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Template:Needs-Attention Template:See also Template:Infobox Buddhist term Adhiṣṭhāna (Sanskrit) is the name for initiations or blessings in Vajrayana Buddhism. The term has various meanings, including the raised base on which a temple stands.

Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

Adhiṣṭhāna(m) is a term with multiple meanings: seat; basis; substratum; ground; support; and abode.[1] The Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary Online holds the following semantic field for adhiṣṭhāna:

  1. [noun] standing by, being at hand, approach
  2. standing or resting upon
  3. a basis, base
  4. the standing-place of the warrior upon the car
  5. a position, site, residence, abode, seat
  6. a settlement, town, standing over
  7. government, authority, power
  8. a precedent, rule
  9. a benediction (Buddhism)[2]

Contemporary scholar Francesca Fremantle gives an etymology of Sanskrit adhiṣṭhāna and Tibetan jinlap: Template:Quote

Dan Martin suggests that the Chinese term for adhiṣṭhāna influenced the Tibetan:Template:Quote



Tsultrim Allione points out that in Tibetan Buddhism adhistana blessings are an important part of the pointing-out instruction received from the guru and lineage.[3] Receiving these blessings is dependent on the student having proper motivation, aspiration and intentionality (bodhicitta) and sufficient "devotion" (Sanskrit: bhakti). These blessings may be received from the student's guru during initiation, from the yidam during deity yoga, or simply from being in the presence of holy objects such as a stupa.

In a study of the theory and practice of Shingon Buddhism, an extant non-Himalayan school of Vajrayana, Kiyota (1978: p. 70) identifies three kinds of adhiṣṭhāna:

  1. mudra, the finger sign
  2. dhāraṇī, secret verses
  3. yoga, through meditation practices.[4]

The term adhiṣṭhāna is also used to describe the transformative power of the Buddha. According to D. T. Suzuki: Template:Quote

Stream of blessings

In the Indo-Himalayan lineages of Vajrayana, where traditions of Tantra were introduced in the first wave of translations of Sanskrit texts into Old Tibetan from the 8th century onwards, the term chosen by the community of lotsawa "translators", which importantly is one of the most concerted translation efforts in documented history, chose to render adhiṣṭhāna as Template:Bo. This metaphorical usage of "stream, wave, thread, continuum" is reinforced in philosophy with the mindstream doctrine and its relationship to tantric sādhanā, where it is used in visualizations and invocations, particularly in relation to the Three Vajras of Padmasambhava and depicted in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist and Bon iconography such as representations of the Adi-Buddha and Tapihritsa. Martin Mills, in a modern political and power-relations dissection of jinlap in relation to hierarchical structures of the Gelug, a Sarma (second-wave) school, holds that: Template:Quote


  • The Prayer of Inspiration known as "The Falling Rain of Blessings" (gsol 'debs byin rlabs char 'bebs) (from the Yang Zab Nyingpo)[5]

Honzon Kaji

In Shingon Buddhism, mantras, mudras and visualization practices aim at achieving honzon kaji or union with the deity. According to Shingon priest Eijun Eidson:Template:Quote


Śarīra or "relics" are held to emanate or incite adhiṣṭhāna "blessings, grace" within the mindstream and experience of those connected to them.[6]

See also


  1. Template:Cite web
  2. Monier Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary Online (April, 2009). 'adhiShThAna'. Source: [1] (accessed: Sunday January 3, 2009) NB: change input to Itrans and place "adhiShThAna" (अधिष्ठान) as cited.
  3. Template:Cite book
  4. Template:Cite book
  5. Source: Template:Cite web (accessed: Sunday January 3, 2010)
  6. Martin, Dan (1994). 'Pearls from Bones: Relics, Chortens, Tertons and the Signs of Saintly Death in Tibet'. Numen, Vol. 41, No. 3. (Sep., 1994), p.274.

External links

Page is sourced from Adhiṣṭhāna