Nov 26, 2021
Martin Goodson

Padmapāni

Images of Truth

Those who call upon this Buddha at the moment of death are promised rebirth in Amitābha’s Lotus Land where they will attain Buddhahood. 

Padmapani the lotus born.

©

John Eskenazi

Avalokiteshvara Padmapani

Eastern India, Bihar

Pala period, first half 11th century

Dark grey chlorite

Height : 69cm (27.17")

Width : 44cm (17.32")

………………………….

OM MANI PADME HUM

(OM The Jewel in the Lotus HUM)

Padmapāni means ‘the One who holds the lotus’, and belongs to the ‘Padma’ or Lotus family presided over by Buddha Amitābha the Meditation Buddha associated with the Pure Land situated in the West. Those who call upon this Buddha at the moment of death are promised rebirth in Amitābha’s Lotus Land where they will attain Buddhahood. 

When Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain he turned a flower in his fingers and held it before his listeners. Every one was silent. Only Maha-Kashapa smiled at this revelation, although he tried to control the lines of his face.

Buddha said: "I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, the true aspect of non-form, and the ineffable stride of Dharma. It is not expressed by words, but especially transmitted beyond teaching. This teaching I have given to Maha-Kashapa.”

Mumons comment: Golden-faced Gautama thought he could cheat anyone. He made the good listeners as bad, and sold dog meat under the sign of mutton. And he himself thought it was wonderful. What if all the audience had laughed together? How could he have transmitted the teaching? And again, if Maha-Kashapa had not smiled, how could he have transmitted the teaching? If he says that realization can be transmitted, he is like the city slicker that cheats the country dub, and if he says it cannot be transmitted, why does he approve of Maha-Kashapa?

At the turning of a flower

His disguise was exposed.

No one in heaven or earth can surpass

Maha-Kashapa's wrinkled face.

(The Gateless Gate - Mumonkan tr. Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Rep)

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