Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The great Eight Great Bodhisattvas, or 'Eight Close Sons' (ཉེ་བའི་སྲས་བརྒྱད་)

The main bodhisattvas in the retinue of Buddha Shakyamuni are: 

  • Mañjushri
  • Avalokiteshvara
  • Vajrapani
  • Maitreya
  • Kshitigarbha
  • Akashagarbha
  • Sarvanivaranavishkambhin
  • Samantabhadra 

Each fulfils a particular role to help beings. Symbolically they represent the pure state of the eight consciousnesses.

 

Although the eight bodhisattvas or ‘close sons of the Buddha’ all possess the same qualities and powers, each one displays perfection in a particular area or activity.

  • Manjushri embodies wisdom;
  • Avalokiteshvara embodies compassion;
  • Vajrapani represents power;
  • Kshitigarbha increases the richness and fertility of the land;
  • Sarva nivarana vishkambhin purifies wrong-doing and obstructions;
  • Maitreya embodies love;
  • Samantabhadra displays special expertise in making offerings and prayers of aspiration; and
  • Akashagarbha has the perfect ability to purify transgressions.

Among the immeasurable qualities of the Buddha, eight of his foremost qualities manifest as the eight bodhisattvas:

1.     the personification of the Buddha’s wisdom (ཡེ་ཤེས་ཀྱི་རང་གཟུགསis Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī (འཇམ་དཔལ་དབྱངས།);

2.    the personification of the Buddha’s compassion (སྙིང་རྗེའི་རང་གཟུགས) appears as Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས།);

3.    the personification of the Buddha’s power or capacity (ནུས་པའི་རང་གཟུགསis Bodhisattva Vajrapāṇi (ཕྱག་ན་རྡོ་རྗེ།);

4.    the personification of the Buddha’s activity (ཕྲིན་ལས) is Bodhisattva Maitreya (རྒྱལ་བ་བྱམས་པ།);

5.    the personification of the Buddha’s merit (བསོད་ནམས་རང་གཟུགས) arises as Bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha (ས་ཡི་སྙིང་པོ།)

6.    the personification of the Buddha’s qualities (ཡོན་ཏན་གྱི་རང་གཟུགས) appears as Bodhisattva Sarvanīvaraṇaviṣkambhī ( སྒྲིབ་པ་རྣམ་པར་སེལ་བ།)

7.    the personification of the Buddha’s blessings (བྱིན་རླབས་ཀྱི་རང་གཟུགསarises as Bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha (ནམ་མཁའི་སྙིང་པོ།and

8.    the personification of the Buddha’s aspirations (སྨོན་ལམ་གྱི་རང་གཟུགས) is manifest as Bodhisattva Samantabhadra (ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་པོ། བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའ།)


Image courtesy: Himalayan Arts Org.

Courtesy: Rigpa Shedra

Brief Sang offering prayer

Smoke in Bhutanese language means ‘Sang'.    It is customary especially in rural villages that the first thing they do in the morning is...