The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

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The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby Kori » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:30 am

I had asked this question over at the dhamma wheel, and was told to come here to ask for advice on this question.

I was doing a bit of studying, particularly adding some Pali vocabulary into my flashcards and I ran across the term Akshobhya. It is my understanding that this is one of the Five Dhyani Buddhas, of Tibetan Buddhism. I do not understand what these are, and I have read around on several pages and still can not grasp an understanding. I have looked at Wikipedia as well. Can somebody please explain what they are?

Mettā pāramī,
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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby justsit » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:47 am

Nice discussion of the five Buddha families here.
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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby Kori » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:57 am

justsit,

Thank you for your answer! The PDF clears up a lot of questions I had on the topic. :smile:

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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby justsit » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:35 pm

:bow: :bow: :bow:
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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby Kunga Leshe » Sun May 01, 2011 12:52 pm

Does anyone know of a good resource which focuses on the Dhyani Buddhas or discusses them in greater detail?
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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby Jikan » Mon May 02, 2011 2:07 am

Kunga Leshe wrote:Does anyone know of a good resource which focuses on the Dhyani Buddhas or discusses them in greater detail?


An accessible place to begin might be Francesca Fremantle's book _Luminous Emptiness._ Or the most recent translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby Jikan » Mon May 02, 2011 11:18 am

Just to be clear, we're talking about the Dhyana Buddhas, the five families, right?
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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas

Postby Kunga Leshe » Mon May 02, 2011 1:04 pm

Jikan wrote:Just to be clear, we're talking about the Dhyana Buddhas, the five families, right?


Hello Jikan,

Thanks for your reply! Yes, I am referring to the 5 Buddha Families. I was just reading this: www.tibetanart.com/.../THE%20FIVE%20BUD ... MILIES.doc , which starts off with:

Central to the principles of Vajrayana Buddhism is the conceptual assembly of the Five Buddhas or ‘Five Enlightened Families’ (Skt. panchakula; Tib. rigs-lnga), which are commonly but somewhat erroneously known as Dhyani Buddhas or ‘Buddhas of Meditation’.


I wonder what is meant here by "somewhat erroneously". Are they not yidams? I've tried looking for information on their sadhanas with no luck. Beside the typical listing of attributes, mantras are the only thing I can find.
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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby Jikan » Mon May 02, 2011 1:47 pm

You might like to check out the The Maha-Vairocana-Abhisambodhi Tantra (trans. S. Hodge), available at many libraries.
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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby Kunga Leshe » Fri May 06, 2011 12:23 am

thanks again Jikan!
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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas

Postby kirtu » Fri May 06, 2011 12:33 am

Kunga Leshe wrote:I wonder what is meant here by "somewhat erroneously". Are they not yidams? I've tried looking for information on their sadhanas with no luck. Beside the typical listing of attributes, mantras are the only thing I can find.


In Tibetan Buddhism there can be sadhanas for the individual Dhyani Buddhas. They also usually show up in many sadhanas. So they have an active role in TB sadhanas.

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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby ratna » Fri May 06, 2011 6:32 am

Kunga Leshe wrote:
Central to the principles of Vajrayana Buddhism is the conceptual assembly of the Five Buddhas or ‘Five Enlightened Families’ (Skt. panchakula; Tib. rigs-lnga), which are commonly but somewhat erroneously known as Dhyani Buddhas or ‘Buddhas of Meditation’.

I wonder what is meant here by "somewhat erroneously".


The 'erroneously' refers to the term 'Dhyani Buddha'. The term originates from the nineteenth-century scholar Hodgson and his Newari informant, Pandita Amritananda, but is not found in original Sanskrit texts where they are rather called five Jinas.

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Re: The Five Dhyani Buddhas?

Postby conebeckham » Fri May 06, 2011 4:34 pm

There are individual practices for each of these, and also practices that combine the five, in various ways. For example, the "NamCho Amitabha" sadhana is quite popular amongst Kagyu and Nyingma folks. There's an Akshobya practice that's done in Karma Kagyu 3 year retreat, or afterwards. And the practice of Kunrik or Sarvavid Vairochana is important.

More basically, these five Buddhas appear in many (most? All?) Highest Yoga Tantra sadhanas, during self-empowerment, and at other times. They represent the five families--
Vairochana-Buddha Family
Akshobya-Vajra Family
Amitabha-Lotus Family
Ratnasambhava-Jewel Family
Amoghasiddhi-Karma Family

Each of these "families" in turn relates to the purification of a "poison," or represents the purification of a skandha, or represents one of the five wisdoms. So, for example, Akshobya can represent Dharmadhatu Wisdom, the Dharmakaya, the purification of "anger" and/or the skandha of consciousness, all at the same time. But there are differences between the correspondences, depending on what yidam sadhana you're engaged in....

The PDF from Thrangu Rinpoche goes into some detail about the specifics. It's important to understand this if you're practicing Highest Yoga Tantra in the Sarma traditions, and I think in the Nyingma as well.
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