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According to the Tibetan tradition the Tantra had been taught by SSkyaputra Gautama the Buddha among the veteran disciples at Srlsaila-parvata.1 The tradition disowns the views prevalent among some academicians who hold that the Tantra in the Buddhism is the 'Later phase of Buddhism' developed by the Christian era.

However, the Buddhist traditions preserved in the In¬dian languages (Pali and Prakritised-Sanskrit of the Buddhist texts) refer to some stray mentions about the Tantra-aspects in the scriptures. For instance, the Mahavagga of the Pali Vinaya-pitaka praises the 'Savitri-mantra' as superior chandas to others2. The fourfold practices for attaining supernatural power (iddhipada/rddhipada) in the course of thirty-seven

acquisitions leading to the attainment of 'Bodhi' (bodhipakkhiya- dhamma/bodhipaksiya-dharmah) may also be enumerated here3. Furthermore, thirteen rigorous ascetic practices (dhutanga) prescribed for ' dhutavadin-monks' like Maha-kassapa suggest that the austere livelihood of the Tantra-practitioners was in vogue among a section of capable monks and nuns. In the case of nuns nine dhutangas are prescribed. In respect of a Samanera during his probation period twelve dhutanga- practices could be followed. An upasaka or an upasika (male and female lay-devotee) may

observe two practices, namely, to take meal at one sitting (ekasanikangam) and to possess only one bowl for having all kinds of food offered to (patta- pindikangam)4. Many instances may be given in this regard from the Vai pul ya Sutras in Prakritised-Sanskrit.

Paritta and Dharani

Sukomal Chaudhuri5 has discussed in details about the paritta (mantra) applied for protection from the evil eyes of supernatural beings ike ghosts, spirits and to cure from snake-biting and so on. A list of suttas and parittas selected for incantations has been given. Such as, Ratana-sutta, MettiS-sutta, Mangala-sutta, Su-pubbanha- sutta, Bojjhanga-sutta, Angulimala-paritta, Atanatiya-paritta, Dhajagga-paritta, Mora-

paritta, Vattaka-paritta and Khandha- paritta in the Pali Vinaya-pitaka. The termparitta(a) is derived as 'parittayati iti paritta(a)'. It is generally argued that Sakyaputra Gautama, who was basically a rational thinker and a dynamic personality did not allow such application of charms and magic to protect from the evil influence that caused harm and disease in man's life. Those were the then tendency of popularising the Buddhist faith in the existing societies in India and abroad.

As regards 'Dharani' the term itself suggests that which holds or supports. The Tibetan equivalent of 'dharani' is 'gzungs sngags' which explicitly connotes the incantations to hold (for protection from evil influence). In the Tibetan Bstan 'gyur collection more than 260 Dharani texts are available6 . Mahavyutpatti enumerates twelve Bodhisattva- Dharani (747-758). La Vallee Poussain assumes that there had been a separate

pitaka named the Vidyadhara-pitaka Of the Mahasanghikas7. In the present context it is evident that the 'dharani' suggests varily the apotropaic (abhic^ra) charms to safeguard from supernatural or evil influence. They had prevailed in the Preschismatic Buddhist sangha from which both the Sthavira-vadins and the Mahasanghikas inherited paritta, mantra, vidya and dharani. In the Vinaya texts whether in Pali Theravada tradition or in the MulasarvastiVada tradition 'paritta' and 'dharani' had been accepted unhesitatingly since the pre-Christian period in India.


It is interesting toz note that 'Mahamayuri-mantra' had been prescribed by Sakyaputra Gautama, the Buddha, himself when a monk was not cured in spite of the treat¬ment of a Vaidya from his snake-bite. The account is mentioned in the Bhaisajya-vastu (T. Sman gyi gzhi) of the Mulasarvastivada-Vinaya-vastu ('Dul ba gzhi: [[Bka' -'gyur. Nge. Vol. Peking Edn). As usual the method of narrating an account in the vinaya-texts is observed

here. A monk named Sari (Skt. Svati) had a snake-bite. In this connecion a legend of the Peacock-king named suvarna- prabhasa depicts the efficacy of the Mahamayuri-vidya who had been conversant in the Vidya. He was in the right side of the Himalaya mountain when he was caught hold in a net of an enemy at the midnight after being allured in the company of peahens around him. He however regained his memory and chanted the VidvS. Thereafter, he could run away. The net was broken off.

The Tibetan recension of the Vidya has been appended. It becomes evident that the Vidya in Sanskrit had been prevalent in India. Then Mora paritta vide the Mora Jataka in the Pali JStaka-atthakatha (PTS edn No. 159) narrates the story of a peacock who had also golden colour. Some variations are observed in the contents of the Mora Jataka in Pali which may be studied separately. But the paritta contains the spell chanted

by that peacock who used to reside on the mountain called 'Dandaka Hiranna' in order tp save his life from fowlers. For protection against snake-bite the Khandha-paritta from the Vinaya-pitaka in Pali may also be referred here. The [[[Khandhavatta Jataka]] in the Jataka-Atthakatha (PTS No. 203) also reads the paritta for the same purpose. The texts from the Vinaya-pitaka and the Jataka have been given in the Appendix.

In course of time the Mahamayuri-vidya became prominent for its power to stop snakes biting and it was called Vidya- rajni, (Queen of the secret sciences). The Vidya was included in list of the five protecting Dharanis (Pafiicaraksa)

i. e. mantras chanted for safeguard against sin, evil influ¬ences of spirits, snakes and wild animals, harmful planets etc. The Mahamayuri-vidyarajni has been avilable in two versions, such as in a longer form and in a shorter form in Chinese. The text has been translated into Chinese repeatedly by Srimitra (307-342 A.D.), Kumarajiva (348- 417 A.D.).Sanghapala (516A.D.), I-tsing (705A.D.)and Amogha- vajra (746-771

A.D.).Moreover, the Vidya-ra^Tii has been translated into Tibetan in the 8 thz cent. A.D. by Silendrabodhi, ye" ses sde and f-Jakya 'Od (Sakyaprabha). It is also to mention that incantations for snake-charming are also found in' the Bower Manuscripts from Central Asia.8


From the above mentioned evidence it leaves a room to hold that the nucleus of the Tantra9 in Buddhism prevailed in the pre-schismatic stage of the Buddhist sangha. For sake of the mental training to attain complete control over one's mind meditational exercises and esoteric practices had been regarded obligatory for a yellow-robed person since the beginning of the Buddhist sangha. By dint of the serious efforts some monks could excel and attained extraordinary efficiencies like clairvoyant vision (dib bacakkhu/ divyacaksu) and clairvoyant listening

(dibbasotta/divyasrotra) and so on. Moggallana (Skt. Maudgalyayana) was capable in this respect, besides Sakyaputra Gautama, the Buddha, himself. Moreover, Mahakassapa (Mahakasyapa) was an excellent esoteric practitioner who could visualise the underlying significance of the Dharma taught by the Master and recited the Abhidharama-pitaka according to the Theravada tradition. In spite of high rationale of the techings

of the Buddha the efficacy of mantra-syllables could not be ignored by the Buddhists since the period when Sakyaputra Gautama was alive. The incantation of paritta on occasions and the application of Vidya-mantra pertaining to an apotro- paion for protection, safety and shelter of the Buddhist preachers developed in the subsequent days when their Master was not present in his mundane form (nirmana-kaya)

NOTES 1. Lessing fi Wayman : Fundamentals of the Buddhist Tantric Systems (Eng. trans, of Mkhas grub rje's Tib. work) p. 25f. The Hague, 1968) 2. 'Aggihutta-mukha yanna savitti chandaso mukham/raja mukho manussanam nadinam sagaro mukham//(Mahavagga Keniya-jatilavatthu VI. 23.42 PTS edn.)

3. Thirty seven Bodhipakkhiyadhammas have been divided into seven groups and four iddhipadas (chanda, viriya, citta and mimamsa) have been prescribed in the Mahapa- rinibbana-sutta as a systematic course of meditational practices for the Bodhi. Digha Nikaya Sutta No. 16, (PTS edn.). It may be mentioned here that the Buddha discouraged the application of iddhi-patihariya by a monk to exert influence over a layman. He declared- that any performance of miracles before laymen for the sake of worldly gain would be a Dukkata offence (Vinaya-pitaka, Culla-vagga, V. 8.2. (PTS edn). See also’Kevatta Sutta (No. 11) Vol. p 214 (PTS edn).

4. Dutt, N. Early Monastic Buddhism p. 153-158, Calcutta, I960.

5. Sukomal Choudhuri : Contemporary Buddhism in Bangladesh pp 116-125, Calcutta 1982, Winternitz. M. A History of Indian Literature (Vol. II pp 80) refers to the 'PIRIT' or paritta ceremony in which recitations from the Khudda- ka-p^tha in Pali for sake of benediction or exorcism formula have been made among the Buddhists in Ceylon.

6. Winternitz. M : A History of Indian Literature II pp 375-401 (Calcutta 1933); Pathak S.K. : The DhSrani Literature and its Importance Today (Proceedings of the 11th International Buddhist Conference, Bodhgaya, 1985).

7. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, London 1912 (6629 f.) and ibid. 1895 p 433f.

8. Sadhana-mala also refers to Kurukulla sadhana for protec¬tion from a snake-bite. (Gaekwad's Oriental Series, Baroda XXVI 8 XLI ed. by Benoytosh Bhattacharaya). See also MahSttiayuri-Sadhana II p400f. Winternitz. M. : Hist. Ind. Lit. II, P385-6. Tucci. G. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 1930 (N.S.) p. 129f.

9. Pathak S.K.: Nucleus of Tantra in Pali Vinaya-pitaka, Bulletin of Tibetology (New Series) 1986, 2 pp40-48 (Gangtok, Sikkim)



A. Glen bzhi ni mnyan yod na o I

Khyim bdag gcig gis sans rgyas la sogs pa dge slon gi dge *dun bsro khan la spyan drans so/ de*i tshe tshe Idan pa Sa ri zhes bya ba (46a:3) gzhon nu thor bu Ian tsho dar la bab cih rab tu byuh nas rih po ma Ion pay bsnyen par mdzogs nas rin po ma Ion pay Chos *dul ba *dir ons nas rin po ma Ion pa/ des bsams pa/ bcom Idan *das kyis gan gis nyun du byin pa dan/ gan (46a:4) gis min du byin pa dart/ gan gis bzan po byin pa dan/

gad gis yid dga' bas las bya pa dad/ gad gis rab tu dart ba'i sems kyis rjes su yi ran ba de dag thams cad ni bsod nams kyi skal pa can du 'gyur ru zhes gsurts kyis/ ma(46a:5) la bdag gis kyah las sig byo snyam nas das sin gsag par brtsams pa las ji tsam na £in rul ba zhig gi ser ka nas sbrul sdug pa zhig byuh nas rkan pa gyas pa'i mthe bo la zin pa dart/ de dug gi sugs kyi brgyal nas sa la *gy el (46a:6) te dbu bar skyug cin

bzhin yah gyur/ mig kyah gyur te/ de de Itar sdug bsnal ba bram ze dan khyim bdag rnams kyis mthoh nas smras pa/ Ses Idan dag khyim bdag su zhig gi bu yin/ gzhan dag gis smras pa/ che ge mo zhig gi’o/de dag (46a.*7) gis smras pa/ dge sbyoh sa kya'i sras mgon med pa rnams kyi nah du rab du byuh gi gal te rab du ma byuh bar gyur na nye du rnams kyis *de dpyad bvas pa zhig ces bya ba’i skabs de dag dge slon rnams kyis bcom Idan 'das

la gsol pa dan/ bcom Idan (46a:8) 'das kyis bka* stsal pa/ sman pa la dris la dpyad byos sig/ dge slon gis sman pa la dris pa dan/ des smras pa/ 'phags pa sbyar ba'i zas gsol cig pa'i skebs te dge slon dag gis bcom Idan 'das la gsol pa dan/ bcom Idan (46b:1) ‘das kyis bka' stsal pa/ sman pas bstan na sbyin par bya o/ dge slon dag gis zas sbyar na ji Ita bu yin pa ma £es nas/ de rnams kyi sman pa la dris pa dan/ des. smras pa/

'phags pa dag kyed nyid kyi ston pa bcom Idan 'das ci thams cad (46b: 2) mkhyen pa thams cad gzigs pa kho na nyid yin te/ de nyid mkhyen te zhes pa/dge slon rnams kyis bcom Idan 'das la gsol dan/ bcom Idan 'das kyis bka' stsal pa/ dge slon dag zas sbyar ba ni Iciba dan/ thal ba dan/ (46b.3) sa'o/ dela lei ba ni byun nas rih po ma Ion pa'i be'u rnams kyi'o/ gcin yah de dag kho na'o/ thal ba ni sin Ina po kan tsa na'i dan/ ka bi tha ka'i dan/ a 6va tha'i dan/ U dum ba ra'i dan/ nya gro dha'i'o/ sa ni sa las sor bzh‘i 'og nas byun (46b:4) ba o/ ‘di ni sbyar ba'i zas yin no/

de nas dge slon rnams kyis tshe dan Idan pa Sa ri la zas sbyar ba byin no/ ‘on kyah sos pa ma gyur pa'i skabs de dge slon rnams kyis bcom Idan 'das la gsol ba dan/ bcom Idan *das kyis bka' stsal (46b:5) pa/ kun dga’ bo khyod kyis da las rma bya chen mo'i rig snags bzun nas kun chub par byas te/ dge slon sa ril srun ba dan/ yons su skyab pa dan/ yons su gzun dan/ dug gzhel ba dan/ chad pa spans pa dan/ dug gsad ps (46b:6) dan/ mtshams gcad dan/ sa bcin bar nus sam/ bcom Idan 'das kyis bka' stsal du gsol gnyan te bgyi o// 'dul ba gzhi/ bam po drug bcu pa/

de nas bcom Idan 'das kyis de’i (46b:7) tshe rma bya chen mo'i rig snags 'di bka* stsal Io/ sans rgyas la phyag 'tshal Io/ chos la phyag 'tshal Io/ dge *dun la phyag 'tshal Io/ ’di Ita ste/ AMALE/ VIMALE/ NIRMA LE/ MAN GA LYE/ HJ RA NYE/ HI RA NYE GARBHE/ (46b:8) BHA DRE/SU BHA DRE/ SA MAM TA BHA DRE/SRI. R. BHA DRE/ SARBA ARTHA SA DHA Nl/ PA RA MAR THA SA DHA Nl/ SARBA ANAR THA PRA SA MANI/SAR BA MAN GALA SADHANI/MA NASI/ MA

HA' MANASI/ ATSYUTE/ AD BHU TE/ AD DYAN BHUTE/MO GATE/ MO CANE/ MO (47a:1) KSA NA/A RA DZE/BI RA DZE/A MA RE/A MR TE/ A MA RA Ny BRA HME/BRA HME SVA RE/ SU ' RA Nl/ SURANI MA NO RATHE/ MU KTE/ DZI BAN TE/ Sa ri i gnod pa dan/ 'jigs pa dan/ nad thams cad las stuns sig SVA HA/ (47a :2) btsun pa bka' bzhin 'tshal/ zhes tshe dan Idan pa kun dga' bos bcom Idan 'das kyi spyan sda nas rma bya chen mo'i rig snags blahs nas/ dge slon ril bde legs su 'gyur ba bya pas dug med nas ston gyi ji Itar ba bzhin du gyur to// dge slon (47a:3) rnams the tshom skyes nas the tshom thams cad gcod pa sans rgyas bcom Idan 'das la zhus pa/ bcom Idan 'das ji tsam du bcom Idan 'das

kyi rma bya chen mo'i rig snags sman pa dan/ gees

sbras bgyid pa ho mtshar che lags so/ dge slon (47a:4) dag de Itar 'ba* zhig tu ma yin te/ ji Itar 'das pa'i dus na yah du log par thurt ba'i lus mi khom par gyur

pa na rig snags gyi rgyal po rma bya chen mos phan pa dan gees sbras byas pa de nyon cig/ dge slon dag snon byun ri i rgyal po gans (47a:5) ri'i Iho phyogs kyi nos rma bya i rgyal po gser du snaii ba zhes bys ba zhig gnas te/ de nah bar rma bya chen mo i rig shags 'dis bde legs su 'gyur pa byas te nyin mo bde legs su gnas/ nub kar bde legs su gnas pa byas te/ mtshan mo bde (47a:6) legs su gnas so/ de dus gzhan zhig na 'dod pa’i 'dod chags la lhag par chags/ ’dod pa mams la zhen/ -tshums/ brgyai/ myos/ rab tu rmons/ rab tu brgyai te/ bag med pas nags kyi rma bya chen mo rab tu man po rnams dan Idan cig tu kun (47a;7) dga'i ra ba nas kun dga'i ra ba dan/

bskyed mos 'tshal nas bskyed mos 'tshal dan/ ri’i nos la ri'i nos su rgyu ba las ji tsam na ri'i Sen ge zhig tu zhugs pa dan/ de der yun rin du phir rgol ba/ dgrar gyur pa 'tshe bar gyur pa/ glags Ita ba rnams kyi rma byai snyis (47a:8)/ bzun ste/ de mi mdza' ba'i nan du son pa dan/ rab tu rmon pa las Oran pa rnyed nas rma bya chen mo* i rig shags 'di kho na yid la byas so//

B. (Mahamayuri vidya-mantra in Sanskrit) Mulasarvastivadi-vinaya ; Bhaisajya-vastu (Gilgit Mss p.287 ed. Nalinaksa Dutt & Vidyavaridhi pt. Shiva Nath Shastri, Calcutta 1950) •'Namo Buddhaya namo Dharmaya namah Sanghaya Tadyatha amaie vimale nirmale mangale hiranye hira- nyagarbhe bhadre subhadre samantabhadre Sri-bhadre Sarvartha-sadhani paramartha-sadhani sarva-mangalasadha- ni manase mahamanase acyute adbhute atyadbhute mukte mocani moksani/araje viraje amrte amare (amarani) bra¬hma brahmesvare purne purna-manorathe mukte jivate raksa svatim sarvopadrava-bhaya ragebhyah svaha//*' C. Jour verses are common in the Cullavagga (v.2.9)- Pali Ahiraja-parittam (Khuddaka-vatthu-khandhaka) and in the Khandhavatta-jataka (PTS. p. 145-472 in Pall—

Virupakkhehi me mettam mettam erapathehi me/ Chabbyaputtehi me mettam mettam Kanhagotamakehi ca'ti// Apldakehi me mettam mettam dvipadakehi me/ Catuppadehi me mettam mettam bahuppadehi me ti// Ma mam apadaka himsi ma mam himsi dvipadako/

ma mam catuppado himsi ma mam himsi bahuppado ti// Sabbe satta sabbe pana sabbe bhuta ca kevala/ Sabbe bhadrani passantu ma kinci papamagama ti/ D. The verses partly recur in the Bower manuscripts in Sanskrit which are found in the ruins of the ancient city at Khasgarh (Journal of the Pali Text Society, 1893. p.64).

E. The Bhesajjakhandhaka (Muladi-bhesajja-katha) in the Pali Vinaya-pitaka (MahSvagga) however does not read a paritta in Verses. The text is given below (6.2.9. PTS edn.) :

'Tena kho pana samayena annataro bhikkhu ahina dattho hoti/ Bhagavato etamattham arocesum/anujanami bhikkhave' cattari mahavikatani datum—gutham, muttam, charikam, mattikam ti/ atha kho bhikkhunam etadahosi: - -appatiggahitani nu kho udahu patiggahetabbani" ti/ Bhagavato etamatham arocesum/ anujanami, bhikkhave, sati kappiyakarake patiggahapetum, asati keppiyakarake samam gahetva paribhunjitum 'ti//