Author Topic: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues  (Read 22773 times)

Midakpa

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Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« on: May 26, 2013, 02:15:05 PM »
Before the great Atisha decided to go to Tibet at the invitation of the Tibetan king Yeshe Oe, he consulted Arya Tara who told him that it would prove most beneficial  to sentient beings and the teachings if he went. This story took place in 11th century India.

In more recent times, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche (in an interview in London), revealed that he had a Tara picture "which on many occasions, Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro talked to, like a human." Dzongsar Rinpoche, who is the recognized incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, said that "it's just a simple Tara painting. No one special painted it, but it spoke many times to Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro. Many of his attendants even saw it."

In Tibet, there are many stories of statues that spoke. The Lhasa Jowo is one famous one. Sogyal Rinpoche, a modern Cambridge educated lama, mentioned that in his family there is an image of Tara that actually spoke three times. He said that his family also had an image of Shakyamuni Buddha... which took on smallpox in about the 1950s.

The factors involved in such phenomena are as follows:

1. the statue must be filled with holy mantras, relics and it has to be consecrated.
2. the statue is an object of veneration
3. the practitioner must have pure view
4. the practitioner must have pure devotion

Statues do not speak to everybody. It is said that when a statue speaks, the yeshepa (wisdom being) is present. It depends on the person to whom it speaks, his insight and his realisation. Sometimes the statue gives the person a teaching.

Do you have a story to tell about a talking statue?
Please share with us your story/stories and give us your explanation regarding this interesting phenomenon.


Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2013, 01:56:44 PM »
It is said that a Bodhisattva who has reached the third Bhumi will be able to see Buddhas directly and talk to Buddha statues. In the Lamrim, it is reported that Atisha was already talking to Tara at the age of eleven. Here are more stories of talking Buddha statues and other "miracles":

1. One day, Atisha was walking round the vajra seat of enlightenment at Bodhgaya. While on the circumambulation path, it seemed he witnessed a conservation between two statues.

2. A statue of the Buddha under a balcony of the Great Temple at Bodhgaya once spoke to Atisha while he was circumambulating. "O mendicant!" it said, "If you wish to achieve complete and perfect enlightenment soon, train yourself with love, compassion and bodhicitta." (Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, p. 36)

3. In Rumtek Monastery, the monastery of the Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, built 370 years ago by one of the great Dharma kings of Sikkim, Phuntsok Namgyal, there is a small statue of the Buddha wrapped in gold brocade. It was sent there by the 9th Karmapa from Tibet. While in Tibet, the statue spoke personally to the Karmapa and others, giving predictions and teachings. But since it was in Sikkim, they were not able to hear anything. It is believed the statue will stay silent until the right person comes along.

4. The most important object in Rumtek Monastery is a statue of the 8th Karmapa made from white stone or marble. Some of you might know that the 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje (1507-1554) was a former incarnation of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Legend has it that the 8th Karmapa squeezed the stone and left his handprint on it. The statue appeared spontaneously as a result of his power and blessings. It is said by H.H. himself that whoever sees it is liberated and does not have to go to the lower realms. When he asked the statue whether it was a good likeness of himself, the statue replied, "Yes, of course." The face and everything is the Karmapa's face.

5. In Rumtek, there is a statue of the 1st Karmapa who taught the Six Yogas of Naropa three times.

6. The oldest thangka in Tibet is also found in Rumtek. It is a thangka of Atisha wearing a red pandita hat and sits in a teaching mudra. It is said to liberate on sight. (extracted from Norma Levine, Blessing Power of the Buddhas)

I find the above stories simply marvellous. It is difficult to explain such phenomena with conventional logic. It is easier to just accept with the heart completely open and listen with the inner ear and as Norma Levine said, "let the truth dimension awaken".


Big Uncle

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 03:22:22 PM »
Actually in Tibetan and Indian sources say that this occurrence is not unusual for those who are highly realized. This is in particular for Tara and in Tibet, Lama Tsongkhapa statues are also particularly well known for displaying miracles.

I don't really know why but Tara is particularly 'sensitive' and there's just a great many statues that displayed miracles like speaking and other manifestations. Sometimes, statues like Tara and Lama Tsongkhapa even appear spontaneously in a rock or a cliff. These are also pretty amazing and are usually near meditational caves of great beings.

samayakeeper

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2013, 04:14:09 AM »
I too have heard of accounts of talking images but the people spoken to were high level dharma practitioners who would know if the beings speaking to them were enlightened beings or spirits. Many people have claimed that their images in their home speak to them but those are just claims. Some claimed in their dreams they have enlightened beings appearing and giving them prophecy. Again, those are just claims.

Tenzin K

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2013, 03:20:02 PM »
The Buddha statue is one of the most respected object to Buddhist. The first ever casting was done in the Gandhara period, in the country of Gandhara, North of India. In today’s geographic terms, the country was Pakistan during 500-550 B.E.
Prior to this period, no statue had existed. The only place for pilgrimage was the four commemorative sites.

The first was the Birth place (Lumpini park in Nepal), the second being the place of enlightenment (Buddhagaya in India), the third being the place where the first ever sermon took place (Baranasi in India) and the forth being the place of his passing away (Kusinagara in India).

A statue appear to be able to "talk" as a result maybe due to the devotees' cultivation efforts or the Buddha may have others intention on signaling some messages to the center or people. The devotees should quite down and seated to see what messages are the statues trying to give instead of shouting here and there, taking out the super lousy resolution hand phone and struggling to be in the front row to do the recording and got a lady put the hand phone so near to the statue.

diablo1974

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2013, 07:46:08 AM »
Other than talking statues, there are also emerging holy images from rocks and walls in tibet. i heard that these miracles are also signs of degenerating , due to Buddhas compassion they emerge themselves from rocks and walls.

RedLantern

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 03:38:00 PM »
Buddha advised us to investigate to find the truth.It's better not to pass adverse remarks on what we do not know especially when it has something to do with the Buddha.This is because Buddhist miracles is unbelievable and hard to explained to those who have not seen.
Are miracles real? Three devout students of Buddhism,Glen Wallis,Judy Lief and Ari Goldfield,all believed that miracles are real,although today's miraculous events might not be as easily understood as those in religious legends.People living in ancient times may have been more comfortable with the supernatural as part of reality
while a modern, scientific mindset may not allow for an understanding of miracles.

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2013, 07:54:04 AM »
Dear Big Uncle, Samayakeeper, Tenzin K, Diablo and Red Lantern,

Thank you for responding to this post. Yes, why do miracles happen? Is it a sign of the degenerate age that Buddhas have to manifest in certain ways and talk in order to give assistance, blessings and guidance?

It is true that of all the Buddhas, Tara was particularly active in communicating with enlightened masters. There is a beautiful story of Tara who appeared to the great Indian master Sthiramati when the latter was a boy. In his previous life, Sthiramati was a pigeon, roosting in the rafters of the room used by the great Indian philosopher Vasubandhu. For many years, the pigeon listened to Vasubandhu's recitations of the sutras. Then one day, a hawk swooped in through the window and killed the pigeon. Vasubandhu offered many prayers for his "roommate" and the pigeon was born as Sthiramati, the son of a wealthy family in southern India. At a young age, Sthiramati said, "I must go to find my teacher Vasubandhu" and he set off for central India. Sthiramati took monastic vows and went into a retreat hut with a carved statue of Tara. The little boy believed she was real. His noon meal was just a handful of chickpeas. Before he began to eat his meal, he made Tara an offering by placing one chickpea on her carved hand. It rolled on the ground. He tried again and again and each chickpea fell into the dust. He was determined to not to eat until Tara did! Finally, all the chickpeas were on the ground and the frustrated young boy began to cry, saying, "You're so mean, Tara!" Instantly Tara appeared before him, comforted him, and offered him lots of delicious food. Sthiramati's devotion and wisdom were awakened. He became a great teacher and it is said that Tara always stayed with him thereafter. This story illustrates the power of virtuous action and devotion.
(extracted from "Tara's Enlightened Activity" by Khenchen Palden Sherab abd Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal)

The above story shows that one need not be a great master or a 3rd ground Bodhisattva in order to be able to talk to statues or experience miracles of Buddhas appearing to us.  In Sthiramati's case, it was his pure devotion that moved Tara's heart. So as practitioners, we need not be disheartened that since we are not yet Bodhisattvas, the Buddhas will not appear to us. All it takes is great faith and devotion on our part. And there are many stories of great devotion which produced miracles in the history of Buddhism.

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2013, 08:20:23 AM »
Chandragomin and the Naked Tara:

Here is another beautiful story about Tara and the great Indian master Chandragomin, who taught at Nalanda Monastery in ancient times. He was a famous scholar, but very humble and poor, owning only his robes, bowl, and the text of the Prajnaparamita. One day a poor beggar woman came to him in tears, begging for a few alms so she could provide a dowry for her daughter. Having nothing of value to give her, Chandragomin began to cry. He prayed to a picture of Tara painted on the wall of his room. The image quickly came to life, took off her (now quite real) silken clothes and ornaments of gold and jewels, and gave them to him for the beggar woman's daughter. The painting then returned to his wall and was ever after known as the Naked Tara.

(extracted from Khenchen Palden Sherab & Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal (2007):Tara's Enlightened Activity)

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2013, 06:19:41 AM »
The Statue that came to greet the Buddha:

One of the first statues of Buddha Shakyamuni was made in Jetavana Grove. It was ordered by King Prasenajit and was made of hardwood. King Prasenajit placed it at his seat in the vihara. Fa Hien, the Chinese pilgrim, reported that when Shakyamuni next visited Jetavana, the statue came out to meet him. The Buddha told it to return to its place, saying that it would serve as a model for others after his passing away. The Jetavana vihara which housed this image was once an elaborate seven-storied building. It eventually burned down but the image survived and a two-storied structure was built in its place. At the time of Hsuan Chwang the statue was kept in a brick shrine.

(extracted from Jeremy Russell,1981, The Eight Places of Buddhist Pilgrimage)

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2013, 03:08:30 PM »
Pabongka Rinpoche and Heruka

Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche was an emanation of Heruka Chakrasamvara. He was the holder of the Heruka Body Mandala Lineage.

Once Pabongka Rinpoche invoked the wisdom beings of the Heruka mandala to enter a statue of Heruka Chakrasamvara. Heruka then offered nectar to Pabongka Rinpoche, and told him that seven generations of his disciples would be protected by the body mandala of Heruka.

At another time, when Pabongka Rinpoche was making offerings to a statue of Heruka, the wisdom being actually entered the statue. The statue danced and told him that anyone who received the Heruka initiation from him, up to the seventh generation, would be taken to the dakini paradise.

Tenzin Malgyur

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2013, 03:13:26 PM »
Midakpa, thanks for listing so many true accounts of Buddha statue that spoke to human beings. In all the events that the statue spoke, notice that all those being spoke to are highly attained masters and lamas. It is indeed such a great miracle to read of the statue that manifested after the 8th Karmapa squeezed a stone and left his handprint on it. We have to be very cafeful though. Sometime ago, I remembered a lama saying that Buddha and deities appear only to highly realized beings and not to ordinary folks like myself. The negative forces are able to trick us by appearing to us as a Buddha!

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2013, 04:34:25 PM »
The Goddess Tara has a special place in the hearts of her devotees. Tara is famous for her ability to protect devotees from the eight fears. The eight fears are: fear of lions, elephants, fire, snakes, floods/water, imprisonment, thieves and cannibals/disease caused by evil spirits. There are many stories about how Tara manifested to save those who call out to her in times of danger. Here is an interesting story in which Tara spoke:

"There was a Sendhapa Sravaka who lived at Vajrasana (the site of Buddha's enlightenment) and one summer he was going via the Neranjana river valley (more commonly known by its colloquial name, the river Phalgu) to the holy site of Maya. The river had recently been in flood and the Sravaka could not withstand the current on the ford and was carried off by the river. He thought, "Mahayanists have a goddess called Tara who protects from the fear of water," and so he cried out, "O Tara!" to her. The wooden image of Tara kept in an outer courtyard of Vajrasana arrived in its bodily form and said, "You never even (usually) remember me - now you call out to me - is that the proper way to behave?" He managed to get out of the water himself and thereafter that particular image became known as "River Valley Tara".

(Story extracted from the book "The Origin of Tara Tantra" by Jo Nang Taranatha)

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2013, 04:46:01 PM »
                                       
"Tara of the Turned Face"

"Once, at Vajrasana, an old lady erected a Tara temple with the image's face showing outwards. On completion the old lady grieved that the image had its back facing the Mahabodhi Shrine and thought that it was not at all good like that. Then the image itself said, "If you are not happy about it, I will look towards the Mahabodhi site!" So the image itself changed direction so that it and the temple door faced the Mahabodhi, and (from then on) that particular image became known as 'Tara of the Turned Face'.

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2013, 05:09:52 PM »
Below is another story taken from Taranatha's "The Origin of Tara Tantra":

"At the time of King Dharmapala there was a stone statue of Tara which was situated beside the spring from which the monks of north-eastern Vajrasana drew their water. At that time the Singhala Sravakas known as the Sendhapas burned many tantric scriptures and, finding a large silver image of Heruka, they destroyed that as well. They also did a great deal of damage to the Mandala of Buddhasrijnana. The king punished the Singhala Sravakas and a certain Sendhapa monk went before the mentioned Tara image, begging her, "Save me from the fear of the king's punishment!" The Tara statue replied: "In times of peace you never so much as even remember me - do you recall me now? Get down into the water spout!" Although the spout was very small his whole body was contained within it and the king's men who were searching for him were unable to find him. Then, fleeing at night, he eventually arrived in distant eastern India. At a great festival time at Vajrasana there was a certain door of an attic which would not open. At the very summoning of the Singhala monk, the closed door opened of its own accord. The king rejoiced at the abundance and variety of things found inside."