kashmir shaivism and dzogchen

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interestingly, here this guy talks about Bhagwad-Gita in tibet around 900 ad, and that copy of bhagwadgita was thrown by a Lama...


Kashmir Shaivism and Dzogchen

By Sri Kamakoti Mandali on Feb 18, 2013 | In Darshana - John Myrdhin Reynolds The title of the Tantra, the Sanskrit original for Byang-chub kyi sems kun-byed rgyal-po, is given as Bodhichitta-kulayaraja. Bodhichitta, as we have repeatedly said, in the context of Dzogchen means the Primordial State, and this is the usual designation found in all of the rDzogschen Sems-sdeTantras. But the term Kulayaraja is otherwise unknown in Sanskrit. Dargyay would link it to the form Kularaja found in certain texts of the Kashmiri Shaiva tradition. Kula has a wide range of meaning in this system, including reference to the manifestations of the Absolute. The term is also found in another related system particularly connected with Kali worship. The latter is known as Kaula and its practice as Kaulachara. The Kaulas of Bengal have a ninefold system of classification of their levels of teaching that is reminiscent of the nine vehicles (theg-pa dgu) of the Nyingmapas and the Bonpos. It is possible that Kulaya was adopted from a Shaivite context, but this is not a sufficient reason to assume that the term has the same meaning in the Buddhist system that it does in a theistic Shaiva text. The appellationBhagavan is applied both to the Buddha in the Buddhist system and to Krishna and Vishnu in the Vaishnava system, but this does not mean that its meaning is understood in the same way in Buddhism and in Vaishnavism. The Bhagavad Gita was once translated into Tibetan, and from this we learn that Bhagavan, as a title of Krishna, is translated as Legs-ldan, whereas when it is applied to Buddha, it is translated as bCom-ldan-das. It is said that when the famous translator Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055) found this Tibetan translation of the Bhagavad Gita in Western Tibet and read its opening chapters, he was so horrified that he threw the entire text into the river. So now, except for a few sample verses which have been preserved, the rest of the translation has been lost. Such was the new puritanism of the eleventh century!

In the canonical Tangyur will be found translations of other Shaiva texts relating to dreams, omens, and so forth, and a large Shaiva text dealing with astrology, the Svarodaya Tantra (dByangs char), but these are considered to be texts dealing with secular sciences, rather than the innermost science of spiritual liberation. Whether the Tantra we have here can be shown to have any relationship to Kashmiri Shaivism other than this mysterious termkulaya must await a comprehensive study of the entire text. Shaivism is indeed an ancient religious movement in India. Of unknown, but of undoubtedly pre Indo-European origin, the god Shiva came in later times to be identified with the Vedic deity Rudra. One of the principal early Upanishads, the Shvetopanishad, with its notion of Ishvara or the Lord, appears to have links with Shaiva tradition. The oldest sectarian Shaiva texts, known as the Shaivagamas, deal with the cult practices of the god Shiva. The earliest systematic philosophical statement of the Shaiva system is represented by the Pashupata Sutras, associated with the name of the sage Lakulisha. The most popular and widespread system of Shaiva philosophy, the Shaiva Siddhanta, came to South India in the sixth or seventh century CE, where it became the major rival of the earlier Buddhism and Jainism. North Indian texts summarizing the more unsystematic Agamas were translated into the Tamil language, like the famous Tirumanthiram of Tirumular. All of these forms of Shaiva philosophy were pluralistic, postulating the ultimate reality of three principles: pati, pashu and pasha, that is, God, individual souls and bondage to the cycle of death and rebirth. Where as these earlier forms of Agamic Shaivism, like Pashupata and Siddhanta, are distinctly dualistic and theistic in character, Kashmiri Shaivism has a thoroughgoing monistic or advaita view. This monistic standpoint is shared with the Advaita Vedanta of Shankaracharya and with the Shakta system of Bengal. However, a key difference does exist here. The view adhered to by the Advaita Vedanta is known as Mayavada, that is to say, the appearance of diversity in the world is merely an

illusion (maya). It is like a man seeing a rope lying across his path and in the darkness mistaking it for a snake. This illusion has no ontological status. Rather, it represents an epistemological problem. In the Vedantic system, the ultimate reality is known as Brahman, and nothing else exists. The view associated with Kashmiri Shaivism and with Shaktism is known as Shaktivada, wherein Maya, or the world illusion, in all its diversity, is granted a certain ontological status. This diversity is an illusion in the sense that it lacks any inherent or independent reality, but it does possess a kind of relative reality in that it represents the energy, or shakti, of Chit, or primordial awareness (chitshakti). Maya is thus not just a mistake in perception, mistaking the rope for a snake; it is not something merely passive but something active and dynamic, a creative energy, or Mayashakti, which brings diversity into manifestation. Here there are some philosophical parallels with Dzogchen. Although the Tibetan term rtsal, energy, potency, potentiality, is never glossed as Shakti in the Dzogchen texts, the conceptions embodied in these two terms are quite similar. The Dzogchen term rig-pai rtsal, the potency or energy of awareness, could almost be translated as Vidyashakti, which is a technical term found in the Shaiva and Shakta systems. It refers to the energy inherent within the primordial non-dual Awareness which gives rise to the diversity of manifestations. Also, the term for manifestation or appearance (snang-ba, abhasa), is found in a similar context in both systems. Kashmiri Shaivism, as a distinct movement separate from the earlier forms of dualistic Shaivism based on the Shaivagamas, certainly arose with the Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta in the ninth century Kashmir, if not before. Have we a synchronicity here? This is precisely the era when Dzogchen was developing and spreading in Tibet among both Buddhists and Bonpos. According to Nyingmapa tradition, the historical advent of Dzogchen occured earlier than the ninth century with the activities of Garab Dorje in Uddiyana and India and so on; however, the ninth century may have been the time of the composing of part or all of the kun-byed rgyal-po.


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