman) forms an inseparable triad with Dukkha (misery) and Anicca (Anitya in Sanskrit or Impermanence); the triplets are called aggregates (Skanda). Form, sensation, perception, consciousness... are not self (Not-self = Anatta). Shape (or form), feeling (or sensation), perception, tendencies, consciousness form the pentad ( five aggregates) which is what an unenlightened man is made of or associates himself with. When he abrogates the pentad, he is liberated according to Buddhism.

Nine Attributes of The Buddha

Some Buddhists meditate on (or contemplate) the Buddha as having nine attributes: These are recited in monasteries.

  1. arhat: a worthy one
  2. samyak-sambuddha: perfectly self-enlightened
  3. vidyā-carana-sampanna : perfected in knowledge and conduct
  4. sugata: well gone
  5. anuttara-loka-vid: unsurpassed knower of the world
  6. anuttara-purusa-damya-sārathi: unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed 
  7. śāstr deva-manusyānam: teacher of the gods and humans
  8. buddha: the Enlightened One (Skt: buddha)
  9. bhagavat: the Blessed One or fortunate one (Bhagavat is god, happy, fortunate, blessed, adorable, venerable, divine in Hinduism.)

The Buddha has totally removed Himself from desire, aversion and ignorance and becomes pure in mind. Samsara does not have vice-like grip on him. A Buddha is fully enlightened and awakened, realized the ultimate truth and the monistic nature of life, and brought to an end the suffering in him which unenlightened people experience.



Bodhisattva, The Prince, the pauper, the hermit, the ascetic, the Buddha (The last incarnation of Vishnu)

The Four Meetings: Here are some of the highlights of his life (The Buddha) on earth. Right from the time he was born he was a bodhisattva, the enlightened one, because he was bodhisattva before his birth having accumulated good merits from previous lives. He chose his parents from Heaven. Siddhartha Gautama [Buddha] (B 563 or 566--486 B.C.) married at age16 and led a protected life of luxury, leisure, and learning in the palace. He learnt all 64 arts. He managed to leave the palace on four occasions and saw on consecutive outings an old man, a sick man, a dead man and a recluse. These are the four Meetings of the future Buddha. The first three are inescapable and the last one is the release from the first three.

 The Great Departure: This worldly life of misery worried him so much that he left his son and family and all the comforts and comportments of  palace life in the middle of the night with a horse and his personal attendant at the age of 29.  In trying to find himself and rescue others from suffering, he moved with hermits and ascetics doing penance and tried to obtain the superhuman powers of Yogis. He became an adept in Yoga and other religious practices. He was called a Shakya Muni, the Silent One. Enlightenment was not on hand, though in his belief, he practiced self mortification. He gave up all the physical and mental hardships and the life of a forest recluse and started eating like normal people.   Putting aside all temptations (from KAma-MAra, the evil incarnate of desire and death), he sat under a Bo-tree (Ficus religiosa). At dawn next day (531 B.C.), he woke up with perfect knowledge and became The Buddha. He cultivated five disciples, the Happy Group. Memories of past life came pouring into his consciousness during his meditation. He realized that suffering accompanies rebirth. Antithetical demon of death Mara, opposed to bodhisattva, tried to ruin his path of realization because He feared the power of bodhisattva to end suffering and obtain salvation, will result in loss of his control over the world, and inability to inflict suffering on people. On the runways, he paraded and strutted his three daughters, Thirst, Displeasure, and Voluptuousness before him but bodhisattva did not fall a victim to Mara and his sinuous sirens. The Bodhisattva said that pleasure is brief like a lightening. The threesome left him with a prayer and a wish that he attain what he desired, and deliver himself and others.

The Great Awakening: The end of Mara's malign mischief was the beginning of awakening of Buddha under the Bo-tree and realization of Four Noble Truths: 1) Dukkha: There is Suffering in this world; 2) Samudaya Trishna: Desire: Suffering has a cause; 3) Nirodha: Suffering can be ended or crushed; 4) Magga (Marga) the narrow path-- Eight-fold path to end Suffering: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration He moved to the opposite side of the Bo-tree and remained there for five weeks. He left the shade of the tree and went to the side of a lake, where he was besieged by a torrential rain for seven days. The cobra of the lake spread it hood to cover him from the drenching rain. Soon two wayfaring merchants showed up and offered food to him. He received the food gladly in a begging bowl, the Sine qua non of a Buddhist monk.

Another version of Four Noble Truths: Buddha postulated His Four Noble Truths: The Truth about Suffering, Cause, Cessation, enlightenment.1) Suffering: Dukkha. Birth, living and death are suffering. Absence of pleasure is suffering; contact with misery is suffering. 2) Cause: The cause of suffering is Tanha or Trishna, craving for what you do not have or want more of. Even craving for Nirvana (Nibbana) leads to suffering. 3) Cessation: There is a way out of suffering. It is the opposite of Dukkha. 4) Enlightenment: Suffering can be extinguished by eightfold path: 1) Right belief (view or understanding.) Absence of dogma and wrong beliefs. 2) Right intention, free from ill-will, cruelty, greed and lust. 3) Right speech free from deception, falsehood, harshness. Speech free from lies, malice and abuse 4) Right action (conduct): There are Dos and Don'ts: Dos: good deeds, acts of love, kindness, mercy, compassion, sympathy, and generosity. Don'ts: killing, himsa (injury), theft, and sexual profligacy. 'Abstinence from conscious destruction of any sentient from human to the smallest animalcule.' 5) Right living:  not making a living by killing, astrology, fortune-telling. 6) Right effort 7) Right mindedness 8) Right concentration or meditation. The first two covers wisdom; the 3rd, 4th and 5th cover morality; and the 6th, 7th, and the 8th cover attitude. Following this eightfold path destroys suffering and leads to Nirvana (Nibbana).


Refuge in the Three Jewels

Footprint of the Buddha with Dharmachakra and triratna, 1st century CE, Gandhāra.

Footprint of the Buddha with Dharmachakra and triratna, 1st century CE, Gandhāra.



The Three Jewels: Triratna or Ratna-Traya in Sanskrit. Tiratana in Pali.  1) The Buddha, 2) The Dharma, 3) The Sangha. Tibetan Buddhism adds another 4th jewel,  4) Lama = Tibetan Buddhist Teacher.  Tri = three; English Three is cognate with Sanskrit Tri.

The Budddha: The one who attained enlightenment like Buddha.

The Dharma: It encompasses the teachings of the Buddha; the thought, the word and the deed of a person and their consequences; the  irrevocable, the ultimate and the absolute Reality and the Wisdom of the Buddha.

The Sangha: Assembly, Congregation. It usually means firstly the congregation of priests and nuns, secondly the people who entered the stream of enlightenment and thirdly the dedicated and monistic associate staff involved in the care of priests and nuns.

The Buddha presents himself as the First prototypical model of highest Buddhist Dharma and sought Sraddha (faith) in his followers so that they can remove pain, suffering and misery of existence (Samsara). Dharma is the Buddhist Bible and Sangha is the refuge (priests and nuns) which is the living proof that man can realize Buddha's Truth and Dharma and attain enlightenment.

Mahayana regards the Buddha as the the Highest Human beyond the domain of mind and reach of thought. The Sutras say that the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are One, known as the Eternal Buddha. The resolution and expunging of Karma are worldly event and not of the other world. Following the Eight-Fold Path or hearing  or reciting of the Sacred Lore of Buddhism can bring annihilation of Karma and dawn of enlightenment.

Sila, Samadhi and Panna: Morality; Mastery of one's mind, Concentration; Wisdom (Panna = Prajna in Sanskrit). These three form the subdivisions of eightfold path

Sanskrit Prajna morphed into Panna in Pali. See how words morph in their pronunciation going from one language to the next. Panna is easy on the tongue while Prajna is a little bit of a tongue-twister.  Take Eka-Dasa-mukha-sahasra-bhuja-Avalokite-svara, the real tongue twister. Sanskrit words are tied together with or without knots and can be a mile long!

Our speech originates in the larynx and is modulated by palate, tongue, teeth and lips. Here is a depiction of the dominant anatomical element in the rhymes.

Tongue twisters

A case of petulant pulsatile lips (also known as a case of smacking lips). Can you read my lips:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

A case of tongue-lash and bucktooth. Are you shell shocked?

She sells sea shells on the sea shore;

The shells that she sells are sea shells I'm sure.

So if she sells sea shells on the sea shore,

I'm sure that the shells are sea shore shells.


A case of explosive breath, curling tongue, & Pout-lips

Time to rest your tongue.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck

If a woodchuck could chuck wood?

He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,

And chuck as much as a woodchuck would

If a woodchuck could chuck wood.


Tongue Curlers, lip smackers

Teddy bear, Teddy bear,

Touch the ground    

Teddy bear, Teddy bear,

Turn around

Teddy bear, Teddy bear,

Show your shoe

Teddy bear, Teddy bear,

That will do.

Teddy bear, Teddy bear,

Say your prayers.

Teddy bear, Teddy bear,

Blow out the light.

Teddy bear, Teddy bear,

Say good night.

A case of Tongue-in-Cheek, Tongue curler, Pout-lips and petulant Pulsatile lips.

My dame has lost her shoe;
My master's lost his fiddling stick,
And don't know what to do.
What is my dame to do?
Till master finds his fiddling stick,
She'll dance without her shoe.
My dame has found her shoe,
And master's found his fiddling stick,
Sing doodle-doodle-doo!
My dame will dance with you,
While master fiddles his fiddling stick
For dame and doodle-doo.




Sila (சீலம் in Tamil) is Morality. Three parts: One has to cease and desist from unwholesome thoughts, words, speech and deed.

1. Right Speech: truthful, rightful, hurtless, and not given to exaggeration or distortion. (1)

2. Right actions: Avoiding conscious actions that bring harm ( to the living from human to animalcule). (2)

3. Right livelihood: a livelihood that does not harm self or others, directly or indirectly. (3)

Samadhi: (சமாதி in Tamil) Concentration.  three Parts.

1. Right Effort, to improve (4)

2. Right Mind, ability to see things as they are with clear consciousness.(5)

3. Right Concentration, becoming aware of one reality within oneself without any likes or dislikes. (6)

Prajna (Panna in Pali) Wisdom  two parts

1. Right understanding. understanding Reality as it is  and not as it appears. (7)

2. Right Thoughts, directing thoughts to new paradigm of virtue. (8)

From Wikipedia

Sīla refers to overall (principles of) ethical behavior. There are several levels of sila, which correspond to 'basic morality' (five precepts), 'basic morality with asceticism' (eight precepts), 'novice monkhood' (ten Precepts) and 'monkhood' (Vinaya or patimokkha). Lay people generally undertake to live by the five precepts which are common to all Buddhist schools. If they wish, they can choose to undertake the eight precepts, which have some additional precepts of basic asceticism.

The Five Precepts are not given in the form of commands such as "thou shalt not ...", but are training rules in order to live a better life in which one is happy, without worries, and can meditate well.

1. To refrain from taking life. (i.e. non-violence towards sentient life forms)
2. To refrain from taking that which is not given (i.e. not committing theft)
3. To refrain from sensual misconduct (abstinence from immoral sexual behavior)
4. To refrain from lying. (i.e. speaking truth always)
5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness (refrain from using drugs or alcohol)

In the eight precepts, the third precept on sexual misconduct is made more strict, and becomes a precept of Celibacy.

The three additional rules of the eight precepts are:

6. To refrain from eating at the wrong time (only eat from sunrise to noon)
7. To refrain from dancing, using jewelry, going to shows, etc.
8. To refrain from using a high, luxurious bed.

Vinaya is the specific moral code for monks. It includes the patimokkha, a set of 227 rules in the Theravadin recension. The precise content of the vinayapitaka (scriptures on Vinaya) differ slightly according to different schools, and different schools or subschools set different standards for the degree of adherence to Vinaya. Novice-monks use the ten precepts, which are the basic precepts for monastics.

In Eastern Buddhism, there is also a distinctive Vinaya and ethics contained within the Mahayana Brahmajala Sutra (not to be confused with the Pali text of that name) for Bodhisattvas, where, for example, the eating of meat is frowned upon and  Vegetarianism is actively encouraged.

Vegetarianism In Buddhism: Contradictory and confusing information

Theravadas and Vajrayanas: eating meat is not considered wrong. Mahayanas prefer vegetarian food. It is said that the Buddha himself ate certain meat as a therapeutic tool. After becoming Buddha, he ate whatever food that was offered, including meat. Buddha pronounced that meat can be eaten when the killing of the animal was not seen, heard or suspected by the eater for the express purpose of the eater. Buddha forbids engaging in five businesses: Weapons, Human being (slave trade), meat, intoxicants, and poison. Elephants, horses, dogs, snakes, lions, tigers, leopards, bears, and hyenas who according to Buddha can eat their own kind. Buddha refused to institute total vegetarianism in Monasteries. Meat-eating does not generate Karma and thus is karma-neutral, according to the Buddha.

A long passage in the Lankavatara Sutra shows the Buddha speaking out very forcefully against meat consumption and unequivocally in favor of vegetarianism, since the eating of the flesh of fellow sentient beings is said by him to be incompatible with the compassion that a Bodhisattva should strive to cultivate. He allowed consumption of eggs. In several other Mahayana scriptures, too (e.g., the Mahayana jatakas), the Buddha is seen clearly to indicate that meat-eating is undesirable and karmically unwholesome.--Wikipedia.

According to Mahaparinibbana Sutta Sanskrit version, the Buddha was stated to have said to his disciples not to partake any meat.

It is said Jainas, opposed to Buddhism, told that the Buddhists would eat anything dropped in to their bowls and drink dark wine. Mahayana Tantric Buddhists in Tibet ate meat.

Buddhism that spread from China and Korea may not have prohibited meat consumption but encouraged eating fish. Theravada in Myanmar, meat from goat, pigs and poultry are consumed, though strict adherents refrain from killing even insects. Sri Lankan Buddhists enjoy eating meats, beef and fish.

Today's Buddhists and vegetarianism

Theravada Monks of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia accept whatever is offered including meat, unless they suspect the animal was killed for them. No meat should be eaten without ascertaining its provenance; unseen, unheard and unsuspected meat became the three pure kinds of flesh in Buddhist tradition according to D.N. Jha.

Chinese and Vietnamese monks do not eat meat. Japanese and Korean Monks under training do not eat meat but do so once they leave. Dalai Lama is a vegetarian, though Tibetans do eat meat because of scarcity of vegetables and grains. Followers of Mahayana Buddhism eat meat though prohibited. The Pure Land followers do not practice vegetarianism. Tantric Buddhists (Shingon) do not practice vegetarianism, as the tantric rituals involve eating meat. In Buddhism, the question of choice between meat eating and vegetarianism has not been settled.

Here is an excerpt from a web site--Source: www.nirvanasutra.org.uk

Mahaparinirvana Sutra on Vegetarianism

In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (Chapter Seven) the Buddha gives his final instructions on the matter of vegetarianism, insisting that his followers should not eat meat or fish and that even vegetarian food that has been touched by meat should be washed before being eaten. If a meal is offered to a Buddhist monk or nun which contains a lot of meat, then it is not permissible for the monk or nun just to pick out the non-meat portions and leave the rest: the whole meal must be rejected - so strictly does the Buddha wish his injunction against meat-eating to be upheld. Some Buddhists claim that eating meat is acceptable according to the Buddha, and that even the Buddha himself ate meat. But this claim is gainsaid (denied) by the Buddha in this final of his Mahayana sutras. If one wishes to cultivate Great Loving-Kindness and not frighten sensitive sentient beings by the stench of death which meat-consumption causes to linger about one’s person, one should refrain from eating all and every kind of meat. This is the Buddha’s final Mahayana pronouncement on the matter.

The Buddha Says. 'I did not say that meat and fish are wholesome foodstuffs, but I have said that sugar-cane, winter-rice, ordinary rice, wheat, barley, green lentils, black lentils, molasses, sugar, honey, ghee, milk and sesame oil are wholesome foodstuffs.' end of excerpt.

The Great encounter with Brahma: Bodhisattva realized that the Truths were beyond the comprehension of common man and so hesitated to promulgate such Truths. Brahma appeared before him and said that people were like lotuses. some are mired in mud in the bottom; some are in the middle in the water; some have blossomed out on the open water; some are just below the surface ready to blossom out. It is the last who could benefit the most from his teachings. 

The Great Coming of Buddha, Tatha-gata: :  He collected his five disciples and proceeded to the deer park in Varnasi (Benares). He was going to tell others of his new-found Truths.  Before that, he gathered his five disciples and told them that he was tatha-agata. There is no personal ego in the term; there is no I, me, and mine. It has many a variant and yet a universal meaning in the context of transcending all domains of being and non-being. Tatha-agata: Tatha/tat = That. Agata =  past tense of gata, meaning going, leaving, traveling. Agata also means arrival, attainment. Tat or That in Hindu religion refers to the immutable Brahman, That beyond all characterization. Since Buddhism does not believe in Brahman, it means  "(He who has) arrived at the Absolute or enlightenment. In Hinduism context, tatha-agata would mean, "become-Brahman." Tatha-gata has reached the pinnacle of perfection and wisdom. In Christian terms, tatha-gata is analogous to "Son of Man" as Jesus referred to himself in his transfiguration on the mountain. Tatha-agata is the One whose mind involuted on itself and arrived at the Supreme Truth and Enlightenment. His footsteps are invisible as he comes to THAT (tatha-agata) in a manner the footprint of birds flying in the sky or the fish swimming in the water is not seen. He is  trackless (apada) without footprints as He arrives at the enlightenment. Tatha-gata is the One who comes and goes--the Bodhisattva comes from heaven (tusita) down to earth to erase the miseries of sentient beings and goes to heaven and comes back again and again.

Once Buddha went to heaven and met one of his mothers, Matru, from his previous births as bodhisattva. On request from her, he expounded Abhidharma (Buddhist philosophy). Indra arranged two gold and one silver ladder for Buddha to descend to earth.

Darmacakra-pravartana: propulsion of the Wheel of Dharma. The west translates Dharma as Law; Law explains only one aspect of it. Dharma is a multi-faceted diamond and thus has many sides, contours and sheen. In Buddhism context, the closest meaning is "Ethical Precepts" as taught by The Buddha.

The five became the core and the nucleus of Samgha (சங்கம்  -- fraternity of monks). Shortly thereafter, the Buddha and the disciples separate to preach the doctrine. The Buddha goes to his family and converts them to his philosophy. After some hesitation he takes his aunt as his disciple and other women follow as nuns of the order. He is purported to have made a statement that a religion of men will go on for 1000 years and the one which accepts women will last for 500 years. Admission of women into priesthood goes like this. He refused to accept the royal women of his family to become nuns. They devised a clever and convincing move to impress Buddha how dedicated they were to his cause. They shaved their heads, wore rags for clothes, and walked a long distance barefoot to Buddha. The queen mother begged Buddha to accept all of them in the order of nuns. He still refused. Ananda reminded Buddha that he once promised to admit women in the sisterhood. Buddha had doubts and stated that the sisterhood and brotherhood would be beset by scandals if women were admitted. Eventually the women were admitted into sisterhood. Swami Vivekananda states that what Buddha did not like (Congress between nuns and priests), was one of the reasons that precipitated the fall of Buddhism in India.

Maha-Parinirvana: Great Total Extinction or Final Release. The legend goes like this. The Buddha asks his disciple Ananda that He would accept to live to the end of cosmic age if the disciple asks him so. Ananda stays silent and thus the Buddha decides that his end is imminent. Afflicted with terminal illness, he lies down on his side with face to the west, head to the north, and his right ankle over his left ankle. He attains the Great Liberation or Nivana at a ripe old age of 80. The legend goes like this. A blacksmith fed him poisoned pork. Afraid that the blacksmith would be blamed for his death, he told Ananda that Chunda's (blacksmith) offering brought him Nirvana and that he would receive rewards for his offering.  This is the expression of Ultima Thule of  Nobility, Grace, Buddhahood, Charity, Magnanimity and Positive Thinking.

He was enveloped by a feeling of pity and love for the humanity. Many became his disciples including his father and family. His teaching lasted until 483 (486) B.C. when he attained Nirvana at eighty years of age in Kusinagara in India.  The west is of the opinion that Buddhism was a protest movement against the religiosocial monopoly of priestly Brahmanas of his period. It certainly did not start as anti-brahmanical movement. If it is anti-anybody, that is not in the nature of the Buddha. Buddha was born a Hindu, lived a Hindu and died a Hindu. That is certain. The west is of the opinion that  Buddha did not believe in Parabrahman, who is the source and repository of souls and matter.  They further interpret Buddha as follows: there is no immutability of anything in the universe or earth. Everything is in a state of flux; stability and immutability (of Parabrahman and beings) are unrealistic and non-existent; everything is an aggregate of disparate things susceptible to dissociation. This is an exact opposite of Hindu view that Parabrahman and the individual soul are immutable. The individual souls, matter and the rest are vibrations or pulsations proceeding from the heart of Siva, according to Kashmir Saivism. There is a cohesiveness in unity and diversity and not a dissociation.  Dissociation is an illusion because beings do not realize the unity (Parabrahman) in diversity. The west says that Anatman is the centerpiece of Buddhism.  Hinduism is such an all-inclusive religion (Sanatana Dharma) that it considers Buddha as the incarnation of Vishnu. A true Hindu is so broad-minded that he accepts Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammad as the Great Seers or Rishis in the same genre in his own religion.

Pratityasamutpada: The Paradigm of Cause and Effect; Dependent origination, conditioned genesis.

Life is a continuous stream of being and becoming and there is no permanence in the empirical self. One thing is dependent on another. All things, beings, and phenomena have cause and effect. When they mesh together, they look like a net (Indra's net). At a particular moment in time, an entity is dependent on one or more entities entirely unrelated to it. Likewise other entities are dependent on the first entity in question. There is moment to moment dynamism in this web. The reality exists for that moment until the next reality of interconnectedness comes along. The arising of this comes from arising of that. The cessation of this comes from the cessation of that.  Each one 'lives' from moment to moment, and thus there is impermanence (Anitya or Annica). Since there is no permanence and independent identity, how could there be a permanent soul? Thus impermanence and lack of independent identity negate the existence of soul (Anatta = Anatama = not-self). That leads to conclusion that everything is insubstantial and Void (Sunya). There is no soul in the body and thus the body is prone to sickness. Consciousness is soulless because consciousness is subject to sickness.



Avidya the root cause of Samskara

Ignorance as the root cause of mental impressions

Samskara conditions rise of Vijnana

Mental impressions conditions rise of Consciousness

Vijnana conditions rise of Namarupa

Consciousness conditions rise of name and Form.

Namarupa conditions exertion of the six senses

Name and Form condition exertion of the six senses

Sadayatana conditions Sparsa

Exertion of the senses conditions contact (with sense objects).

Sparsa conditions rise of Vedana.

Contact conditions rise of Feeling

With Vedanā as condition, Tṛṣṇā arises

Vedana conditions Trishna

With Feeling as condition, Craving arises

Feeling conditions Craving

Trishna conditions UpAdAna

Craving conditions Clinging to existence

UpAdAna conditions Bhava

Clinging conditions Becoming.

Bhava conditions JAti

Becoming conditions Birth

JAti conditions JarAmaraNa

Birth conditions Old Age and Death

The above table very closely aligns with Hindu philosophy and thought.

Karma: The concept of Karma in Buddhism was borrowed from Hinduism with a component, Intention, which is emphasized in Buddhism. In Hinduism, Karma is thought, word and deed. Intention as stated in Buddhism is covered by thought.  Intention is given more weight in Buddhism, is as important as the deed and engenders karma, a bag of merits and demerits. Positive Karma as against Null Karma ensures rebirth as a deity, man, animal, ghost, or denizens of Hell.

Three Marks of Existence: Dukkha, Anicca, and Anatta = Suffering, Impermanence and Negation of self.

Dukkha: Ðì¸õ: Duhka in Sanskrit. Suffering. Everything in this world is afflicted with Dukkha. Nothing guarantees satisfaction. Whatever is impermanent is subject to change; whatever is subject to change is subject to suffering. --The Buddha. Nirvana is the refuge from suffering. Nirvana is antithetical to all that undergo change which gives suffering.

Anicca: «¿¢ò¾¢Âõ   (Anitya in Sanskrit. Impermanence.)  Tibetan language. mujō in Japanese. It is an essential element in Buddhism; actually it is one of three marks of Buddhism. Impermanence envelopes all without exception.  Human body is just like anything in the universe of flux: stars, gods, planets..., all prone to change. All compounds appearing as stable and permanent are illusions. That flux pervades birth, old age, death and rebirth. Attachment to impermanent things causes suffering and therefore are futile. Nirvana is a reality that has permanence and knows no change, birth, decay, or death.

Anatta: Anatman  in Sanskrit.  Anatta is negation of self in Buddhism. It is not-self.  All phenomena without exception have no Soul.  There is no Universal Soul or individual soul.  Anatta is Dukkha and Anicca (suffering and impermanence).  Man is made of five Skandhas or aggregates: Form, Sensation, Perception, Mental formation and Consciousness.


1)       Form = Rupa = ரூபம்.  2) Sensation = Vedan = வேதனை. 3) Perception = Samjana = (ஸம்ஜ்ஞனம்)

        Sanna in Pali: .  4) Mental formations = SamskAra (சம்ஸ்காரம்). 5) Consciousness = VijnAna =

       (விஞ்ஞானம்) Vinna in Pali.  

All these Aggregates are anicca, dukkha and anatta (impermanence, suffering, and non-self).

Buddha points that  Amata (Amirta = immortality or eternity) can be achieved by Sati and

Samadhi (Wisdom and meditation). Ignorance (Avijja in Pali = Sanskrit Avidya = ignorance) is

thinking that forms, feelings, and body are self.  Ignorance is to think that this is my soul, this

is mine and this is what I am.  Aggregates are not soul.

If there is no self, how is it possible to have rebirth?  If there is no self, there is no essence

(subtle body) after death so that the essence can come back in a body in the next birth. 

Buddhist’s premise is that after the body and mind disintegrate upon death, the trace of

karma makes the consciousness appear in an awaiting being.

Rather than directing his listeners to discover Atman, the Buddha taught that all clinging

to concepts and ideas of a self is faulty and based on ignorance. The five aggregates of form,

feelings, perceptions, mental fabrications and consciousness are misleading, since they make

an individual to cling to or reject the aggregates. Meditation is the key to disengagement from

the aggregates and receiving wisdom, the last being the abiding entity.  

Atman is Self, which is the Universal Self, the Brahman, who is eternal, immutable and unknowable according to Hinduism. He is the Universal Soul (Atman); all beings are individual souls (Jivatman) derived from the universal Soul. Universe, beings, matter and all related phenomena proceed from Brahman and go back to Brahman upon dissolution. This is the centerpiece of Hinduism; all else are strung like flowers on Brahman. No Brahman--no universe or beings. If anyone can topple Brahman, all else just fall. So far it is the Hindu view of Brahman or Atman. The Buddha, born a Hindu and a Kshatriya, rejects anything remotely connected with Atman. Where there is eternity and permanence according to Hindus, the Buddha dismisses (Brahman) as impermanent and changeable. He advances the notion that there is an eternal, essential, immutable blissful Buddha-essence in all sentient beings. He calls it Buddha-Dhatu, Buddha principle. How is it different from Brahman who is full of Bliss?  Hindus cannot reconcile to the supposition that Brahman (Atman) with same qualities of Buddha-Dhatu is dismissed as irrelevant and non-existent, while Buddha-Dhatu with the same qualities exists in every sentient being. Buddha-Dhatu is uncreated and deathless. Brahman is uncreated and deathless.  Most knowledgeable Hindus would agree that Brahman and Buddha-Dhatu are one and the same; it is all a question of semantics. We welcome Buddha-Dhatu as Brahman; no one sees any problem with Buddhism and accept Buddhism and its tenets. But we do have some questions. Since Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu, what He says goes with Hindus. Hindus are known to question gods and their acts. Hindu history is chock full of such examples.

Radhakrishnan says the following about Buddhism: The Buddha takes up some of the thoughts of the Upanishads and gives to them a new orientation. The Buddha is not so munch formulating a new scheme of metaphysics  and morals as rediscovering  an old norm  and adapting it to the new conditions of thought and life.

The constituents are devoid of Self according Buddhism. That means the water, the air, the earth, the heat that make the body are all devoid of Self. Saivites claim that Siva exists in all elements. Hindus are of the view that the Self exists in all, animate, inanimate, and in atoms. There is nothing He does not exist in. Saivites say that Siva-Nataraja dances in the atom as much as he dances with the stars and planets. As long as he dances, the universe and the atoms dance. Once the dance stops, everything stops. The west maintains a position commensurate with Buddhist view that objects or compound things (and animals) do not have Self or soul in them. It is the Soulless objects we eat that sustain our life. If it is not for those objects life extinguishes. It is so heartless to say that God created animals and objects for man's use (and abuse). So how important are the objects we eat?  They say when there is life in man, there is a resident Soul. When there is no life, the resident Soul (Atman) leaves. What gives sustenance to life and soul? The objects. So objects also must have Soul. Your soul won't exist in you,  if you do not eat those so-called soulless objects. Ramanamaharishi says that Brahman exists in all. Vaishnavites say that the body of Vishnu is this material universe and the soul proceeds from Jiva Sakti of Vishnu.  By claiming absence of soul in man, animal and matter, man is exploiting man, animal, this earth, the air, and the water ...and running them into ruin.

ANATMAN –NON-SELF: Buddhism: This group of five aggregates represent the material body and mental energies.

The material Body:  Rupa or Form

Sensation: Vedana: Sensations

Perception: Samjna

Predispositions:  Samskara

Consciousness: Vijnana

Four elements Plus: Earth, water, fire and wind and all their derivatives.

Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind

Notions of color, sounds, odor, tastes, tangible things, mental images

Predisposition concerning colors, sounds, odors, tastes, tangible things and objects of thought

Knowledge gained from eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind

Above, you see the group of five aggregates of Buddhism. Below you see the Hinduism’s classification of the above. What is not mentioned in Buddhism:  Motor organs are larynx, hands, feet, anus and genitals and their functions are speech, grasp, locomotion, evacuation and reproduction. But Body represents the motor organs.

Gross elements

Organs of perception or sensation

Functions of sense organs



Hinduism: The above has parallels in Hinduism from which all elements of Buddhism were borrowed. Body is made of five elements:  In the first group Ether is missing. 

The five aggregates are in a state of constant flux and change in relation to one another. They are impermanent and by accepting their impermanence, desire and self-interest are destroyed. The five aggregates disintegrate and disperse upon death of the body but the karmic book is open and active and ensures rebirth of a new being depending upon merits and demerits. Buddha explains: Births and rebirths are like flowing river. The water of yesterday is not the water of today and not of tomorrow. What connects the river of the past, present and future is the water; in like manner, the life stream is the connecting link in the chain of rebirths. Tathagarbha Sutras (Buddha-Embryo Sutras) claim that there is an Atman identified as Buddha in His Nirvana state. It is also called Buddha-Dhatu -Buddha principle, present in all sentient beings (including animals) and shines radiantly. It is uncreated, immutable and immortal essence of all beings.

According to Vaishnavas, Souls, body and matter are the body of Brahman-Vishnu. In Buddhism, it appears that matter is taken out of the equation. There seems to be an ambiguous feeling about Atman. Yet words and phrases like Buddha-Dhatu, Buddha Embryo and Buddha in Nirvana reveal acceptance of  the concept of Atman in its own special form. Buddhist sacred texts tell that there is no Brahman and yet there is Buddha-Dhatu and Buddha in Nirvana, who resides in every being. Buddha-Dhatu has almost all the qualities of Saguna Brahman of Hindus.  Here is a list of attributes of Ultimate Buddhic Reality. According to Saiva Siddhanta, Siva is consciousness in beings and Sakti is matter in beings and the universe. Kashmir Saivism says that Siva is pulsating in beings and matter. Siva dances in the atom and the universe.

Ultimate Buddhic Reality

the pervasive Lord the Supreme Guardian of the world Buddha-Self the beginningless Self the Self of Thusness the Self of primordial purity the Source of all
the Single Self the Diamond Self the Solid Self the Holy, Immovable Self


the Supreme Self the Supreme Self of all creatures.  

Nirvana: Nirvana for practical purposes runs parallel with obtaining Moksa, escape from rebirth. Practice of 8-fold path dissolves suffering, destroys desire and karmic consequences, and leads to Nirvana, Extinction. It is like the extinction of flame when all fuel is depleted meaning that all karmic load is exhausted. There are two types of Nirvana: Nirvana with remainder and Nirvana without remainder. Simply put it is Nirvana Now or Later; but there is more. Nirvana-Now and Nirvana-Later have some similarities with Jivan Mukti and Videha Mukti of  Hinduism. To make it simpler, Nirvana-Now Arhat experiences Nirvana bliss now on earth. Nirvana-Later Arhat obtains Nirvana bliss after his death.  Buddha obtained Nirvana-Now (while living) when He attained awakening, many many years before He died. The five aggregates were still alive and kicking, but desire was extinguished and there was no accumulation of Karma (from desire). Nirvana-Later is cessation of all existence with no possibility of returning back to earth; Buddha obtained this kind of Nirvana upon His death--MahaPariNirvana (the Great Perfect Nirvana).

In Jivan Mukti (Corporeal Liberation) of Hinduism, the person is a spiritually perfected being with Null Karma so much so that the person is liberated while alive. This is the belief in Saivism. In Videha Mukti (incorporeal Liberation/ Liberation after physical death), the spiritually perfected person with Null Karma, though fit for liberation, does not attain liberation while alive but attains soon after death. This is the belief in Srivaishnavism.

Theravada and Mahayana:

Points of confluence:

Both disciplines accept all major tenets: Buddha is the Teacher; the Four Noble Truths; the 8-fold path; Dependent Origination; Rejection of the concept of Supreme Being as the creator and maintainer of the world; Three Marks of Existence: Dukkha, Anicca, and Anatta = Suffering, Impermanence and Negation of self; Sila. SAmadhi and Panna.

Points of difference:

Theravada seeks to become Arhant. The Buddha was an arhant.

Mahayana seeks to become Bodhisattva.

Theravada: The doctrine of Elders. Thera = an elder; Vada = doctrine. The doctrine of elders. Theravada is a Pali Canon written in the 1st century B.C., some 400 years after Buddha's death. It is an authentic work on Buddhism as it existed in the 1st Century B.C. The West is of the opinion, it does not represent the true spirit of Buddhism as it existed at the time of Buddha. Theravada is based on the individual effort to accumulate good deeds, which are not transferable to others. The goal is to become an arhat (worthy One, winner of Nibbana [Nirvana], Perfect saint), who having retired all causes for future becoming and does not take rebirth after his physical death. The aim is to obtain Nibbana (Nirvana), which is not any different from what Buddha himself obtained. But the Buddha was Arhant of all arhants because he invented the path and the first one to use it. Theravadins regard and revere Buddha as the most gifted yet mortal teacher. They do believe that there were Buddhas in the past and there will be Buddhas in the future. There are many Buddhas. 

Historical development of Mahayanas. Presently there is a confluence of these two vehicles on many points.

  The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda Volume 7 [ Page : 394 -395] MEMOIRS OF EUROPEAN TRAVEL.  These words are his and his alone without any editorializing.

In very ancient times the Turkish race repeatedly conquered the western provinces of India and founded extensive kingdoms. They were Buddhists, or would turn Buddhists after occupying Indian territory. In the ancient history of Kashmir there is mention of these famous Turkish Emperors, Hushka, Yushka, and Kanishka. It was Kanishka who founded the Northern school of Buddhism called the Mahayana. Long after, the majority of them took to Mohammedanism and completely devastated the chief Buddhistic seats of Central Asia such as Kandahar and Kabul. Before their conversion to Mohammedanism they used to imbibe the learning and culture of the countries they conquered, and by assimilating the culture of other countries would try to propagate civilisation. But ever since they became Mohammedans, they have only the instinct for war left in them; they have not got the least vestige of learning and culture; on the contrary, the countries that come under their sway gradually have their civilisation extinguished. In many places of modern Afghanistan and Kandahar etc., there yet exist wonderful Stupas, monasteries, temples, and gigantic statues built by their Buddhistic ancestors. --Swami Vivekananda (January 12, 1863July 4, 1902)

Remember Bamyan Buddha destroyed recently in Afghanistan. --Krishnaraj

Some Mahayanas claimed rightly or wrongly that Arhathood is an individual effort and an arhat leads a religious life only for himself , which is disputed by the Theravada arhats and adherents. What led to the development of Mahayana in the 1st century and separation from Theravadins at that point in time needs exploration. As a protest to Theravada's presumed conservative, individual and self-centered religious activities, there is a claim a new sect was formed by name Mahayana, Greater Vehicle. The Mahayana canon was written in Sanskrit instead of in Pali as Theravada was. The Mahayanas dubbed the Theravadins Hinayana, Lesser Vehicles. This appellation, Hinayana, is not used now, since it is considered as insulting. As in any sectarian affiliation in a religion, there are bound to be differences of opinion between sects. Take for instance Saivites' and Vaishnavites' view of Parabrahman.  Take the Catholics and Protestants. There is no point in obfuscating the ancient differences in the interest of keeping feigned and manufactured concurrence.

John Haas on Mahayana:

"Mahayana practice stresses an inclusiveness that stands antithetically to Theravada’s doctrinal preservation. Mahayana Buddhists preach a magnanimous rejection of personal salvation as being their terminal goal, this lofty effort is reserved for only the most capable in the Theravada discipline. The instant gratification that the modern age has made possible, and that its inhabitants have grown to expect, may account for much of the popularity of Mahayana, and especially Zen Buddhism, in the developed world. Therefore, the malleability of Buddhism under the Mahayana banner again seems to have opened the faith up to neophytes, although perhaps at the cost of undermining its own message. With the Theravada fold refusing to recognize a woman’s right to choose under any circumstances, and Mahayana’s approach being a more modified and mollified position, recognizing a right to life, but offering extenuations, it becomes apparent which variety promulgates a value system that corresponds more closely with that of the populace of the modern era. Hence, the Mahayana mindset departs from traditionalism again to promote fellowship, which sensitivity to public opinion will undoubtedly propagate."   end John Haas.

The Theravadins level of spiritual development is categorized under four levels of accomplishment. Each one is progressively on a higher plane of spiritual development.

 1) Sotapanna in Pali,  Srotapanna in Sanskrit = He who enters the stream (Sota). He has destroyed the first three fetters (self-belief, doubt, and faith in rituals). His position is secure in that he will not be born an animal, will not go to hell, and will be born seven more times before he experiences Nibbana -Nirvana.  2) Sakadagami: Once-returners. He has destroyed the three fetters; lust and hatred are minimal in him. He will be born only once more before he enjoys Nibbana. 3) Anagami: No-returners: he has destroyed the five fetters. He will not return to earth unless he wants to come down and help others in suffering. 4) Arhat: Ark = worthy. He enjoys Nibanna on earth during Samadhi (Jivan Mukti of Saivites). Arhat is the appellation given to a worthy disciple of the Buddha. Self-belief = belief in self (Soul or soul). Buddhism does not advocate but condemns belief in self or soul.

Anagami:  No-returners

Pali canon lists 10 fetters. The fetters vary in number.

1) Belief in individual self, soul, or monad.

2) Disbelief of teachings

3) Performance of rites and rituals

4) Sensual longing

5) ill will

6) Desire for material existence

7) desire for immaterial existence

8) Self-pride, conceit and distraction

9) restlessness, distraction

10) Ignorance


Mahayana reminds me of Bhakti movement and Theravada Yogis.

Mahayana: We have a Big Boat; Come aboard, one and all; we offer salvation to all: that is the motto of Mahayana. The Theravadins demand individual discipline from individuals for Nibanna. Mahayana asks for faith, belief in and devotion to Buddha. Devotion (Bhakti of Hindus) takes precedence and wins over self-discipline. Its appeal among the lay people, those in the periphery of society, and peasants was immense. During 2nd century, it spread to China and later on to Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Mahayana boasts its stand on virtues like Altruism, Charity and Compassion. Mahayana's Bodhisattva (Near-Buddha = One destined for enlightenment) and arhat of Theravadins, according to Mahayana followers, are poles apart in that the Mahayanas transport a boat load of people on to the shores of salvation, while the arhat is allegedly a selfish seeker of salvation for himself or herself, paddling his canoe on to the shores of salvation. The Near-Nirvana Bodhisattva of the Big Boat, endowed with great and good merits from his past births, postpones Nirvana in order to help other people in need of Nirvana. It is a common belief that a bodhisattva can transfer some of his or her hard-earned merits to the merit-deficient by sight, touch, (diffusion, conduction and telepathy). This belief exists in Hinduism also in the sense a great Guru like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa can transfer his Supreme Knowledge by mere sight, touch or thought. Bodhisattva is an embodiment of universal compassion and self-sacrifice and thus is the Surrogate of Buddha with Bliss, compassion, virtue, Wisdom....  To Theravadins, the Buddha was a hero and a teacher subject to human conditions in all its aspects. To Mahayanas, the Buddha is an Eternal Being with attendant intrinsic Supreme qualities, and out of compassion, appears on earth periodically in human form to remove suffering. In effect there is One Eternal Buddha in Heaven with many incarnations or clones. This is also a commonly held view among Hindus with respect to Vishnu and his incarnations, one of which is the Buddha.  Future Buddhas will appear again and again on this earth according to Mahayanas. The last historical Buddha is one among them.

Pali Canon mentions twenty-eight previous Buddhas, the historical Gautama Buddha being one after them. The Buddha discouraged the use of Sanskrit; that is why Canon  in Pali came about, Pali being the vernacular dialect understandable to the common man. (With great adoration, respect, humility and obviously a tinge of respectful humor, I suggest that Pali speakers were everyday people whose tongue was not facile enough to enunciate a mile-long compound Sanskrit words. The Pali words are rounded with no sharp edges in ways that a baby would enunciate them upon hearing the sharp Sanskrit words. Pali enunciation is known for lingual ease rather than muscular and cerebral strain of Sanskrit.) These Buddhas have 32 major and 80 minor marks which qualify him as Mahapurusha (Great Man). Though they are mentioned as bodily marks, it is not necessarily so. They may be metaphorical.

The 32 signs of the Great Man--The Buddha

There are 32 main characteristics (Pali: Lakkhana Mahapurisa 32):

  1. He has feet with a level sole (Pali: supati thapado). Note: "feet with level tread,/ so that he places his foot evenly on the ground,/ lifts it evenly,/ and touches the ground evenly with the entire sole." (Lakkhana Sutta) (Flat Feet)
  2. He has wheel marks on soles (Pali: he thapadatalesu cakkani jatani).
  3. He has projecting heels (Pali: ayatapa ni).
  4. He has long fingers and toes (Pali: digha nguli).
  5. His hands and feet are soft-skinned (Pali: mudutalahathapado).
  6. He has netlike lines on palms and soles (Pali: jalahathapado).
  7. He has high raised ankles (Pali: ussa nkhapado).
  8. He has taut calf muscles like an antelope (Pali: e nimigasadisaja ngho).
  9. He can touch his knees without bending (Pali: thitako va anonamanto). (The average person's fingers reach mid thigh without bending.)
  10. His sexual organs are concealed in a sheath (Pali: kosohitavatguyho).
  11. His complexion is bright, the color of gold (Pali: suva n nava no). Note: "His body is more fair than all/ the Gods he seems, great Indra's like" (Lakkhana Sutta).
  12. His skin is so fine that no dust can attach to it (Pali: sukhumacchavi).
  13. His body hairs are separate with one hair per pore (Pali: ekekalomo).
  14. His body hair is bluish and curls clockwise (Pali: uddhagalomo).
  15. He has a godlike upright stance (Pali: brahmujugatto).
  16. He has the seven convexities of the flesh (Pali: satusado). Note: "the seven convex surfaces,/ on both hands, both feet, both shoulders, and his trunk." (Lakkhana Sutta)
  17. He has a chest like a lion's (Pali: sihapuba dhakayo).
  18. There is no hollow between his shoulders (Pali: pitantara mso).
  19. The distance from hand-to-hand and head-to-toe is equal (Pali: nigrodhaparima n dalo). Note: incidentally, these are also the ideal proportions according to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
  20. He has a round and smooth neck (Pali: samva d dakhando).
  21. He has sensitive taste-buds (Pali: rasagasagi).
  22. His jaw is like a lion's (Pali: sihahanu).
  23. He has 40 teeth (Pali: cata.lisadanto). Note: The average person normally has 32 teeth.
  24. His teeth are evenly spaced (Pali: samadanto).
  25. His teeth are without gaps in-between (Pali: avira ladanto).
  26. He has crystal-like canine teeth (Pali: sukadanto).
  27. He has a large, long tongue (Pali: pahutajivho).
  28. He has a voice like a Brahman’s (Pali: brahmasaro hiravikabha ni).
  29. He has very blue eyes (Pali: abhi nila netto). Note 1: "very (abhi) blue (nila) eyes (netto)" is the literal translation, although it has been interpreted variously as actually blue, or possibly blue-black. Nila is the word used to describe a sapphire and the color of the sea, but also the color of a rain cloud. It also defines the color of the Hindu God Krishna. Note 2: "His lashes are like a cow's; his eyes are blue./ Those who know such things declare/ 'A child which such fine eyes/ will be one who's looked upon with joy./ If a layman, thus he'll be/ Pleasing to the sight of all./ If ascetic he becomes,/ Then loved as healer of folk's woes.'" (Lakkhana Sutta)
  30. His eyes are like a cow's (Pali: gopa mukho). Note: Probably refers to large eyes and long eyelashes.
  31. He has a white soft wisp of hair in the center of the brow (Pali: una loma bhamukantare jata). Note: this became the symbolic urna.
  32. His head is like a royal turban (Pali: u nahisiso).

There are 80 characteristics (Pali: Anubyanjana):

There are also 80 secondary characteristics (Pali: Anubyanjana):

  1. He has beautiful fingers and toes.
  2. He has well-proportioned fingers and toes.
  3. He has tube-shaped fingers and toes.
  4. His fingernails and toenails have a rosy tint.
  5. His fingernails and toenails are slightly upturned at the tip.
  6. His fingernails and toenails are smooth and rounded without ridges.
  7. His ankles and wrists are rounded and undinted.
  8. His both feet are equal length.
  9. He has a beautiful gait, like that of a king-elephant.
  10. He has a stately gait, like that of a king-lion.
  11. He has a beautiful gait, like that of a swan.
  12. He has a majestic gait, like that of a royal ox.
  13. His right foot leads when walking.
  14. His knees have no protruding kneecaps.
  15. He has the demeanour of a great man.
  16. His navel is without blemish.
  17. He has a deep-shaped abdomen.
  18. He has clockwise marks on the abdomen.
  19. His thighs are rounded like banana sheafs.
  20. His two arms are shaped like an elephant's trunk.
  21. The lines on the palms of his hands have a rosy tint.
  22. His skin is thick or thin as it should be.
  23. His skin is unwrinkled.
  24. His body is spotless and without lumps.
  25. His body is unblemished above and below.
  26. His body is absolutely free of impurities.
  27. He has the strength of 1,000 crore elephants or 100,000 crore men. Note: A crore is equal to 10 millions.
  28. He has a protruding nose.
  29. His nose is well proportioned.
  30. His upper and lower lips are equal in size and have a rosy tint.
  31. His teeth are unblemished and with no plaque.
  32. His teeth are long like polished conches.
  33. His teeth are smooth and without ridges.
  34. His five sense-organs are unblemished.
  35. His four canine teeth are crystal and rounded.
  36. His face is long and beautiful.
  37. His cheeks are radiant.
  38. The lines on his palms are deep.
  39. The lines on his palms are long.
  40. The lines on his palms are straight.
  41. The lines on his palms have a rosy tint.
  42. His body emanates a halo of light extending around him for two meters.
  43. His cheek cavities are fully rounded and smooth.
  44. His eyelids are well proportioned
  45. The five nerves of his eyes are unblemished.
  46. The tips of his bodily hair are neither curved nor bent.
  47. He has a rounded tongue.
  48. His tongue is soft and has a rosy-tint.
  49. His ears are long like lotus petals.
  50. His earholes are beautifully rounded.
  51. His sinews and tendons don't stick out.
  52. His sinews and tendons are deeply embedded in the flesh.
  53. His topknot is like a crown.
  54. His forehead is well-proportioned in length and breadth.
  55. His forehead is rounded and beautiful.
  56. His eyebrows are arched like a bow.
  57. The hair of his eyebrows is fine.
  58. The hair of his eyebrows lies flat.
  59. He has large brows.
  60. His brows reach the outward corner of his eyes.
  61. His skin is fine throughout his body.
  62. His whole body has abundant signs of good fortune.
  63. His body is always radiant.
  64. His body is always refreshed like a lotus flower.
  65. His body is exquisitely sensitive to touch.
  66. His body has the scent of sandalwood.
  67. His body hair is consistent in length.
  68. He has fine bodily hair.
  69. His breath is always fine.
  70. His mouth always has a beautiful smile.
  71. His mouth has the scent of a lotus flower.
  72. His hair has the colour of a dark shadow.
  73. His hair is strongly scented.
  74. His hair has the scent of a white lotus.
  75. He has curled hair.
  76. His hair does not turn grey.
  77. He has fine hair
  78. His hair is untangled.
  79. His hair has long curls
  80. He has a topknot as if crowned with a flower garland.

Three Vestures or the theory of Trikaya,  Lotus Sutra 1st Century B.C.E.

A Buddha has three bodies or vestures (Trikaya Doctrine):   Kaya = body.

1) Nirmanakaya/Nirvanakaya, created body manifesting in time and space. This is the physical body of Buddha on this earth.

2) Sambhogakaya, body of mutual enjoyment, an archetypical manifestation (prototype). This body of the Buddha appears to a person in visions and in deep meditation.  The latter is similar to Hindu Yogis entering the realm of Turiya wherein they enjoy the vision of Brahman-Isvara. The Hindu Yogis go a few steps beyond just visions. Turiya-svapna is the stage of vision while in Samadhi. In Turiya-Susupti, a higher state, the Yogi's vision sees the duality between himself and Brahman-Isvara.  In Turiya-Turiya, this distinction between object and SUBJECT disappears and the Yogi (object) merges with the Subject and duality disappears.  The bodhisattva upon completion of his vows becomes a Buddha, whose body is said to be Sambhogakaya, a reward body to bodhisattva. Amitabha Buddha of the Chinese also belongs to this body. Amitabha is derived from Sanskrit word Amrta; therefore it is Amrta Buddha (Deathless, eternal Buddha), meaning in Buddhist tradition Immortal Enlightened. In Japanese Buddhist tradition Amitabha took on different meanings: Unmeasured Splendor, Boundless Light. Amita = (a  = no) + mita is derived from  ma (ma = measure) = not measurable, boundless. Abha = splendor. Now you can see how the original word can undergo morphological change offering different meanings in different countries.

3) Dharmakaya, Vesture of Bliss, Reality body,  the Body of Essence. Dharmakaya takes a Buddha to the threshold of Nirvana; one more step means he attains Nirvana. Dharmakaya, the principle of boundless enlightenment is described as "a pure consciousness, pure bliss, pure intelligence free from all personalizing thought."  Dharmakaya is Avyakta (unmanifested) "aspect of a Buddha out of which Buddhas and all phenomena arise and to which they return after dissolution." Does it not sound like a Hindu concept? Dharmakaya or the Bliss Body of Buddha is similar to Parabrahman, the unmanifested Brahman from which gods take manifestations. The manifested god is Isvara in Hindu tradition, just like a Buddha is a  manifestation of the Bliss Body of Buddha. Isvara is the origin and repository of all beings and matter in Hindu tradition. Vishnu is the classical example. The only things that are left out in Buddhism are the Great Soul (Paramatman) which is Isvara and the individual souls (Jivatman). Buddhism does tell that Buddha pervades all beings and matter, similar to all-pervasive Vishnu. The Buddha tells that Tathagata and Dharmakaya are one and the same.

Commentators from the West say about Mahayana that it closely follows Hinduism in the concept of  faith and devotion and action over inaction. Krishna advocates action over inaction in Bhagavad-Gita and asks for personal devotion from his devotees. Bodhisattva appears to meet the criteria set by Krishna in that a bodhisattva works for people selflessly without any desire for rewards.

Bhagavadgita: 2.47: You have a right to action and never to its fruits. At no time should your motive be the fruit of your actions. Never should there be any attachment to inaction either.

Theravada also advises a personal devotion to Buddha. This is what Krishna says in Bhagavadgita about personal devotion to Him.

18.66: Abandoning all duties, surrender unto Me only. I shall deliver you from all sins. Do not lament.

Here "abandoning all duties" means not performing rituals and Yagnas.

The Buddhist works of early period consists of three baskets (Tripitaka = three baskets; it is like saying Testaments). The most ancient is the Pali Canon of the Theravada School.  The word 'three' is derived from Sanskrit 'tri' for three.

1) Vinaya Pitaka: Code of Ethics. Code of Ethics were written on day to day basis based on the observations of the Buddha on the problems with monks and nuns. It is a Basket of Discipline. Vinaya = artificially formed = formed upon observations by Buddha on monks and nuns. It depicts the rules, regulations, relationship with the public in regards to the monastery.

2) Sutra Pitaka: The Teachings of Buddha. Its actual meaning is Basket of Threads. Threads (Sutra) are the sayings of the Buddha. Here is a nugget: The word Suture is derived from Sutra, a Sanskrit word.

3) Abhidharma Pitaka: Basket of Metaphysics. This consists of several books dealing with elaborations of the sayings of Buddha and the Sutras. It was compiled after the split between Theravada and Sarvastivada (Sarva = all, Asti = exist, Vada = theory. Theory of all that exist).

Tantrics of India had an influence on the Buddhists and from that grew Mantrayana (the Vehicle of Mantras). All Hindu sects owe their debt to Tantrics who are the masters of Mantras. Mantrayana spread to Tibet, China, and Japan (Shingon Sect).

After all these philosophical richness, codification, classification, clarification, elaboration, internal dissension, break in code of ethics..., by 1200 A.D Buddhism was completely absorbed lock, stock and barrel by the behemoth of Hinduism. Saiva and Vaishnava Cults of India ascended in strength. Sankaracharya and Ramanujacharya by their examples, extensive writings and compositions, superior skills of written and oral arguments with Jains and Buddhists, codification of rituals in temples, philosophical presentation to the public as they could understand, and break in Buddhist code of ethics in Monasteries hastened the absorption Buddhism.

South-East Asia supplanted their culture with Theravada School. Buddhism went to other countries by contiguous spread. In Burma Theravada is the state religion.

Western Pure Land (Sukhavati) Sect is the largest in Japan and worships Buddha Amitabha or Amida, Buddha of Eternity or Long Life. Sanskrit Amrta (eternal) Chinese AmitabhaJapanese Amida. Buddha's Paradise is Pure Land located in the West. Pure Land is a large subset of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. Esoteric Buddhism is for the elite. Meditation was replaced with devotion to Buddha Amida. To be Buddha Amida follower is to act out his or her devotion to Buddha. It had currency among common people and the monastics in Japan. People with no affiliative denomination found a much needed spiritual refuge in the worship of  Buddha Amitabha, who promised rebirth in the Pure land, and Enlightenment. Amidism proponents and followers just by devotion can attain the Pure Land. That is dependence on Buddha Amida, as we depend on God to take us to heaven.  Buddha Amitabha takes one to the Pure Land. It sounds like the Cat Paradigm in Vaishnavism (Marjara Nyaya School --BG03), where Vishnu takes the devotee to heaven without any effort on the part of the devotee. It is like the cat taking its kitten from place to place by the nape of its neck. In Theravada Doctrine the effort on the part of the individual is long and rigorous religious discipline.

Buddha himself told a story to his disciple Ananda how the Pure Land came about. Monk Dharmakara made vows to save all beings and through his merit created a place to house them and that he called Land of Bliss (Sukhavati- Paradise or heaven of Amitabha in the western sky, page 1221, Monier William Sanskrit dictionary). This paradise will later be known as the Pure Land in Chinese tradition. It is also known as Buddak-Setra (Buddha field) or Western Pureland, which promises suspension of Karmic Transmigration. The Pure Land Paradise has a very appealing notion in that people become bodhisattvas in Pure Land and can go down to earth to help people in suffering. The beauty about Amitabha Buddha is that every one of faith can go to the Pure Land, acquire Enlightenment and return to earth to serve the fellow human being. Thus "impure people"( like tanners, fisherman...) by belief can go to the Pure land. That is the egalitarian asset of the Pure Land Buddhism.

Eastern Pure Land: The Pure Land Buddhism is not all that simple. The Buddha tells Queen Vaidehi that she could meditate upon him, see visions of Amitabha and go to the Pure Land. This is Shingon Buddhism. Obviously, there must be Eastern Pure Land or Abhirati ("Pleasure or delighting in" is the literal meaning) of Shingon sect.

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Kuan-yin, Kannon: Please go elsewhere in this article for description.

Zen Buddhism Zen is a derivative word from the original Sanskrit word, Dhyana (Jhāna in Pali = meditation): Dhyana in Sanskrit,  Ch'an in China, Seon in Korea, Thien in Vietnam and Zen in Japan. Zen practitioner encourage finding the Buddha nature in oneself. It is the fusion product of Yogacara (Yoga practice), Madhyamaka (middle way) and prajnaparamita (perfection of Wisdom). Apart from its traditional locus, it has spread to America and Europe.  Dhyana or meditation is a quiet, alert, powerfully concentrated state wherein new knowledge and insight pour into the field of consciousness.-- Hawaii monastery

It does not involve much delving into theoretical Buddhism or religious texts. When you have in you Buddha nature, why look elsewhere? Does it not sound like Nirguna Brahman Yogis (as opposed to Saguna Brahman devotees)? Saguna Brahman devotees delve into religious texts, perform rites and rituals, and engage in daily worship. They have the name of their god on their lips all the time. Take a Yogi. He gave up on reading and talking about God. He gave up on rituals. Who needs them when you can meditate and become one with your Brahman or God? Intellectual exercise, analytical thinking, rational ideations and other human endeavors are for exploring and understanding the finite. One cannot fathom the infinite with a finite mind. The revelations, the sayings, (the writings) of the likes of Buddha cannot be penetrated and understood in their entirety, but intuition can take us somewhere. Try not too hard to understand those things with an analytical mind of a scientist. Sit in meditation. That is what Yogis of India do. Intuitive intelligence is what is needed for understanding the unknown and the unknowable. What little you come to know is great knowledge in earthly terms. That meditation in Lotus or half Lotus position is zazen and the discovery of Buddha's nature in you is satori, enlightenment. Hinduism: Yogi comes to a point in meditation where his physical body is abandoned as it were, the mind is abandoned as it were and the consciousness of Yogi merges with the Infinite Consciousness of the Supreme. The individual consciousness merges with the Universal consciousness. That is Turiya-turiya BG12. That is being one with universal Consciousness.

The Zen consists of  eight-fold path, Four Noble Truths, Dependent origination, the five precepts, the five aggregates and the three marks of existence.

eight-fold path Four Noble Truths Dependent origination the five precepts the five aggregates the three marks of existence

The following are the precepts as enunciated by the Buddha who said that observation of these precepts are a reward to oneself and violating them result in consequences.

The following are the five precepts rendered in English and then Pali.

  1. I undertake the precept to refrain from taking the life (killing) of living beings.
    Pānātipātā veramani sikkhāpadam samādiyāmi
  2. I undertake the precept to refrain from stealing. (lit. "taking what is not offered")
    Adinnādānā veramani sikkhāpadam samādiyāmi
  3. I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct (adultery, rape, exploitation, etc).
    Kāmesu micchācāra veramani sikkhāpadam samādiyāmi
  4. I undertake the precept to refrain from false speech (lying).
    Musāvāda veramani sikkhāpadam samādiyāmi
  5. I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicants which lead to heedlessness.
    Surā meraya majja pamādatthānā veramani sikkhāpadam samādiyāmi

The Three Marks of Existence (mentioned earlier as Suffering, Impermanence, Not-Self

Buddha said that all phenomena in the physical world other than Nirvana are besieged by Dukkha, Anicca, and Anatta.

Zen has three divisions: Soto, Rinzai and Obaku Schools. Soto has the most followers and Obaku have the least number of followers. Rinzai has many subsects.  Sotos meditate facing the wall; the Rinzais sit facing the centre of the room.

Rinzai: Koan and Katsu. The religious elements in Koan is beyond the grasp of rational mind but easily graspable by intuition.  Koan is the question. Koan is the answer. Koan shatters discursive thought process. Koan is insight. Koan is practice of meditation and intuition. Koan is the experience that accompanies awakening or spiritual insight. Koan leads to the experience of insight, Kensho.  Koan is awakening, realization or enlightenment. The teacher may pose one Koan to many students; students must come up with different answers; that is Koan. The teacher expects intuitive answers and not discursive answers. When a questioner puts a question, answerer must answer.

Koan: A puzzling, often paradoxical statement or story, used in Zen Buddhism as an aid to meditation and a means of gaining spiritual awakening.

Encyclopedia Britannica definition of Kone: In Zen Buddhism, a brief paradoxical statement or question used as a discipline in meditation. The effort to solve a koan is designed to exhaust the analytic intellect and the will, leaving the mind open for response on an intuitive level. There are about 1,700 traditional koans, which are based on anecdotes from ancient Zen masters. They include the well-known example "When both hands are clapped a sound is produced; listen to the sound of one hand clapping."

A student asked Master Yun-Men (949 C.E.) "Not even a thought has arisen is there still a sin or not?"

Master Replied,  “Mount Somuru”

A monk asked Zhaozhou, “Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?” Zhaozhou said,“ Wu.”

 Huineng asked Hii Ming, "Without thinking of good or evil, show me your original face before your mother and father were born."

A monk asked Dongshan Shouchu, "What is Buddha?" Dongshan said, "Three pounds of flax.”

 A monk asked Zhaozhou, "What is the meaning of the ancestral teacher's (Bodhidharma’s) coming from the west?" Zhaozhou said, "The cypress tree in front of the hall".

*  A Buddha

There were two good friends, one a Buddhist teacher, the other a Professor of Philosophy. The Buddhist teacher went visiting the Professor of philosophy who was drinking glass after glass of wine. He offered wine to the religion teacher who refused the drink, saying, “I never drink.” The professor retorted, “The one who does not drink is not even human.” The other one with effervescent anger said, “Do you mean I am not human because I don’t drink. What am I?”  “A Buddha,” answered the professor.*

       Katsu - A Zen word which has no exact meaning. Masters often shout "katsu!" to startle students into attention, or even into enlightenment. It is sometimes translated as "wake up!" I'm not sure if the similar-sounding term "kotsu" is etymologically related; it refers to the stick that Masters use to hit, poke, or prod students who are falling asleep during meditation. In the game of Zendo, the Master shouts "katsu!" when a student knocks over pieces, or otherwise disturbs the board in some fashion.

      Katsu: (or kwatz; in Chinese it is ho) As with mu, this word has no exact meaning. It is used by masters to help students to overcome dualisms and ego-centric thoughts.

     Katsu: is a type of shout used in Cha'n and Zen Buddhism to give expression to one's own enlightened state (Satori) and or to introduce another person to move beyond rationality and logic and, potentially, achieve an initial enlightenment experience. The shout is also sometimes used in the East Asian Martial Arts for a variety of purposes; in this context Katsu is very similar to the shout Kiai. Wikipedia.

      Examples of Katsu:

A monk asked, "What is the basic meaning of Buddhism?" The Master gave a shout. The monk bowed low. The Master said, "This fine monk is the kind who's worth talking to!

The Master said to a monk, "At times my shout is like the precious sword of the Diamond King. At times my shout is like a golden-haired lion crouching on the ground. At times my shout is like the search pole and the shadow grass. At times my shout doesn't work like a shout at all. Do you understand?" The monk started to answer, whereupon the Master gave a shout.

On the death bed—Katsu!
Let he who has eyes see!
Katsu! Katsu! Katsu!
And once again, Katsu!
—Yōsō Sōi (1379–1458)
For over sixty years
I often cried Katsu! to no avail.
And now, while dying,
Once more to cry Katsu!
Won't change a thing.
—Kokei Sōchin (1515–1597)

The use of the katsu shout continues in both Chinese and Japanese Rinzai monasteries, and indeed has become something of a standardized practice in many different situations therein. ---Wikipedia.

Zen's beginnings starts with the arrival of Bodhidharma in the 6th Century A.D.

ॐ अमृत-तेज हर हूँ = Om Amrta-Teja hara hUm. 

Shingoan: True Word is Japanese Tantric Buddhism. ॐ अमृत-तेज हर हूँ = Om Amrta-Teja hara hUm is the Mantra of Shingoan Buddhism. It is the progeny of Tantrism in the form of Mantrayana. True word is Mantra. Just like the Tantrics of India, the Shingon initiates the members into the secrets of its sect. Mantra (word), Mudra (gestures) and Manas (mind, thought) form the nucleus of Shingon.  These words are originally Sanskrit; Mudra in Sanskrit is gesture. Manas is mind. Shingon has pantheistic imprint. Buddha Vairocana (Japanese Dainichi), the Central Solar Deity is the source of all emanations of the Universe. Vajrayana Texts are the backbone of Shingon. The Cosmos consists of two Mandalas (circle-circumference = spheres): Womb Mandala and Diamond Mandala.  In each Mandala, the deities are arranged around Vairocana. Shingon believes that the powers of the deities (object of meditation) in the Mandala are transferable to the meditator. One by one the meditator acquires the power of all deities,  thus becomes Vairocana himself and has internalized the entire cosmos. Mantras aid in the internalization of the deities. Mudras are magical hand and body signals and signs whereby the deity's power is internalized. This kind of Tantric practice was introduced in Japan (originally from India) in the 9th Century. It came via China where it was popularized by monk Kukai (774-835).TANTRA. This kind of practice is daily observed by Hindu devotees, priests and Yogis of India. When they invoke the deity by gestures, internalize the deity and dismiss the deity after the ritual. MAHAVIDYAS

Vajrayana Buddhism is concerned with the ritual and meditative practices leading to enlightenment.

Japanese Buddhism: With the end of World War II, Japanese Buddhism has established many evangelical centers of learning throughout the world. Zen Buddhism has attracted the hearts and minds of people throughout the world.

Holy days

1) The Buddha's birthday, the 8th day of the 4th Month.

2) The Feast of the Dead on 15th day of the 7th month in China and Japan. The spirits of the dead are taken from the tombs to the temples, offered worship for three days and returned to the tombs.

3) Vegetarian lunches are offered on the above days in honor of dead monks.

4) In Southeast Asia, New Year's festival.

This text and image are from exoticinia.com.

This Hindu deity, sometimes a demon, is mainly venerated in Japan and sometimes found in syncretic forms. He is certainly one of the most difficult to grasp of the gods of the Buddhist pantheon: few writings are devoted to him, and the monks never discuss him openly. He represents the Hindu god Ganesa, the elephant-headed son of Siva. He is thought to be the son of Siva and Aryavalokitesvara in a form identical to that of Uma, spouse of Siva. A dispenser of wealth, he is supposed to have formidable power. He is invoked as the protector of the state and of private individuals. Both masculine and feminine, malevolent and benevolent, he is represented by two tightly interlaced bodies (Siva and Aryavalokitesvara, in the form of Juichimen Kannon 'Kannon with eleven heads'). According to the Tantric sects, the masculine portion is merely a metamorphosis of Vairocana, and the couple represents the intimate union of the faithful with the Buddha, the principle of all things. In Chinese philosophy, the two bodies symbolize the perfect union of the Heaven and the Earth or the Confucian principles of the Li and the ]i. This secret deity, introduced into Japan by the Shingon sect, was subsequently used for Tantric purposes by the Tendai sect, among others. His image is never shown to lay people. Special rites, including immersions of the statue in oil, are attached to him. In the Japanese esoteric sects, his dual nature symbolizes the intimate union of the two great mandalas of the Shingon sect (Ryobu Mandara).

The atmosphere of secrecy surrounding these images, 'and, in general, everything associated with the god, explains why, in the Buddhist pantheon, he is one of the very rare deities who inspires fear in the Japanese'. Kangi-ten is represented by effigies, generally small; these are usually of metal (due to immersions in oil), but wood is not excluded. His image is sometimes found at the centre of the rings of the stave of a pilgrim (khakkara), in the place of the small stupa usually found there: this indicates that the pilgrim belongs to a Tantric sect. Kangi-ten may represent a fairly large number of forms that can be classed under two main headings: esoteric and exoteric forms.

Esoteric forms : Kangi-ten has a dual nature, especially in Tantrism. He is therefore represented by two human figures with the heads of elephants, face to face and tightly interlaced. Their sexual organs are occasionally apparent and joined (as is the case in this particular sculpture). They wear a cloth thrown over the shoulders, and their hips are also covered. The feminine element wears a simple crown (or tiara), jewels and bracelets, and her feet step on those of her partner. This feminine body is supposed to be a metamorphosis assumed by Avalokitesvara to contain the fearful energy of Vinayaka (Ganesha) and to make it beneficial. Her right tusk is broken. Both bodies are white. At least three forms are known :

1. Heads cheek to cheek and looking in the same direction, trunks intertwined.
2. Heads resting on the right shoulder of the complementary deity, and looking in opposite directions. This form is of the sculpture in question.
3. The male with an elephant's head, and the female with that of a wild sow (very rare and secret).

These forms are worshipped secretly because they are supposed to possess terrifying power. They are carefully sheltered from view in small portable sanctuaries (Japanese - zushi) in the temples of the esoteric sects.

Exoteric forms : These forms usually consist of a single male figure, without a female counterpart. They are less secret and are usually venerated by individuals who attribute great power to them. They may assume several forms :

1. A single human figure with an elephant's head (Ganapati). He is seated, with two arms, and holds various omaments: in the right hand a Japanese radish (daikon), in the left a ball of thread, a parasol, a bow and arrows, a rosary and a sword.
2. With four arms and four legs (sometimes Tantric ). In his right hands he holds an axe, a ball of thread (sometimes on a tray) or a rope and a trident. In his left hands he holds an elephant's tusk or a stick, or an axe and a single-pointed vajra.
3. With six arms. His head is turned to the left, the trunk raised, the right tusk broken, the body orange or red. In his right hands he holds a stick, a rope, an elephant's tusk (or a needle). In his left hands he holds a sword, a tray of fruit (or a ball of thread) and a cakra.
4. Standing on a rock, with four arms. In his right hands he carries an axe and a ball of thread, and in his left hands a rope and a knife.
5. Standing on a rock, with six arms. His right hands hold a five-pointed vajra, a rope and a sceptre or a stick. His left hands hold a sword with the hilt ornamented with a five-pointed vajra, a ball of thread and a cakra.

These forms are far from being the only ones, because not all of them are known, and the significance of their attributes is also unknown. Kangi-ten is specially venerated in the Matsuchiyama sanctuary at Asakusa, Tokyo, and in the Ikoma sanctuary in Nara.

He does not appear to have been the object of a special cult in Tibet; in fact, his image is found only in the form of Ganesa, as a demon, holding a flower, a rat or a skull cap, under the feet of one of the forms of Mahakala. His cult does not appear to be attested in China, although it is almost certain that this complex deity was venerated secretly in the temples of the esoteric sects. Not even a single image of him from China is, however, known to exist.


KAma-MAra (Desire and Death) a demon of illusion tempted Buddha sitting under the Bo Tree. He never budged, remained in meditation  for 7 days and 7 nights and received enlightenment, the Great Awakening under the Bo Tree. He stood up to move away from the general area but could not. He sat under a 2nd tree for another 7 days and 7 nights. Thus the meditation continued for 7 weeks under different trees. During the fifth round, he was protected from wind and rain by a benign Serpent King who emerged from the roots of the Bo Tree. He could not put in words his glorious experience so much so he did not attempt again to reveal it. Brahma seeing this obscuration of wisdom of Buddha urged him to reveal it so that some may gain from it. Thus the Buddha's teaching tradition started.

Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths in the way of a treating physician.

1) Diagnosis: Life is sorrow.

2) Etiology: The Cause is Desire or Trsna.

3) Prognosis: Palliation or treatment is possible.

4) Treatment: Treatment is eightfold path.

        4A) Right View

        4B) Right Aspiration or Intention

        4C) Right Speech

        4D) Right Conduct or Action

        4E) Right Means of Livelihood

        4F) Right Endeavor

        4G) Right Mindedness

        4H) Right Contemplation or Concentration.


1) Sorrow or Dukha. We are all spiritually vacuous, unhealthy, depleted....

2) Trishna or Desire. Desire makes Sorrow worse.

3) Nirodha or Control is possible.

4) Magga  = Marga = Path. Treatment.


Tokyo’s invisible Ganeshas  goo.gl/hlws3G

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article18195728.ece/alternates/SQUARE_80/24THPallavi%20colPallavi Aiyar

MAY 20, 2017 16:20 IST

UPDATED: MAY 21, 2017 21:02 IST



Their journey from India to Japan has morphed Hindu deities. Some must not be seen...

Along the western bank of the Sumida River, Asakusa, a popular tourist area in Tokyo, is redolent of Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo era (1603-1867). The large, 7th century Senso-ji temple and rows of traditional shops selling kimonos and handicrafts make it an old-world hold out in what can feel like a relentlessly modern city.

Amidst the quintessentially Japanese plum blossom trees and antique shops, it is jolting therefore, to stumble upon Matsuchiyama Shoden, a Ganesha temple located on slightly elevated ground by the river. But given the Hindu roots of so many deities in the Japanese Buddhist pantheon, it is not entirely surprising.

Early Buddhism was deeply intertwined with Hinduism. Consequently, many Japanese schools of Buddhism, especially those influenced by tantric thought, adopted Brahmanic and Hindu devas or gods. Some of these were co-opted in their extant forms while others became associated with particular boddhisattvas.

Indra, Yama and Lakshmi too

The Hindu god Shiva (Daijizaiten), for example, was associated with Avalokitesvara or Kannon, while Brahma (Bonten) was linked to Manjusri. Hindu deities were most commonly incorporated as guardians. Some, such as Indra (Taishakuten) and Varuna (Raijin) are ubiquitous at temple entrances. Other common devas include Yama (Enmaten), Garuda (Karura), and Lakshmi (Kichijoten). Saraswati (Benzaiten) is particularly popular and has hundreds of temples dedicated to her across the country.

However, the journey over mountains and oceans from India via China to the Japanese archipelago transformed these deities both in their physical representations and metaphysical meanings. Consequently, for the average Japanese, the Hindu underpinnings of the deities they so often genuflect before at temples have become more or less invisible. Neither the names nor the appearance of the deities betray their origins to the uninitiated.

In the case of Ganesha this invisibility is literal, since statues of the elephant-headed deity are almost never displayed public. He is considered so powerful that beholding him can be dangerous and his icons are secreted away, sometimes not even seen by the priests themselves.

The juushoku or head priest of Matsuchiyama Shoden, Hirata Shinjyun, confesses to never having looked at the temple’s statue of Ganesha. In fact, the last time it was seen by human eyes was following World War II, when it was extracted from its underground wartime hiding place, and placed in an inner sanctum that has remained shut since. The priest says the secrecy surrounding the deity adds to the belief in the efficacy of its power. There are other reasons as well. Ganesha’s Japanese monikers include Kangiten, Shoten and Binayaka. As Kangiten the deity is depicted in erotic embrace with another elephant-headed figure and is considered too sexually explicit for public display.

Ganesha is considered so powerful that beholding him can be dangerous and his icons are secreted away, sometimes not even seen by the priest.

Kangiten is not an entirety benevolent deva in Japanese mythology. According to myth, his mother, Uma gave birth to 1,500 evil children to her left, the first of which was Binayaka or Ganesha. To her right, she birthed 1,500 good children, the first of which was Avalokitesvara/ Kannon (the bodhisattva of compassion) in the avatar of Idaten (Skanda or Murugan in India).

In order to win Binayaka over to the side of Good, Idaten reincarnates and becomes Kangiten’s wife. The bliss generated by their union is believed to convert Kangiten from evil to virtuous.

Creator of obstacles

Kangiten is therefore seen as a creator of obstacles, who is however easily placated and thereby transformed into a remover of obstacles. What appeases him are radishes.

All across the Matsuchiyama, on roof eaves, staircases and pillars, carvings and paintings of daikon (Japanese white radishes) are the main visual element that reveals the temple to be a Kangiten-worshipping one.

Radishes are on sale as offerings and the prayer hall is stacked high with these roots. But although the Japanese Ganesha has localised taste and the sugary ladoos he loves in India have been replaced by crisp daikon, he hasn’t entirely lost his sweet tooth. Kangiten is also believed to calm down with sweet rice buns and a cup of sake or rice wine.

In the Edo period there were well over 1,000 temples around Japan dedicated to Kangiten. The deity was traditionally popular with business owners who prayed to him to remove impediments to their success. The Asakusa area was historically Tokyo’s pleasure heartland, home to theatres, restaurants, and inns, The owners of these establishments flocked to Matsuchiyama to beg Kangiten’s grace.

Today the demographic of devotees has changed. Most are in the 30-40 age group according to the temple’s head priest. And many are women asking Kangiten’s favour in removing the obstacles they face in finding a suitable husband. Others simply come searching for a meaning beyond the material. The juushoku says an upsurge in religion has been palpable since the 1990s, whenw the Japanese economic bubble burst, ushering in decades of stagnation.

Shrines and plaques donated by merchants and business associations dot the walkway around Matsuchiyama’s main prayer hall. The priest points towards the direction of the Sumida River, explaining that in the past an unobstructed view all the way to Mount Fuji made this a popular vista for paintings. Now, the horizon is dominated by high rises amongst which the neofuturistic Tokyo Skytree rears up 634 metres into the clouds.

At the temple, paper lanterns that hang from awnings begin fluttering as a gentle river breeze cools the mid-spring afternoon. The images of intertwined radishes that are painted on them rock back and forth as though reassuring all that Kangiten is well fed and well disposed.





To be continued.


Please report any errors.

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj.   Contact:  myumbra-bgusa@yahoo.com

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 Sample Verse


अभयं सत्त्वसंशुद्धिर्ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थितिः ।

दानं दमश्च यज्ञश्च स्वाध्यायस्तप आर्जवम् ॥१६- १॥

śrībhagavān uvāca: abhayaṁ sattvasaṁśuddhir jñānayogavyavasthitiḥ
dānaṁ damaś ca yajñaś ca svādhyāyas tapa ārjavam 16.1

śrībhagavān uvāca: abhayam1 sattva-saṁśuddhiḥ2 jñāna-yoga-vyavasthitiḥ3
dānam4 damaḥ5 ca6 yajñaḥ7 ca8 svādhyāyaḥ9 tapaḥ10 ārjavam10 16.1

śrībhagavān uvāca = Sri Bhagavan said: abhayam1 = fearlessness; sattva-saṁśuddhiḥ2 = purity of the mind; jñāna-yoga-vyavasthitiḥ3  = steadiness in Yoga of knowledge; dānam4 = charity; damaḥ5 = self-control [of organs]; ca6 = and; yajñaḥ7 = sacrifices; ca8 = and; svādhyāyaḥ9 = study of the scriptures; tapaḥ10 = austerity; ārjavam10 = rectitude... 16.1 continued.

16.1:  Sri Bhagavan said: Fearlessness, purity of mind, steadiness in yoga of knowledge, charity, self-control, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity, rectitude,  (continued)...


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