Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tibetan Buddhism : The Three Edged Spear

In Tibetan Buddhism, there is the story of the Three-Edged Spear or ritual dagger (phur pa) used in rituals to cure one from the Three Poisons — Ignorance, Hatred, and Desire; represented by the pig, snake, and rooster (respectively). These poisons sicken the soul in Buddhist lore and the cure is to get the mind and soul to act in harmony again.

I always thought this sort of thing belonged in a gaming book or adventure or something.

Greed, Hatred, and Delusion (as specific ignorance) are sometimes referred to as the three poisons (as well), three unwholesome roots, or the three fires. Again, same principles. They are bad for the soul, but have antidotes of their own.

To overcome greed, we learn to cultivate selflessness, generosity, detachment, and contentment. To overcome hatred, we learn to cultivate loving-kindness, compassion, patience, and forgiveness. To overcome delusion, we cultivate wisdom, insight, and right understanding.

To Buddhists, there are nineteen kinds of ignorance, including fundamental darkness, ignorance of the self, nidana (spiritual ignorance), and Avidyā (the most complex of ignorances, which breaks down into four more types). Avidyā means a lack of knowing associated with intention, cf. active ignorance of the spirit.

Anyway. Lots of cool for your clerics and "enlightened types" in fantasy gaming.

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