Hinduism

DannyL

Wild Horses
in my book i compare the tibetan book of the dead with a computer game

The Tibetan Book of the Dead takes the form of a recitation of instructions to a recently deceased person — a corpse. “O, Child of Buddha Nature, (call the name of the dying person), the time has come for you to seek a path.” Then, almost exactly like a computer game, the guide describes a series of levels, of obstacles, that the soul must guide itself past. The goal is at all costs to avoid reincarnation in this samsara — our world of suffering. In all the various scenarios we encounter the injunction to seek “the bright and dazzling radiances of pure pristine cognition” and to avoid the “bewildering” or “dull” lights. Focusing on the most negative outcome, however, the recently deceased keeps roaming downwards stumbling over each hurdle. Facepalm.

There are many glorious descriptions of these encounters amid the mandala, but the following is particularly awesome: “Encircling these awareness holders, there will be inestimable crowds of dakinis [sacred female spirits]: the dakinis of the eight charnel grounds, dakinis of the four enlightened families, dakinis of the three abodes, dakinis of the ten directions, dakinis of the twenty-four powerplaces, spiritual heroes and heroines, faithful retainers, and protectors of the sacred teachings — all wearing six kinds of bone ornaments, playing drums, thigh-bone trumpets, and skull drums and waving banners made of the hide of ‘ritually liberated’ beings, canopies and streamers of human hide, the entire display pervaded by an incense cloud of burning human flesh, reverberating with the sound of countless and diverse musical instruments, the sound permeating all world systems, causing them to vibrate, tremble and quake.” To the trippers of the counterculture this imagery was manna from heaven.

A warning comes at “Obstruction of the Womb Entrances”: “O, Child of Buddha Nature, if you have not taken to heart the introduction which has gone before, from now on, the body of your past life will grow more faint and the body of your next life will grow more vivid.” Before finally we have the equivalent of “Game Over”: “Previously having been a human being, you will now have become a dog. So consequently, you will suffer in a dog-kennel, or similarly in a pigsty… There is no way back. You will experience all manner of sufferings in a state of great obscurity and delusion… There is nothing more awesome or frightening than this! Oh dear!” Oh dear, indeed.
Hey Matt
Something I didn't know 'til a few years ago is that Leary's translation is effectively just a chapter of a much longer book. Penguin did a much longer edition first published in 2005 with involvement from Tibetan religious community which is a much longer, and more authentic full translation. I've had it for bloody years and managed not to read it. One for book club!?
Just as a for instance the title - rather than Tibetan Book of the Dead - translates as The Great Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate States. Not as catchy but kinda deep.
Review: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/oct/22/highereducation.classics
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
I just realised I wrote "translation" after Leary and there's no fucking way that happened. He was ripping of Evans-Wentz wholesale I think.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
This thread is reminding me of Enter the Void as well - overlong and indulgent but has some fantastic depictions of the Bardos. I particularly like the in-between realm depicted as a love hotel! Speaks to the eternal arising of desire in all incarnate beings.
 

william_kent

Well-known member
This thread is reminding me of Enter the Void as well - overlong and indulgent but has some fantastic depictions of the Bardos. I particularly like the in-between realm depicted as a love hotel! Speaks to the eternal arising of desire in all incarnate beings.

I wonder if Gaspar Noé got the idea for the hotel from Brion Gysin's "The Last Museum"? That's the Book of the Dead transposed on to the Beat Hotel..
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
I just realised I wrote "translation" after Leary and there's no fucking way that happened. He was ripping of Evans-Wentz wholesale I think.
Hang on, are you seriously suggesting Timothy Leary did something a bit dishonest?! 😯
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Idk if he ever claimed he translated it - I just realised I defaulted to that in the way I wrote about it. And translation and the related issues are so important when you're talking about these texts.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Evan-Wentz published his version in 1927, Leary ripped it off in 1964 - who knows how outdated some of the thinking might be? Its not like there's not a long history of fetishisation of "oriental wisdom" and the like.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Yes, I met him once in Paris. I was staying with my friend and he had a couple of mates who were in some band (I forget the name) and squatted this cellar - or bunker really - which they'd filled with occult bric-a-brac and dressmakers dummies in Nazi uniform or with goats heads etc I think we were going there to check out a big load of records that they had just scored from somewhere... loads of weird libraries and such I seem to remember, and then Gaspar Noe turned up for some reason with this impossibly beautiful girl in tow. Conversation was limited cos all I could think of was how much I'd disliked Enter The Void which I'd seen a couple of days earlier.
I've said this several times before but it did make me laugh a few days later when I saw an interview with Noe saying how he liked to put Paz de La Huerta in his films cos she was hot and she didn't mind getting naked... and then this girl from the bunker (with whom I'd swapped details) updated her facebook page to a massive picture of her completely naked in what I took to be an absolutely shameless attempt to get into the movies. Which as far as I know hasn't met with any success in the ten years or so since she did it.
 

Matthew

FKA Woebot
Hey Matt
Something I didn't know 'til a few years ago is that Leary's translation is effectively just a chapter of a much longer book. Penguin did a much longer edition first published in 2005 with involvement from Tibetan religious community which is a much longer, and more authentic full translation. I've had it for bloody years and managed not to read it. One for book club!?
Just as a for instance the title - rather than Tibetan Book of the Dead - translates as The Great Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate States. Not as catchy but kinda deep.
Review: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/oct/22/highereducation.classics
yes! that's right. the leary book (garbage!) is a "translation" of the evans-wentz translation of it

the original is really interesting for the chapters either side which are full of hugely superstitious voodoo-like spells.

lap.jpg
 

Matthew

FKA Woebot
from retreat:

From this point of view it is at once illuminating and hilarious to quote from the larger work’s preceding rites describing techniques for averting signs of near death: “In cases when the hair of the nape of the neck grows upwards, one should prepare a dough with black seeds [and use this to] make a substitute effigy, one cubit in height. Into its heart, one should then insert a number of crushed berries, equalling the subject’s age in years,
and attach a label bearing the subject’s own name. The hair should be made from the subject’s cut hair. Blood should be drawn from the subject’s body, and smeared on its face. It should then be wrapped in the subject’s clothing and smeared with black pigment. Then, at one hundred at twenty-one paces from the subject’s own dwelling, one should dig a triangular dark pit, and recite [RAM], the seed-syllable of the element fire, a number of times equalling the subject’s age in years. Then repeat the following words three times: ‘Black Demon! Take this [effigy]! This is important! This is important!’ Then throw it into the pit, defecate upon it, cover it with earth and run away. Then one should re-examine [the above sign of death].”
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
I like all that stuff. It's interesting that a tradition that's seen as very otherworldly has all these practical techniques for managing life's adversities. We might see Tibetan Buddhism as having any commonality with witchcraft or folk magics as would've been practiced in Europe but maybe they've more in common than we might think. I guess they have the fully developed soteriological framework in a way that a village cunning man wouldn't have but nonetheless....
 

catalog

Well-known member
This is one of my favourite short stories from the Mahabharata... about King Uparichara (Vasu) and his wife Girika. Just the strangest tale ever. So bizarre. My head was spinning after reading it. I got some people I was making music with in manchester a few years ago to act these scenes out, but never put the footage together. And I also acted the whole thing out again with my wife. Again, never got much further than the shooting stage. At various points, I've also made drawings of some of the scenes.

I've taken this Bibek Debroy's recent-ish translation from https://archive.org/details/DebroyBibekTrMahabharata.Vol.ISections1To15/page/n1

edit: looks like that link I used previously has been taken down, but this one seems to be working https://archive.org/details/the-mahabharata-set-of-10-volumes (you might be able to use CTRL + F to search "Shuktimati" and find it in context)

but there's also a wikipedia page


"The river that flowed near his [King Uparichara's] city, Shuktimati, was once attacked by the mountain Kolahola, maddened by lust. The mountain Kolahola was kicked by Vasu with his foot and the river flowed out freely through the gully caused by the kick. From the embrace of the mountain, the river gave birth to twins and, grateful, the river gave them to the king. Vasu, supreme among rajarshis and the provider of prosperity and vanquisher of enemies, made the son the general of his army. The daughter of the river was named Girika and the king made her his wife. Once, the time for intercourse arrived and Vasu’s wife, Girika, having purified herself by bathing at the fertile time, informed her husband about her state. But on that very day, his ancestors came to him and asked the best of kings and wisest of men to kill some deer. Thinking that the command of his ancestors should be followed, he went out to hunt, thinking of Girika, who was exceedingly beautiful and like Shri herself [Shri is a goddess].

He was so excited that the semen was discharged in the beautiful forest and wishing to save it, the king of the earth collected it in the leaf of a tree. The lord thought that his semen should not be wasted in vain and that his wife’s fertile period should not pass barren. Then the king thought about this many times and the best of kings firmly decided that his semen would be productive, since the semen was issued when his queen’s time was right. Learned in the subtleties of dharma and artha [dharma is roughly 'duty'; artha is roughly 'meaning'], the king consecrated the semen, which was productive for producing progeny, and addressed a hawk that was seated nearby.

‘O amiable one! Please take this seed to my wife Girika. She is in her season now.’ The swift hawk took it from him and flew speedily through the sky.

When the bird was thus swiftly flying through the sky, another hawk saw him and thought that the hawk was carrying some meat and flew at him. The two birds fought with their beaks in the sky. When they were thus fighting, the semen fell into the waters of the river Yamuna. An apsara [female spirit of the clouds and waters] known by the name of Adrika lived in the water of the Yamuna as a fish, because she had been cursed by Brahma. In the form of a fish, Adrika speedily came to where Vasu’s semen fell from the hawk’s claw and swallowed it up immediately.

O best of the Bharata lineage! Some time after this, the fish was caught by fishermen and she was in her tenth month. From the stomach of the fish there emerged twins in human form, a boy and a girl. They marvelled at this and went and told the king, ‘O king! These two have been born in human form inside a fish.’

Then King Uparichara accepted the male child and he later became the righteous and truthful king named Matsya. As soon as the children were born, the apsara was also immediately freed from her curse. The beautiful one had earlier been told by the illustrious god' that she would be freed from her non-human form when she gave birth to two human children. Following these words, after giving birth to two children and after being killed by the fishermen, she left the form of a fish and assumed her own divine form. The beautiful apsara then went up to the sky, following the path of the siddhis, rishis and charancis [heavenly tribes]. The girl, the daughter of the fish, smelt of fish. She was given by the king to the fishermen, saying that she would be their daughter."

I only got to about book 3 of the Mahabharata - even Bibek Debroy prefaced some of the chapters by saying they were basically almost word for word repetitions of previous chapters. I got into it cos I've always been obsessed with the story of "Karna" and for years wanted to make it into a film.
 

catalog

Well-known member
Something I made a little while ago, probably very blasphemous and insulting to the wrong people but I think the biggun would smile

 

Matthew

FKA Woebot
"The icon of Jagannath is a carved and decorated wooden stump with large round eyes and a symmetric face, and the icon has a conspicuous absence of hands or legs. The worship procedures, sacraments and rituals associated with Jagannath are syncretic and include rites that are uncommon in Hinduism."

a DMT elf from inner space in short
 
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