Guest Lecture: Devotion’s Metaphors: Longchenpa’s Homage to Samantabhadra in A Treasure Trove of Scriptural Transmissions
CERES Palais, room "Ruhrpott" (4.13)
Guest Lecture by Renée L. Ford, PhD, Aarhus University, Denmark
“Heart Openings Project” (ERC starting grant)
The presentation focuses on Longchen Rabjam’s (1308–1364) homage to Buddha Samantabhadra in his Treasure Trove of Scriptural Transmission, a commentary on his root text Treasury of Basic Space. Renée Ford will show how the metaphors used within this verse and other related acts of homage may be expressions of experience for Longchenpa and for others who engage in contemplative practices that incorporate devotion.
Firstly, the lecturer will explain how Longchenpa’s devotion to Samantabhadra is reflexive, due to his “view” of Dzogchen. This reflexivity incorporates the metaphors used to express the ultimate view in the homage. Secondly, she explores the relationship of “compassion responsiveness” (thugs rje) in the triad essence responsiveness, nature responsiveness, and compassion responsiveness (ngo bo, rang bzhin, thugs rje) found throughout Dzogchen and Mahāmudrā.
Renée Ford concludes by reading Longchenpa’s homage alongside a few specific microphenomenology interviews, which focus on very short moments of experience of contemporary practitioners “feeling the presence of their teachers.” The rigorous analysis procedure of these interviews allows for an interviewer to interrogate a moment of experience, and allowing the interviewee to express concrete dimensions of that experience.
In this presention, the lecturer hopes to add to the conversation that Jan-Ulrich Sobisch began in Do you speak Mahāmudrā? by discussing how metaphors allow for the “inexpressible” to become tangible and how they are experienced in meditation (Sobisch, p. 46). In this way, Longchenpa’s homage, and related texts to be examined in future, may reveal similar structures and patterns to those in these contemporary interviews.