Bhairava in Buddhism?

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Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:20 am

Hi, wondering if anyone is familiar with the cross-pollinating deities of Nepal, and specifically with the various statues and shrines devoted to Bhairava and how / if they fit into the context of tantric Buddhism. I wonder because I find some of the statues beautiful and powerful, but I am not familiar with the link.. some appear almost identical to the protector Mahakala... but unlike Siva I have not heard that Bhairvava specifically corresponds to a Nyingma protector ---->although Bhairava is supposedly another manifestation of Siva -- so would I then consider Bhairava as Mahadeva?

I know that this deity was particularly important to Newars, but I also understand Newars are primarily Buddhist. . . if anyone has any in-depth insight I'd love to hear it.
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Dharmaswede » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:13 am

John Reynolds is really good on the wider historical, religious and cultural background on that deity. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any published writing. (Sorry, not very helpful!)

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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:17 pm

Adamantine wrote:Hi, wondering if anyone is familiar with the cross-pollinating deities of Nepal, and specifically with the various statues and shrines devoted to Bhairava and how / if they fit into the context of tantric Buddhism. I wonder because I find some of the statues beautiful and powerful, but I am not familiar with the link.. some appear almost identical to the protector Mahakala... but unlike Siva I have not heard that Bhairvava specifically corresponds to a Nyingma protector ---->although Bhairava is supposedly another manifestation of Siva -- so would I then consider Bhairava as Mahadeva?

I know that this deity was particularly important to Newars, but I also understand Newars are primarily Buddhist. . . if anyone has any in-depth insight I'd love to hear it.



Hindu Bhairava = Mahākala
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Karinos » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:56 pm

Namdrol wrote:Hindu Bhairava = Mahākala


Mahakala and Bhairava are not the same.
Bhairava is specific emanation of Shiva (or specific form of Shiva) when Mahakala is (from Hindu point of view) only one of the names of Shiva himself.
From Buddhist point of view Mahakala is completely another being, Bodhisattva and Dharmapala. There are several forms of Mahakala and some of them are considered as emanations of another Bodhisattva's like Avalokiteshvara.

not sure about Buddhist point of view on Bhairava though.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhairava
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mah%C4%81k%C4%81la
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:06 pm

Karinos wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Hindu Bhairava = Mahākala


Mahakala and Bhairava are not the same.


I know that Bhairava and Mahākala are not the same.

However, Bhairava shrines in Nepal are considered Mahākala shrines by Tibetans.

It is the same principle with Vajrayogini statures being considered to be emanations of Kali.

N
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Karinos » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:16 pm

Namdrol wrote:I know that Bhairava and Mahākala are not the same.

However, Bhairava shrines in Nepal are considered Mahākala shrines by Tibetans.

It is the same principle with Vajrayogini statures being considered to be emanations of Kali.

N


all right, no worries :namaste:

also Buddha is considered by Hindu an incarnation of Vishnu. Confusing isn't it? :)
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby pemachophel » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:57 pm

Keith Dowman supports Namdrol's opinion. Tibetans see Bhairva as Mahakala. In Nepal, it's quite common for Newars and, even more so, Tibetans to see various Hindu deities/shrines as manifestations of Buddhist deities. Another example, Pashupati (i.e., Shiva) as worshipped specifically at Pashupatinath as Avalokiteshwara.
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:40 pm

Ok, I mean, as I said in my original post I have thought myself that Tibetan depictions of Mahakala and Nepali depictions of Bhairava are almost identical sometimes. So I can see why this connection would be made purely on the level of appearance. Of course, visual art is all about appearance!

However, is it also something like Chatral Rinpoche writes about Maratika Cave?
Outwardly, it is the blissful play of Shiva and Umadevi. Inwardly, it is the palace of Chakrasamvara. Secretly, it is the celestial mansion of the deities of immortal life. And most secretly it is the Pureland of Great Bliss, the absolute realm of Akanishta..


I Maratika is not the only seemingly Hindu place which is shared by Buddhists as a power-place.. so do we always consider these places in this way, --outer-inner-secret natures, the outer being the Hindu version? Including little shrines and temples to Bhairava?

It is all a bit bewildering, because it seems there is really a complete disconnect between the actual mythological overlaps and shared histories..
For instance, as has been discussed briefly Bhairava for Hindus is none other than Siva, -and Siva is officially a Buddhist protector, so why not also see Bhairava as a form of the same, in sync with the Hindu version? Of course, Mahakala is also a name for a Hindu aspect of Siva-- but in our tradition Mahakala is not supposed to be associated with Siva, --in fact it is more-or-less the name of an entire class of beings, some of which are bound-under oath to serve Dharma or alternatively are actually wisdom-beings manifesting in that form as protectors..
Is there any cohesive way to reconcile these things?
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Gyalpo » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:04 pm

And what about Bhairava and Vajrabhairava?
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:05 pm

According to Keith Dowman in a photo book on Nepal I have "Power Places of Kathmandu" after going into detail about the various Hindu stories about Pashupatinath and Pashupati (there are a few, all unique) he goes on to write about the Newars version:

For Newar Buddhists, Pashupati is the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Both Avalokiteshvara and Shiva are known as Lokeshvara, Lord of the World, and this identity in Tantric consciousness is easy to sustain. But Newar Buddhists believe that the original form of Pashupati is a Buddhist deity. While this belief may relate to an atemporal metaphysical reality, it may also have historical roots. Buddhist priests had rights at Pashupati into the 16th century, and still, once a year, Buddhists place a Bodhisattva crown upon the Pashupati lingam and worship it as Avalokiteshvara or as the 5 Buddhas. In recent centuries.....Tibetan pilgrims have found no easy access to the inner shrine of Pashupati. However, it has been a major destination in their guides ever since they began pilgrimage to Nepal. They know Pashupati well, from their Tantric texts on sacred geography, as an Upachandoha power place, counted among the 24 pithasthanas of the principle mandala of sacred Tantric sites of the subcontinent. The primordial symbols of father and mother principles of Tantric metaphysics are recognized as Shamvara and Nairatmya and also as other Tantric deities and their yogini consorts.
However, the lingam of Pashupatinath is also recognized as a representation of Mahadeva Ishvara, and Pashupatinath is known as the power place of Lhachen Wongchuk. Mahadeva is an important protector of the buddhadharma in the Red Hat school's mandala. As one of the four major protectors of the Sakya school, he is frequently painted on the rear walls of Sakya gompas, and as a Nyingma protector he is depicted standing naked with his consort Uma, or Parvati, his phallus erect as in Yogeshvara, Lord of Yoga.
The Tibetan's recall the legend of the siddha Jalandharipa (Gorakhnath's Guru), who with his psychic energy burst the Pashupati lingam apart. It is said that long ago the siddha's curse destroyed it and the fragments were enshrined in a wooden Buddhist stupa to preserve it.


It seems clear we can't expect this to be an exact science....
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby pemachophel » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:06 pm

Adamantine, In terms of Tibetan Buddhism (as opposed to Newar Buddhism), the Tibetans made their own ascriptions to what they saw already in place in Nepal. These ascriptions may not make sense when looked at from a Hindu perspective, a Newar perspective, or even when compared to other "facts" within "Tibetan" Buddhism. Buddhists (Newar and Tibetan) go to Buddha Nilkantha and see Avalokiteshwara. Hindus see Narayan (Vishnu).

I once visited St. Catherine's shrine in Montreal with a family of Nyingma Lamas. One went up the scala sancta on her knees to see Tara at the top. Of course, to the Roman Catholics there, it was the Virgin Mary at the top. Personally, I find this flexible and fluid way of viewing things very helpful. Good not to be too attached to our own ideas, or any ideas for that matter.

If you take the Great Stupa for yet another example, there is a Hindu story of its creation, a Newar Buddhist story of its creation, and Tibetan Buddhist story of its creation. And then there's the "historical record" which suggests something else yet again. Ha! How wonderful! :rolling:
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:13 pm

pemachophel wrote:Adamantine, In terms of Tibetan Buddhism (as opposed to Newar Buddhism), the Tibetans made their own ascriptions to what they saw already in place in Nepal. These ascriptions may not make sense when looked at from a Hindu perspective, a Newar perspective, or even when compared to other "facts" within "Tibetan" Buddhism. Buddhists (Newar and Tibetan) go to Buddha Nilkantha and see Avalokiteshwara. Hindus see Narayan (Vishnu).

I once visited St. Catherine's shrine in Montreal with a family of Nyingma Lamas. One went up the scala sancta on her knees to see Tara at the top. Of course, to the Roman Catholics there, it was the Virgin Mary at the top. Personally, I find this flexible and fluid way of viewing things very helpful. Good not to be too attached to our own ideas, or any ideas for that matter.

If you take the Great Stupa for yet another example, there is a Hindu story of its creation, a Newar Buddhist story of its creation, and Tibetan Buddhist story of its creation. And then there's the "historical record" which suggests something else yet again. Ha! How wonderful! :rolling:


But how do we relate to this flexibility without falling into the tendency of a Joseph-Campbell or Mircea Eliade type of comparative-mythology mindset, -or for that matter a Jungian archetype view?
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:31 am

Adamantine wrote:
But how do we relate to this flexibility without falling into the tendency of a Joseph-Campbell or Mircea Eliade type of comparative-mythology mindset, -or for that matter a Jungian archetype view?


Since there's no objective essence to any appearances, we can be free to relate to what we see in the world according to our tantric worldview. From our POV, with everything seen as ultimately being an embodiment of the guru or yidam and his/her display as a retinue of male and female deities, no differing historical accounts or differing religious accounts of things and places can survive our consideration of what their essence truly is. That way, privately in our own minds, all the contradictory views and accounts are reconciled for us.
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby pemachophel » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:37 pm

:bow:
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Adamantine » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:18 pm

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
But how do we relate to this flexibility without falling into the tendency of a Joseph-Campbell or Mircea Eliade type of comparative-mythology mindset, -or for that matter a Jungian archetype view?


Since there's no objective essence to any appearances, we can be free to relate to what we see in the world according to our tantric worldview. From our POV, with everything seen as ultimately being an embodiment of the guru or yidam and his/her display as a retinue of male and female deities, no differing historical accounts or differing religious accounts of things and places can survive our consideration of what their essence truly is. That way, privately in our own minds, all the contradictory views and accounts are reconciled for us.


Sounds pretty good! I will do my best. :smile:
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sat May 05, 2012 5:35 am



If Rangjung Gyalmo is not Kali specifically, could we say that Shiva (Kala/Bhairava) and Kali belong to a specific class of beings, that class of beings being known as something like Kala's/Kali's (the same class of beings that Mahakala and Vajrabhairava happen to be of as well) ?


Namdrol wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
That said, Krodakali, aka Troma, as practiced in the Nyingma lineage, is equivalent to Kali.


No it isn't. There is no relationship between the two. Krodhakali is a form of Vajrayogini. Vajrayogini is not Kali.

gad rgyangs wrote:Chinamasta/Chinnamunda, who is a form of Vajrayogini (her attendants are named "Vajravarnaniye" and "Vajravairochaniye" after all), is sort of a cousin of Kali, so maybe thats where the confusion comes from.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavidyas

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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Lhug-Pa » Tue May 08, 2012 8:24 am

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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue May 08, 2012 9:05 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
But how do we relate to this flexibility without falling into the tendency of a Joseph-Campbell or Mircea Eliade type of comparative-mythology mindset, -or for that matter a Jungian archetype view?


Since there's no objective essence to any appearances, we can be free to relate to what we see in the world according to our tantric worldview. From our POV, with everything seen as ultimately being an embodiment of the guru or yidam and his/her display as a retinue of male and female deities, no differing historical accounts or differing religious accounts of things and places can survive our consideration of what their essence truly is. That way, privately in our own minds, all the contradictory views and accounts are reconciled for us.


I agree.

Sometimes it is confusing that thangka painting and statue-making are incredibly precise with regard to each Buddhist deity, following instructions passed down the lineage, and the idea that there is no objective essence.

A story I have told before is that of the westerner asking a Hindu villager if he may take a stone, from the shrine in his hut, outside to photograph it. The villager agrees, but as he was photographing the stone the westerner realised ot his horror that he may be defiling the object. He apologised profusely to the villager who said: 'It's OK. I can always get another stone.'
In other words the stone no longer had any special meaning once removed, and a new stone could be ascribed the same value the instant it was installed on the shrine.
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby muni » Tue May 08, 2012 11:40 am

When confusing (grasping) mind is not seen, confusing objects are seen.
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Re: Bhairava in Buddhism?

Postby whitemonia » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:23 am

deiteis are archetips of the mind. in hinduism the deities appears in a mundane forms like devas (not illuminated...they can give material benefits and moksha/liberation but not illumination). I think, in buddhism we find a lot of hindu deties but transformeted in a superior form, in their illuminated form.
Shiva is not easy to compare in a tibetan buddhism. The problem is: in Hinduism there is a concept of supreme and absolute God (Shiva or Vishnu...depend on the sect point of view). The supreme God is not a simple deity or deva and i think it's hard to find him in a tibetan buddhism. So, if you consider Shiva only a deva, yes it's possible he is mahakala in his inferior or mundane form, but if you want to find Shiva like a suprem god in the buddha dharma, i think you can get confusion.

It's not good compare religions in the details. Some time they use different names and forms to indicate the same energy.
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