Early Tibetan Documents on Phur pa from Dunhuang by Cathy Cantwell

By Cathy Cantwell

The precise conditions of the emergence of what are actually often called the rNying ma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism stay one of the least sincerely outlined components of Tibetan heritage for contemporary scholarship. What has made the early background of rNying ma tantrism so opaque is the shortage of trustworthy ancient assets. in line with such uncertainty, Cantwell and Mayer have grew to become to the Dunhuang cache looking for extra facts. Their particular concentration has been the Dunhuang texts on Phur pa, lots of that have by no means been learn prior to. This concentration used to be selected simply because from relatively early occasions, the Phur pa culture constructed significantly inside of Tibet itself, and consistently remained a very rNying ma perform. Phur pa's early and enduring attractiveness could for this reason to a point coincide with or mirror the emergence of rNying ma as a unique culture. This quantity addresses a major query that has now not thus far been approached: how precisely do the Dunhuang tantric texts evaluate with these of the bought rNying ma culture? The authors overview, transliterate, translate, and examine all Dunhuang texts on Phur pa to date pointed out, learning an unexpectedly shut dating to the acquired culture. there's additionally an essay exploring purposes for Phur pa's attractiveness in post-Imperial Tibet. due to the generosity of the British Library, a CD is incorporated with electronic photos of over a hundred pages of the unique manuscripts.

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Early Tibetan Documents on Phur pa from Dunhuang

The precise situations of the emergence of what are actually referred to as the rNying ma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism stay one of the least truly outlined parts of Tibetan heritage for contemporary scholarship. What has made the early heritage of rNying ma tantrism so opaque is the shortage of trustworthy old resources.

Additional resources for Early Tibetan Documents on Phur pa from Dunhuang

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No careful sociological study of these issues has yet been attempted. 35 Such an impression would be slightly misleading in neglecting this important contrasting yet actually complementary dimension of phur pa ritual as directed towards overcoming social discord and promoting integration. [7] Our seventh hypothesis concerns Padmasambhava. Extremely significant for Phur pa's popularity must have been its prestige as one of the main chosen deities of Padmasambhava. We can infer from PT 44 that Padmasambhava's close and particular personal association with Phur pa was a well established narrative by tenth century Tibet.

101-106), it marks the climax of the section for consecrating the phur pa. Here, the fingers of the two hands become the male and female deities of the five buddha families, and they unite as the hands are moved in rolling the phur pa. Bodhicitta is produced from the union, consecrating the phur p a , and the ritual activity also produces sparks of fire, generating wrathful emanations. In this case, we have the two hands, the male and female deities, together performing the rolling, rather as the Hindu gods and demons cooperate to move Mount Meru back and forth, and it is as though the rolling movement is instrumental in activating the deities to unite and create offspring, although the overall focus of the rite is on dissolution into and consecration of the ritual implement itself.

For their churning stick, they used the cosmic mountain Mandara, which they rolled by alternately pulling on either end of the serpent Vasuki, who was twisted around Mt Mandara as the churning rope. 22 It is possible that this central aspect of the ritual symbolism might have some relation to the Hindu mythology of the cosmic mountain as the churning stick. Connected closely with the sgrol ba rite, the ritual performance seeks to bring forth the pure essence or consciousness of the rite's object from the ocean of samsara, and send it to the immortality of the Buddha field.

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