[INDOLOGY] Visualisation of Buddha/Guru

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Tue Jan 21 15:01:03 UTC 2014

Dear James,

Buddha-anusmṛti (Pāli buddhānussati) was a popular and widespread practice
for Buddhists in Indic and East Asian regions throughout the first millennia
CE. Based on the notion that karma is threefold -- activities of body,
speech and mind -- ways of being mindful of the Buddha in terms of bodily
gestures (prostrations, circumnambulations, etc.), verbalizations (dhāraṇi,
mantra, recitations, etc.), and visualizations were developed and elaborated
in rituals. The Vimuttimagga ch. 8(preserved in Chinese, English
translation: The Path of Freedom, Vimuttimagga, tr. by N.R.M. Ehara, Soma
Thera and Kheminda Thera, Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1977) is
especially known for enumerating the practices, but discussions of
buddha-anusmṛti are found in many texts. Eventually they evolve into Pure
Land recitation of a buddha name (e.g., Namo amito fo) [originally
buddha-anusmṛti involved recitation of hundreds of buddha-names of the
buddhas of the past, present and future; the Chinese term for
buddha-anusmṛti is fo nian, which eventually came to mean simply reciting
the name of Amitabha.] in East Asia, and the use of mudra, mantra and yantra
in tantra.

Dan Lusthaus

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