Friday, October 13, 2006

Notes on the book “The Temple of Dawn” by Yukio Mishima, published by Penguin Books, 1977

In the book he talks a lot about Buddhism and the evolution of religions in general:

For example on page 93, he writes: “The Greek philosopher Heraclitus, claimed that all things are in flux.”

On page 104, he talks about the Yuishiki school of philosophy which advocates the concept of alayavijnana, “the ultimate consciousness.” Translated by “storehouse consciousness” in Chinese, alaya stores away all “seeds” of the phenomenal world.

Life is active, Alaya consciousness functions. This consciousness is the fruit of all rewards, and it stores all seeds that are the results of all activity. Thus that one is living indicates that alaya is active.

This consciousness is in constant flux like a foaming white waterfall. While the cascade is always visible to our eyes, the water is not the same from minute to minute. New water incessantly pours by, streaming and surging, sending up its misty vapors.

On page 123, he explains the Buddhist Sutra of the Great Golden Peacock Wisdom King, Mahamayurividyarajni. This sutra is supposed to ward off snakes or cure poisoning from their bites. Not only snake poison, but all fevers, all wounds, all pain and suffering were reputed abolished by this sutra. Simply chanting it was sufficient, and the mere thought of the Peacock Wisdom King did away with all fear, enemies, and calamities.

The Peacock Wisdom King in the illustration was a gorgeous and sumptuous figure as though the personification of the peacock itself, so different from the bloody image of Kali, his prototype, with her protruding tongue and her necklace of severed heads.

His magic formula was said to imitate the cry of the peacock – ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka – and the mantra, ma ya kitsu ra tei sha ka, meant “Peacock fulfillment.
“ Even the special hand gesture, which was called the “sign of the Buddha Begetter, the Peacock Wisdom King,” and which was made by joining the two hands back to back, the two thumbs and the two little fingers pressed together, was both a description and imitation of the peacock’s majesty. The gesture represented the shape of the peacock, the little fingers being the tail and the thumbs the head, and the rest of the fingers the feathers. The way the middle six fingers moved as the incantation was changed depicted a peacock dancing,..

Page 162

Other books referred to in this book are:

The Honcho monzui, “Compositions of elegance Composed in Japan.”

The “Essays on Mount Fuji” by Yoshika no Miyako.

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