H-Net Discussion Networks - Re: QUERY>Nirvana in a cave?!



I would like to thank Prof. John Huntington for commenting on my response to the "Nirvana in a cave!?" inquiry, and here, I would like to add a few clarifications to my previous posting. 1. Although I cited scientific descriptions of the Bodhi-tree (Ficus religiosa and benghalensis) by specialists (E. J. H. Corner and J. Galil), I have to admit that I am an armchair dendrologist. The closest I have ever been to a huge Bodhi-tree is by watching that wonderful 'Awakening' scene in Bertolucci's "Little Buddha." Siddhartha's tree, as Jesse calls it, is extremely large, and fits the specifications of the Bodhi-tree by J. Galil in his "Ficus religiosa L. —the tree-splitter": "the main trunk, below the branches, gives rise to longitudinal, rounded bulges, which give it a distinct corrugated appearance (Fig.2). These bulges extend up the stem into the side branches and downwards, becoming confluent with the spreading roots at the soil surface." (p.188)…. "As the trunk bulges become larger and abut on each other, they tend to coalesce, owing to the very easy selfgrafting of the Ficus species. Cavities are created where the bulges remain separated, but at points where the bulges meet, the bark is obliterated and the abutting bulges coalesce. Consequently, the entire trunk may become a single massive block, despite the deeply corrugated appearance of its periphery" (ibid. p.189). What I meant in my previous posting by the phrase "inside such a hollow niche (or alcove)" is, to put it more accurately in the case of the Asvattha, "be circumvallated by the spreading roots on the ground, by the canopy of branches above, and by the large crevice between the longitudinal, rounded bulges from behind." Such a niche of the Asvattha, or massive basket-roots in the case of the Nigrodha, may be physically different from a cave structure, but could be called one in a metaphorical sense and also be regarded as "Yakkha's abode, or haunt." The 'treesymbolism' and the 'metaphor of the cave' (here, slightly different from the one used by Plato in The Republic) are not mutually exclusive. That is what I was trying to point out. In this respect, I would like to thank Dr. Hudaya Kandahjaya ("A Heart [hr.daya], Born from the Trunk [skandha-jaya]," like the phrase in the Suciloma sutta? Is this interpretation right, Hudaya-san?) for reminding me of the association between "cave" and "tomb," "womb (garbha)," "house (gr.ha)," and the "muula-sthaana," the last of which fits in very nicely with the significance of the "radical trunk" of the Asvattha and the Nigrodha. (If you search images of "host tree" on the Internet [e.g. using Google], you can find pictures of large basket-roots of the Nigrodha. For example, the one entitled "The inside of a strangler fig that suffocated and killed its host tree," by Jacob Jansen [the third picture in the following page: <http://college.usc.edu/jacob-jensen/

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C." Indian Historical Quarterly. "Ficus religiosa L. The latter. becomes part of it.77) In most of these cetiyas. translated by John Ross Carter and Mahinda Palihawadana (Oxford University Press. 75) and Aggaal.msu. "Appendix: A Note on the Cetiya in the Buddhist Literature. 2004). and "caitya-sthaana" in Sanskrit literature meant a burial ground with a "piled-up" structure like a tumulus or a funeral pile. Law mentions are Gautama-nyagrodha caitya (p. and Robert DeCaroli.H-Net Discussion Networks .html >]) 2.ikan. 1932). "Immigrant Monks and the Proto-Historical Dead: The Buddhist Occupation of Early Burial Sites in India." after Siddhartha overcame the temptation by Mara's daughters and the attack by Mara's army.219): House-builder. their names seem to refer to sacred trees. (Dhp. p." in Geography of Early Buddhism (London: Kegan Paul.ha." p. To the end of cravings has it come.' the most radical of which is the tenacious 'conceptualization of self. <http://www. in fact.khaara).com/2006_06_01_archive.ha) penetrated and enveloped by the roots of the Asvattha (Fig.a). or 2 de 3 01/05/2011 21:03 . and shining rays of light emanate from his body. See also Gregory Schopen. all. the Asvattha and/or the Nigrodha.ha Jaataka "was something of the nature of a cave-dwelling or a vihaara. Among the many cetiyas that B. Law.e. C.avii. caitya is a pre-Buddhist institution. and "The Art of Ecological Research and Strangulation… an example of a successful strangulation: a hollow tunnel to the sky where the host once lived" by Kristin [You have to scroll down the following page quite a bit. 14 No. Galil. 200) is quite impressive.Re: QUERY>Nirvana in a cave?! (Inoue) http://h-net. As Prof. pp.. Haunting the Buddha: Indian Popular Religions and the Formation of Buddhism (Oxford University Press. John Strong pointed out in his response. See V. Then comes Siddhartha's declaration with that famous metaphor of the house and house-builder (gahakaaraka => sam.kristinsworld. I quote from the original text of the Dhammapada. 12. >]. and grabs his hand. Mara himself finally emerged from the small pool between the spreading roots (muula-sthaana). Ramchandra Dikshitar. you are seen. or ego. R. shrines (caitya gr. and the earth being the only witness. "Origin and Early History of Caityas.' If you remember the Enlightenment scene in "Little Buddha. Vol. pp. Interpreted in this way (that pays attention to slesha. i. The "cave/tomb/house/tree overlap" motif can be traced to the early history of caityas. 4. p.t." (J.. ibid. by growing into the interstices between the stones and the bricks. 154) The house being completely destroyed. together with a piled-like structure in the sanctuary. Freedom from the sam.khaaras has the mind attained. Perhaps the most significant characteristic of the Nigrodha and Asvattha as a metaphor for the Buddha's attaining Nirvana is this operation of their destructive power on 'man-made structures.ava cetiya in Aal. According to Dikshitar. Here. and B. albeit regrettable. and the abodes of devataa (devakula). and in the Buddha's days was associated with sacred trees (caitya vr.pl?trx=vx&list=h-buddhism&mo. 1987.ks." (p.—the tree-splitter. these artificial structures and the characteristic nature of the Asvattha and the Nigrodha can inseparably be connected: "The tendency to seek shelter inside a variety of objects easily explains the highly efficient.198).edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse. 3 (1938). pp." in Buddhist Monks and Business Matters (University of Hawai'i Press. looking exactly like Siddhartha (Keanu Reeves). The house you shall not build again! Broken are your rafters.360-381. The picture of a small brick temple (caitya gr. religiosa roots spoil the archaeological remains of ancient civilizations. The entire shrine is actually inside its massive "radical trunk" (whose diameter is probably more than 4 m) and. 3. 2004). Here. there seems to have been pre-Buddhist structures at the site of the Buddha's Enlightenment..74-80. 440-451. Siddhartha becomes the Buddha. manner whereby F. or caitya praasaada). in the context of Man.

.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-buddhism > Humanities & Social Sciences Online Copyright © 1995-2006 .h-net. In the case of the Asvattha and the Nigrodha. INOUE Takami Otani University --------------------------H-Buddhism (Buddhist Scholars Information Network) Web Site: <http://www.' the 'crushed house' and 'emptied cave/tomb/womb. From the standpoint of the 'perishing host tree.shinranworks." Shinran experienced the whole process and described it as "jinen honi 自然法爾 (lit. "multivalent symbology"). that is what Tanluan called "other power.Contact Us RSS | Validate: XHTML | CSS 3 de 3 01/05/2011 21:03 . <http://www. the "splitter" and the "strangler." while Shandao expounded on "deep entrusting.' the great power of nature that penetrates from outside is the unwavering enabler of the eventual liberation from samsara..msu.org/~buddhism/> Posting Guidelines: <http://www.htm >.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.html > Handling Your Account: <http://h-net." their destructive power that eventually kills their host trees and breaks up artificial structures has a positive significance in the Buddha's use of this metaphor.com/letters/mattosho5.pl?trx=vx&list=h-buddhism&mo.org/~buddhism/posting_guidelines.Re: QUERY>Nirvana in a cave?! (Inoue) http://h-net.msu. If I may add as a student of Pure Land Buddhism.H-Net Discussion Networks .' The Buddha appropriated the Vedic/Brahmanical sacred trees and the conventional caityas as metaphors and changed their symbolic meanings. the 'tree-symbolism' and the 'metaphor of the cave' (house/shrine/tomb/womb) are significantly related in the early Buddhist discourse on 'Awakening.h-net. naturally as the Dharma operates)" at the age of eighty-six.