Bodhisattva Sarvanivarana Vishkambhin is also a celebrated Bodhisattva mentioned in the Guna Karandavyuha sutra who effaces all the sins of the devotees. Sarvanivarana Vishkambhin is either blue or white in color. Sarvanivarana Vishkambhin displays the Bhumisparsa Mudra with his left hand and Santikaran Mudra with his right hand (thumb and index finger being joined to form a loop). In some instances he is also described as blue in color. Sarvanivarana Vishkambhin holds a sword with his right hand and holds the banner marked with a Visvavajra in his left hand.
In Guna Karandavyuha sutra, it says that when Buddha Shakyamuni was about to give a discourse on this sutra, he sat in an ecstatic Samadhi called Sarvasansodhana i.e. the purifier of everything. Golden rays of light illuminating the whole province were seen originating from some unknown region in that place. At that time Bodhisattva Sarvanivarana was also present there. Sarvanivarana was struck by that and asked the reason. Buddha Shakyamuni told him that Lord Avalokiteshvara was preaching for the sinners of Avichi Hell and the rays, after purifying the sinners, were to come there to tame the ignorant and evil doers. Thereafter, at the request of Bodhisattva Sarvanivarana, Lord Buddha performed many other discourse sessions over the grandeur of Avalokiteshvara and his philanthropic activities which are described in the Guna Karandavyuha sutra.
The Swayambhu legend states that Great Odiayana Acharya from Kapilavastu came to Kathmandu to pay homage to Lord Swayambhu. He once sat in meditation on the southern mountain with a view to obtain great eight powers (Sanskrit: Astasiddhi). He then performed a fire Puja or Yajna where he sacrificed live fishes (Sanskrit: Matsya Ahuti). Pleased with this act of sacrifice, Kamadhenu cow blessed him and predicted that he would gain eight great powers in the near future. At this Lord Avalokiteshvara in his Sukhavati heaven understood that Odiyana Acharya was performing non-virtuous action due to his ignorance. In order to stop this act he called Bodhisattva Viskambhin and told him to go to the place where Odiyana Acharya was meditating. Bodhisattva Viskambhin thus stopped him from his wrong doing and blessed him with eight great powers. Then Great Odiayana Acharya performed other austerities and Sadhanas dedicated to Akasha Yogini according to the instruction of Bodhisattva Vishkambhin. Later on Bodhisattva Vishkambhin issued a stream of light into a boulder and Odiyana Acharya continued to pay homage to this sacred boulder as the emanation of Bodhisattva Vishkambhin. This boulder exists still near Pharping and called Phanikeshar Vitaraga.
Guide-to-Liberation-Obstacle-clearer (Tib. Dripa Namsal, (Chin: Chugai Zhang) is usually invoked to clear the way. Nivarana means hindrances and refers to the 5 kleshas: desire, hatred, sloth, arrogance /suspicion, and doubt /confusion. He attends Buddha Amoghasiddhi, the head of the Karma family considered to rule the northern direction.
He is royal blue with a moon on his lotus. In the sutras, he is with Avalokiteshvara, praising him after their fortuitous meeting in Varanasi.
Another aspect of Vajrapani is Sarvanivarana-vishvakambin (Dripa Namsal) who is the “Clearer of Obstacles.” He is royal blue with a moon on his lotus. He is with Avalokiteshvara, praising him after a fortuitous meeting with him in Varanasi.
The 5 Obstacles or Hindrances:
i. Attraction or desire
ii. Aversion or hatred
iv. Arrogance and suspiciousness
v. Doubt or uncertainty
Ptahhotep: When you sit with a glutton, eat when his appetite has passed.
Ptahhotep said, “All conduct should be so straight that you can measure it with a plumb-line.”
According to dictionary.com, a rule is -
1. “a principle or regulation governing conduct, action, procedure, arrangement, etc.”
2. “the customary or normal circumstance, occurrence, manner, practice, quality, etc.”
And to rule is -
1. “to control or direct; exercise dominating power, authority, or influence over; govern: to rule the empire with severity.”
4. “to mark out or form (a line) by this method: to rule lines on paper.”
According to Dictionary of the Old Testament, ‘As in English, “straight” can be a synonym for regular and generally accepted behaviour….Thus maat for “straight” conduct came to embrace all that was right in life, including justice and truth(fulness).’
The following fields of meaning for maat are given:
‘1. “Be true” and “truth,” as contrasted in context with non-factual situations, lies or deceit.
2. What is “real, genuine,” by contrast with artificial products (e.g. real/natural versus artificially manufactured gemstones), and authentic in quality (even in negative use – e.g. “a real coward”) as opposed to mere (and unreal) appearance.
3. Ethically, what is “just, justice,” by contrast with wrongdoing and crimes. Thus, for example, in a two-party contest in a law court the vindicated party was declared to be “(in the) right (maa) and the guilty one condemned as “(in the) wrong” (‘adja).
4. Generally, maa(t) is the term applied to describe “right action/practice, rightness, righteous(ness)” in daily personal conduct at all levels and in public life to the highest level from the pharaoh (its official upholder) downwards.
5. Less pragmatically, maat was essential (in Egyptian eyes) for the right functioning of their universe, so that it not lapse into chaos.
6. The special term maa(t)-kheru (lit., “true of voice”) applied both to the dead who passed the last judgment “justified” by their good life and deeds and, at times (by anticipation), to the living. In this-worldly contexts gods, kings and other mortals could be described by this term when “triumphant” over ill-intentioned foes or “vindicated” against them.
7. From earliest times maat (“right, justice” was also personified as a deity, and (being a feminine word) as a goddess, Maat.’
Further, ‘Two pharaohs incorporated maat into their official titles. As Horus-King, Snofru (Fourth Dynasty) called himself Neb-maat (“possessor [and activator] of right/justice”), while, in heading up the Fifth Dynasty, Userkaf entitled himself Iri-maat (“doer of right/justice”).’
‘Archetypally we find, “I have set Right [maat] in place of wrong”, or “that I may bring justice”, and so on.’
‘In the Old Kingdom (c. 2700-2150 BC) (high) officials speak of “speaking” and “doing” right (maat) and exemplify it by their just deeds – for example, speaking for the people’s good and not evil against others; paying for work done from one’s own resources (not those of others); not using force against people; pleasing his god and his king alike by both speaking truth and doing right. From the wisdom texts, Ptahhotep cites maat as the basic principle that overcomes all wrongs.’
In the First Intermediate Period (c. 2150-2100 BC), ‘local provincial governors and officers speak out for themselves from their tomb-texts and stelae. They continued to invoke maat, but also increasingly they presupposed it as the basis of their enlightened treatment of their people and elaborated on their show of personal good character in that context.”
In the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period (Eleventh-Seventeenth Dynasties) (c. 2100-1500 BC), ‘the great officials continued to stress justice increasingly, with personally righteous conduct, as their ideal. At this time right behaviour in this life began to be linked with hope for a blessed hereafter and one’s attitude toward the gods. Both for kings and commoners, the need to live justly and mercifully with one’s people (whether family, local community or the nation) is also stressed in the royal wisdom-works (Merikare, Amenemhat I) and other literature. But now the possibility of wrong overcoming right is also glimpsed, even if only in moments of deep pessimism (as in The Man Tired of Life, and the Discourse of Khakheperre-sonb).’ ‘The concept of doing right (maat) had three foci: king, society and the individual.’
In the New Kingdom (Eighteenth-Twentieth Dynasties) (c. 1550-1070 BC), ‘Eighteenth Dynasty scribal thinkers added a fourth dimension: the active presence and role of the gods. Personal piety grows apace in the record, linked with doing right.’
‘In biblical Hebrew terms such as sedeq and yasar and their derivatives (and in part ken and emet) well covered all the concepts represented by maat. The sedeq group of words expresses “right(ness), “righteous(ness)” and sometimes “vindication”; note the derivatives sedaqa (“righteousness, just[ice], what is right”), sadeq (“be just, justify, vindicate, declare just”), saddiq/sadoq (“just, righteous”). ‘
Saduq = right, just. [14th century BC Amarna letters]
sdq = just, lawful, legitimate [13th century BC Ugaritic]
Yasar = straight, level “also, like maat, applies that physical concept in good metaphorical fashion to straight conduct and, by extension, to upright behaviour; derivatives mesarim and misor cover “even(ness) and “equity” as well as literal (geographical) plains.’
‘Like sdq, ysr has its ancient cognates: in Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian) eseru (“go straight, be/become alright, set to rights”) [from 3rd millennium BC] and misaru and misartu(“render justice” and “justice”. In Ugaritic too we have yasar (“upright”) and misar (“justice”)
‘More modestly, ken can cover “right, honest, true,” while its Akkadian relative kittu expresses “truth, justice, faithfulness” and so on.’
1. (1) In eastern India, in the land of Jahor, in the city of Bangala, in the Golden Banner Palace, lived King Kalyana the Good and Queen Prabhavati the Radiant. [AoWA]
(2) Atisha was born as a prince in 982 CE as a prince in East Bengal, India. His father’s name was Kalyanashri (Glorious Virtue) and his mother’s name was Prabhavarti Shrimati (Glorious Radiance). [JPoGF]
(3) His father was King Kalyanashri; his mother was called Prabhavati. [LiPoYH]
(4) Atisha was born in the celebrated land of eastern India known as Bengal, in a large city in and around which there were one hundred thousand households, and he had 35 000 servants. [LiPoYH]
(5) At his birth there were many miraculous signs. [LiPoYH]
(6) Lama Atisha was born in Bengal, in the eastern part of present day India, around the year 982 C.E. [PtP]
(7) Atisha was born as a Prince. His father, who was known as Gewai Pal (Glorious Virtue), was King of Bangala in the East in the city of Vikrama Puri in the region of Lahore. His influence was as great as that of Tongkun, King of China, for he controlled an area equal to 2 700 000 courtyards. His mother was Queen Palmo Oserchen (Glorious Radiating Light). [TGKM]
(8) Atisha was born in eastern India as the son of King Gevaipal. [AtM]
(9) Atisha was born into a royal Bengali family. [TAoJK]
(10) Atisha was born into a noble family in Bengal. [MT]
2. (1) The royal palace was crowned with 13 golden roofs, one set atop the other, and magnificently adorned with 25 000 golden banners. It was surrounded by countless parks, pools, and beautiful gardens. The kingdom was as rich as the ancient, opulent dynasties of China. [AoWA]
(2) His father’s palace was called the Palace of Golden Victory Banners. It had 13 golden pagodas, and 25 000 golden victory banners. The family was extremely wealthy and powerful. [LiPoYH]
3. (1) The royal couple had three sons, Padmagarbha, Chandragarbha, and Shrigarbha. It was this second prince, who grew up to become our illustrious teacher, Atisha (982-1054 CE). [AoWA]
(2) He was the second of three sons and when he was born he was given the name Chandragarbha (Moon Essence). The name Atisha, which means Peace, was given to him later by the Tibetan king Jangchub O because he was always calm and peaceful. [JPoGF]
(3) “Lama Atisha,” as he is known in Tibet, was a name offered by Jangchub Oe, the Tibetan who invited Lama Atisha to Tibet. The name Atisha means “most excellent one.” Lama Atisha was the crown jewel of all the learned beings of ancient India; he had the most extensive knowledge, the most extensive compassion, and was the most excellent in every aspect. [PtP]
(4) He was born the second son of three into a royal family. [PtP]
(5) They had three sons: the eldest was known as Padma Nyingpo (Essence of the Lotus), the middle son was Soma Svara or Dawa Nyingpo (Essence of the Moon), and the youngest was Palgyi Nyingpo (Essence of Glory). Padma Nyingpo had three consorts and nine sons, the eldest of them being Sonam Pal who later became a great scholar and monk. He was known as Dhana Shri Pandita, and wrote a commentary known as The Wisdom Path of the Bodhicharya Avatara. The middle son was Atisha, and the youngest was a monk who became known as Bhikshu Virya Chandra. [TGKM]
4. (1) When Atisha was 18 months old, his parents held his first public audience at the local temple, Kamalapuri. Without any instruction, he prostrated to the venerable objects inside and spontaneously recited, “Because of the compassion of my parents, I have attained a precious human life rich with the opportunity to view all you great figures. I shall always take from you my safe direction (refuge) in life.” When introduced to his royal subjects outside, he prayed to realize his fullest potential in order to satisfy their every need. He also prayed to be able to take the robes of a spiritual seeker who has renounced family life, never to be proud, and always to have compassionate sympathy and loving concern for others. This was most extraordinary for such a young child. [AoWA]
(2) When he was still a child Chandragarbha’s parents took him to visit a temple. All along the way thousands of people gathered to see if they could catch a glimpse of the prince. When he saw them Chandragarbha asked ‘Who are these people?’ and his parents replied ‘They are all our subjects.’ Compassion arose spontaneously in the prince’s heart and he prayed ‘May all these people enjoy good fortune as great as my own.’ Whenever he met anyone the wish arose naturally in his mind, ‘May this person find happiness and be free from suffering.’ [JPoGF]
(3) When the young prince was only 18 months old, his parents visited a nearby temple at Vikramapura. All the people of the city lined the streets to see the young prince. He saw the great crowds and asked his parents, “Who are they?” They replied, “These are your subjects.” The child looked on the people with compassion and said in verse:
If only they were like me: wealthy parents,
Dominion and dazzling merits,
Heir to a king, a powerful prince.
May all be sustained by holy Dharma!
This astonished everybody.
In the temple, everyone else, including his mother and father, prayed for illness-free long lives, great wealth, for their not falling to the lower realms, for their being reborn in the upper realms, and so on. The prince instead prayed:
I have gained the optimum human rebirth,
With faultless sense have I beheld the Three Jewels;
May I always respectfully touch the Three Jewels to the crown of my head.
From today may they be my refuge.
May I never be bound by household duties;
May I be endowed with Dharma in the midst of the Sangha.
Without any pride, may I make offerings to the Three Jewels;
May I look on all beings with compassion.
Hardly 18 months old, the prince was already talking about refuge and the development of bodhichitta. He is already the object of our faith at this point in his life story.
The Book of Kadampas tells us of his early development:
When the prince reached 3 years old,
He was skilled at astrology and grammar.
When the prince reached 6 years old,
He could distinguish between Buddhism and non-Buddhism.
Knowing how to distinguish between Buddhism and non-Buddhism is actually extremely difficult. Perhaps the following will give you some idea. Atisha once said:
In India only three people knew how to distinguish between Buddhism and non-Buddhism: Naropa, Shantipa, and myself. Naropa is dead, and I have gone to Tibet. When has India been in a worse position?
The very fact that Atisha could do this at age six seems to me to be a sign that he was most learned even then. [LiPoYH]
(4) From his youth he was known for his exceptionally altruistic mind and his incredibly good nature. From as young as ten years old, Lama Atisha naturally felt a sense of refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. He understood the nature of refuge perfectly, as well as all the qualities of the objects of refuge, and at a young age he was able to explain them all for the benefit of others. [PtP]
(5) From his childhood Atisha was highly respected for his exceptional moral conduct and profound knowledge.
5. (1) Even as a small boy Chandragarbha received visions of Tara. Sometimes, while he was on his mother’s lap, blue upali flowers would fall from the sky and he would begin to speak, as if to the flowers. Yogis later explained to his mother that the blue flowers she had seen were a sign that Tara was appearing to her son and speaking to him. [JPoGF]
(2) One day, as a small child, whilst sleeping beside his mother, there was a loud noise from the ceiling of their room. His parents saw an incredibly beautiful bunch of blue utpala flowers fall down onto the child. But what Atisha saw was Tara, the female manifestation of Buddha’s limitless activities. Thereafter, Atisha had constant visions of Tara, who always gave him guidance and teachings. [AtM]
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