[INDOLOGY] Visualisation of Buddha/Guru

Howard Resnick hr at ivs.edu
Tue Jan 21 13:31:37 UTC 2014

Dear James,

	Bhagavad-gita prescribes a visualization of Krishna as “supreme divine person…with an inconceivable, sun-colored form” (Bg 8.8-9). And of course chapter 11 is extremely visual, using dozens of forms of various verbs meaning “to see,” all in regard to the visva-rupa.

	The Bhagavata-purana, which many date to the first millennium ce, is full of visualizations of various forms of Bhagavan, explicitly as meditation practice. The usual divine forms are the virad-rupa (cosmic form), four-handed Narayana, and two-handed Krishna.


On Jan 21, 2014, at 2:37 AM, James Hegarty <hegartyjm at googlemail.com> wrote:

> Dear Colleagues,
> Can anyone advise me as to how common visualisation of the Buddha or Guru is in Buddhist meditative practice?
> Can anyone also suggest the period in which such practices were likely to have developed? It is not something I associate with Pali sources (but I am no Buddhologist).
> I am particularly interested in materials that are likely to date to the first millennium of the common era.
> If there are any striking examples of this practice in other early Indian religious traditions, I would also be grateful to hear of them.
> With Thanks and Best Wishes,
> James Hegarty
> Cardiff University
> UK
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