Author: Lokesh Chandra
Publisher: Aditya Prakashan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8177420526
The gods and goddesses will be there, as long as there is humankind. They are the palingenesis of the fire of the human mind, a symbol of the sky-void steps into a spring mist of luminous consciousness. The power dwelling within them restores to our dreaming ink all its crystals in their visual representation.
This volume begins with the mage-entry of Manjusri and ends with the letter N. Manjusri has 106 forms with a bewildering variation in their attributes. We have even a Thousand-armed Manjusri holding a bowl in each hand and hence called Sempatsu Monju in Japanese: Sem 'thousand', patsu 'bowl', Monju 'Manjusri'. A complete tantra is devoted to him and it survives in the Chinese translation by Amoghavajra completed in AD 740. It is larger than the Guhyasamaja-tantra.
AN OVER-VIEW OF 20-VOLUME SET OF THIS DICTIONARY
The Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography is an endeavor of half a century to identify, classify, describe and delineate the bewildering variation in Buddhist icons. It spans the last twenty centuries, and it is a comparative study of unprecedented geographic variations, besides the ever-evolving visualizations of great maters who introduced extraordinary plurality of divine forms in the dharanis and sadhanas.
The multiple forms of a theonym arise in varying contexts. For example, Hevajra of the Hevajra-tantra holds crania in his hands, while the Hevajra of the Samputa-tantra has weapons. Both are subdivided into four each on the planes of kaya, vak, citta and hrdaya, with two, four, eight and sixteen arms. The dictionary classifies several such types of a deity and places each in its theogonic structure, specifies the earliest date of its occurrence (e g Amoghapasa appears in Chinese in AD 587), the earliest mage, the direction in which its is placed in the specific quarter of the mandala, its classification, color, crown or hairdo, ferocious or serene appearance, number of eyes and heads, hair standing up and /or flaming, number of arms and attributes held in them, consort, lord of the family (kulesa), and so on. The esoteric name, symbolic form (samaya0, bija (hierogram), mantra, mudra and mandala are given in this Dictionary for the first time and on an extensive scale. The Sanskrit, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu and other names are given under the main entry, as well as cross-referenced in their own alphabetic order.
The Dictionary details the characteristic attributes, chronology and symbolism of over twelve thousand main and minor deities. It reflects the extraordinary cultural, literary, aesthetic and spiritual achievements of several nations of Asia over two millennia.