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Happy New Year Greetings!
Congratulations caringhk for starting a thread on Buddhism. I posted something last night on New Year's eve on the subject, but it has not been allowed onto this BBS. |
Just a little interesting information on the Swastika sign which you posted: In the 佛学大辞典，it says that both are the same, be it anti-clockwise or clockwise. This explanation makes sense because if you draw the symbol on a sheet of paper and look at it from one side, it is clockwise, but if you look at it from the other side, it looks anti-clockwise. The symbol came to China from India during the reign of Empress 武则天of 唐dynasty. She was a devout Buddhist and gave the Chinese pronunciation to the symbol, which is WAN. If you visit the 西藏地区of China, you will see that both both versions are in existence. Most of the time, they are of the anti-clockwise variety, but if in the 九寨沟region of 四川 you will find them to be clockwise. In their Buddhist temples you will find an extra 佛， in addition to阿弥陀佛（ Amitabo） and Shakyamuni （释迦摩尼佛）. This extra佛is the representation of the 祖师爷of the Bun religion (本教） that existed in the Himalyan region, an indigenous religion that worships magic, the snow-peaked mountains, rocks, trees etc. It still exists in the foothills of the Himalayas today. When Buddhism first came to 西藏， like between all religions, there was conflict between the Bun and Buddhism. This was overcome by amalgating these two religions which today is the 藏传佛教school with its unique characteristics and Tantric mysticism, an example of which is the 双修school where you have two bodies (of male and female) entangled in deep embrace, as they together try to strive for total emancipation from the Dukha（苦）of this earthly existence. This probably explains some of the interest shown by Westerners with regard to 藏传佛教and their desire to turn it into a "fun" thing, leaving out the serious religious aspect associated with it.
There was a Chinese scholar 陈建民who spent years in the Himalayas learning about 密宗(Trantric Buddhism) and he subsequently wrote quite a lot about it after he moved to the US where he had a following. He got himself a name among our 藏族同胞as the Gyami Rimpochi - the Chinese living Buddha. I don't think he was quite that, but was nevertheless very learned. You can use the Google search engine to find more information on him.
[ Last edited by lobsang at 2009-1-1 06:17 PM ]