Apsaras

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Tiago Simões
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Apsaras

Post by Tiago Simões » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:47 am

I've been meaning to draw some apsaras, their fluid design is almost mermerizing. But I'm not quite sure what they are exacly. Are they just minor devas? Do they serve some purpose other than aesthetics?

Image
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakīrti spoke to the elder Śāriputra and the great disciples: “Reverends, eat of the food of the Tathāgata! It is ambrosia perfumed by the great compassion. But do not fix your minds in narrow-minded attitudes, lest you be unable to receive its gift.”

- Chapter 9, The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti”

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Apsaras

Post by Kim O'Hara » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:31 pm

They are as much Hindu as Buddhist - maybe even more Hindu - and have various minor roles in both traditions ... mainly decorative, IMO, and often explicitly sexual.
This link gives a pretty good cross-cultural overview - http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Apsara

:coffee:
Kim

Tiago Simões
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Re: Apsaras

Post by Tiago Simões » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:10 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:31 pm
They are as much Hindu as Buddhist - maybe even more Hindu - and have various minor roles in both traditions ... mainly decorative, IMO, and often explicitly sexual.
This link gives a pretty good cross-cultural overview - http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Apsara

:coffee:
Kim
So they do appear to be just minor devas. Is there any reference to them in any sutra?
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakīrti spoke to the elder Śāriputra and the great disciples: “Reverends, eat of the food of the Tathāgata! It is ambrosia perfumed by the great compassion. But do not fix your minds in narrow-minded attitudes, lest you be unable to receive its gift.”

- Chapter 9, The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti”

jhanapeacock
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Re: Apsaras

Post by jhanapeacock » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:38 am

Tiago Simões wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:10 pm
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:31 pm
They are as much Hindu as Buddhist - maybe even more Hindu - and have various minor roles in both traditions ... mainly decorative, IMO, and often explicitly sexual.
This link gives a pretty good cross-cultural overview - http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Apsara

:coffee:
Kim
So they do appear to be just minor devas. Is there any reference to them in any sutra?
They are minor devas, remember a sutta when they mention that the most beautiful of woman is like a mutilated monkey in comparison with an apsara. In that sutta buddha is trying to convince a layman to ordain, dont remember exactly what it was.

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StrangeGuy
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Re: Apsaras

Post by StrangeGuy » Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:43 pm

Tiago Simões wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:47 am
I've been meaning to draw some apsaras, their fluid design is almost mermerizing. But I'm not quite sure what they are exacly. Are they just minor devas? Do they serve some purpose other than aesthetics?
Image

Yeah, in India Apsaras have mantras and people do Apsara Sadhana under the guidance of a guru. It is said that they can help the Sadhak in many ways and give certain Siddhis. According to Indian Mythology they were created during the 2nd churning of the milk. It’s been written by a scholar that they live on their own planet in a higher plane of existence and have a population of about 55 million. They seem to be connected to water or air spirits (western tradition Nymphs & Sylphs) but also to Skydancers & Yoginis. It is likely a conglomeration of different types of beings/energies, like humans mixing up different things. It’s been said as well that they are “emanations” of the highest female “being” in Hinduism such as Shakti. A good book for sure about the Apsaras is by M.L. Varadpande, Apsara, In Indian Art and Literature, Shubhi Publications.
Links:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apsara-Indian- ... 327&sr=1-2
https://www.exoticindiaart.com/book/det ... re-IDI708/

Good Luck.

Sentient Light
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Re: Apsaras

Post by Sentient Light » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:12 pm

jhanapeacock wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:38 am
They are minor devas, remember a sutta when they mention that the most beautiful of woman is like a mutilated monkey in comparison with an apsara. In that sutta buddha is trying to convince a layman to ordain, dont remember exactly what it was.
I don't remember the exact text, but that episode is from when the Buddha was convincing his younger brother, Nanda, not to ordain, but to actually pursue the path and not go back to his wife. The Buddha and Ananda had together already ordained Nanda against his will, and basically kidnapped him from Kapilavastu, when this episode took place. Nanda was going along with it, unhappily, and some of the other monks started shit-talking him within his earshot, so he was fed up and went to the Buddha, pleading to be allowed to return to his beautiful wife, which is when the Buddha took him to heaven to show him the apsaras.

This is also recorded in Asvagosha's absolutely beautiful epic poem, the Saundarananda.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Apsaras

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:34 pm

Tiago Simões wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:47 am
I've been meaning to draw some apsaras, their fluid design is almost mermerizing. But I'm not quite sure what they are exacly. Are they just minor devas? Do they serve some purpose other than aesthetics?

Image
Companions of the gandharvas , it is supposed that the apsaras perform dancing while the gandharvas play their music. Also sexual companions, as devas of the desire realm they are in the desire mood.
"Don't profess a view you haven't realized!
Since the view is devoid of viewing, mind essence is an expanse of great emptiness.
Since the meditation is without meditating, leave your individual experience free from fixation.
Since the conduct is without acting, it is unfabricated naturalness.
Since the fruition is without abandoning or achieving, it is the dharmakaya of great bliss.
These four sentences are words from my heart:
Contradict them and you fail to discover the nature of Ati Yoga."


Guru Padmasambhava.
From "Advice from the Lotus-Born".

amanitamusc
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Re: Apsaras

Post by amanitamusc » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:17 am

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:34 pm
Tiago Simões wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:47 am
I've been meaning to draw some apsaras, their fluid design is almost mermerizing. But I'm not quite sure what they are exacly. Are they just minor devas? Do they serve some purpose other than aesthetics?

Image
Companions of the gandharvas , it is supposed that the apsaras perform dancing while the gandharvas play their music. Also sexual companions, as devas of the desire realm they are in the desire mood.
What is your source for this info.
Thanks

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Apsaras

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:45 am

amanitamusc wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:17 am
javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:34 pm
Tiago Simões wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:47 am
I've been meaning to draw some apsaras, their fluid design is almost mermerizing. But I'm not quite sure what they are exacly. Are they just minor devas? Do they serve some purpose other than aesthetics?

Image
Companions of the gandharvas , it is supposed that the apsaras perform dancing while the gandharvas play their music. Also sexual companions, as devas of the desire realm they are in the desire mood.
What is your source for this info.
Thanks
It is old stuff, but I will try to remember and find the sources.

Oh yeah, it was a footnote from a Lotus Sutra translation about the 'city of the gandharva' as analogy...

Something like this https://books.google.cl/books?id=CjDmCg ... ra&f=false
"Don't profess a view you haven't realized!
Since the view is devoid of viewing, mind essence is an expanse of great emptiness.
Since the meditation is without meditating, leave your individual experience free from fixation.
Since the conduct is without acting, it is unfabricated naturalness.
Since the fruition is without abandoning or achieving, it is the dharmakaya of great bliss.
These four sentences are words from my heart:
Contradict them and you fail to discover the nature of Ati Yoga."


Guru Padmasambhava.
From "Advice from the Lotus-Born".

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Wayfarer
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Re: Apsaras

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:48 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:31 pm
They are as much Hindu as Buddhist - maybe even more Hindu - and have various minor roles in both traditions ... mainly decorative, IMO, and often explicitly sexual.
This link gives a pretty good cross-cultural overview - http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Apsara

:coffee:
Kim
Note this story from that source:
The nymph and the sage
A common theme appearing in the Mahabharata is that of an Apsara sent to distract a sage or spiritual master from his ascetic practices. One story embodying this theme is that recounted by a woman named Sakuntala to explain her own parentage.[3] It states that the sage Viswamitra generated such intense energy by means of his asceticism that Indra himself became fearful. Deciding that the sage would have to be distracted from his penances, he sent the Apsara Menaka to work her charms. Menaka trembled at the thought of angering such a powerful ascetic, but she obeyed the god's order. As she approached Viswamitra, the wind god, Vayu, tore away her garments. Seeing her, thus, disrobed, the sage abandoned himself to lust. Nymph and sage sported together for some time, during which Viswamitra's asceticism was put on hold. As a consequence, Menaka gave birth to a daughter, whom she abandoned on the banks of a river. That daughter was Sakuntala herself, the narrator of the story.
I have a recollection of one of the gnostic myths of Sophia, who is likewise considered to have fallen from grace, but in so doing had a principial role in creating the world. But that could be interpreted as a reflection of the role of woman, the femine principle, in the generation of life and also as 'temptress'.

Many fascinating ideas in this genre. It's worth recalling that Prajñāpāramitā was depicted as a deity and the 'mother of the Buddhas':

Image

And another from the Ajanta caves:

Image

I don't think the figure of Prajnaparamita or Sophia is directly comparable to an aspara, but is likewise deity appearing in feminine form.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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