Thursday, January 8, 2015

"The Buddhism of Tibet" from Indonesia

Ashley Wells, Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; L. Austine Waddell (archive)

The Buddhism of Tibet or Lamaism by L. Austine Waddell (
What was Tibet like? Dennis Jarvis of Halifax, Canada, explores Drepung Gomang, a college within monastery walls, Great Assembly Hall, Drepung Monastery, Tibet (en/
Why did formerly officially Mahayana Buddhist now officially communist atheist mainland (Han) China invade, destroy, and militarily occupy Vajrayana (a division of Mahayana) Tibet?

"Esoteric" Buddhism in Southeast Asia
Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly wiki edit
Borobudur Buddhist temple with its enigmatic "Time Travel Bells" Die Glocke stupas with Buddhas inside as dawn breaks through clouds, Java, Indonesia (TrevThompson/flickr).
Marco Polo's Old World travels to ancient Indonesia (Balkh and Shambhala)
Borobudur, Buddhist pyramid (22Kartika/wiki)
This Buddhist school -- now most prevalent in Tibet, Ladakh (India), Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia, European Kalmykia, and Far East Russia -- refers to the traditions of Esoteric Buddhism found on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra before 700 CE.

This predates the arrival of Esoteric Buddhism in Greater Tibet (a former empire) and the Himalayan region.

Indonesia is an enormous former empire.
The particular lineage in Indonesia is referred to as Mantranaya ("Mantra Path" aka Mantra-yana). Mantranaya is historically designated and evident in the oldest extant Old Javanese esoteric Buddhist literature.
Scythia, Pakistan, Gandhara, Ladakh, Tibet...
Mantranaya is an extension of Mahayana Buddhism consisting of differences in the adoption of additional techniques (upāya, "expedient" or "skillful means") rather than in philosophy. Some of these means are esoteric practices, which must be initiated and transmitted esoterically only through a skilled spiritual teacher or guru (

The Buddhist empire of Srivijaya in Palembang, Sumatra was for more than 600 years the center of Esoteric Buddhist learning in the Far East.
Yi Jing (635-713) praised the high level of Buddhist scholarship in Srivijaya and advised Chinese monastics to study there prior to making the journey to the great institution of learning, Nalanda Buddhist University (said to be the first in history), a vihara in ancient India. He wrote:
In the fortified city of Bhoga, Buddhist priests number more than 1,000, whose minds are bent on learning and good practice. They investigate and study all the subjects that exist just as in India; the rules and ceremonies are not at all different. If a Chinese priest wishes to go to the West in order to hear and read the original scriptures, he had better stay here one or two years and practice the proper rules (J. Takakusu, 2005, A Record of the Buddhist Religion: As Practised in India and the Malay Archipelago (A.D. 671-695)/I-Tsing, New Delhi, AES).
The temple complex at Borobudur in central Java, which is the world's largest Buddhist temple yet discovered, was built as a mandala, like most Buddhist temple complexes. A mandala is a giant three-dimensional representation of Buddhist cosmology.

All of the Buddha statues on each of its four sides have the same mudra, hand gesture, corresponding to one of the Five Dhyani Buddhas of the esoteric cardinal compass directions.

Borobudur temple walls adorned with bas relief (TrevThompson/
Another line of thought points to the depiction of the Gandavyuha, the last chapter of the "Flower Garland" (Avatamsaka) Sutra on the median levels of the Borobudur stupa (and Buddha's birth story or jataka from the Lalitavistara on the lowest).

The English language translation of the entire Flower Garland Sutra was completed in the early 1990s in the 20th century. As yet unidentified upper bas-reliefs on Borobudur temple walls may depict episodes from this sutra. It does not preach a specific group of Dhyani Buddhas but rather insists on innumerable identical buddhas throughout the universe. More

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