Thursday, June 21, 2007

de bzhin gshegs pa - Tathagata

If you examine most of the Wheel of Life images, you will usually see a Buddha somewhere top right, outside the wheel itself. This is the symbolic meaning of Buddhas, or enlightened beings, being outside the cyclic existence. Buddha usually points at liberation, such as the moon on the left side.

There are many titles and names for Buddhas. Here's one: de bzhin gshegs pa, or Tathagata in Sanskrit.

de bzhin means that itself, or tatha in Sanskrit. gshegs pa is depart, go beyond, or gata.

Thus, one way to translate this term is Thus Gone, or Gone Beyond. It's a title reserved for those beings who have transcended Cyclic existence, indeed.

1 comment:

Michael Hennessy said...

Interesting! gshegs pa (depart, go beyond) is Skt. gata, which connects "de bzhin gshegs pa" to the mantra of the Heart Sutra: "Tayatha Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Soha!"