Monday, December 24, 2007

Homage - Part 2

The beginning of the homage, in this Tibetan translation, and what the text pays homage to, is 'jam dpal gzhon nur gyur pa, Manjushri-kumara-bhuta. One English translation of this of many names of Manjushri is The Youthful Gentle Splendor.

'jam dpal is Manjushri, or Gentle Splendor. gzhon nur gyur pa is to become a youth, guyr pa is to become, gzhon nu is youthful, and the r in gzhon nur is a general subordination particle that organizes the right with the left. If there's something to be learned here is to always watch out for possible particles at the end of words, otherwise you will spend time trying to find words in a dictionary that are not present.

One way to interpret this homage is that Abhidharma is hard to understand, so paying homage to Manjushri is a way to pay homage to the highest wisdom ((see Jewel Ornament of Liberation Introduction.)

Another interesting interpretation is that when the texts where collected after the pari-nirvana of Buddha, Manjushri the bodhisattva recited the Abhidharma texts.

Also, in the classification system introduced by the Tibetan king Ralphachen, all Abhidharma texts should have this homage to classify them into the basket of Abhidharma.

Next, we will continue in the text, no worries, Abhidharma is not hard, it's actually fun!


Anonymous said...

Dear World Eye,

I've wondered about kumārabhūta being a part of the name of Mañjuśrī before. I looked in Edgerton's "Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary," p. 187, and see there that it's adjectival phrase meaning "while still a youth, remaining a youth." Edgerton also suggests the meaning "who is perennially young," and notices that it is used with name of others, and especially other bodhisattvas. It also seems, when used in reference to Shâkyamuni, that it refers to the period before His Enlightenment. I have no understanding of my own to offer.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I do have a tiny comment of my own to offer. Kumāra in Sanskrit (it's still a popular boy's name Kumar) does mean 'youth,' it's true, but it also has a more specific meaning of 'prince.' All the Bodhisattvas wear royal ornaments, and of course Shâkyamuni did, too, in his young life as a prince, before disappearing into the forest for a life of meditation.