The Origins of Om Manipadme Hum: A Study of the Karandavyuha by Alexander Studholme

By Alexander Studholme

Om Manipadme Hum, possibly the main famous and most generally used of all Buddhist mantras, lies on the middle of the Tibetan approach and is loved via either laymen and lama alike. This booklet provides a brand new interpretation of the which means of Om Manipadme Hum, and contains a designated, annotated summary of Karandavyuha Sutra, establishing up this crucial paintings to a much wider viewers. The earliest textual resource is the Karandavyuha Sutra, which describes either the compassion of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva complete energy the chant invokes, and the legendary story of the hunt and discovery of the chant. via an in depth research of this sutra, Studholme explores the old and doctrinal forces in the back of the looks of Om Manipadme Hum in India at round the center of the 1st millennium c.e. He argues that the Karandavyuha Sutra has shut affinities to non-Buddhist puranic literature, and that the belief of Avalokitesvara and his six-syllable mantra is stimulated by means of the perception of the Hindu deity Siva and his five-syllable mantra Namah Sivaya. The Karandavyuha Sutra displays ancient state of affairs within which the Buddhist monastic institution used to be entering touch with Buddhist tantric practitioners, themselves encouraged by way of Saivite practitioners.

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Sample text

The wise) do not commend that gift as good if it endangers the means of livelihood of the donor. For in this world, charitable gifts, performance of sacrifices, austere penances and religious acts can be performed by persons with means of subsistence. 22 24 The Origins of Oµ Ma¶ipadme H£µ Bali agrees with these sentiments. 23 But, nonetheless, he goes on to argue that he must fulfill his promise. Even if the dwarf does prove to be Vi˚¶u, he adds, and he is forced to give away everything he has, this will still be a good thing: O bråhma¶a sage!

In the course of my search of other Íaivite purå¶as, I found none like this. The Skanda Purå¶a, on the other hand, contains at least two passages of this kind. Thus: “The whole range of the three worlds was pervaded in the form of li©ga by the great lord. It is called li©ga by all the Suras and Asuras because it absorbs the world within it. ”51 And, closer still to the etymological definition of the Kåra¶Âavy£ha: “Since the entire universe became lƒna (merged) in the li©ga of the great Åtman (it came to be called so).

The disjointed nature of its place in the narrative suggests that it is a secondary addition to the original, main body of the s£tra, made for a reason that must remain, for the time being, obscure. Similarly, both the Bhågavata and the Skanda contain passages unique to their own particular presentation of the våmana-avatåra. The story of the gambler, for instance, or the episode in which Bali’s father, Virocana, cuts off his own head are peculiar, in this context, to the Skanda Purå¶a. 57 When the former is killed by Vi˚¶u (in his boar incarnation), the latter vows to take revenge, but Vi˚¶u hides himself within the warrior’s body, with the result that after a long search, Hira¶yåk˚a concludes that his brother’s killer must be dead.

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