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The Five Wisdoms (Sanskrit: pañca-jñāna; Tibetan: ye_shes_lnga ye shes lgna[1]; Japanese: go-chi) is an upāya or 'skillful means' doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism. The Five Wisdoms may be understood as the indivisible 'continuüm of bodhi ' (Sanskrit: citta santana), especially according to Yogācarā based Mahāyāna doctrines, ultimately derived from the Buddhabhūmi Sūtra.[2]

Capriles (2003: p.197) in discussing the 'view' (Sanskrit: drishti) of the Inner Tantras of the Third Turning of the Dharmachakra states that:

Concerning the principally “inner” or “outer” character of the teachings contained in sutras of the Third Promulgation, definitively the more “inner” ones are those that teach that all that manifests or appears, either as subject or as object, is based on primordial gnosis (Skt., jñana; Tib., yeshe [ye-shes]) rather than on mind, and that emphasize the fact that consciousness is a conditioned, delusive, impermanent appearance that disappears upon Awakening.[3]
In the abovementioned quotation, "consciousness" is to be understood as an English rendering of vijñāna (Sanskrit) as in the Eight Consciousnesses and "all that manifests or appears" is to be understood as 'phenomena' or dharmas (Sanskrit) in Buddhist phenomenology. Jñāna (Sanskrit) is rendered into English as 'primordial gnosis'. In addition, for clarity "mind" in this instance is an English rendering of citta (Sanskrit) that may be viewed as either 'absolute' and/or 'relative' according to the Doctrine of the Two Truths. "Awakening" is an English rendering of bodhi (Sanskrit).

Nomenclature, orthography and etymologyEdit

Pañca-jñāna is orthographically rendered into English as: Five Wisdoms, Five Awarenesses, Five Pristine Cognitions.

Pañca-jñānaEdit

The pañca-jñāna are:

  1. Tathatā-jñāna
  2. Ādarśa-jñāna
  3. Samatā-jñāna
  4. Pratyavekṣaṇa-jñāna
  5. Kṛty-anuṣṭhāna-jñāna

Tathatā-jñānaEdit

Keown, et al. (2003) hold that the Tathatā-jñāna is the jñāna of Suchness or Dharmadātu[4], "the bare non-conceptualizing awareness" of Śūnyatā, the universal substrate of the other four jñāna.[5]

Ādarśa-jñānaEdit

The Melong is very important in the esoteric Mantrayana traditions such as Dzogchen. Keown, et al. (2003) hold that the Ādarśa-jñāna is the jñāna of "Mirror-like Awareness", "devoid of all dualistic thought and ever united with its 'content' as a mirror is with its reflections".[6] Ādarśa is Sanskrit for "mirror", the term may be parsed into the etymon of darśana with a grammatical adposition.

Kalupahana (1991: p.99) proffers that:

Samatā is also identical with the second ādarśa when samatā becomes the non-duality of upāya and prajñā.[7]

Samatā-jñānaEdit

Keown, et al. (2003) hold that the Samatā-jñāna is the jñāna of the "Awareness of Sameness", which perceives the sameness, the commonality of dharmas or phenomena.[8]

Kalupahana (1991: p.99) proffers that:

The Tattvāloka says "The wisdom of equality of Tathāgata is the non-dual method of upāya and prajñā, and it is the wisdom of the universal that can be tasted in the dharmādhtu." [7]

Pratyavekṣaṇa-jñānaEdit

Keown, et al. (2003) hold that the Pratyavekṣaṇa-jñāna is the jñāna of "Investigative Awareness", that perceives the specificity, the uniqueness of dharmas. [9]

Kṛty-anuṣṭhāna-jñānaEdit

Keown, et al. (2003) hold that the Kṛty-anuṣṭhāna-jñāna is the jñāna of "Accomplishing Activities", the awareness that "spontaneously carries out all that has to be done for the welfare of beings, manifesting itself in all directions".[10]

Historical development of the Five WisdomsEdit

Emergence of Pañca-jñānaEdit

Kalupahana (1991: p.99) in drawing together the Buddhabhūmi-sutra, Buddhabhūmi-vyākhyāna, Śilabhadra, Tathāgata, upāya, prajñā, nonduality, Tattvasaṃgraha, Tattvāloka, svabhāva, dharmdhātu, Bhāvanākrama, nirmāṇakāya, sambhogakāya and dharma-kāya and the Five Wisdoms states:

The idea that upāya and prajñā are non-dual is also expressed in the commentary on the Tattvasaṃgraha. The Tattvāloka says "The wisdom of equality of Tathāgata is the non-dual method of upāya and prajñā, and it is the wisdom of the universal that can be tasted in the dharmādhtu." In the Chinese version of the Bhāvanākrama, there is a final section outlining the relationship between the three-fold buddha-kāya and the five-fold wisdom of the Tathāgatas. The five-fold wisdom of the Tathāgatas are dharmadhātu-svabhāva, ādarśa, samatā, pratyavekṣaṇa, and kṛtyānusthāna. Each type of wisdom is associated with five Buddhas, i.e., dharmadhātu-svabhāva with Mahāvairocana, ādarśa with Akṣobhya, samatā with Ratnasambhava, pratyavekṣaṇa with Amitāyus, and kṛtyānusthāna with Amoghasiddhi. Kamalasila further explains that the first two forms of wisdom (dharmadhātu-svabhāva and ādarśa) belong to dharma-kāya, samatā and pratyavekṣaṇa to sambhogakāya, and the last kṛtyānusthāna to nirmāṇakāya. The theory of the five-fold wisdom and its relation to the Buddha-kāya was originally formulated in the Buddhabhūmi-sutra and the Buddhabhūmi-vyākhyāna by Śilabhadra.[7]

Five Wisdoms and the Six PerfectionsEdit

Kalupahana (1991: p.99) in linking the Six Perfections, upāya, prajñā and mokṣa proffers that:

Kamalasila concluded that the first five perfections correspond to the upāya and the last to prajñā. When upāya and prajñā are perfectly united, then mokṣa or perfect liberation of mind will result. [7]

Yogācarā refinement of the Pañca-jñānaEdit

Keown, et al. (2003) identify a relationship between the Pañca-jñāna and the Eight Consciousnesses of Yogācarā thought: the Pañca-jñāna "emerge through a transformation (parāvṛtti) of the eight consciousnesses at the moment of enlightenment".[11]

Vajrayana BuddhismEdit

Keown, et al. (2003) identify that the Pañca-jñāna "underwent a considerable development" within Tibetan Buddhism where they are "symbolized or embodied" in the Five Jinas.[12]

In elucidating the Twilight Language, Tenzin Wangyal holds that the Five Pure Lights become the Five Poisons if we remain deluded, or the Five Wisdoms and the Five Buddha Families if we recognize their purity.[13]

Iconographic representation: VajrayanaEdit

The 'symbolic bone ornaments' (Skt: aṣṭhiamudrā; Tib: rus pa'i rgyanl phyag rgya), known as "mudra" or 'seals' are listed variously and comprise or number five or six in different traditions and tantras.[14] The Hevajra Tantra associates the Symbolic Bone Ornaments directly with the Five Wisdoms and these are elucidated by a commentary to the Hevajra Tantra by Jamgön Kongtrul[15]:

  • the 'wheel-like' (Tib.: 'khor lo) 'crown ornament' (sometimes called 'crown jewel') (Tib.: gtsug gi nor bu), symbolic of Akshobhya and 'mirror-like pristine awareness' (Ādarśa-jñāna);
  • 'earings' (Tib.: rna cha) representent of Amitabha and pristine awareness of discernment (Pratyavekṣaṇa-jñāna);
  • 'necklace' (Tib.: mgul rgyan) symbolizing Ratnasambhava and pristine awareness of total sameness (Samatā-jñāna);
  • 'bracelets' (Tib.: lag gdu) and 'anklets' (Tib.: gdu bu) as symbolic of Vairochana and pristine awareness of the ultimate dimension of phenomena (Tathatā-jñāna);
  • 'girdle' (Tib.: ske rags) symbolizing Amoghasiddhi and the accomplishing pristine awareness (Kṛty-anuṣṭhāna-jñāna);
  • The additional ornament spoken of in various texts related to Hevajra is ash from a cremation ground smeared on the body (Tib.: thal chen).[16]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ye shes lgna Rangjung Yeshe Dictionary
  2. Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.209. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  3. Capriles, Elías (2003). Buddhism and Dzogchen: The Doctrine of the Buddha and the Supreme Vehicle of Tibetan Buddhism - Part One Buddhism: A Dzogchen Outlook. University of the Andes: Mérida, Venezuela. Source: [hhttp://webdelprofesor.ula.ve/humanidades/elicap/en/uploads/Biblioteca/bdz-e.version.pdf] (accessed: January 14, 2008) p.197
  4. Dharmadātu
  5. Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.209. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  6. Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.209. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Kalupahana, David J. (1991). Buddhist Thought and Ritual. Paragon House. Source: [1] (accessed: November 23, 2007)
  8. Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.209. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  9. Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.209. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  10. Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.209. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  11. Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.209. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  12. Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.209. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  13. Wangyal, Tenzin (author) & Dahlby, Mark (editor). Healing with Form, Energy and Light: The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism, Tantra, and Dzogchen. Ithaca, NY, USA: Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 1-55939-176-6
  14. Kongtrul, Jamgön (author); (English translators: Guarisco, Elio; McLeod, Ingrid) (2005). The Treasury of Knowledge (shes bya kun la khyab pa’i mdzod). Book Six, Part Four: Systems of Buddhist Tantra, The Indestructibe Way of Secret Mantra. Bolder, Colorado, USA: Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 1-55939-210-X (alk.paper) p.493
  15. refer CH, f. 66a6-b1; where CH = Kongtrul Lodrö Taé, Disclosing the Secret of the Invincible Vajra: Phrase by Phrase Commentary on the Hevajra Tantra Two Examinations (dPal kye'i rdo rje'i rgyud kyi rgyal po brtag pa gnyis pa'i tshig don rnam par 'grol ba bzhom med rdo rje'i gsang ba 'byed pa). Rumtex, Sikkim: Dharma Chakra Centre, 1981.
  16. Kongtrul, Jamgön (author); (English translators: Guarisco, Elio; McLeod, Ingrid) (2005). The Treasury of Knowledge (shes bya kun la khyab pa’i mdzod). Book Six, Part Four: Systems of Buddhist Tantra, The Indestructibe Way of Secret Mantra. Bolder, Colorado, USA: Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 1-55939-210-X (alk.paper) p.493

ReferencesEdit

  • Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.209. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  • Thrangu Rinpoche (author) & Peter Roberts (translator) (1998). The Five Buddha Families and The Eight Consciousnesses. Boulder, CO, USA: Published by the Namo Buddha Seminar. Source: [2] (accessed: November 22, 2007)

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