Dharma is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions like Hinduism, Jainism and others. There is no single-word translation for dharma in Western languages. In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with Ṛta, the order that makes life and universe possible, includes duties, laws, virtues and "right way of living". In Buddhism, dharma means "cosmic law and order", is applied to the teachings of Buddha. In Buddhist philosophy, dhamma/dharma is the term for "phenomena". Dharma in Jainism refers to the teachings of tirthankara and the body of doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings. For Sikhs, the word dharm means the path of proper religious practice; the word dharma was in use in the historical Vedic religion, its meaning and conceptual scope has evolved over several millennia. The ancient Tamil moral text of Tirukkural is based on aṟam, the Tamil term for dharma; the antonym of dharma is adharma. The Classical Sanskrit noun dharma or the Prakrit Dhaṃma are a derivation from the root dhṛ, which means "to hold, keep", takes the meaning of "what is established or firm", hence "law".
It is derived from an older Vedic Sanskrit n-stem dharman-, with a literal meaning of "bearer, supporter", in a religious sense conceived as an aspect of Rta. In the Rigveda, the word appears as an n-stem, dhárman-, with a range of meanings encompassing "something established or firm". Figuratively, it means "sustainer" and "supporter", it is semantically similar to the Greek Themis. In Classical Sanskrit, the noun becomes thematic: dharma-; the word dharma derives from Proto-Indo-European root *dʰer-, which in Sanskrit is reflected as class-1 root dhṛ. Etymologically it is related to Avestan dar-, Latin firmus, Lithuanian derė́ti, Lithuanian dermė and darna and Old Church Slavonic drъžati. Classical Sanskrit word dharmas would formally match with Latin o-stem firmus from Proto-Indo-European dʰer-mo-s "holding", were it not for its historical development from earlier Rigvedic n-stem. In Classical Sanskrit, in the Vedic Sanskrit of the Atharvaveda, the stem is thematic: dhárma-. In Prakrit and Pāli, it is rendered dhamma.
In some contemporary Indian languages and dialects it alternatively occurs as dharm. Ancient translationsWhen the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka wanted in the 3rd century BCE to translate the word "Dharma" into Greek and Aramaic, he used the Greek word Eusebeia in the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription and the Kandahar Greek Edicts, the Aramaic word Qsyt in the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription. Dharma is a concept of central importance in Indian religion, it has multiple meanings in Hinduism and Jainism. It is difficult to provide a single concise definition for dharma, as the word has a long and varied history and straddles a complex set of meanings and interpretations. There is no equivalent single-word synonym for dharma in western languages. There have been numerous, conflicting attempts to translate ancient Sanskrit literature with the word dharma into German and French; the concept, claims Paul Horsch, has caused exceptional difficulties for modern commentators and translators. For example, while Grassmann's translation of Rig-veda identifies seven different meanings of dharma, Karl Friedrich Geldner in his translation of the Rig-veda employs 20 different translations for dharma, including meanings such as "law", "order", "duty", "custom", "quality", "model", among others.
However, the word dharma has become a accepted loanword in English, is included in all modern unabridged English dictionaries. The root of the word dharma is "dhri", which means "to support, hold, or bear", it is the thing that regulates the course of change by not participating in change, but that principle which remains constant. Monier-Williams, the cited resource for definitions and explanation of Sanskrit words and concepts of Hinduism, offers numerous definitions of the word dharma, such as that, established or firm, steadfast decree, law, custom, right, virtue, ethics, religious merit, good works, character, property. Yet, each of these definitions is incomplete, while the combination of these translations does not convey the total sense of the word. In common parlance, dharma means "right way of living" and "path of rightness"; the meaning of the word dharma depends on the context, its meaning has evolved as ideas of Hinduism have developed through history. In the earliest texts and ancient myths of Hinduism, dharma meant cosmic law, the rules that created the universe from chaos, as well as rituals.
In certain contexts, dharma designates human behaviours considered necessary for order of things in the universe, principles that prevent chaos and action necessary to all life in nature, family as well as at the individual level. Dharma encompasses ideas such as duty, character, religion and all behaviour considered appropriate, correct or morally upright; the antonym of dharma is adharma, meaning that, "not dharma"
The Nyingma tradition is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. "Nyingma" means "ancient," and is referred to as Ngangyur because it is founded on the first translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Old Tibetan in the eighth century. The Tibetan alphabet and grammar was created for this endeavour; the Nyingma believes in hidden terma treasures and place an emphasis on Dzogchen. They incorporate local religious practices and local deities and elements of shamanism, some of which it shares with Bon; the Nyingma tradition comprises several distinct lineages that all trace their origins to the Indian master Padmasambhava. Traditionally, Nyingmapa practice was advanced orally among a loose network of lay practitioners. Monasteries with celibate monks and nuns, along with the practice of reincarnated spiritual leaders, are adaptations. In modern times, the Nyingma lineage has been centered in Kham and has been associated with the Rime movement. Traditional Nyingma texts see themselves as a lineage, established by Samantabhadra, the “primordial buddha” and, the embodiment of the Dharmakāya, the "truth body" of all buddhas.
Nyingma sees Vajradhara and other buddhas as teachers of their many doctrines. Samantabhadra's wisdom and compassion spontaneously radiates myriad teachings, all appropriate to the capacities of different beings and entrusts them to "knowledge holders", the chief of, Dorjé Chörap, who gives them to Vajrasattva and the dakini Légi Wangmoché, who in turn disseminate them among human siddhas; the first human teacher of the tradition was said to be Garab Dorje. Padmasambhava is the most famous and revered figure of the early human teachers and there are many legends about him, making it difficult to separate history from myth. Other early teachers include Vimalamitra, Jambel Shé Nyen, Sri Simha, Jñanasutra. Most of these figures are associated with the Indian region of Oddiyana. Buddhism existed in Tibet at least from the time of king Thothori Nyantsen in the eastern regions; the reign of Songtsen Gampo saw an expansion of Tibetan power, the adoption of a writing system and promotion of Buddhism.
Around 760, Trisong Detsen invited Padmasambhava and the Nalanda abbot Śāntarakṣita to Tibet to introduce Buddhism to the "Land of Snows." Trisong Detsen ordered the translation of all Buddhist texts into Tibetan. Padmasambhava, Śāntarakṣita, 108 translators, 25 of Padmasambhava's nearest disciples worked for many years in a gigantic translation-project; the translations from this period formed the base for the large scriptural transmission of Dharma teachings into Tibet and are known as the "Old Translations". Padmasambhava supervised the translation of tantras. Padmasambhava and Śāntarakṣita founded the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet: Samye. However, this situation would not last: The explosive developments were interrupted in the mid-ninth century as the Empire began to disintegrate, leading to a century-long interim of civil war and decentralization about which we know little; the early Vajrayana, transmitted from India to Tibet may be differentiated by the specific term "Mantrayana". "Mantrayana" is the Sanskrit of what became rendered in Tibetan as "Secret Mantra": this is the self-identifying term employed in the earliest literature.
From this basis, Vajrayana was established in its entirety in Tibet. From the eighth until the eleventh century, this textual tradition was the only form of Buddhism in Tibet. With the reign of King Langdarma, the brother of King Ralpachen, a time of political instability ensued which continued over the next 300 years, during which time Buddhism was persecuted and forced underground because the King saw it as a threat to the indigenous Bön tradition. Langdarma persecuted monks and nuns, attempted to wipe out Buddhism, his efforts, were not successful. A few monks escaped to Amdo in the northeast of Tibet, where they preserved the lineage of monastic ordination; the period of the 9-10th centuries saw increasing popularity of a new class of texts which would be classified as the Dzogchen "Mind series". Some of these texts present themselves as translations of Indian works, though according to David Germano, most are original Tibetan compositions; these texts promote the view that true nature of the mind is empty and luminous and seem to reject traditional forms of practice.
An emphasis on the Dzogchen textual tradition is a central feature of the Nyingma school. From the eleventh century onward, there was an attempt to reintroduce Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet; this saw new translation efforts which led to the foundation of new Vajrayana schools which are collectively known as the Sarma "New translation" schools because they reject the old translations of the Nyingma canon. It was at that time that Nyingmapas began to see themselves as a distinct group and the term "Nyingma" came into usage to refer to those who continued to use the "Old" or "Ancient" translations. Nyingma writers such as Rongzom and Nyangrel were instrumental in defending the old texts from the critiques of the Sarma translators and in establishing a foundation for the mythology and philosophy of the Nyingma tradition. Rongzom Chokyi Zangpo was the most influential of the 11th century Nyingma authors, wr
Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen
Dölpopa Shérap Gyeltsen, known as Dölpopa, a Tibetan Buddhist master known as "The Buddha from Dölpo," a region in modern Nepal, the principal exponent of the shentong teachings, an influential member of the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Dölpopa was born in Dölpo. In 1309, when he was seventeen, he ran away from home to seek the Buddhist teachings, first in Mustang and in Tibet. In 1314, when he was twenty-two years old, Dölpopa received full monastic ordination from the famous abbot of Choelung Monastery, Sönam Trakpa, made a vow at the time to never eat slaughtered meat again. In 1321, Dölpopa visited Jonang Monastery at Jomonang for the first time, he visited Tsurphu Monastery for the first time and had extensive discussions with Rangjung Dorje, 3rd Karmapa Lama, about doctrinal issues. It appears that the Karmapa Lama certainly influenced the development of some of Dölpopa's theories including shentong. Other than this, Dölpopa had studied completely under the Sakya tradition until he was thirty years old in 1322 and he had taught for most of the previous decade at the great Sakya Monastery.
In 1327, after the death of his guru Yönden Gyantso, Dölpopa decided to fulfill a prayer he had made at the great stupa at Trophu to repay his master's kindness. "He felt that the stūpa would become an object of worship for people who were not fortunate enough to engage in study and meditation, therefore provide them with the opportunity to accumulate virtue."In time, Dölpopa became one of the most influential and original yet controversial of Tibetan Buddhist teachers, systemizing Buddha-nature and Yogacara-Madhyamaka teachings in a teaching known as shentong. Dölpopa retired from the leadership of Jonang Monastery in 1338 and appointed the translator lotsawa Lödro Bal to succeed him. Lödro Bal remained in this role for seventeen years. According to Stearns, It is important to keep in mind that Dölpopa was a consummate practitioner of the Six-branch Yoga, the perfection-stage practices of the Kālacakra tantra, although he based his doctrinal discussions upon scripture, in particular the Kālacakra-related cycles, his own experience in meditation was crucial to the formulation of his theories.
In line with the Buddha-nature teachings and the prevalent Yogacara-Madhyamaka synthesis, Dölpopa interpreted śūnyatā as twofold, distinguishing the conventional "emptiness of self-nature", the ultimate "emptiness of other", the clear nature of mind. Dölpopa taught that emptiness of self-nature applied only to relative truth, while emptiness of other is characteristic of ultimate truth, i.e. ultimate Reality is not empty of its own uncreated and deathless Truth, but only of what is impermanent and illusory. Dölpopa employed the term'Self' or'Soul' to refer to the ultimate truth, according to him, lay at the heart of all being. In his Mountain Doctrine work, he refers to this essence as the "Great Self", "True Self", "Diamond Self", "Supreme Self", "Solid Self" and "Supreme Self of all Creatures", basing himself on specific utterances and doctrines of the Buddha in the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra, the Aṅgulimālīya Sūtra and the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra, amongst others While most of his peers baulk at such a term, there are still exponents of the Nyingma and Kagyu schools who are happy to see the heart of all beings as one unified, egoless Buddha-self.
Shenpen Hookham, for example, writes affirmatively of the True Self in the teachings of Dölpopa and other great Buddhist masters, saying: Absolute, Eternal True Self: Many venerable saints and scholars have argued for the Self in the past and do so in the present. Great teachers of the Tibetan Nyingma and Sakya schools have and do argue that such a view is fundamental to the practice of the Buddhist path and the attainment of Enlightenment. Hookham further points out that Dölpopa envisioned the Buddha within each being as an actual, living truth and presence, not conditioned or generated by any temporal process of causation: The essential feature of a Shentong interpretation of tathāgatagarbha doctrine is that the Buddha is figuratively within all beings as their unchanging, non-conditioned nature.... Buddha is by all accounts considered to be non-conditioned, unchanging, compassion, power, so on. For Shentongpas the fact that Buddha is non-conditioned means the essence of Buddha is complete with all the Buddha Qualities in a timeless sense'.
Dölpopa uses many scriptural citations to support his view, drawing upon sutras and tantras to substantiate his understanding of Mahayana and tantric teachings on definitive truth. As Cyrus Stearns writes in his monograph on Dölpopa, this scholar-monk made: he assertion that ultimate truth, referred to by terms such as tathāgatagarbha, dharmadhātu, dharmakāya, is a permanent or eternal state. Of course, statements to this effect are not unusual in certain Mahayana sutras and treatises.... For Dolpopa, all such statements in the scriptures and commentaries were of definitive meaning, were to be understood literally. Dölpopa frequently makes use of such positive terms which he finds in the selfsame scriptures and tantras as'permanent','everlasting,'eternal' and'Self'. This, Dölpopa claims, all pertains to the realm of Nirvana, is one with the Buddha-nature, it is not an intel
Tilopa was born in either Chativavo, Bengal or Jagora, Bengal in India. He was mahasiddha, he practiced Anuttarayoga Tantra, a set of spiritual practices intended to accelerate the process of attaining Buddhahood. Naropa is considered his main student. At Pashupatinath temple premise, greatest Hindu shrine of Nepal, there are two caves where Tilopa attained Siddhi and initiated his disciple Naropa. Tilopa was born into the priestly caste – according to some sources, a royal family – but he adopted the monastic life upon receiving orders from a dakini who told him to adopt a mendicant and itinerant existence. From the beginning, she made it clear to Tilopa that his real parents were not the persons who had raised him, but instead were primordial wisdom and universal voidness. Advised by the dakini, Tilopa took up a monk's life, taking the monastic vows and becoming an erudite scholar; the frequent visits of his dakini teacher continued to guide his spiritual path and close the gap to enlightenment.
He began to travel throughout India, receiving teachings from many gurus: from Saryapa he learned of inner heat. As advised by Matangi, Tilopa started to work at a brothel in Bengal for a prostitute called Dharima as her solicitor and bouncer. During the day, he was grinding sesame seeds for his living. During a meditation, he received a vision of Vajradhara and, according to legend, the entirety of mahamudra was directly transmitted to Tilopa. After having received the transmission, Tilopa embarked on a wandering existence and started to teach, he appointed his most important student, as his successor. Tilopa gave Naropa a teaching called the Six Words of Advice, the original Sanskrit or Bengali of, not extant. In Tibetan, the teaching is called gnad kyi gzer drug – "six nails of key points" – the aptness of which title becomes clear if one considers the meaning of the English idiomatic expression, "to hit the nail on the head.” According to Ken McLeod, the text contains six words. Watts-Wayman translationAn earlier translation circa 1957 by Alan Watts and Dr. Alex Wayman rendered Tilopa's "Six Precepts" as No thought, no reflection, no analysis, No cultivation, no intention.
In a footnote, Watts cited a Tibetan source text at partial variance with McLeod's in sequence and syntax, namely: Mi-mno, mi-bsam, mi-dpyad-ching, Mi-bsgom, mi-sems, rang-babs-bzhag. Based on an "elucidation" provided by Wayman, Watts explained that Mi-mno is equivalent to the Zen terms wu-hsin or wu-nien, “no-mind” or “no thought.” Bsam is the equivalent of the Sanskrit cintana, i.e. discursive thinking about what has been heard, dpyad of mimamsa, or “philosophical analysis.” Bsgom is bhavana or the Chinese hsiu, “to cultivate,” “to practice,” or “intense concentration.” Sems is szu, with the sense of intention or volition. Rang-babs-bzhag is “self-settle-establish,” and “self-settle” would seem to be an exact equivalent of the Taoist tzu-jan, “self-so,” “spontaneous,” or “natural.”Watts had studied Chinese, Wayman was a Tibetologist and professor of Sanskrit associated with UCLA and Columbia University. Tilopa gave mahamudra instruction to Naropa by means of the song known as "The Ganges Mahamudra," one stanza of which reads: The fool in his ignorance, disdaining Mahamudra, Knows nothing but struggle in the flood of samsara.
Have compassion for those who suffer constant anxiety! Sick of unrelenting pain and desiring release, adhere to a master, For when his blessing touches your heart, the mind is liberated. One of the most famous and important statements attributed to Tilopa is: “The problem is not enjoyment. Erdne Ombadykow, as Telo Tulku Rinpoche, supposed reincarnation of Tilopa History of Tibet Rinpoche, Chökyi Nyima. Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Rangjung Yeshe Publications. ISBN 978-962-7341-21-5. Blo-Gros, Mar-Pa Chos-Kyi; the Life of the Mahāsiddha Tilopa. Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. ISBN 978-81-85102-91-7. Rinpoche, Sangyes Nyenpa. Tilopa's Mahamudra Upadesha: The Gangama Instructions with Commentary. Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-0-8348-2974-9. An English translation of "The Ganges Mahamudra" Several English translations of "The Ganges Mahamudra"
Schools of Buddhism
The schools of Buddhism are the various institutional and doctrinal divisions of Buddhism that have existed from ancient times up to the present. The classification and nature of various doctrinal, philosophical or cultural facets of the schools of Buddhism is vague and has been interpreted in many different ways due to the sheer number of different sects, movements, etc. that have made up or make up the whole of Buddhist traditions. The sectarian and conceptual divisions of Buddhist thought are part of the modern framework of Buddhist studies, as well as comparative religion in Asia. From a English-language standpoint, to some extent in most of Western academia, Buddhism is separated into two groups at its foundation: Theravāda "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching," and Mahāyāna the "Great Vehicle." The most common classification among scholars is threefold, with Mahāyāna itself split between the traditional Mahāyāna teachings, the Vajrayāna teachings which emphasize esotericism.
The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Religion distinguishes three types of classification of Buddhism, separated into "movements", "Nikāyas" and "doctrinal schools": Schools: Theravada in South Asia and Southeast Asia. Mahāyāna in East Asia. Vajrayāna in Tibet, Bhutan and the Russian republic of Kalmykia. Secular Buddhism in the Western Buddhism Nikāyas, or monastic fraternities, three of which survive at the present day: Theravāda, in Southeast Asia and South Asia Dharmaguptaka, in China and Vietnam Mūlasarvāstivāda, in the Tibetan tradition Doctrinal schools Svatantrika & Prasaṅgika The terminology for the major divisions of Buddhism can be confusing, as Buddhism is variously divided by scholars and practitioners according to geographic and philosophical criteria, with different terms being used in different contexts; the following terms may be encountered in descriptions of the major Buddhist divisions: "Conservative Buddhism" an alternative name for the early Buddhist schools. "Early Buddhist schools" the schools divided in its first few centuries.
"Ekayāna Mahayana texts such as the Lotus Sutra and the Avatamsaka Sutra sought to unite all the different teachings into a single great way. These texts serve as the inspiration for using the term Ekayāna in the sense of "one vehicle"; this "one vehicle" became a key aspect of the doctrines and practices of Tiantai and Tendai Buddhist sects, which subsequently influenced Chán and Zen doctrines and practices. In Japan, the one-vehicle teaching of the Lotus Sutra inspired the formation of the Nichiren sect. "Esoteric Buddhism" considered synonymous with "Vajrayāna". Some scholars have applied the term to certain practices found within the Theravāda in Cambodia. "Hīnayāna" meaning "lesser vehicle." It is considered a controversial term when applied by the Mahāyāna to mistakenly refer to the Theravāda school, as such is viewed as condescending and pejorative. Moreover, Hīnayāna refers to the now non extant schools with limited set of views and results, prior to the development of the Mahāyāna traditions.
The term is most used as a way of describing a stage on the path in Tibetan Buddhism, but is mistakenly confused with the contemporary Theravāda tradition, far more complex and profound, than the literal and limiting definition attributed to Hīnayāna. Its use in scholarly publications is now considered controversial."Lamaism" an old term, still sometimes used, synonymous with Tibetan Buddhism. "Mahāyāna" a movement that emerged from early Buddhist schools, together with its descendants, East Asian and Tibetan Buddhism. Vajrayāna traditions are sometimes listed separately; the main use of the term in East Asian and Tibetan traditions is in reference to spiritual levels, regardless of school. "Mainstream Buddhism" a term used by some scholars for the early Buddhist schools. "Mantrayāna" considered synonymous with "Vajrayāna". The Tendai school in Japan has been described. "Newar Buddhism" caste based Buddhism with patrilineal descent and Sanskrit texts. "Nikāya Buddhism" or "schools" an alternative term for the early Buddhist schools.
"Non-Mahāyāna" an alternative term for the early Buddhist schools. "Northern Buddhism" an alternative term used by some scholars for Tibetan Buddhism. An older term still sometimes used to encompass both East Asian and Tibetan traditions, it has been used to refer to East Asian Buddhism alone, without Tibetan Buddhism. "Secret Mantra" an alternative rendering of Mantrayāna, a more literal translation of the term used by schools in Tibetan Buddhism when referring to themselves. "Sectarian Buddhism" an alternative name for the early Buddhist schools. "Southeast Asian Buddhism" an alternative name used by some scholars for Theravāda. "Southern Buddhism" an alternative name used by some scholars for Theravāda. "Śravakayāna" an alternative term sometimes used for the early Buddhist schools. "Tantrayāna" or "Tantric Buddhism" considered synonymous with "Vajrayāna". However, one scholar describes the tantra divisions of some editions of the Tibetan scriptures as including Śravakayāna, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna texts.
Buddhist meditation is the practice of meditation in Buddhism. The closest words for meditation in the classical languages of Buddhism are bhāvanā and jhāna/dhyāna. Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward liberation and Nirvana, includes a variety of meditation techniques, most notably asubha bhavana; these techniques aim to develop equanimity and sati. These meditation techniques are preceded by and combined with practices which aid this development, such as moral restraint and right effort to develop wholesome states of mind. While these techniques are used across Buddhist schools, there is significant diversity. In the Theravada tradition, reflecting developments in early Buddhism, meditation techniques are classified as either samatha and vipassana. Chinese and Japanese Buddhism preserved a wide range of meditation techniques, which go back to early Buddhism, most notably Sarvastivada. In Tibetan Buddhism, deity yoga includes visualisations; the closest words for meditation in the classical languages of Buddhism are bhāvanā and jhāna/dhyāna.
Modern Buddhist studies has attempted to reconstruct the meditation practices of pre-sectarian Early Buddhism through philological and text critical methods using the early canonical texts. According to Indologist Johannes Bronkhorst, "the teaching of the Buddha as presented in the early canon contains a number of contradictions," presenting "a variety of methods that do not always agree with each other," containing "views and practices that are sometimes accepted and sometimes rejected." These contradictions are due to the influence of non-Buddhist traditions on early Buddhism. One example of these non-Buddhist meditative methods found in the early sources is outlined by Bronkhorst: The Vitakkasanthāna Sutta of the Majjhima Nikāya and its parallels in Chinese translation recommend the practicing monk to ‘restrain his thought with his mind, to coerce and torment it’; the same words are used elsewhere in the Pāli canon in order to describe the futile attempts of the Buddha before his enlightenment to reach liberation after the manner of the Jainas.
According to Bronkhorst, such practices which are based on a "suppression of activity" are not authentically Buddhist, but were adopted from the Jains by the Buddhist community. The two major traditions of meditative practice in pre-Buddhist India were the Jain ascetic practices and the various Vedic Brahmanical practices. There is still much debate in Buddhist studies regarding how much influence these two traditions had on the development of early Buddhist meditation; the early Buddhist texts mention that Gautama trained under two teachers known as Āḷāra Kālāma and Uddaka Rāmaputta, both of them taught formless jhanas or mental absorptions, a key practice of proper Buddhist meditation. Alexander Wynne considers these figures historical persons associated with the doctrines of the early Upanishads. Other practices which the Buddha undertook have been associated with the Jain ascetic tradition by the Indologist Johannes Bronkhorst including extreme fasting and a forceful "meditation without breathing".
According to the early texts, the Buddha rejected the more extreme Jain ascetic practices in favor of the middle way. Early Buddhism, as it existed before the development of various schools, is called pre-sectarian Buddhism, its meditation-techniques are described in the Chinese Agamas. Meditation and contemplation are preceded by preparatory practices; as described in the Noble Eightfold Path, right view leads to leaving the household life and becoming a wandering monk. Sila, comprises the rules for right conduct. Sense restraint and right effort, c.q. the four right efforts, are important preparatory practices. Sense restraint means controlling the response to sensual perceptions, not giving in to lust and aversion but noticing the objects of perception as they appear. Right effort aims to prevent the arising of unwholesome states, to generate wholesome states. By following these preparatory steps and practices, the mind becomes set naturally, for the practice of dhyana. Asubha bhavana is reflection on "the foul"/unattractiveness.
It includes two practices, namely cemetery contemplations, Paṭikkūlamanasikāra, "reflections on repulsiveness". Patikulamanasikara is a Buddhist meditation whereby thirty-one parts of the body are contemplated in a variety of ways. In addition to developing sati and samādhi, this form of meditation is considered to be conducive to overcoming desire and lust. Anussati means "recollection," "contemplation," "remembrance," "meditation" and "mindfulness." It refers to specific meditative or devotional practices, such as recollecting the sublime qualities of the Buddha or anapanasati, which lead to mental tranquillity and abiding joy. In various contexts, the Pali literature and Sanskrit Mahayana sutras emphasize and identify different enumerations of recollections. An important quality to be cultivated by a Buddhist meditator is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a polyvalent term w
Nāropā was an Indian Buddhist Mahasiddha. He was the disciple of Tilopa and brother; as an Indian Mahasiddha, Naropa's instructions inform Vajrayana his six yogas of Naropa relevant to the completion stage of anuttarayogatantra. Although some accounts relate that Naropa was the personal teacher of Marpa Lotsawa, other accounts suggest that Marpa held Naropa's lineage through intermediary disciples only. According to scholar John Newman, "the Tibetans give Nāro's name as Nā ro pa, Nā ro paṇ chen, Nā ro ta pa, so forth; the manuscript of the Paramarthasaṃgraha preserves a Sanskrit form Naḍapāda. A Sanskrit manuscript edited by Tucci preserves an apparent Prakrit form Nāropā, as well as a semi-Sanskritic Nāropadā." Naropa was a contemporary of Atiśa. Naropa was born in a high status Brahmin family of Bengal. From an early age showed an independent streak, hoping to follow a career of study and meditation. Succumbing to his parents' wishes, he agreed to an arranged marriage with a young Brahmin girl.
After 8 years they both agreed to become ordained. At the age of 28 Naropa entered the famous Buddhist University at Nalanda where he studied both Sutra and Tantra, he gained the reputation of a great scholar and faultless debater, essential at that time as the tradition of debate was such that the loser automatically became a student of the winner. He gained the title "Guardian of the Northern gate", engaged in many debates and taught and won many students. According to his Tibetan namtar, or spiritual biography, one day, while he was studying, a dakini appeared to Naropa and asked if he understood the words of the Dharma, Buddha's teachings, he replied that he did and when she seemed happy with his response, he added that he understood their meaning. At this point the dakini burst into tears, stating that he was a great scholar, but a liar, as the only one who understood the teachings was her brother, Tilopa. On hearing the name "Tilopa", he experienced an intense feeling of devotion, Naropa realised he needed to find the teacher to achieve full realisation.
He set out to find Tilopa. Naropa underwent what is known as the twelve minor hardships in his quest to find his teacher, all the hardships being hidden teachings on his path to enlightenment; when he met Tilopa, he was given the four complete transmission lineages which he began to practice. While studying and meditating with Tilopa, Naropa had to undergo a further twelve major hardships, trainings to overcome all the obstacles on his path, culminating in his full realisation of mahāmudrā. Naropa spent a total of twelve years with Tilopa. At the bank of river bagmati, in the premise of Hindu shrine Pashupatinath Temple, there is the cave where he was initiated by Tilopa and attained Siddhi. In his life Naropa stayed in Phullahari, where he died aged 85. Phullahari or Pullahari was located most in eastern Bihar or Bengal. One of the few reliable historical accounts of him comes from a Tibetan translator named Ngatso Lotsawa, who made an effort to visit Naropa at the monastery of Phullahari while waiting to visit with Atiśa at Vikramashila.
Because I went alone as an insignificant monk to see the Lord Atisha —— and because he tarried for a year in Magadha – I thought I would go see the Lord Naropa, since his reputation was so great. I went east from Magadha for a month, as I had heard that the Lord was staying in the monastery known as Phullahari. Great merit arose from being able to go see him. On the day I arrived, they said. So I went to the spot, a great throne had been erected. I sat right in front of it; the whole crowd started buzzing, "The Lord is coming!" I looked and the Lord was physically quite corpulent, with his white hair bright red, a vermilion turban on. He was being carried by four men, was chewing betel-leaf. I grabbed his feet and thought, "I should listen to his pronoucements!" Stronger and stronger people, pushed me further and further from his feet and I was tossed out of the crowd. So, there I saw the Lord's face, but did not hear his voice. Naropa is remembered for his trust and devotion to his teacher, according to his biography, enabled him to attain enlightenment in one lifetime.
He is remembered as part of the "Golden Garland", meaning he is a lineage holder of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and was considered an accomplished scholar. A great practitioner, Naropa is best known for having collated the Six Dharmas; these practices help achieve Buddhahood more rapidly. Many subsequent Karmapas have been adept at one or more of these practices, which in Vajrayana tradition are held to have been given by the Buddha and were passed on through an unbroken lineage via Tilopa to Naropa and Milarepa and on to the present day. Naropa is considered one of the ` saints' of Vajrayana. Naropa University in Colorado, USA was named in his honour. Six yogas of Naropa Tilopa Mahasiddha Marpa Kagyu The Life and Teaching of Naropa by Herbert V Gunther. Shambhala Publications 1999 Massachusetts. ISBN 1-56957-110-4 The Life of Marpa the Translator. Tsang Nyon Heruka Translated by the Nalanda Translation Committee. Shambhala Publications 1995 Boston. ISBN 1-57062-087-3 The Life Story of Naropa by Kenpo Chodrak Rinpoche.
Published in Kagyu Life International No's 3 & 4,1995 San Francisco. The Golden Kagyu Garland, A History of the Kagyu Lineage, adapted by Bruce Tarver. Published in Buddhism Today Is