The Legend and Cult of Upagupta, 6



Master-Disciple Relations


p. 127 "true aspect"?

"the monk to dream that he had arrived back home and found his wife dead. ... He then woke and reported what he had dreamt to Upagupta, who merely told him to go and see what the reality of the situation was.

When he reached his former home, he saw that his wife was indeed dead and that his parents were taking her decomposing corpse to the cemetery. ... When he got back to Mathura, Upagupta asked him whether he had seen his wife. "I saw her true aspect," he replied".

{More actually, a person's "true aspect" is that person's imperishable soul (atman). Merely to view a person's dead a cadavre is not-at-all to see that person's "true aspect", which is aeternal, and which may continue after death occupy indestructible subtle bodies ( kaya) similar to those occupied in dreaming, until receiving another material one.}

{If merely to be aware that the material body must wear out, and (alike to clothing) be replaced by another (through redincarnation) is sufficient to make one "enlightened", then all persons are "enlightened" -- with the exception solely of the bodhi-sattva Siddha-artha until he witnessed the marks of impermanence, and under the Bodhi-tree realized that these signs indicated that the mystery of the male spirit planet Budha (planet Mercury) -- the mystery indicated in the myth that he was begotten in secret adultery when his mother Tara was abducted (or eloped) -- sheweth that the way to amity with that deity (and, by extension, with all deities) is to glorify secret adultery and to advocate abduction (or elopement) of women. It was on account of their (unofficial, secret) advocacy of women's abandoning their husbands and eloping with strange men (foreigners) that Romulus and the Romani claimed to be descended from Aineias, who defended the eloping of Helene with the foreigner Paris/Alexandros from distant Ilion. [written 6 Sept 2016]}

p. 127 apparent telepathy from husband to wife

"in the kingdom of Mathura, there was ayoung man who had just gotten married when he decided to become a monk. He went to Upagupta, was ordained by him, and was then instructed in meditation.

As he was sitting in dhyana, ... his wife stood ... before him. "Why have you come?" he asked. "I have come," she replied, "because you called me." The monk said, "... When did I call you?" "Though you did not call me with your mouth, you called me with your mind," she answered."

{The bride, Izana-mi, came to the bridegroom, Izana-gi, and invited him to marriage. This initiative on her part was deemed impropre, however, by him : just as in the tale set in Mathura, the husband is displeased by his wife's action in her coming to him (who had definitely abandoned her when he had become a monk).}

{This tale would imply (because he was at that moment "sitting in dhyana", that trance-state -- known as Turiya -- wherein visionary experience is commonplace) that the apparition of the wife to her husband is visionary (dreamlike), not involving her material body, nor indeed any conscious telepathy on her part. It could be her aitheric double which arrived : according to Carlos Castan~eda, one is not even aware of where one's "double" is located in its travels over the world.}

p. 128 experiencing the peculiar dream whereby shamanhood is attained

"the other demon ... tore off one of the monk's arms. The first demon, however, replaced it with an arm from the corpse which he had brought. The second demon then ripped off the monk's other arm, but again the first demon replaced it with an arm from the dead man. This went on until every part of the monk -- his feet, legs, head, and trunk -- was torn off and replaced by the corresponding parts of the corpse."

{In Siberia, the typical dream whereby one become a shaman involveth one's own body's being torn into fragments, and those fragments' being either re-joined or replaced.}

p. 129 absence of a self

"The Brahmin ... went to the Nat.abhat.ika hermitage, and there he heard Upagupta expound upon the absence of an ego, of a purus.a, and on the fact that all the skandhas constituting one's personality are but impermanent dharmas ... . The Brahmin, hearing all this, was impressed; he ... became a stream-winner. He then became a monk and attained arhatship." (T. 2042, 50:122b; French transl. by Przyluski 1923a, pp. 385-6. See also T. 2043, 55:164a.)

p. 130 diseased rebirth of a monk as divinely-inflicted punishment for frivolously criticizing personal proclivities of another monk

[transl. from T. 2042, 50:124a (see also T. 2043, 50:166c)] "At the house of an outcaste, they saw a child whose body was covered with verminous ulcers. Upagupta said to the monk, "... That child is a stream-winner." And he went on to tell how, in a previous life, that child had insulted an arhat for scratching himself in the meditation hall. Later, he had apologized and become a stream-winner, but he did not strive to reach arhatship and so was reborn with an itchy, ulcerous body Hearing this, the monk applied himself with diligence and soon became an arhat."

p. 131 sexual arousal by means of a woman's teeth

"the disciple who was sexually aroused by a beautiful woman whom he met on his alms round and whose teeth he then took

{Sexual arousal of a man by means of a woman's teeth must surely imply his willingessness to undergo erotic "love-bites" by her.}

as a focus for a cemetery meditation."

{The sexual varieties of "cemetery meditation" would be (1) contemplating having sexual intercourse, whilest as yet living, amid corpses; and (2) contemplating having sexual intercourse after one's death, viz., as a ghost, namely with ghosts of opposite gendre.}

pp. 131-3 trances; illusory merchants; illusory river; attainment

p. 131

"in Mathura, ... a young man ... became a monk under the Venerable Upagupta ..., and he soon attained the first four degrees of dhyana ... . ...

p. 132

Using his magical powers {i.e., inducing deities to use their magical powers on his behalf}, Upagupta quickly created on the highway the forms of five hundred merchants. ...

Soon thereafter ..., he met a woman ... to travel alone with ... from a distance ... . Upagupta,

knowing through his magical powers what was going on,

{must have been informed by a deity (for deities controll all magical powers) of this fact, though too arrogant to admit to being so informed}

caused {i.e., induced a deity to cause} a big river to appear in front of the couple, who were walking apart but in sight of each other. ... At this, the monk ...

p. 133

went back to Upagupta, ... and requested further instruction. Upagupta complied, and soon he became a genuine arhat and threw a s`alaka into the cave."

p. 133 induced rainfall

"Once upon a time, in Kashmir, there was a monk named Su[-]dars`ana who had reached the fourth level of dhyana and who was endowed with supernatural powers. Whenever there was a drought, he could always make it rain ... . ... Upagupta ... soon caused Sudars`ana to attain arhatship. He took a s`alaka and threw it into the cave."

p. 133 illusory soldiers

"a child ... was kidnapped by brigands ... . Upagupta ... went to their hideout and ... created the figures of many armed soldiers come to arrest them. ... He preached the Dharma to them, and they became stream-winners. After that, they willingly turned over the kidnapped boy. Upagupta ordained him (as well as all the brigands); they all attained arhatship, and threw a s`alaka into the cave."

p. 134 harmless tigres redincarnated as humans

"The tiger cubs ... were reborn in the womb of a Brahmin woman in Mathura. ... Upagupta ordained the twins as novices, and they promptly attained arhatship. Some time thereafter, he asked them to go and pick some flowers from a jambu tree. ... Upagupta reminded them that they had magical powers, and so they flew into the air and picked the flowers."

pp. 134-5 arrangement for transmission of the Dharma to Dhitika, "who, in the Sarvastivadin patriarchal tradition was to became the next Master of the Law."

p. 134

"One day, the elder Upagupta asked himself whether or not his chief disciple and successor, Dhitika, had yet been born, and he realized that he had not. So, accompanied by a large retinue of monks, he went to the house of the future parents of Dhitika. ...

p. 135

In time, the lay householder ... had a son named Dhitika. When he had grown up, ... Upagupta ... ordained him as a novice and instructed him in Dharma. Then, when he was twenty years old, it was time for his ordination as a monk. At the start of the ceremony, he became a stream-winner, and by its end, he had attained arhatship.

Some time later, when he was old, Upagupta ... said to Dhitika,

"... the Buddha transmitted the Dharma to Kas`yapa.

Kas`yapa transmitted it to Ananda,

Ananda transmitted it to my master S`an.akavasin, and

my master transmitted it to me.

Now I am transmitting it to you. Seven days hence, I will enter parinirvan.a."

pp. 137-8 parallels of Aupanis.adik-yaugik with Bauddha-dhyanik personal mystic realizations of empowerment

p. 137

"The Upanis.adic path of knowledge (jn~ana) involved ...

the achievement of insight (vipas`yana) into the nature of reality, the realization of Brahman, which is imparted to a disciple ... by a master. ...

{Such "insight" (more actually, empowerment, i.e., consent of deities to guide the mortal initiate) into the "nature of reality" (more actually, dominion of the sempiternal deily-realm over the region of fallible mortality) is transmitted, as the behest of the guru, by the deities (deva-s & asura-s) themselves, in the name of the triple principle (beginning with brahman) of the Tri-murti (beginning with Brahma).}

p. 138

The path of yogic enstasy, on the other hand, ... is ... Realization {i.e., siddhi 'success'} ...

in solitude and withdrawal {reclusion} from the world {of mortals' society}, both physically and mentally.

{Primary allegiance is transferred from mere whims of mortals' societies (in waking worlds) to the changeless will of the committees of immortal denizens of divine worlds (abiding in trances and in dreams).}

This path is epitomized in the Buddhist tradition in the cultivation of tranquillity (s`amatha), which involves

progress through trance states (dhyana)

{Successive visitations to the various trance-accessed worlds (and to various dream-accessed worlds).}

up to the attainment of cessation."

{cessation of subordinate participation in waking-state worlds of mortality}

p. 139 demise of Upa-gupta whilest levitating

"Then one hundred thousand arhats assembled, and an incalculable number of those still on the path ..., and innumerable laypersons.

The elder rose up into the air and made manifest the eighteen supernatural transformations, bringing great joy to all those assembled.

{Padre Pio (St Pius of Pietrelcina ) likewise levitated above his death-bed while dying, being witnessed while doing so.}

Then he entered the state of Nirvan.a without remainder. ... The gods brought all sorts of offerings".

{The so-called "offerings" were testimonials indicating that the same deities had themselves transported him into nirvan.a ('extinction', i.e., vanishing of the auric connection in this world of the traces, observable to the Mara-s, connecting with whither he had been transported).}

p. 140 s`alaka-s of marred couples in the cave at Nat.abhat.ika hermitage

"about Hsu:an-tsang's description of his visit to the Nat.abhat.ika -- ... he was told that the s`alaka[-]s there were those only of married couples whom Upagupta had led to arhatship; in the case of single persons, "... no record ... was kept." ...

Could it be then, that the significance of ... a tally stick ... literally meant ... a commitment ... in a Mahayanist context, to the bodhisattva path?"

{More reasonably, the context would be Vajra-yana, requiring sexual intercourse in order to generate any significant spiritual attainment. If so, this could be the source of the Ari sect (which is apparently a sort of proto-Vajra-yana) of the S^an states in Burma. (In a Taoist context, this would be the "Way of the Yellow and the Red", which is a praescribed format for sexual intercourse of married couples.)}

pp. 141-2 s`alaka-s (tally-rods)

p. 141

"in a number of avadana[-]s, ... the sticks are ... distributed as tokens for meals, but meals that will be served to the Sangha in a city so far away that it can be reached only by magical flight. Receipt of a s`alaka, then, signifies {or even conferreth} the magical ability to make journey. This is the case, for instance, in the many stories of the monk

Purn.a Kun.d.opadhaniyaka {/purn.a/ 'full' + /kun.d.a/ 'ring, torus' + /upadhaniya/ 'pillow, cushion' + /-ka/ 'little'},

whom the Anguttara Nikaya lists as "foremost of those who receive a tally stick" and

who obtains magical powers just when he seizes a s`alaka as they are being distributed." [p. 322, n. 62 "This story is found in ... Sumag., p. 12; Avk. 2:529; and Div., p. 44 (Fr. trans., Burnouf 1876:231-32). See also T. 1448, 25:13c-14a; T. 130, 2:47a (Eng. trans., Iwamoto [1959]:142); T. 128, 2:836c (Eng. trans., Tokiwai 1898:57-58), where it is the the novice Cun.d.a who acquires magical powers by taking a s`alaka; and T. 125, 2:662a (Eng. trans., Tokiwai 1898:25-26)."]

{Cf. the magical powers employed by >ahrown and by Mos^eh, by Hermes and by Asklepios, and also by Sanat Kumara (TCF 1.E), each while wielding a "rod of power" -- cf. also JRFRP.}

"in one version of this avadana, ... the naga king As`va[-]tirthika was oppressing the people of S`us`umara[-]giri {S`is`umara Giri 'Porpoise Mountain'}, who asked the Buddha for help. The Buddha ... instructed Ananda to ... saying "Let the one of you who is capable of subduing the naga As`va[-]tirthika take a

p. 142

s`alaka." ... Svagata realized that the Buddha intended him to prove his powers. He promptly took a stick ... ." (p. 322, n. 63 "Div., 184-85. For the MSV. version of this story, see T. 1442, 23:858c (Eng. trans., Ch>en 1945-47:238).")

"In the Mula[-]sarvasti[-]vada Vinaya ..., when the monk Vad.d.ha is excommunicated ..., in addition to the overturning of his begging bowl, is the throwing of his tally stick on the ground."

Iwamoto 1959 = Iwamoto Yutaka : Sumagadhavadana : a Buddhist Legend. Tokyo : Tokai University, 1959. (reprinted Kyoto : Hôzôkan, 1968)

Tokiwai 1898 = Tokiwai Tsuru-Matsu : Studien zum Sumagadhavadana. Darmstadt : G. Otto's hof-buchdruckerei.

TCF 1.E = Alice Bailey : A Treatise on Cosmic Fire - Section One - Division E - "Motion on the Physical and Astral Planes".

JRFRP = Duane Heppner : A Journey To Real Freedom : The Rod Of Power. Lulu Publ, 2010.

Ch>en 1945-47 = Kenneth K. S. Ch>en : "A Study of the Svagata Story in the Divyavadana in Its Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan and Chinese Versions". HARVARD J OF ASIATIC STUDIES 9:207-314.

p. 143 ritual annual and monthly worship-services rendred to major disciples of the buddha

"In the "Three Longs" of every year, and on the six Fastdays of every month, ...

The Abhidharma Brethren offer worship to S[`]ari[-]putra,

the Samadhists to Mudgala[-]putra ["Maudgalyayana"],

the Sutraists to Purna[-]maitriyani[-]putra,

the Vinayists to Upali,

the bhikshuni[-]s to Ananda, and

the s`raman.era[-]s to Rahula; and

the Mahayanists to the various P>usa[-]s ["bodhisattvas"]." (quoted from Watters 1904, p. 302)

Waters 1904 = Thomas Watters : On Yuan Chwang's travels in India, 629-645 A.D. Vol. 1. London : Royal Asiatic Soc.

p. 144 that which each disciple of S`akya-muni is of benefit for, to worshippers

"At the Sule pagoda in Rangoon, there is a series of shrines containing images of various disciples of the Buddha, for the benefit of devotees, signs announcing what each saint is good for.

Thus, if you want wisdom,

you should make offerings to Shin Sariputta;

if you want magical powers,

Shin Moggallana;

if you want wealth,

Shin Sivali;

if you want to be free from disease,

Shin Bakkula, etc.

No shrine is erected here toShin Upago (Upagupta), but there is one nearby with a similar sign saying he is good for protection from Mara".


John S. Strong : The Legend and Cult of Upagupta : Sanskrit Buddhism in North India and Southeast Asia. Princeton Univ Pr, 1992.