Origins of Om Manipadme Hum, The: A Study of the Karandavyuha Sutra

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SUNY Press, Feb 1, 2012 - Religion - 232 pages
Om Manipadme Hum, perhaps the most well-known of all Buddhist mantras, lies at the heart of the Tibetan system and is cherished by both layman and lama alike. This book documents the origins of the mantra, and presents a new interpretation of the meaning of Om Manipadme Hum, and includes a detailed, annotated precis of the Karandavyuha Sutra, opening up this important Mahayana Buddhist work to a wider audience.

The Karandavyuha the earliest textual source for Om Manipadme Hum which describes both the compassionate activity of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva whose power the mantra invokes, and the mythical tale of the search for and discovery of the mantra. Through a detailed analysis of this sutra, Studholme explores the historical and doctrinal forces behind the appearance of Om Manipadme Hum in India at around the middle of the first millennium C.E. He argues that the Karandavyuha has close affinities to non-Buddhist puranic literature, and that the conception of Avalokitesvara and his six-syllable mantra is informed by the conception of the Hindu deity Siva and his five-syllable mantra Namah Sivaya. The sutra reflects an historical situation in which the Buddhist monastic establishment was coming into contact with Buddhist tantric practitioners, themselves influenced by Saivite practitioners.
 

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Contents

The Importance of Om Manipadme Hum
1
1 Background to the Karandavyuha Sutra
9
2 Puranic Influence on the Karandavyuha Sutra
19
3 Avalokitesvara as the Buddhist Isvara
37
4 Om Manipadme Hum and Namah Sivaya
61
5 Om Manipadme Hum and the Mahayana
77
6 The Meaning of Om Manipadme Hum
105
The Original SixSyllable Formula?
119
Annotated Précis of the Karandavyuha Sutra
121
NOTES
155
BIBLIOGRAPHY
205
INDEX
215
INDEX TO APPENDIX
221
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About the author (2012)

Alexander Studholme received a Ph.D. from the Centre for Buddhist Studies, Bristol University, England.

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