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Visualization And Contemplation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the eidetic contemplation of an object - an image of a divine figure in personified or symbolic form, or any of a variety of other potent images - where that act is central to a ritual program described as leading to a higher state of being, consciousness, or understanding. Postures are described and depicted in surviving sources, often with great clarity; and the syllables of incantations are written out, with elements of their pronunciations often nuanced in appended ritual directions. The scholar of premodern East Asian esoteric Buddhist writings should keep in mind Sharf 's ethnographic observations that, at least in contemporary Japanese Shingon ritual practice, priests most commonly simply recite the prescriptions of the ritual manuals rather than take the time to carry out the rites prescribed within them.

Keywords: eidetic contemplation; esoteric Buddhist



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