source : www.tibet.cn
original title : In honor of Atisha, once and now
It is a question only few people pose: how would Tibet look like today without Atisha?
Most likely Buddhism would have vanished from the hearts of the Tibetan people, monks would not have known what and how to teach, monasteries would have lost their purpose. There would have been no teaching of the Lam Rim, as the gradual path to enlightenment is called, there would be no understanding of Bodhichitta ( enlightened mind) as the gate to the truth, no preservation of so many holy scripts, which were lost in India, but saved in Tibet and later spread around the globe. Tsongkapa would have had no basis for his great reforms and the founding of the Gelug sect with a Dalai Lama as its head. There would be no driving force, who over the last decades has brought Atisha’s message to the rest of the world.
From India Atisha had come to Tibet. One thousand years later, Atisha comes from Tibet to the world. Atisha meditation centers, many led by Tibetan monks are opening up all over the West and East and in memory of him, some groups even use the name of Serlingpa, whom Atisha called one of his greatest teachers.
Who was Atisha ? Who was Serlingpa ? Both were born towards the end of 10th century.
Serlingpa was an offspring of the Srivijaya Dynasty, which had its roots in the Island of Java, but moved its seat to the Island of Sumatra and influenced for centuries the culture and religion of large parts of Southeastasia. Serlingpa’s Sanskrit name was Dharmakirtisri. Continue reading →
Bronze bell from the Middle Yayoi period (c. 100BC-100AD)
It is part of our received wisdom that Japan has had very little historical connection with Java. This article argues that Java has, in fact, had a substantial influence on the development of early Japanese civilization and presents evidence of this contact.
It is known that Japan underwent a revolutionary transformation in the Yayoi period (from c. 300 BC to 250–300 AD) which saw the introduction of an advanced and expansionist wet-rice civilization, sophisticated metal-working and other technologies, a centralizing religion, and a hierarchical society culminating in a king/emperor. One of the great mysteries of Japanese history is why, after the 10,000-year stasis of the hunter-gatherer society of the preceding J_mon period, there was such a complete transformation in the Yayoi period. Continue reading →
In 1925, W. F. Stutterheim published a paper in Djawa V (1925): 247- 252 on ‘An important Hindu-Javanese drawing on copper’, which has been reprinted in Studies in Indonesian Archaeology (The Hague 1956). He identifies the copper plate drawing as that of Devï Durga on the basis of earlier remarks of Krom. She is carrying a child in both hands, and Devï Durga never bears a child like this. A glance at the plate leads one to the conclusion that it is a depiction of Harïti holding her youngest and dearest son Priyahkara, the “charm of the whole which makes this figure in its tenderly caressing and motherly attitude so attractive”. In the Nispanna-yogavalï her iconography is sa-putra ‘with a son’. Harïti is still worshipped as the guardian goddess of children in Bali, and her wood-sculptures continue to be carved by modern artists.
The paper of Stutterheim considers the plate to originate from ‘a sivaite sphere’, which is an error due to wrong identification. The inscription engraved on the plate commences with tadyatha, which is clearly an opening word for Buddhist dharanïs. This Buddhist expression is but natural as Harïti is a Buddhist goddess. Stutterheim remarks: “And it appears from the various names enumerated, as well as from the corresponding mystical syllables, that the goddess is mentioned with all her qualities, but particularly as the mother of the Gods, the Mother of God” (p. 148). ‘The Mother of God’ is a Christian expression which has no relevance to this copper-plate inscription. Further, Harïti is invoked not as the mother of gods, but as vajra-bala-garbhe (1.1), that is, whose womb holds a vajra-child, a child as strong as a vajra who can survive all the rigours of ancient life. Harïti had five hundred sons, and she is referred to as panca-putra-sata-parivara in the Mahayaksï- Harïti-Priyankara-sadhana-vidhi, translated by Amoghavajra during the years A.D. 746-771, into Chinese as Ta-yo-ch’a-nü-huan-hsi-mu-ping-ai- tzü-ch’êng-chiu-fa (Nanjio 1392, Taisho edition vol. 21 no. 1260). All the 500 children were alive and hence she became vajra-bala-garbha. Continue reading →
The Notulen of the Bataviaasch Genootschap for 1914 contain a brief description by N. J. Krom of a copper-plate inscription found in the desa Printje, which is located in the vicinity of Batu, above Malang in East Java, on the saddle between the Kawi and Arjuna mountain complexes. The inscription was taken up as number E-49 in the Museum collection and was noted as follows:
E-49. Copper-plate, 29.4 x 9.3 cm., inscribed on one side with five, the other side four lines of late Old Javanese script; together with a [figure of a] parrot as a seal. The language shows similarities to Cohen Stuart IV. The charter is complete and names a king who is deceased at Amrtabhawana (NBG 1914:44,52; bijlage 5,192).
Besides this concise cataloguing entry, the inscription apparently has not received further published notice. It was not mentioned in Krom’s own Hindoe-Javaansche Geschiedenis (1931). The contents of the inscription, however, merit further consideration for what additional light might be shed on rural organization and administrative patterns of fourteehth century Majapahit [*]. Continue reading →