A Buddhist Spectrum: Contributions to the Christian-Buddhist by Marco Pallis

By Marco Pallis

Essays distilling a life of suggestion and perform by means of one of many earliest explorers of either the actual panorama of Tibet in addition to it Vajrayana culture.

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Additional info for A Buddhist Spectrum: Contributions to the Christian-Buddhist Dialogue (Perennial Philosophy)

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Similarly, if there be a hell it is we who create it; having created it we should logically not be too surprised when we find ourselves trapped there until such time as the eschatological consequences of our misdeeds have played themselves out; similar considerations would of course apply to a paradise, as a recompense for righteous action. All this, for a Buddhist, forms part of the endless process of existential becoming; it is from the process itself, and not from certain of its symptoms, that he seeks deliverance and this, for him, can only come about through awareness of the true nature of the process itself or, as Buddhism prefers to put it, from a divestment of those persistent misconceptions which keep that process fueled.

Let us now turn to the consideration of the symbolism which has given its title to the present essay: ‘the Marriage of Wisdom and Method’. This symbolism runs right through the sacred iconography of northern Buddhism and has been given the greatest extension in Tibetan art. What we are shown in countless frescoes on temple walls, in painted scrolls for domestic use, and in cast images are paired figures clasped in the ecstasy of union and holding certain objects in their hands, namely a bell and something like the thunderbolt of Jupiter as known to Graeco-Roman antiquity; this second object is called vajrâ in Sanskrit, dorje in Tibetan, whence the name of Darjeeling, which means ‘place of the dorje’..

One may well ask oneself whether such restraint in the face of brutal persecution could really be the outcome, not of some heroic exercise of human self-restraint, but of an apparently cold-blooded consideration of the data concerning the matter at issue. Could it be, as the Dalai Lama’s remarks suggested, that an act of focused attention was enough in itself to charm away vindictive impulses which, for most people the world over, would seem almost excusable under the circumstances and in any case wellnigh irresistible?

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