Sacred India Tarot Archive: 5,6,7 Pentacles – Buddha’s Enlightenment

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What is a Chakra?  The word means literally – “wheel”.

Chakra spiral, centrifugue and OM

Chakra spiral, centrifugue and OM

The seven chakras in the Yogic body are centres where the Life-force flowers.  Chakras are transmissions of energy in the Earth vessel.  The story of the Buddha’s enlightenment aligns the chakras, bringing them into the sublime cosmic harmony which is compassion – the natural state.

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Waite 5 Pentacles

This post will cover the creation of SITA 5,6 and 7 of Pentacles, or disks.  Here is A E Waite’s traditional interpretation for Five of Pentacles:  “Two mendicants in a snow-storm pass a lighted casement … It foretells material trouble above all, whether in the form illustrated – that is destitution – or otherwise.  For some cartomancers it is a card of love and lovers – wife, friend, husband, mistress;  also concordance, affinities.  These alternatives cannot be harmonized.  Reversed:  Disorder, chaos, ruin, discord, profligacy.” 

Disks buddha 5 ref

We will therefore reflect on the Sacred India Tarot 5 of Pentacles as the misfortune and sense of deprivation which shadows and precedes a realisation of the Truth which is 6.   In 7 of Pentacles, the realisation is mature and mobilized.  It becomes a transmission.

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Rohit’s Notes 2003

“The starving Buddha is a famous trope in Buddhist art.   We include a few visual references! Basically a sort of pastoral scene under a tree would be ideal. The discs would be a little difficult to fit in easily, perhaps in a ring around the tree? He is usually depicted as clean shaven, though if he was not eating for weeks, perhaps shaving was not his highest priority.

“The skeletal gauntness and meditation are important here – mental peace at the expense of physical torment, which he realized was not an adequate tradeoff. It is a mistake to torment the body.”

Meditation - the withdrawn Buddha

Meditation – the withdrawn Buddha

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Sacred India Tarot 5 of Disks: the Buddha Fasts

Sacred India Tarot 5 of Disks: the Buddha Fasts

Rohit’s Notes:

“The Five is a very unusual depiction of the Buddha in the starving state, but I realised that actually this is more liable to be the truth than the traditional representations.  He did tapasya as  a Hindu, and the beard is more likely to have been his true condition, than the gaunt clean-shaven skeleton so beloved of Buddhist art.

“The disk as the solar plexus chakra is another beautiful touch, linking Buddha up with his nature as an incarnation of Vishnu, solar god.  (See Vishnu The Magician in Sacred India Tarot Archive series, http://aryayogi.wordpress.com).

“I just love the composition of the card;  the manner in which the disks form the quintessential question “Why?”, seen in the card as the giant letter Y, which after all was the purpose of such starvation, to find answers to the whys of life.

“That banyan tree is one of the most remarkable things I have seen drawn.”

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Jane’s Notes

The banyan was inspired by the trees at Ramanasramam – the shaggy condition of the sadhu in full tapasya.   The sheer force and focus of the meditation is given back to Nature.  Nails, hair and beard grow unimpeded!  In the end Buddha fulfilled the whole history of Hindu spirituality by showing that the via negativa has its limitations.

To reverse the laws of inertia, a sage at first backs up into them, against the body’s need for nourishment. Towards realisation, that effort becomes irrelevant, and reverts to a more natural alignment with the Fountain of Nature.  The 5 pentacle disks are arranged to suggest the growth of the life force through the tree.  In the autumn, it falls to the ground, like the fountain, and circles through winter, up into the stem, year upon year.

The physical body no longer denied, blossoms as the bodhi tree in all its beauty;  for the impending enlightenment is seamless:  no separation.

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Visual reference - The bodhi

Visual reference – The bodhi tree

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Rohit’s Notes 2003

“6 of Pentacles/Disks should be a dynamic sort of card, as the moment of Awakening, becoming the Buddha, arouses the last attack of the Evil One, Mara. He sends his daughters, along with natural calamities, wild beasts and venomous things, to disrupt the massive shift in Consciousness that was about to be achieved.

“While all around the Buddha there can be chaos, he should be depicted in stillness at the centre of course, under the famous Bodhi tree!! His fingers should touch the ground in the mudra shown in the illustration, the famous Bhoomi Sparsha mudra, calling on the Earth to witness his attainment and confirm there was no ego present.”

Visual reference for Buddha's enlightenment

Visual reference for Buddha’s enlightenment

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Here is a recent impression in my companion blog, Aquariel:

So who are you then, whomever I meet and fear?  You look like Mara’s face, in the SITA Buddha enlightenment card.  Mara is the Buddha’s opponent – the force which tried to stop the enlightenment.  So get it out, and look at the devil, sex and death.  Through all the blandishment, Buddha sits under his tree and keeps touching the ground with his open hand … the same as FOOT – keep walking, feel the ground –  (like baby Buddha did when he was born – straight out from under his labouring mother.  If you turn to the Ace of Pentacles, she too is hung upon a tree!)

Mara goes BLAH …

When I am tense and full of think, I am frightened of this stranger – Mara going BLAH – and above all, ASHAMED of admitting anything about it here, ashamed and scared of my panic and projection, lest it get worse.  My panic and projection is a disguise –  a whirling dust devil.   But go to the root –  does it really exist?  No wonder it harries and drives me away from telling about it.   Does it exist?  Look at Mara, depicted below.  Has he a body?   Is he not just my scurrilous mind going WAH from behind a bush?   Has he any root at all?  Why, no ! just confusion.   That is what he thrives on, when I let him settle in my city; and just about anything can inflate to look like him and drive me nuts.   Confusion is the disorder.  Confusion is the tension – giving it the power to damage and hijack my life.

This is seen in all the world’s trouble spots, cancelling Consciousness.

Well, good, good, keep going, this inner exercise will help my mind to clear.  Mara forms a Grand Trine around Buddha, with a sly serpent and a siren woman.  The serpent and the woman proceed through chaos, but the Buddha’s serenity is firmly established in the green and golden ground as Tifareth of Pentacles – his spine with the bodhi Tree of Life: the wheels of the cosmic Law.   Death’s skull leers from behind the woman.   Men consider Eve to be the gate of death because she gives them birth.

The  Sacred India Tarot 6 Pentacles/Disks - Buddha's Enlightenment

The Sacred India Tarot 6 Pentacles/Disks – Buddha’s Enlightenment

Enlightenment on whatever scale seems to follow on a jolly good clearout of the Shadow in one’s cupboard.  Enlightenment happens as the projections clear.   Every obstructive interior terror from his innumerable lifetimes must have bombarded Buddha as he quietly attained his peace.  For the lower mind is in love with its own drama.

Such is the Great Wheel depicted here – the card itself is a life-mandala.  The design was inspired by the film Little Buddha, starring Keanu Reeves.

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Correspondence 2003 – Rohit to Jane 

“… The Six is a spectacular composition, depicting the triumph of the Buddha over all the forces of Evil and negativity;  and what forces they are!

“At the moment of his greatest challenge, he calls upon the earth to witness that he has transcended, he is Awake.  The card captures that feeling perfectly, as well as the futility of attempting to shake one who is awake.  This is really beautiful.”

blue float

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Rohit’s Notes 2003

“7 Pentacles/Disks. The first sermon ever given is regarded as the complete Buddhist teaching in itself. In the deer park at Sarnath, verdant surroundings seem to be mandatory. 

“Traditionally, he has always been shown as being much larger physically than the students in religious art – his stature being gigantic as a representation of his achievement. It is famously called ‘Setting the Wheel of Dharma into Motion‘ –  so one disc could perhaps be rotated. We need to convey that he was radiating immense energy from that point on… a sort of translucent skin…?”

Buddha 7 of Disks, visual reference

Buddha 7 of Disks, visual reference

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7 of disks visual reference

7 of disks visual reference

This is the pose I used for the card:  his former disciples felt a little shocked and betrayed by their Guru’s illumined evolution to full stature.  They preferred to go on starving.

Ramana Maharshi’s story followed the same general pattern.  When he was very young, his continuous samadhi remained detached from the world.  After his second conscious death experience on Arunachala, his state became “sahaja” – that is, unconditional.  The realisation unbroken, he engaged fully in everyday life, as chief cook, bricklayer, engineer, bookbinder, poet, counsellor and friend.

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Sacred India Tarot 7 of Pentacles/Disks:  The Sermon in the Deer Park

Sacred India Tarot 7 of Pentacles/Disks: The Sermon in the Deer Park

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Jane’s Notes 2012

7 in Tarot is The Chariot.  On the Tree of Life, the 7th Sefira (emanation) is Netzach, the Life power – a spark which wakes the physical and emotional worlds.   The Wheel/disk in Buddha’s hands indicates the binary force turning the chariot wheel – an upward and a downward pressure – as in the Sri Chakra Yantra:  duality.

Sri Chakra Yantra - 4 Siva triangles through 5 Shakti triangles form a radiation which is simultaneously concentric and up/down.

Sri Chakra Yantra – 4 Siva triangles through 5 Shakti triangles, forming a radiation which is simultaneously concentric and up/down.  It is like the sap through the seasonal cycle of a tree’s rings.

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As the One however, every point radiates concentrically –  the rings of a tree, a ripple on water, a sound-wave.  The point has a spherical geometry, for it is infinitely reducible, as well as expanding to an atom, aura, planet or star.

The nature of the Enlightened One is everywhere, in all places, all times:  Tathagatha.

Buddha teaching in the Tree of Life, showing chakras

Buddha teaching in the Tree of Life, showing chakras

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Rohit’s Notes – 2003

“The Seven is yet another creative breakthrough, in that all the disks are spinning, as the Great Wheel of Dharma has been set into motion with this first sermon.  I have an idea, should we call the suit the Suit of Chakras then, as that is what the disks seems to represent? 

“I particularly like the touch of the Buddha’s halo being a Great Wheel too.  I have seen many representations of this pivotal Buddhist event, but I feel that Jane has managed to capture something new and fresh about it.  

“This suit is turning out marvellously. Again the Vishnu/Solar element is conveyed in the placement of the disk in the hands of the Buddha.”

buddha in the grass

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water and light

The blue “Buddha light” – a healing radiance – enters these russet-brown, Taurean waters.

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For other Sacred India Tarot posts, look under Recent Posts, or Archive of All Posts in the title bar.

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the creation of the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in http://aryayogi.wordpress.com   The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.

flower sermon

flower sermon

Jane Adams

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Sacred India Tarot Archive: 2,3 & 4 of Pentacles – The Awakening of Buddha

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What are Pentacles?

In the Minor Arcana, the Tarot Pentacles are its “Earth” suit – the plane of manifestation.  A Pentacle is a conscious mark or sigil.  The cross-section of a tree with its concentric rings, is a sigil, a Yantra.  Flowers and their sacred geometry are sigils;  so are the Fibernacci series, the spiral, and the laws of growth.   In every mark of nature, and everywhere in life, if we care to look, the sigils are engraved.  They appear also as omens.  They require intelligent reading.   Intelligence is of a deeper order than “cleverness”.

Fibonacci series pentacle, by Keith Critchlow (“The Hidden Geometry of Flowers”)

A Pentacle is classically a five-part pattern or circle, embodying humanity.  The Coins, by which this suit is also known, are Currency.  They bear the mark of trade.  Financial currency with its gold or paper standard, is a “promissory note”.  It is no more visible in essence, than electric current, the current of life:  our imagination gives it power.  Our coinage is a symbol, with its own temples, altars and acolytes.   It depends what we  believe in;  but without adequate means and/or a nourished belly, it is hard for the Great Work to touch base.   The Currency is the undercarriage – monetary, linguistic or psychic – which helps us/the Great Work, to survive; a relative freedom from anxiety.  Best is a balance of all three.   The Currency is a balanced state of health.

shell spiral

For the Sacred India Tarot minor-arcana, the Pentacles or Coins are “disks”.  Vishnu and other gods within Brahman the All, carry a diskus in one of their many arms.  The diskus is a sport, a weapon, a wheel.  It is thrown, it spins like a planet, it reaches target, comes to ground.   The Wheel of Karma likewise comes around, to wake us up.  Justice is the Law of action upon reaction.

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Wood bird yantra

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In the Buddha’s story, we decided to let the Disks be wheels.   The Buddha, who overcame the traditional habits of denial, and touched the ground all through his enlightenment, is often called The Wheel Rolling King.  He has the Wheel of Dharma;  what comes around, comes round, as a Kalpa, seasonal leaf through trees, or an insect life-cycle.  What comes round comes around, in our life, to help us untie the knot.

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Paul Foster Case

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The Buddha Nature is itself a sigil:  right conduct, compassion, the Great Middle Way.  The  shining Pentacle of Gautama Buddha’s lifetime among us, was and is his awareness and concern for human suffering, disease and death.   What can be done?  How can freedom be found, through these vicious and perpetual circles?   He applied himself to pioneer a way which was practical, and – like Jesus a few centuries later – overturned rigid, doctrinal tables in the temple of the One.

The Buddha’s long life and teaching is supremely practical.   Practice is the way of the Pentacles, the Suit of Earth.

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Two of Pentacles

Rohit sent me this in 2003, as an early image-reference marked “Two of Pentacles”.  It is the only one I have.  I am not sure what he had in mind.  A woman offers fruit – or sea-urchins? to another woman.  They share a Mona Lisa smile, or secret.  Perhaps it is the Buddha’s feminine nature – the women who surrounded his pampered youth;  his early sexuality and experience.  The most beautiful portraits of the Buddha all have a heavy-lidded cosmic tenderness – the smile which just suggests an invitation.

In his instructions for the Suit, Rohit wrote to me: 

“A prince in the lap of luxury, surrounded by beautiful girls, in a garden, walled off. There is poverty sickness and suffering on the outside but his father has kept him from unpleasant sights, determined he will never know of pain and decay – to the extent of removing dead leaves, branches and flowers at night!

“He is a very capable and intelligent young man but he is also being stifled in this curious ignorance he is being kept in.

“Compositionally this is not going to be easy – I know.”

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My solution is graphic – the young man in his garden of delight, is disturbed by an intuition  beneath the surface of things.  He awakes uneasily.   Is not this so also, if we give too much attention to a meditative bliss, and not enough to where we are?  What are we starving or neglecting?   Balanced spirituality must be embodied.  The Buddha found this out by trial and error:  first, through sheer empathy, he would endure his own period of starvation.

His eye of Consciousness – rather like ancient Egyptian profiles – opens sideways from the eyes of life.  It is;  it will be;  it always was.

In many teachings, the blind lead the blind.  Studying this card, makes me reflective.

The Wheels are the old teaching:  as above so below.  The beggar woman touches the wheel as if to implore divine grace.  Her baby hasn’t milk – her husband is blind.

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Correspondence March 2003 – Gautam (the publisher), Rohit and Jane:

“Dear Gautam – got yours and Rohit’s … Re Ace Pents, I certainly did not know that the ladies should be dressed Vedically.  I will see if I can reduce them.  Maybe they are not needed at all?”  (Later, the extra ladies, or birth-helpers, were removed, so the Buddha’s mother is on her own – see the Ace of Disks Birth of Buddha (earlier post.)

“I’ve started on Two of pents, and plan to send it to you when I’ve done one or two others as well.  Am recovering from bronchitis and not quite up to scratch, but much better this week.  I would like from you just a few more hints on the ‘teaching’ in each one.  The idea of using the Dharma wheel as the coin, came spontaneously, and can be used in each card of the suit.  But I would like indications from you as to where you would like them placed geometrically.  For instance in Two of pents, the design has Prince Siddhartha in the garden, top half, with a (smaller) wheel in the background, rather like the sun – and two less fortunates (whom he senses but cannot see) in the bottom half.  They also have a golden wheel above them, and are divided from the Prince by a wall.

“As I said before, I’m doing the minor arcana in a slightly simpler style than the major – otherwise it will take years.  In most decks, the minor are more symbolic and less literal than the major;  some are purely geometric.  My aim is to try to keep a consistent formal design and colour scheme through the suit.  Any suggestions?”

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“Dear gautam and jane – I have nothing to add to what jane says here, it is all great stuff.  There is no message or teaching coming forth from each card in the suits, unless it is the key-word association.  Perhaps that would help.  I will send off a list. 

“Jane’s ideas on card no.2 in Pentacles is great.  I do not wish to get in between her and her obviously inspired streak!  she is on the right track.  I agree we need to keep time in mind, but still, the minor arcana cannot be a dip or drop in the quality of effort.  We are aiming to compete with the best in the world.  The Mythic Tarot would perhaps be the only real competition we have.  A few extra months does not matter – this pack is for being done to last many centuries!  Since each suit is a theme and story inspired one, it will take some time, more time than if we just drew the pentacles or wands.  That is an acceptable slow process.  With regard, ROHIT“.

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Fragment from Rohit – “… would indicate, in fact sometimes wearing considerably less.  (You could not possibly be expected to know this, and I missed communicating it, because it is simply taken for granted, and not even part of normal consciousness.)  In fact India was a gorgeous and sensual place then, the richest country of the ancient and classical world.  The pentacles suit should reflect that spectacle and grandeur.  You cannot possibly overdo the ‘effects of opulence’, especially the use of gold ornamentation, if you wish to draw it that way.  The south-east Asian and Indian visual references we sent, will help here.  For the whole pack in fact, we should keep Opulence, Splendour and Gorgeousness as keywords.  I think we are doing very well indeed, and creating something genuinely valuable for the world here.”

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3 of Pentacles

Rohit’s Instructions:  “Curiosity drives the young prince out of his faux paradise. He sees Four Sights from his chariot , Disease, Old age, Death and a Sage who seems to have found peace in his meditation.

“Again to cram all of this into a rectangular space is going to be difficult, but I trust you will find some way round the difficulty. It is regarded as a great victory in Buddhist literature for the human spirit, so the sense of potential and urgency the prince feels is central – not the harrowing sights.”

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Visual References for SITA pentacles/disks 3 – The Four Sights.  Note the Wheel

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The Earth disks tip the scales from the Sky disk, with the desire to see and understand the reality of suffering:  poverty, disease, old age and death.   These “sigils” (pentacles) shocked Prince Siddhartha profoundly, and altered his course of life from the local to the universal plane.  On his fourth sally from the palace, he met a sage whose serenity (despite starvation) sustained a blessing on the piteous human condition.   There must be a way …

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Rohit’s Instructions for Card 4 –

“The story explains the context but it is very clear he left when his wife and newly born child were sleeping. He left on horseback instead of his chariot to confound any pursuers. Again the situation is regarded as a huge triumph for consciousness.

“There has always been a tension inherent in this episode, he is refusing to do his duty to follow his entelechy! If that can be conveyed it would be great…”

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Four Sights, Signs, Wheels … the Law is aligned, and the household sleeps.  The Prince rides forth on muffled hooves, in an etheric shroud to protect his destiny.   Yet he bears in his mind, his wife and child.  In due course, they became his devotees.   The Buddha’s tempo of evolution is seemingly accelerated, in relation to theirs.

Throughout sacred and esoteric history, we come across different time-signatures in tandem, like a raga with two or more rhythms through it.

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Correspondence – April 2003 

“Hi jane – card one looks much better now.  We’re very happy with 2,3 and 4, and suggest u just ‘go with the flow’. … Warm regards, Gautam.

Rohit:  “It perfectly captures the sense of luxurious blindness to reality and the imperative for change, which is the message of the Two in the suit, anyway.   

“Three is dramatic, even somewhat harrowing, but that is exactly what the young prince must have experienced in the Four Sights – something that knocked the bottom out of his shallow ‘successful’ world.  It is a very strong composition indeed, made all the more powerful by substituting a skull, which has archetypal resonance, over the more obvious choice of a corpse. 

“The Four has a somewhat Mughal miniature feel to it, with its split perspective to indicate simultaneity of action in different places.  I think the prince has never looked so regal as at the moment he is going to renounce all the trappings of royalty.  As always, Jane draws animals marvellously!  It is a poignant card, not a dramatic one.”

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“Painting the Buddhist Wheel of Life”, photo by Scott Aaron, 2divineways.com

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Shyam-Kali Yantra, 18th century Rajasthan.  Yantra with magic pentagon symbolizing the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether – may be vitalized as a safeguard against destruction and evil, and for good fortune.

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Sri Chakra Yantra created in an electronic vibration field, an experiment in the translation of sound into vision.  A similar experience is ‘sensed’ during ritual worship when the yantra pattern ‘dematerializes’, appearing to dissolve into a sound-pattern or vibration field of spoken mantras.  Still for a film by Ronald Nameth.

These two Yantras are not of the Buddhist tradition, but they serve to demonstrate the universality of the Wheel:  the precious seeds we bury in our lives.

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For all other Sacred India Tarot posts, look under Recent Posts, or Archive of All Posts in the title bar.

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in http://aryayogi.wordpress.com   The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.

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Jane

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books).  

Published recently online: The Reckless Fruit in two parts
– here are the links to click

 

Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of the Buddha Suit of Pentacles

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Continuing our Sacred India Tarot Archive series, now through the Minor Arcana – Creation of the Suit of Pentacles/Disks:

Buddha and Nasturtium Salad (these peppery leaves & flowers are good to eat!)

Jane’s Notes

Gautama Buddha, born under Taurus, sustained throughout his life and enlightenment, the strong sensuous contact with Earth.  He experimented with the traditional spiritual path of physical starvation, but found it as unwise as the dry “heady” practices to which Hindu spirituality had succombed.   He taught the Great Middle Way;  but also to enjoy, by example, the fruits of life:  mens sane in corpore sano.  The key to alleviate suffering – about which he felt passionately – is balance and moderation.  This he firmly held. Compassion is impossible, when driven by partisan beliefs and malnourishment. Compassion is equal with Mother Earth, who births and feeds us.

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SITA CARD ONE, Ace of Disks – the Birth of Buddha)

Rohit’s Notes to Jane – March 2003:

I am using the Buddha story, because I realized it is primarily an earth myth.  He is born feet first, and as his mother births him in a standing position, his feet touch the ground first, and he instantly walks three steps.  All identifying with earth.  He calls on the earth to testify in his favour when Mara accuses him.  He dies lying on the earth like a lion.

The pictorial references given should in most cases prove adequate to compose the drawings for each card.  We need not range too far from the norm here, as the story of Buddha as explained in the accompanying article (see “Rohit Arya’s Essay on the Buddha”, posted earlier) is now part of the mind frame of all Asia.  This used to include countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, which were Buddhist for almost a millennium before converting to Islam.  Before beginning the cards, please read the article.

One of the compositional issues we are likely to face is, how do we fit in the appropriate number of pentacles or coins, as the choice may be into each card.  I give a picture of coins actually depicting the Buddha, so that we have an idea as to the India style of coins, if we choose that option.  The sort of edge to the coins gives an authentic touch.  Perhaps we can compromise – have a coin ‘feel’ with pentacles inscribed within their boundaries.

The sketches of buildings are solely for the purpose of filling in background.  If need be, they can be used in all the suits.

Even though I started my article by saying that the Buddha was not a prince, that is how mythology remembers him, and that is how we will therefore depict him.

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Ace – Birth of Buddha

The choice was to go with the famous white elephant dream his mother had, or the actual depiction of the birth itself, which I felt was better, as it immediately establishes the link with the earth energies.

So we will use the actual birth of the Buddha.  He was born feet first, and as soon as he touched the ground he walked, a phenomenon of great and complex doctrinal significance.  The illustrations given should prove adequate for the composition, but we might include a little walking baby, suitably halo’d.  In the illustrations the Buddha is shown emerging from his mother’s side, a somewhat improbable event!  The mother is holding on to the branches of the tree to help herself deliver, it being common enough in India for women to give birth standing, as almost all other mammals do.

There is no need to veer away from the traditional depictions of costumes of either men or women.  The bare breasted women picture is for reference only, and comes from Sri Lankan murals, though they show the unmistakable Ajanta influence.

This pictorial reference from Rohit – the only one I can find now – has a more Greek style.

Jane’s Notes

Traditionally, the Buddha’s mother gave birth bearing down as she held the branches of a tree;  surrounded by helping women.  To the bodhi tree he returned, for the Great Enlightenment;  and as the tree lay on its side to die, he attained Nirvana.  My first draft for the Ace of Pentacles card contained a female figure to each side, but these were later removed.

I do not have our correspondence about this card.  Probably it didn’t get printed out. Here is the completed work:

The question of how to depict the coins, was resolved with this first card:  the traditional Buddhist symbol is the Great Wheel of the Law.  We agreed to use this – (with twelve outer spokes and eight inner ones) – for the  Pentacles or “Disks”, by which the teaching reaches the ground, and … walks!

In some scriptures, Buddha is called “the wheel rolling King”.

Wheel rolling King – 1988.  The orbital eye in the wheel is a cosmic atom

The Buddha nature vastly transcends any personal or individual focus.  It is of the order of those great wheels, the galaxies;  the time it takes for a feather’s touch on the Himalayas once every billion years, to reduce the entire range to dust.  The Tathagatha is the in and out breath of Kalpas:  the aeons of innumerable universes and lifetimes of the Buddha.  And yet, when this great being walked our paths, he was tender, shrewd and intensely practical.   Nature on earth is in this way, exquisitely practical:  to the smallest detail – the tides, the cycles and the seasons;  the way our body is made.

But we have to learn to become practical likewise. When we live arrogantly and out to lunch in our heads, and have no conscience with our toxic litter, Nature is our faithful mirror.

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From the Buddha’s teaching …

“THE TOWER is as wide and spacious as the sky itself.

 The ground is paved with (innumerable) precious stones of all kinds, and there are within the Tower (innumerable) palaces, porches, windows, staircases, railings and passages, all of which are made of the seven kinds of precious gems …

 “And within this Tower, spacious and exquisitely ornamented, there are also hundreds of thousands … (innumerable) of Towers, each one of which is as exquisitely ornamented as the Tower itself, and as spacious as the sky.

 “And all these Towers, beyond calculation in number, stand not at all in one another’s way;  each preserves its individual existence in perfect harmony with all the rest;  there is nothing here which bars one Tower from being fused with all the others, individually and collectively;  there is a state of perfect intermingling, and yet of perfect orderliness.

 “Sudhana, the young pilgrim, sees himself in all the Towers, as well as in each single Tower, where all is contained in One and each contains all.

Paraphrase by Suzuki from the Buddha’s AVAMTAMSAKA SUTRA

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The child was born from his mother (who died soon after) and walked at once.

How many others have dreamed about this, perhaps during pregnancy?  I did, many times when I was expecting, and I would like to hear if others did.  Briefly, in those dreams, the baby was born awake, and to my astonishment, spoke to me, and walked sturdily.  I might tell this story in my next post.

In my view, such a child is the delivery of a creative consciousness, and may happen at any time.  Such a child is a way of thought, foretelling a way of seeing.  The gods and devas and Great Messengers download through our psyche – (the atmosphere around the planet) – sometimes as infants fully formed, with their term of growth and realisation.  And they walk!

The more ancient the wise ones are, the younger they apear.  In every newborn’s face flow and flicker the centuries of our Self:  and thus the maternal bond.

A movie was made of the Buddha’s life, starring Keanu Reeves.  The footsteps of the walking newborn sprout lotus flowers, deliciously.  This babe accelerates the inner nature, rather like photo-technology learns to, on the surface.  The Christian tradition of the Virgin birth contains the same mystery, striking any moment, in the most ordinary manner.  Fruit of the womb! Only a fragment of the divine ordination – the Buddha land wherein we live:  the galactic Christ consciousness – gets captured into “what we think”; and then is dogmatized.

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The Law

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Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the deck, including the Major Arcana archive are in http://aryayogi.wordpress.com   The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.

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Jane

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/