Bīja

In Hinduism and Buddhism, the Sanskrit term bīja (Jp. 種子 shuji), literally seed, is used as a metaphor for the origin or cause of things and cognate with bindu.The metaphor is considerably extended in the Consciousness-only teachings of the Yogacara school of Buddhism. According to this theory, all experiences and actions produce "bīja" as impressions, stored in the alaya (storehouse) consciousness. The external world is produced when the seeds "perfume" this consciousness. This view of "bīja" has been equated to memes, with the theory itself positing an extreme form of memetics (ie. reality and existence consist purely of memes).

In Vajrayana Buddhism and Hinduism, the term "bīja" is used for mystical "seed syllables" contained within mantras. These seeds do not have precise meanings, but are thought to carry connections to spiritual principles. The best-known "bīja" syllable is Om, first found in the Hindu scriptures the Upanishads.

Khanna (2003: p.21) links mantras and yantras to thoughtforms:

Mantras, the Sanskrit syllables inscribed on yantras, are essentially 'thought forms' representing divinities or cosmic powers, which exert their influence by means of sound-vibrations. [Khanna, Madhu (2003). "Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity. " Inner Traditions. ISBN-10: 0892811323 & ISBN-13: 978-0892811328. p.21]

In some tantric traditions, the Bija of the 'Varnamala' (Sanskrit; English: "garland of letters"; which may be rendered as alphabet) are understood as aniconic representations and sound embodiments of the matrikas, note how nearly homophonic and etymologically related 'matrika' is to 'mantrika', that is "a practitioner of mantra".

In Tibetan Buddhism the seed syllables corresponding to the Three Vajras are: a white "om" (enlightened body), a red "ah" (enlightened speech) and a blue "hum" (enlightened mind). [cite book|last=Rinpoche|first=Pabongka|title=Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand: A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment|publisher=Wisdom Books|date=1997|pages=p.196]

Bija are often the vehicle of transmission of terma to a 'terton' (Tibetan; English: "revealer of terma"), such as that experienced by Dudjom Lingpa. [*Lingpa, Dudjom; Tulku, Chagdud; Norbu, Padma Drimed; Barron, Richard (Lama Chökyi Nyima, translator); Fairclough, Susanne (translator) (1994, 2002 revised). "Buddhahood without meditation: a visionary account known as 'Refining one's perception' (Nang-jang)" (English; Tibetan: "ran bźin rdzogs pa chen po'i ranźal mnon du byed pa'i gdams pa zab gsan sñin po"). Revised Edition. Junction City, CA, USA: Padma Publishing. ISBN: 1-881847-33-0 p.xx]

ee also

* Gankyil
* Bindu

Notes


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