Monday, December 8, 2014

Honji Suijaku...Dralas & Kami

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A Japanese mandala showing Buddhist deities and their Kami counterparts

"The term honji suijaku or honchi suijaku (本地垂迹?) in Japanese religious terminology refers to a theory widely accepted until the Meiji period according to which Indian Buddhist deities choose to appear in Japan as native kami in order to more easily convert and save the Japanese.....The theory states that some kami (but not all) are in fact just local manifestations (the suijaku (垂迹?), literally, a "trace") of Buddhist deities, (the honji (本地?), literally, "original ground")...... The two entities form an indivisible whole called gongen and in theory should have equal standing, but in history this was not always the case. In the early Nara period, for example, the honji was considered more important, and only later did the two come to be regarded as equals.....During the late Kamakura period it was even proposed that the kami were the original deities, and the buddhas their manifestations......The theory was never systematized, but was nonetheless very pervasive and very influential..... It is considered the keystone of the shinbutsu-shūgō (harmonization of Buddhist deities and Japanese kami) edifice.".....Teeuwen, Mark and Fabio Rambelli, eds. (Dec 27, 2002). Buddhas and Kami in Japan: Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm.

"The “drala principle” refers to a body of teachings the Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Chögyam Trungpa presented in the last decade of his life, from 1978 to 1986. The roots of the drala principle precede the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet and are found in the indigenous traditions of that country - as they are in all countries. The drala principle is applicable, not to Buddhist practitioners alone, but to anyone. These teachings speak to the heart, whether one is, so to speak, religiously, artistically or politically motivated......Sometimes a stone, a tree, a teacup or a violin processes an intangible presence, a numinousity, that cannot be explained. The presence might not always be there, or only be there for a short period of time, but that presence may refer to another dimension of the drala principle. Just as our tangible world is populated - and sometimes densely populated - with people and other sentient creatures, the intangible or "invisible world" (invisible to most of us) is densely populated as well, and among these beings, entities, or spirits are classes of beings, or qualities of being, called dralas. Katumblies, kachinas, kami, gnomes, elves, angels, gods. Any being who acts on behalf of the non-dualistic and compassionate nature of existence could be considered a drala. The dralas are not really part of some other world, but latent everywhere. The dralas, as Chögyam Trungpa so often said, want very much to meet us."......Introduction to the Drala Principle.....by Bill Scheffel.......http://westernmountain.org/dralaprinciple.html

"Early Buddhist monks did not doubt the existence of kami, but saw them as inferior to their buddhas.....Hindu deities had already had the same reception: they had been thought of as non-illuminated and prisoners of samsara..... Buddhist claims of superiority encountered however resistance, and monks tried to overcome it by deliberately integrating kami in their system...... Japanese Buddhists themselves wanted to somehow give the kami equal status......Several strategies to do this were developed and employed, and one of them was the honji suijaku theory.".....Scheid, Bernhard (2008-04-16). "Honji suijaku: Die Angleichung von Buddhas und Kami"

"The Kami are known to have created the universe, this is told in the Kojiki. Kami means 'god's although they are not like the traditional concepts Gods as in many monotheistic religions. The Kami include, Amaterasu (the Sun Goddess), Tsuki-yomi (The Moon God), Leech-child and Susano-o (Storm God). The Amaterasu shrine is located in Ise. "...http://shintoreligion.wikispaces.com/Shinto-Origins

"....drala - akin to kami or spirit conventionally, this also refers to the use of direct sense perceptions to overcome conceptual mental fixation....Trungpa, Chogyam. (1984) "Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior". pp 103-115

"The expression honji suijaku was originally developed in China and used by Tendai Buddhists to distinguish an absolute truth from its historical manifestation, for example the eternal Buddha from the historical Buddha, or the absolute Dharma from its actual, historical forms, the first being the honji, the second the suijaku..... The term makes its first appearance with this meaning in the Eizan Daishiden, a text believed to have been written in 825 AD......The honji suijaku theory proper later applied it to buddhas and kami, with its first use within this context dated to 901 AD, when the author of the Sandai Jutsuroku says that "mahasattvas (buddhas and bodhisattvas) manifest themselves at times as kings and at times as kami." The dichotomy was applied to deities only in Japan and not, for example, in China."....Satō, Masato (2007). "Honji Suijaku Setsu". Encyclopedia of Shinto.

"..... the idea that Buddhist deities choose not to show themselves as they are, but manifest themselves as kami was expressed in a poetic form with the expression wakō dōjin (和光同塵?), which meant that to assist sentient beings, deities "dimmed their radiance and became identical to the dust of the profane world". Their brightness would otherwise be such to destroy mere mortals."

"The honji suijaku paradigm remained a defining feature of Japanese religious life up to the end of the Edo period, and its use was not confined to just deities, but was often extended even to historical figures as Kūkai and Shōtoku Taishi. It was claimed that these particular human beings were manifestations of kami, which in turn were manifestations of buddhas..... Sometimes the deity involved was not Buddhist. Nothing was fixed: a deity could be identified both as a honji and a suijaku in different parts of the same shrine, and different identifications could be believed to be true at the same time and place...] The theory was ultimately beneficial to the kami, which went from being considered unilluminated outsiders to actual forms assumed by important deities..... The ultimate expression of this shift is Ryōbu Shintō, in which Buddhist deities and kami are indivisible and equivalent like the two sides of a coin."....Scheid, Bernhard (2008-04-16). "Honji suijaku: Die Angleichung von Buddhas und Kami" (in German).

"The dominant interpretation of the buddha-kami relationship came to be questioned by what modern scholars call the inverted honji suijaku (反本地垂迹 han honji suijaku?) or shinpon butsujaku (神本仏迹?) paradigm, a theology that reversed the original theory and gave the most importance to the kami. Supporters of the theory believed that, while those who have achieved buddhahood have acquired enlightenment, a kami shines of his own light."......Teeuwen, Mark and Fabio Rambelli, eds. (Dec 27, 2002). Buddhas and Kami in Japan: Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm.

SANJŪBANSHIN or SANJŪBANJIN.....30 Kami Protecting the Lotus Sutra, Buddhist Scriptures, Imperial Palace, the Japanese Nation......The origin of this grouping is clouded in uncertainty. By tradition, it is said to have originated with Tendai monk Ennin 円仁 (794-864), who reportedly invited 30 powerful kami (local Japanese deities) to come to Mt. Hiei 比叡 (near Kyoto) to guard a copy of the Lotus Sutra that he himself had made and enshrined at the mountain's temple-shrine multiplex. However, the earliest textual record of the group (details below) dates from the 11th century. In general, these 30 kami are invoked to protect the peace and prosperity of the nation, its rulers, and its people, with each kami presiding over one day of the lunar 30-day month. The 30-kami cult was especially important to the Nichiren sect, who invoked them not only as guardians of the Lotus Sutra but also as protectors against curses, broken oaths, and the spirits of the dead." ....http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/30-kami-of-the-month.html

"The Shintō pantheon of kami 神 (spirits) includes countless deities and innumerable supernatural creatures. The term KAMI can refer to gods, goddesses, ancestors, and all variety of spirits that inhabit the water, rocks, trees, grass, and other natural objects. These objects are not symbols of the spirits. Rather, they are the abodes in which the spirits reside. The abode of the kami is considered sacred and is usually encircled with a shimenawa (rope festooned with sacred white paper). The Japanese believe this world is inhabited by these myriad kami -- spirits that can do either good or evil. These spirits are constantly increasing in number, as expressed in the Japanese phrase Yaoyorozu no Kami 八百万神 -- literally "the eight million kami." .....Kami are not necessarily benevolent."......http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/shinto-deities.html

"Higher Realms......The uppermost realm on the Wheel of Rebirth is that of the devata. There are four highest devas or gods of which two, Indra and Brahma, appear most often in Buddhist scriptures where Indra, ruler of the upper realm, is called Shakra (Pali: Sakka.) In the orthodox Indian view, Brahma is the Intelligence that can be compared to the deity of the western religions, but he does not have that role in Buddhism. Shiva (in Tibetan, Lha Chen) also plays an important role; in fact his god-realm is called Shambhala. ....In the Buddhist view, these gods and goddesses are, for the most part, considered to be highly evolved bodhisattvas......The gods are waited upon by apsaras -- beautiful attendants and messengers, and gandharvas -- heavenly dancers and musicians. (The dakini can be included in both these categories.) .....Indian mythology makes some distinction between rakshasas -- titans or the anti-gods -- and yakshas that are nature spirits, often tricksters. The former seek to usurp the powers of the gods or devas but the word rakshasa is also often translated ogre (Skt. ugra) or demon. Sometimes there seems to be no clear distinction between the two categories, and there are considered to be various types of both. ....Tibetan tradition, Buddhist or not, has a large variety of these kinds of beings. A distinction is made between the deities and the local or worldly spirits. The former are objects of Refuge, while the latter may be considered as protectors but not usually sources of Refuge. Often they are propitiated in return for services rendered."....http://www.khandro.net/index.htm

"In Hinduism, the asuras (Sanskrit: असुर) are a group of power-seeking deities related to the more benevolent devas (also known as suras). They are sometimes considered nature spirits. They battle constantly with the devas.....In early Vedic texts, both suras and asuras were deities who constantly competed with each other, some bearing both designations at the same time. In late-Vedic and post-Vedic literature the Vedic asuras became lesser beings while in the Avesta, the Persian counterpart of the Vedas, the devas began to be considered lesser beings......According to the Vishnu Purana, during the Samudra manthan or "churning of the ocean", the daityas came to be known as asuras because they rejected Varuni, the goddess of sura "wine", while the devas accepted her and came to be known as suras."......Alain Daniélou (1991). The Myths and Gods of India: The Classic Work on Hindu Polytheism from the Princeton Bollingen Series

"Most in Japan may know Buddhism has something to do with controlling lust and anger, and is associated with funerals and graves, while Shinto involves venerating nature, and weddings. But many people have trouble making theological distinctions between the two or even telling a Buddhist temple from a Shinto shrine......Japan’s Shinto-Buddhist religious medley.....Ever since Buddhism was introduced to Japan in 552, Japan has seemed uncertain about how to weave it into its cosmology.....Prince Shotoku (574-622) promoted Buddhism and it took hold. Still, Japan would never see a full conversion away from its indigenous religion, as occurred to a much greater extent across pagan Europe with the introduction of Christianity. Rather, Japanese absorbed Buddhism gradually, mixing it with local folk religions. ....The syncretism, or weaving together of religions, would continue over centuries ....By the 16th century, such mixing and matching had become official policy.....during the Meiji Era (1868-1912) push for a State Shinto purged of its foreign Buddhist influences....At Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu shrine in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Buddhist artifacts were burned and otherwise removed."......Eric Prideaux.....http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2007/09/04/reference/japans-shinto-buddhist-religious-medley/#.VIWqvtb8Smw

"The Tibetans have very complicated linkages and overlappings among the protector gods of the person, the protectors gods of lineages (male, female, maternal uncle) and the different masters of the place or territory." (Blondeau: 1996..pg ix)...http://www.angelfire.com/vt/OkarResearch/page2A.html

"It is difficult to relate to enlightened energies if they have no form or ground for personal communications. One should remember that the mind that perceives the deity and the deity itself are not separate."....(Sogyal: 1992...pg 285)...

"In Shinto, the fact that the gods are so numerous means that the world is that much richer."...(Jinja: 1958...pg 15)

"In the non-theistic discipline of Buddhism, we do not glorify 'that' because we want to confirm 'this'...We are not denying God, but we are simply trying to approach reality as simply as possible."..(Trungpa: 1996..pg 33)....

"In Shinto, people recognize that there is an innate relationship between themselves and a certain deity, and that they are by heredity the worshipper of it. Belief is not compulsory, rather the elements of pride and joy enter into it."...(Jinja: 1958...pg 28)...

"One importance difference between the Buddhist path and the Shambhala path is that Shambalians work more closely with higher beings."......"The reason you do not understand the Shambhala teachings is because you are Buddhists."

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….December 2014

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