Breaking the Vajra

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Breaking the Vajra

Postby some1 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:29 am

http://www.cbeta.org/result/normal/T25/1509_031.htm wrote:大智度論釋初品中十八空義第四十八(卷三十一)
T25n1509_p0290b07(05)║ 又不知破金剛因緣,故以為牢固,若知著龜甲上,
T25n1509_p0290b08(01)║ 以山羊角打破,則知不牢固。

Above is a passage from Māhaprajñāparamitopadeśa. It mentioned that the Vajra can be broken by placing it on a tortoise shell and smashing it with goat's horn. Not sure if its literal meaning can be true from a physical science aspect. (I do not have a vajra, tortoise shell, neither goat's horn to experiment with)

If the above is true, Vajra should not be referring to diamond right? If so, what does Vajra means in this context?
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Re: Breaking the Vajra

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:59 am

some1 wrote:
http://www.cbeta.org/result/normal/T25/1509_031.htm wrote:大智度論釋初品中十八空義第四十八(卷三十一)
T25n1509_p0290b07(05)║ 又不知破金剛因緣,故以為牢固,若知著龜甲上,
T25n1509_p0290b08(01)║ 以山羊角打破,則知不牢固。

Above is a passage from Māhaprajñāparamitopadeśa. It mentioned that the Vajra can be broken by placing it on a tortoise shell and smashing it with goat's horn. Not sure if its literal meaning can be true from a physical science aspect. (I do not have a vajra, tortoise shell, neither goat's horn to experiment with)

If the above is true, Vajra should not be referring to diamond right? If so, what does Vajra means in this context?


I'm pretty sure that it does refer to "diamond" here.

I think - though am not 100% sure - that the term "金剛" as a translation was coined by Kumarajiva. However, in some other contexts, he uses "電". eg.

《成實論》卷12〈163 八解脫品〉:「問曰。行者若無禪定。云何能得身心空。及盡諸煩惱。答曰。是人有定而不能證。更有如電三昧。因是三昧得盡煩惱。如經中說。我見比丘欲取衣時有煩惱。取衣已即無煩惱。如是等所以者何。心如電三昧如金剛。真智能破煩惱。[12]又此義佛第三力中說。所謂諸禪解脫三昧入垢淨差別如實知。於中禪名四禪。有人言。四禪四無色定皆名為禪。解脫名八解脫。三昧名一念中如電三昧。入名禪解脫三昧中得自在力。如舍利弗說。我於七覺中能自在出入。故知慧解脫阿羅漢有諸禪定。但不能入。深修習故能自在入。」(CBETA, T32, no. 1646, p. 339, c15-27)
[12]又=入【宮】。

Though this may seem strange to us now, because we've got used to the former, this is actually quite correct when we look at the older Indian meaning and sense of "vajra" / "vajira". ie. as Indra's thunderbolt weapon.

At first, commentators and translators seemed to alternate between the kind of lightning / thunder and diamond / adamantine explanations. Later, the former seems to win out.

Apparently goat horn and tortoise shell are also extremely hard.
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Re: Breaking the Vajra

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:03 am

See also:

《禪祕要法經》卷2:「手執白羊角龜甲白石。打金剛山。」(CBETA, T15, no. 613, p. 253, a2)

《法華玄論》卷9:「問。世間金剛以羊角碎之。舍利金剛可得爾耶。答。不也。唯有如來入金剛三昧。出世間道力能破此身耳。世間之物無能壞者。」(CBETA, T34, no. 1720, p. 434, c4-7)

Obviously Master Tiantai Zhiyi was thinking of something else!
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Re: Breaking the Vajra

Postby some1 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:11 am

Huifeng wrote:See also:
《禪祕要法經》卷2:「手執白羊角龜甲白石。打金剛山。」(CBETA, T15, no. 613, p. 253, a2)
Venerable,

Thanks. I have checked the passage which you pointed out above: "有無量百千無數夜叉羅剎。皆從地出。手執白羊角龜甲白石。打金剛山。復有諸鬼。手執鐵槌。打金剛山。是時山上。有五鬼神。千頭千手。手執千劍。與羅剎戰。毒蛇毒龍。皆悉吐毒。圍繞此山".

Apparently, that describes some mystic visions/illusions seen during meditation. Perhaps in the context of my original post, it could also be referring to the similar space as well.

Anyway, I also found that it is a common misconception that diamonds are unbreakable. There are some simple steps here on "How to Smash and Melt a Diamond".
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Re: Breaking the Vajra

Postby Aemilius » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:05 am

some1 wrote:
http://www.cbeta.org/result/normal/T25/1509_031.htm wrote:大智度論釋初品中十八空義第四十八(卷三十一)
T25n1509_p0290b07(05)║ 又不知破金剛因緣,故以為牢固,若知著龜甲上,
T25n1509_p0290b08(01)║ 以山羊角打破,則知不牢固。

Above is a passage from Māhaprajñāparamitopadeśa. It mentioned that the Vajra can be broken by placing it on a tortoise shell and smashing it with goat's horn. Not sure if its literal meaning can be true from a physical science aspect. (I do not have a vajra, tortoise shell, neither goat's horn to experiment with)

If the above is true, Vajra should not be referring to diamond right? If so, what does Vajra means in this context?



Obviously the passage is referring to the practice of homosexuality, in a symbolic
way. It means that you can break a persons adamantine bodhi-mind, by the use of it, do you not see it?
svaha
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Re: Breaking the Vajra

Postby 5heaps » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:27 am

diamonds can shatter but cant be scratched. if you shatter one the molecular structure is such that you still have sheer diamond
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Re: Breaking the Vajra

Postby Nosta » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:41 am

Broking a vajra? Is that a literal thing? i dont see it as that, but more in a metaphorical way.
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