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Abhinavagupta

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Topic author: Kirtanman
Subject: Abhinavagupta
Posted on: Oct 14 2009 8:08:13 PM
Message:


Hi All,

I've mentioned Abhinavagupta in quite a few posts, and I believe a few others may have, as well.

Abhinavagupta is one of the best-known teachers/gurus of the non-dual tantric philosophy-yoga of Kashmir Shaivism, and literally "wrote the book" (the encyclopedic Tantraloka) on Advaitic Tantra and Tantric ritual, as well as being a prodigious author of many other works on non-dual tantric philosophy and tantric yoga. He is the founder of the Trika (Triadic) school of non-dual Kashmir Shaivism.

His leading disciple, Kshemaraja, was also a profilic and profound writer in his own right, and authored the Pratyabhijnahrdayam, the Doctrine of Self-Recognition, twenty sutras based on the teachings of his guru, Abhinavagupta.

Abhinavagupta lived in 10th Century Kashmir, and was one of the most brilliant non-dual sages and philosophers the world has ever seen, and through his lineage descendant Swami Lakshmanjoo, has influenced many of the leading non-dual tantric authors of the 20th and 21st centuries (Swami Lakshmanjoo, Jaideva Singh, Lilian Silburn, Mark S.G. Dyczkowski, John Hughes, Peter Wilberg, Daniel Odier, and several others).

He's not extremely well-known outside of Kashmir Shaivism circles, but he is becoming more well-known all the time; many modern Kashmir Shaivites have literally dedicated their lives to preserving and teaching his work and writings.

Wikipedia Article on Abhinavagupta

I'm sure I'll have more to add -- but in the meantime, I just wanted to start this thread, and provide a link to basic information on Abhinavagupta.

Wholeheartedly,



Kirtanman

Replies:


Reply author: jeff
Replied on: Oct 16 2009 11:40:59 AM
Message:

Thank you for the post. I have found that Abhinavagupta's writings fit best with my personal experience/understanding. His analysis on vibrations is what I feel. Additionally, his concept of the "female god aspect" works with my Christian concept of the Holy Spirit.

I look forward to any other information you have on his (or other non-dual Kashmir Shaivism) writings.

Regards.


Reply author: Kirtanman
Replied on: Jun 01 2010 8:43:29 PM
Message:

Some Quotes From Abhinavagupta:

**

This bliss is not like the intoxication of wine or that of riches, nor similar to union with the beloved. The manifestation of the light of consciousness is not like the ray of light from a lamp, sun or moon. When one frees oneself from accumulated multiplicity, the state of bliss is like that of putting down a burden; the manifestation of the Light is like the acquiring of a lost treasure, the domain of universal non-duality.

**

Nothing perceived is independent of perception and perception differs not from the perceiver, therefore the universe is nothing but the perceiver.

**

Philosophy is an elaboration of different kinds of experiences. The abstractions of high-grade metaphysics are based on spiritual experience and derive their whole value from the experiences they symbolize.

**

Relative distinction between two realities is not impossible. This is the doctrine of Supreme Unity in which in which relative distinction is neither shunned nor accepted. While there is an external difference between phenomena, there is none inwardly.

**

The existence or non-existence of phenomena within the domain of the empirical cannot be established unless they rest within consciousness. In fact, phenomena which rest within consciousness are apparent. And the fact of their appearing is itself their oneness with consciousness because consciousness is nothing but the fact of appearing.

**

The group of subjects, the various means of knowledge, the multiple kinds of knowledge and the objects of knowledge – all this is consciousness alone. The Supreme Goddess is the absolute freedom of consciousness which assumes all these forms.

**

Both characteristics, unity and diversity, are found in that which does not fall to the level of an object but which, because it is consciousness, is the supremely real Light. It has only one characteristic, namely, consciousness which is the perfect medium of reflection. This is what experience tells us.

**

The truth is therefore this: the Supreme Lord manifests freely all the varied play of emissions and absorptions in the sky of his own nature.

**

The Light is the supreme reality that encompasses all the categories from Earth to Paramasiva, while the unfolding of the reflective awareness of the Heart of I consciousness within it, distinguishes between them.

**

Absolute consciousness is manifest here in every circumstance of daily life because it is everywhere full and perfect. Consciousness is said to be the cause of all things because it is everywhere emergent as each manifest entity.

**

The extremely pure conscious reality transcends all talk of succession and its absence.

**

Immersing himself in the supreme reality, clearly aware that consciousness is all things, the yogi’s consciousness vibrates. This vibration is the Great Pervasion.

**

The yogi should abide firmly fixed in his own nature by the power of the exertion of his expanding consciousness. Thus he is established on the plane of Bliss relishing the objects of sense that spontaneously appear before him. Perfected yogis (siddha) , are ever steadfast in this, the Supreme Gesture (mudra), the perfect and unobstructed expansion of the awakened.

**

The couple (yamala) is consciousness itself; the unifying emission and the stable abode. It is the absolute, the noble cosmic bliss consisting of both (Siva and Sakti). It is the supreme secret of Kula (the ultimate reality); neither quiescent or emergent, it is the flowing fount of both quiescence and emergence.

**

The variety of this world can only be manifested if the Highest Lord, Who is essentially the pure light of consciousness, exists; just as a surface is necessary for a picture.

**

Other achievements are in vain if one has missed the supreme reality, the Self. But once one has attained this reality there is nothing left that one could desire.

**

Source: by The Doctrine Of Vibration By Mark S. G. Dyczkowski


Reply author: alwayson2
Replied on: Jun 02 2010 09:37:36 AM
Message:

It is interesting that such pivotal shaiva figures are quite late historically, and even wikipedia mentions buddhist influence.


Reply author: Kirtanman
Replied on: Jun 02 2010 10:04:31 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by alwayson2

It is interesting that such pivotal shaiva figures are quite late historically, and even wikipedia mentions buddhist influence.



Yes; Abhinavagupta studied with at least one Buddhist teacher, possibly more (see the Wikipedia article on Abhinavagupta in the first post in this thread for details).

Shaivism itself dates back to pre-history; the Indus Valley Civilization practiced Shaivism prior to 1500 BCE.

However, in the early to middle centuries of the common era, there was a lot of cross-pollination (between non-dual Shaivism and non-dual Buddhism); Padmasambhava came from Kashmir (Oddiyana), and brought non-duality to Tibet.

Certain Buddhist rituals were incorporated wholesale from Kashmir Shaivism (and possibly vice-versa, for all I know; it's just that the Buddhist incorporation of Shaiva doctrine and rituals is documented) - see this article on the Shaiva Sources of the Buddhist Yoginitantras by Professor Alexis Sanderson of Oxford, for details.

Regardless of "who taught what to who and when" though, I'm just thankful that the reality of non-duality has been preserved by the sages of all traditions (and no tradition), in order that the rest of us may have the opportunity to realize it, as well.


Wholeheartedly,

Kirtanman









Reply author: alwayson2
Replied on: Jun 03 2010 12:12:43 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Kirtanman
Regardless of "who taught what to who and when" though, I'm just thankful that the reality of non-duality has been preserved by the s



Well noone on this forum seems to be interested in authentic nonduality anyway.

quote:
Originally posted by Kirtanman
Shaivism itself dates back to pre-history; the Indus Valley Civilization practiced Shaivism prior to 1500 BCE.



I don't think so


Reply author: Kirtanman
Replied on: Jun 03 2010 8:12:03 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by alwayson2

quote:
Originally posted by Kirtanman
Regardless of "who taught what to who and when" though, I'm just thankful that the reality of non-duality has been preserved by the s



Well noone on this forum seems to be interested in authentic nonduality anyway.



Why do you say that?

quote:

quote:
Originally posted by Kirtanman
Shaivism itself dates back to pre-history; the Indus Valley Civilization practiced Shaivism prior to 1500 BCE.



I don't think so



That's fine; others do think so (opinions, familiarity with related facts, etc., can vary quite a bit from one person or group to the next). If interested, please see:

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Shaivism

and/or

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Shaivism

and/or

http://www.saivism.net/

and/or even

Shaivism in Ancient India and Europe

... and/or Google around on your own; it's not a matter that's in any kind of dispute.


Wholeheartedly,


Kirtanman







Reply author: stevenbhow
Replied on: Jun 03 2010 9:45:33 PM
Message:

Hey Kirtanman,
Thanks for the post. My Guru Swami Shankaranda and some Sanskrit scholars are in the process of translating the Tantraloka into English. I think it has been translated into Italian, but never English in it entirety. I will be sure and keep you updated when hear anymore about it.

Steve


Reply author: alwayson2
Replied on: Jun 03 2010 10:05:15 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Kirtanman
it's not a matter that's in any kind of dispute.




you should read your own links


Reply author: Kirtanman
Replied on: Jun 04 2010 8:07:20 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by alwayson2

quote:
Originally posted by Kirtanman
it's not a matter that's in any kind of dispute.




you should read your own links



I did; it's not the articles that are off, so to speak, just a poor choice of words on my part (quoted above), per the qualified statements the articles make (i.e. "some people feel"; "certain people say", etc.).



Anything that far back in time is going to be highly qualified; even the dates of the Buddha's life are much more qualified than they used to be.

All that's ancillary, though. My reason for going into any of that was your statement:

quote:

It is interesting that such pivotal shaiva figures are quite late historically, and even wikipedia mentions buddhist influence.


Please let me know if I'm misunderstanding you, but based on that comment, and quite a few you've made previously (in other threads, over time), it seems that you're making a case for Kashmir Shaivism being derivative of Buddhism (?).

It's not.

It is fair to say that non-dual schools within both Buddhism and Hinduism/Shaivism influenced each other. As I mentioned, Abhinavagupta studied with at least one Buddhist teacher, but several Shaiva texts, including some authored by Abhinavagupta, engage in a very precise, logical criticism of certain facets of Buddhism, and also of Vedanta.

That was kind of the thing to do, back then (Buddhists and Vedantists did it, too).

Ultimately, the value in any system, per one of the quotes from Abhinavagupta:

"Philosophy is an elaboration of different kinds of experiences. The abstractions of high-grade metaphysics are based on spiritual experience and derive their whole value from the experiences they symbolize."


... is how well it serves as a map to help us experience the fullness of reality - non-duality.

Both Kashmir Shaivism and the non-dual schools of Buddhism have high marks in this area, I'd say (in terms of the number of enlightened practitioners these schools have produced).

Once again (as I've done in other threads), I'll strongly recommend Daniel Odier's version of the Yoga Spandakarika (one of the earliest Kashmir Shavism texts; effectively the Yoga Sutras of Kashmir Shaivism).

The reason for recommending Odier's version is that he's the only enlightened teacher I know of who is formally initiated in a Kashmir Shaiva lineage (Pratyabhijna), and non-dual Buddhism, both (Ch'an). That book has a lot of great and comparable quotes from both Shaivism and Buddhism, as well as good information on the connections between the two systems.

Odier writes:

"{I} grasped the impact of the Kashmiri Siddhas on Tibetan Buddhism, which by the way "Buddhafies" the Siddhas to such a degree that Alain Danielou would go on to write 'Tibetan Buddhism is Shaivism in disguise'."


He continues:

"What I am proposing here is to rediscover the opening of mind by presenting the texts of Ch'an, Dzogchen and the Mahamudras - Chinese, Tibetan and Kashmiri - texts that only mystical experience can bring together."


Some quotes from the book:


In a state of non-dual awareness
The diverse perceptions blend uninterruptedly
Like milk and water
Into the one flavor great bliss
~Savari

With nothing controlling it
The mind is joyous and at ease
~Je Gampopa

When mind is looking at mind
all discursive thoughts cease
and enlightenment is attained
~Machig Labdron

Make your mind as wide open as cosmic space
Detach from graspings in conceptual conscience
And false ideas and imaginings will also be like empty space
Then this effortless subtle mind
Will naturally be unimpeded wherever it turns
~Dahui

Those who realize the awakening of Chan
Transcend subject and object
Besides this
There is no other mysterious principle
~Foyan

The Universal Heart is identical
To the Ultimate Reality
To the vibration of Consciousness
and to the acquiring of global Consciousness
of the absolute "I"
the Heart of the Yoginis
~Jayaratha

The absence of struggle is in itself liberation.
~Trungpa

Stop becoming attached to this or that
And dwelling in your true absolute nature
Take pleasure peacefully in the reality of the world!
~Abhinavagupta


Wholeheartedly,

Kirtanman





Reply author: Kirtanman
Replied on: Jun 04 2010 8:12:18 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by stevenbhow

Hey Kirtanman,
Thanks for the post. My Guru Swami Shankaranda and some Sanskrit scholars are in the process of translating the Tantraloka into English. I think it has been translated into Italian, but never English in it entirety. I will be sure and keep you updated when hear anymore about it.

Steve



Hi Steve,

Thanks for this post/info .... and please do let me, and all of us, know! As Maheshvaranath mentioned, Swami Lakshmanjoo has offer his own expostion of some key sutras from the Tantraloka, but it would still be utterly awesome to have the entire Tantraloka in English.

And yes, I'm familiar with the R. Gnoli (Italian) translation. Unfortunately, however, my Italian is limited to the simplest of restaurant menu items .....

Wholeheartedly,

Kirtanman


Reply author: alwayson2
Replied on: Jun 10 2010 8:12:09 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Kirtanman
it seems that you're making a case for Kashmir Shaivism being derivative of Buddhism



Lets consider "Hinduism" as a whole.

Everything except the Vedas postdates the Buddha and is derived from buddhism. Even the Upanishads.

In fact Hinduism comes much later than even Nagarjuna and Mahayana.


Reply author: alwayson2
Replied on: Jun 11 2010 12:00:59 AM
Message:

Kirtanman,

Reading your posts, you are under the misunderstanding that Chan is some high level teaching. According to Chan ITSELF, you cannot obtain the ultimate goal using Chan techniques in one lifetime. Chan will direct you towards the higher Vajrayana teachings of buddhism.

Chan is a long path towards a goal, but there are some teachings that work with the GOAL AS THE PATH.

Chan specifically lacks the crucial distinction between purity/clarity and mind.

Check out:
http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....OPIC_ID=7788


Reply author: Kirtanman
Replied on: Jun 11 2010 9:40:47 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by alwayson2

quote:
Originally posted by Kirtanman
it seems that you're making a case for Kashmir Shaivism being derivative of Buddhism



Lets consider "Hinduism" as a whole.

Everything except the Vedas postdates the Buddha and is derived from buddhism. Even the Upanishads.

In fact Hinduism comes much later than even Nagarjuna and Mahayana.



I don't know much about Hinduism as a whole; that's probably a topic for another thread.

"Hinduism" comes much later than Abhinavagupta, too -- the term wasn't even applied to the group of religions currently considered "Hindu" (i.e. Indian, but not Muslim, Sikh, Jain or Buddhist), until the 19th Century.

Basically, all I'm concerned with -- and it seems all you're concerned with, too, Alwayson, is:

What works?

Kashmir Shaivism works.

Non-Dual Buddhism works.

What, if anything, is the issue?




Reply author: Kirtanman
Replied on: Jun 12 2010 10:40:04 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by alwayson2

Kirtanman,

Reading your posts, you are under the misunderstanding that Chan is some high level teaching. According to Chan ITSELF, you cannot obtain the ultimate goal using Chan techniques in one lifetime. Chan will direct you towards the higher Vajrayana teachings of buddhism.

Chan is a long path towards a goal, but there are some teachings that work with the GOAL AS THE PATH.

Chan specifically lacks the crucial distinction between purity/clarity and mind.

Check out:
http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....OPIC_ID=7788



Hi AlwaysOn,

The issue I see with "goal as path" paths is a key situation we've (all) always talked about, here at AYP:

Yes, non-duality is reality -- yet sustained experience of non-duality seems to involve a process, for almost all of us .... hence the "non-dual paths" of systems such as Kashmir Shaivism and Dzogchen to name just two.

And so, if you have any information on any "goal as path systems" with a high success rate ... I'd be interested in knowing about that.

However, based on what I've seen, the non-dual paths (i.e. the non-dual systems which recognize the benefits of a path, such as Kashmir Shaivism, Dzogchen, AYP, etc.) ... have the highest success rates, while still being true to non-dual reality.

Literally everything I know about Chan, I've learned from Daniel Odier's translation of the Yoga Spandakarika, the goal of which (his translation and commentary) is to:

"Rediscover the opening of mind by presenting the texts of Chan, Dzogchen and the Mahamudras -- Chinese, Tibetan and Kashmiri -- texts that only mystical experience can bring together."
~Daniel Odier

He seems to consider Kashmir Shaivism, Dzogchen and Chan to not only be equivalent, but to be equivalently pure streams of Mahamudra.

And, considering that Daniel Odier is a highly-respected initiated master in both a Kashmiri Shaiva lineage and a Chan lineage, with disciples worldwide, I'm good with his take on things (especially since I can, and do, concur with him; while I don't know the teachings of Dzogchen and Chan in detail, Daniel Odier makes his point in the ways that all enlightened teachers I resonate tend to do: clearly, simply, and irrefutably).

In his translation of the Yoga Spandakarika, he goes into great and insightful detail, regarding the equivalence of Kashmir Shaivism, Dzogchen and Chan, which doesn't seem to lack any clarity, although, ultimately, it doesn't seem to contain any distinctions at all (non-dual reality is like that. )

Wholeheartedly,

Kirtanman





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