Four mudras

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Four mudras (Skt. catumudrā; Tib. ཕྱག་རྒྱ་བཞི་, chakgya shyi, Wyl. phyag rgya bzhi) — in the yoga tantra and inner tantras, there are four types of mudra which 'seal' the enlightened body, speech, mind and activity of the deity. The four mudras are:

  1. the great mudra (Skt. mahāmudrā; Wyl. phyag rgya chen po) (see mahamudra)
  2. the dharma mudra (Skt. dharmamudrā; Wyl. chos kyi phyag rgya)
  3. the samaya mudra (Skt. samayamudrā; Wyl. dam tshig gi phyag rgya)
  4. the activity mudra (Skt. karmamudrā; Wyl. las kyi phyag rgya)

Or alternatively:

  1. the dharma mudra (Skt. dharmamudrā; Wyl. chos kyi phyag rgya)
  2. the great mudra (Skt. mahāmudrā; Wyl. phyag rgya chen po)
  3. the primordial wisdom mudra (Skt. jñanamudrā; Wyl. ye shes phyag rgya)
  4. the activity mudra (Skt. karmamudrā; Wyl. las kyi phyag rgya)

Alternative Meaning

Depending on the context, the four mudras or gestures (phyag rgya bzhi) are to unite with the four syllables dza, hum, bam, and ho, which stand for the four actions of summoning (’gug), binding (bching), fettering (sdom), and pleasing (mnyes) or intoxicating (myos).[1]

Alternative Translations

  • Four seals - Elio Guarisco and Ingrid McLeod of the Kalu Rinpoché Translation Group

References

  1. Clarification by Tulku Thondup Rinpoche in Note 29 in The Treasury of Knowledge : Book Eight, Part Four: Esoteric Instructions : a detailed presentation of the process of meditation in Vajrayana; by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Taye. Translated and annotated by Sarah Harding. Kalu Rinpoché Translation Group under the direction of Bokar Rinpoche. Published by Snow Lion Publications.

Further Reading