New Publication: The Dhāraṇi of the Jewel Torch

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Toh 145

The Dhāraṇī of the Jewel Torch starts with a profound conversation between the Buddha and the bodhisattvas Samantabhadra and Mañjuśrī on the nature of the dharmadhātu, buddhahood, and emptiness. The bodhisattva Dharma­mati then enters the meditative absorption called the infinite application of the bodhisattva’s jewel torch and, at the behest of the millions of buddhas who have blessed him, emerges from it to teach how bodhisattvas arise from the presence of a tathāgata and progress to the state of omniscience. Following Dharma­mati’s detailed exposition of the “ten categories” or progressive stages of a bodhisattva, the Buddha briefly teaches the mantra of the dhāraṇī and then, for most of the remainder of the text, encourages bodhisattvas in a long versified passage in which he recounts teachings by a bodhisattva called Bhadraśrī on the qualities of bodhisattvas and buddhas. Some verses from this passage on the virtues of faith have been widely quoted in both India and Tibet.

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The cultivation of generosity, or dāna—giving voluntarily with a view that something wholesome will come of it—is considered to be a fundamental Buddhist practice by all schools. The nature and quantity of the gift itself is often considered less important.