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Talismans In Chinese Esoteric Buddhism

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Chapter Summary

Talismans, which are generally understood to be powerful objects that include esoteric diagrams or forms of writing emblazoned on paper, wood, clay, metal, or cloth, are found in many of the world's religious traditions. The Chinese term for "talisman" can be traced back to its original use in the context of Han dynasty imperial treasure objects, usually in the shape of a dragon, fish, or tiger that was split down the middle and inscribed on the back. The applications of Buddhist talismans are quite varied, but they generally include those that are to be ingested; those to be burned and the ashes used to empower water for washing the eyes or for drinking; those to be hung up to garrison a home; those to be applied to a bed; those to be put on a tree or to garrison a tomb; and those to be worn to become invisible.

Keywords: Buddhist talismans; Chinese esoteric Buddhism



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