Red ochre

Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU
Sun Jan 2 17:58:28 UTC 2005

On Fri, 31 Dec 2004, Dean Anderson wrote:
> Do Buddhist texts specify why it is consecrated to the .daakinii?
According to a tradition that I know from Tibetan works on
materia medica, and which I think in this case must be based
on Indian sources I have not yet identified, sinduura is a pure,
vivifying and healing substance because it is derived from
the menstrual blood of Vajrayoginii. (I don't know of
any secondary works that deal with this, but it is entirely
consonant with the broader Indian tantric symbolism of
sinduura, on which see, e.g., David White, The Alchemical Body
(index sub "sinduura").) In any event, these properties account
for its medical use, especially in the treatment of wounds.
This also, of course, relates to a wider Indian tradition.
See, e.g., zabdakalpadruma, vol. V, p. 353 sub "sinduura",
where it is qualified as "vra.nazodhanaroha.nam"--used in the
cleansing and healing of wounds.

Matthew Kapstein

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