The Sutta on Understanding Death in the Transmission of Borān Meditation From Siam to the Kandyan Court
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
This article announces the discovery of a Sinhalese version of the traditional meditation (borān yogāvacara kammaṭṭhāna) text in which the Consciousness or Mind, personified as a Princess living in a five-branched tree (the body), must understand the nature of death and seek the four gems that are the four noble truths. To do this she must overcome the cravings of the five senses, represented as five birds in the tree. Only in this way will she permanently avoid the attentions of Death, Māra, and his three female servants, Birth, Sickness and Old Age. In this version of the text, when the Princess manages not to succumb to these three, Māra comes and snatches her from her tree and rapes her. The Buddha then appears to her to explain the path to liberation. The text provides a commentary, padārtha, which explains the details of the symbolism of the fruit in terms of rebirth and being born, the tree in terms of the body, etc. The text also offers interpretations of signs of impending death and prognostications regarding the next rebirth. Previously the existence of Khmer and Lānnā versions of this text have been recorded by Francois Bizot and Francois Lagirarde, the former publishing the text as Le Figuier a cinq branches (Le figuier à cinq branches, 1976). The Sinhalese version was redacted for one of the wives of King Kīrti Śrī Rājasiṅha of Kandy by the monk Varañāṇa Mahāthera of Ayutthayā. This confirms earlier speculation that this form of borān/dhammakāya meditation was brought to Sri Lanka with the introduction of the Siyam Nikāya in the mid-eighteenth century. It also shows that in Sri Lanka, as in Ayutthayā, this form of meditation—which in the modern period was to be rejected as ‘unorthodox’—was promoted at the highest levels of court and Saṅgha.
- Bizot, F. (1976). Le figuier à cinq branches, Recherches sur le bouddhisme khmer I, PEFEO (Vol. CVII). Paris: EFEO.
- Bizot, F. (1980). La grotte de la naissance, Recherches sur le bouddhisme khmer II, BEFEO (Vol. LXVII, pp. 222–273). Paris: EFEO.
- Bizot, F. (1981). Le donne de soi-même, Recherches sur le bouddhisme khmer III, PEFEO (Vol. CXXX). Paris: EFEO.
- Bizot, F. (1989). Rāmaker ou L’Amour Symbolique de Rām et Setā, Recherches sur le Bouddhisme Khmer (Vol. V). Paris: EFEO.
- Bizot, F. (1992). Le chemin de Lankā, Textes bouddhiques du Cambodge no. I, Paris: EFEO.
- Bizot, F. (Ed.). (1993). Recherches nouvelles sur le Cambodge, Paris: EFEO.
- Blackburn A. M. (2001) Buddhist learning and textual practice in eighteenth century Lankan monastic culture. Princeton University Press, Princeton
- Choompolpaisal, P., Crosby, K., & Skilton, A. (in preparation). The significance of the Phitsanulok Dhammakāya inscription for the dating and character of borān yogāvacara Theravāda.
- Crosby, H. K. (1999). Studies in the Medieval Pāli Literature of Sri Lanka with special reference to the esoteric Yogāvacara Tradition. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oxford.
- Crosby K. (2000) Tantric Theravāda: A bibliographic essay on the writings of François Bizot and other literature on the Yogāvacara tradition. Contemporary Buddhism 1(2): 141–198 CrossRef
- Crosby K. (2005) Differences between the Vimuttimagga-uddāna and the Amatākaravaṭṭanā. Journal of Buddhist Studies 3: 139–151
- Crosby K. (2008) Gendered symbols in Theravada Buddhism: Missed positives in the representation of the female. Hsuan Chuang Journal of Buddhist Studies 9: 31–47
- Crosby, K. (2012, forthcoming). The inheritance of Rahula: Abandoned child, boy monk, ideal son and trainee. In V. Sassoon (Ed.), Children in Buddhism: Children and childhoods in Buddhist history, texts and cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Crosby, K. with Choompolpaisal. P. (in preparation). Significant dates for the borān yogāvacara. Meditation traditions of Theravada Buddhism.
- Damrong, R. (P. Kromphraya) (1914. 2457 BE). Ruang Praditsathan Phrasong Sayamvong Nai Lanka Taweep ( ) . The establishment of the Sayamvong Sect/ Siyam Nikāya in Lanka. (Reprint 1960 2503 BE). Bangkok (no publisher details given).
- de Bernon, O. (2000). Le manual des maîtres de kammaṭṭhana: étude et presentation de rituals de meditation dans la tradition du bouddhisme khmer, 2 volumes. PhD thesis, INALCO.
- de Silva, K. M. (Ed.). (1995). History of Sri Lanka (Vol. II, ca. 1500–1800). Kandy: University of Peradeniya.
- Dewaraja L. S. (1972) A study of the political, administrative and social structure of the Kandyan Kingdom of Ceylon, 1707–1760. Lake House Investments Ltd., Colombo
- Dewaraja, L. S. (1974). Matrimonial alliances between Tamilnadu and the Sinhalese Royal Family in the 18th century and the establishment of a Madurai Dynasty in Kandy. In A paper delivered at the Fourth international tamil conference seminar, January 1974, Jaffna, Tamil Eelam. Retrieved May 18, 2011, from http://www.tamilcanadian.com/page.php?cat=28&id=55.
- Dewaraja, L. S. (1995). The Kandyan Kingdom and the Nayyakkars 1739–1796. In K. M. de Silva (Ed.), History of Sri Lanka (Vol. II, pp. 281–320) (ca. 1500–1800). Kandy: University of Peradeniya.
- Dorje G. (2005) The Tibetan book of the dead. Penguin, London
- Eade J. C. (1995) The calendrical systems of Mainland South-East Asia. Leiden, E.J. Brill
- Fernando P. E. E. (1959) An account of the Kandyan mission sent to Siam in 1750. Ceylon Journal of Historical and Social Studies 1: 37–83
- Lagirarde, F. (1994). “Textes bouddhiques du pays khmer et du Lanna” un exemple de parenté. In F. Bizot (Ed.). 63–77.
- Liyanaratne, J. (1984). Notice sur une lettre royale singhalaise du XVIIIe siècle conservée au musée de l’homme à Paris. Bulletin de L’École Française d’Extrême-Orient, LXXIII, pp. 273–283 (plates XXIX–XXXII).
- Na Bangchang, S. (1988). A Pali letter sent by the Aggamahāsenāpati of Siam to the court at Kandy in 1756. Journal of the Pali Text Society, XII, 185–212.
- Ñāṇamoli B., Bodhi B. (1995) The Middle length discources of the Buddha. A translation of the Majjhima Nikāya (Revised edition, 2001). The Pali Text Society in association with Wisdom Publications, Oxford
- Pieris P. E. (1903) King Kirti Śri’s Embassy to Siam. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 18: 17–44
- Pieris P. E. (1918) Ceylon and the Hollanders 1658–1796. American Mission Press, Tellippalai
- Ratnajoti, G., & Ratnapāla, K. (Eds.). (1963). Vimuttimaggo (Bhadantārahanta-Mahāriṭṭha-Upatissatthera-vara-ppanīto). Colombo: Government Press of Ceylon.
- Rhys Davids, T. W. (1896). The Yogāvacara’s Manual. London: The Pali Text Society (Reprint 1981).
- Thammathacho (Phrasrithawatmethi) Chana (2004. 2547 BE). Ubali Ramluek. Sueb Rong Roy Phra Phutthasatsana 250 Pee Nikay Sayamvong Nai Srilanka (“ ‘The Commemoration of Ubali/Upāli. Tracing 250 Years of Buddhism Relating to the Sayamvong/Siam Nikāya Sect in Sri Lanka’ Saraniphon Phuttasat Bandit Runtee 49 Pee Karn Suksa 2545 ( ) Dissertations of Graduates in Buddhist Studies in the 49th Year in the Academic Year 2002. Bangkok: Mahachulalongkorn University Press.
- Woodward F.L. (1916) Manual of a Mystic being a translation from the Pali and Sinhalese Work entitled The Yogāvachara’s Manual. London, The Pali Text Society
- Yasōtharat, P. C. (1936). Nangsue phuttha-rangsī-thrisadī-yān wā duai samatha lae wipassanā-kammathān sī yuk (Thai, transcription following Mettanando 1999), Bangkok B. E. 2478.
- The Sutta on Understanding Death in the Transmission of Borān Meditation From Siam to the Kandyan Court
Journal of Indian Philosophy
Volume 40, Issue 2 , pp 177-198
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Buddhism meditation
- Borān kammaṭṭhāna
- Sinhalese manuscripts
- Nevill collection
- Figuier à cinq branches
- Mindfulness of death
- Industry Sectors