World Sanskrit Conference (WSC) (17th : 2018)

The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala in the Buddhist Ḍākārṇava Scriptural Tradition Sugiki, Tsunehiko


The Śrīḍākārṇavamahāyoginītantrarāja (abbreviated to Ḍākārṇava, “Ḍāka’s Ocean”) is one of the latest tantras among those belonging to the Buddhist Cakrasaṃvara/-śaṃvara tradition, composed in the eastern area of the Indian subcontinent around the 11th century. The 15th chapter of the Ḍākārṇava teaches a large-scale and elaborate maṇḍala of Heruka, consisting of 986 major deities. I have a plan to publish the first critical edition and English translation of the whole chapter. The present paper describes and analyzes the structure and meanings of that maṇḍala expounded in the Ḍākārṇava, chapter 15. The maṇḍala consists of four layers comprised of thirteen circles, that is, one lotus at the center and twelve concentric circles. Through this structure the maṇḍala represents several Buddhist concepts such as the Fourfold Body and the Twelve Levels. The maṇḍala is formed by deities from the major Vajrayāna or Buddhist Tantric traditions (Cakrasaṃvara, Guhyasamāja, Hevajra, and Catuṣpīṭha traditions) and deities who are deifications or anthropomorphized transformations of the Six Realms of Reincarnation and the Three Realms of Existence, namely, the whole Buddhist cosmos. Furthermore, all deities constituting the maṇḍala are equated with Jinas in the auspicious eon.

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