Tea House

Daily Perspectives and Stories on Buddhist Trends

Tag: Buddhahood

Is Pure Land Buddhism a “Mystic” Tradition?

The Cathedral of Ávila. From Buddhistdoor Global

A groundbreaking conference between Teresian sisters and priests and Buddhist scholars and monastics has just concluded at the University of Mysticism in Avila, Spain. During our time here among new friends and Carmelite masters, I had the chance to visit many churches in the Old City (the UNESCO-listed complex behind the grand walled fortifications) and those beyond the walls, each of which hold a piece of the life of Saint Teresa, Saint John of the Cross, or some other Christian figure associated with the Discalced Carmelite Order. Within each sublime structure we were reminded of the simultaneous grandeur and humility of the contemplative life, which demands a retreat from the lies and futility of the world and an inner turning that results in the elevation of the human being and a union with God.

So, we turn inwards single-mindedly. What of the single-minded determination to become a Buddha, which is the ultimate goal in Mahayana Buddhism? What of the path to achieving Buddhahood, the quickest and most effective of which is total reliance on Amitabha Buddha’s 18th Vow and one-minded invocation of his Name? Isn’t this Buddhist anthropology also one of the highest elevation, of an evolution through bodhi to Buddhahood that parallels the metamorfosis of the Carmelite mystic into something God-like, a true human of light and love unified with all of God?

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Fathers and Sons: The Buddha and King Suddhodana

Raymond Lam

Siddhartha and Suddhodana in the Tezuka-inspired animated feature film Buddha.

This Sunday will be Father’s Day in Hong Kong. Most young people, luckily, will get to enjoy the 18th with their old men. In the grand scheme of things it’s not uncommon for kids to lose their father (or both parents) earlier in life. In the end, we all are destined to be orphans. We just hope to be orphaned as late as possible. We want our parents to stay with us well into our adulthood; by that time we’re hopefully emotionally mature enough to let go when the time comes.

When I look at so much of fiction and pop culture (not just the classics like King Lear or Chinese literature but also Batman, Superman, or Star Wars) I realize just how important the father-son archetypal relationship is to our collective folk memories. The father, be it through presence and nurture or absence and distance (or even a combination of both), shapes what the son becomes. Or, the son becomes what he is in defiance, or in spite, of his father.

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Dharmodaya: The Source of Reality

Lyudmila Klasanova

The six-pointed geometric star or hexagram is considered one of the most ancient spiritual symbols in the world and has a deep meaning in Tantric Buddhism. In Vajrayana it appears as ritual diagram and symbolic emblem of the female deity Vajrayogini (Tib. Dorje Naljorma) who is emanation of the perfect state of Buddha in the female form. She can be seen depicted with one triangle or two intertwined two-dimensional or three-dimensional triangles. When the triangle is one, it is facing down and, as in the Hindu tradition, symbolizes the feminine principle. When there are two triangles, usually they form a tetrahedron, which in Tantric Buddhism is called dharmodaya (Tib. chojung). The terms translates as “the source of reality”, “the source of phenomena” or “the source of truth” and is associated with a continuous source of femininity.

1. Tibetan mandala with Vajrayogini stands in the center of dharmodaya, Rubin Museum of Art. From en.wikipedia.org

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