Three Vajras

4. Sonadanda Sutta

Introduction From the top terrace of his house, Brahman Sonadanda sees a group of Brahmans heading to the Buddha and he wishes to join them. Other Brahmans who did not intend to go to the hermit Gotama, try to discourage him. They say that if Sonadanda approaches Gotama, the glory of Gotama will increase, and the glory of Sonadanda will diminish. This question will somehow disturb Sonadanda throughout the whole Sutta, because, as he says, the one whose fame diminishes – his wealth diminishes too, because wealth is achieved with…read more

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3. Ambattha Sutta

Ambattha Sutta contains two special moments: 1) the mention of the possession by the Buddha of an illusory body (this can be seen in the scenes of the appearance of Vajrapani and the creation of visions of the hidden signs of a great man by the Buddha) 2) a version of the story of Kanha (Krishna), which, in Buddhist sources, is also mentioned in the “84 siddhas of Mahamudra.” Introduction Young Brahmin Ambattha is sent by his mentor Pokkharasadi to the hermit Gotama in order to verify whether the Buddha…read more

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Asanga

(4-5th century) Asanga’s name is translated as “Free from attachments”. Asanga and his brother Vasubandhu were born in India, to a Brahmin family. When the boys became old enough to choose their future occupation their mother dissuaded them from worldly occupations and directed them to the path of studying Dharma: “I gave birth to you not for wordly occupations. You have to purify your minds and to preach the Teaching.” Following his mother’s instructions, filled with unbreakable determination to meet Buddha Maytreya and to obtain his teaching, Asanga headed to…read more

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2. Samaññaphala Sutta (Fruits of reclusion)

Introduction Ajatasattu Vedehiputta, the King of Magadha , delighted with the beautiful moonlight night, decides to visit some holy man and listen to his inspired instructions. He asks his retinue for advice: which hermit should be honored with his visit? His advisors offer him several respectable mentors to visit, but the king remains silent after having listened to their advice. Noticing that one man from his retinue observes silence, the king asks for advice from him too. The man offers the king to visit the Buddha. This recommendation is accepted…read more

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1. Brahmajala Sutta

Introduction The Sutta begins with a reference to the dispute between a wandering ascetic and his disciple. The ascetic strongly condemns the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, while his young follower praises the Three Jewels in every possible way. The disciples of Buddha discuss this dispute in the Sangha. Buddha, after learning about the subject of their discussion, instructs: it is necessary to speak without anger and hatred about the virtues of the Three Jewels, because dislike of criticism and people who criticize can only damage the defenders of Buddha, Dhamma and…read more

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Hakuin

Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1768) was born to a family in charge of managing a postal station in a small village in Japan. His family was a respected.  There were samurais in his family, and his grandfather was a Zen priest. His family followed the local religious traditions. Hakuin himself was very an impressive child; keenly perceiving his surroundings. He was eleven when he first attended a sermon concerning the torments awaiting sinners in the hell realms. This overwhelmed him with fear. Searching for liberation from suffering, Hakuin decided to devote his…read more

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Jina Mahavira

(Buddhism and Jainism) Jina Mahavira, also known by the name Nigantha Jnataputta, lived around the same time as the Buddha, the 6 century BC. Mahavira was probably a little older than Buddha. Mahavira was the founder of Jainism. The lives of Buddha and Mahavira have much in common: like Buddha, Mahavira was born to a noble family and was given a brilliant education and marital training. The name “Mahavira”, meaning the “great warrior”, was given to Mahavira after he tamed a cobra and a wild elephant. It was when Mahavira’s…read more

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Mahaprajapati Gautami, Buddha’s Aunt

Buddha’s mother passed away soon after giving birth to him, so he was raised by his aunt Mahaprajapati Gautami, his mother’s younger sister. Mahaprajapati had a son of the same age as Buddha Shakyamuni, and the two children were raised together, but in particular Buddha was raised by her as the future king. After Buddha attained enlightenment his aunt became his disciple, the first among women. A few times she approached him with the request to start teaching Dharma to other women. At that time women were considered and treated…read more

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Garab Dorje

There is not much known about Garab Dorje, the founder of Dzogchen. Tradition says he was born in the legendary country of Uddiyana and received direct transmission from Vajrasattva himself. His closest disciple was Manjushrimitra. When Garab Dorje was dying, Manjushrimitra was in despair. Garab Dorje appeared before him in his rainbow body and uttered words of consolation: “Do not be sad, as all forms are no more than appearances.” But even this miraculous appearance of Garab Dorje did not dispel Manjushrimitra’s doubts and sorrow. So out of his rainbow…read more

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