Twenty-four great sacred places

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Twenty-four great sacred places (Wyl. gnas chen nyer bzhi)

According to the Hevajra Tantra[1] these are:

  1. Jālandhara
  2. Oddiyana
  3. Paurnagiri
  4. Kamarupa
  5. Malaya
  6. Sindhu
  7. Nagara
  8. Munmuni
  9. Karunyapataka
  10. Devikota
  11. Karmarapataka
  12. Kulata
  13. Arbuta
  14. Godavari
  15. Himadri
  16. Harikela
  17. Lampaka
  18. Kani
  19. Saurasta
  20. Kalinga
  21. Kokana
  22. Caritra
  23. Kosala
  24. Vindhyakaumarapaurika

Other Traditions

Other sources, such as the sadhana of Yumka Dechen Gyalmo from the Longchen Nyingtik, give a different enumeration of these twenty-four sacred places. They abide on the vajra-body inherent in every sentient being, which is symbolized here by the body of Vajrayogini. These twenty-four are divided in three groups:

a) Eight celestial abodes (Skt. khagacharya; Tib. མཁའ་སྤྱོད་, Wyl. mkha' spyod): 1) The crown of the head is Jālandhara, 2) in between the eyebrows is Pullīramalaya, 3) the nape is Arbuda, 4) the urna (the hair at the center of the forehead) is Rāmeśvarī, 5) the right ear is Oddiyana, 6) the left ear is Godāvarī, 7) the eyes are Devīkoṭa, and 8) the shoulders are Mālava.

b) Eight earthly abodes (Skt. gocharya; Tib. ས་སྤྱོད་, Wyl. sa spyod): 9) the throat is Lampāka, 10) the underarms and kidneys are Kāmarūpa, 11) the two breasts are Oḍra, 12) the navel is Triśakuni, 13) the nose-tip is Kośala, 14) the palate is Kaliṅga, 15) the heart is both Kāñcī and 16) Himālaya (Himavat).

c) Eight underground abodes (Skt. bhugarbha; Tib. ས་འོག་གི་གནས་བརྒྱད་, Wyl. sa 'og gi gnas brgyad): 17) the genitals are Pretapuri, 18) the anus is Gṛhadevatā, 19) the thumbs and the big toes are Maru, 20) the thighs are Saurāṣṭra, 21) the calves are Suvarṇadvīpa, 22) the sixteen other fingers and toes are Nagara, 23) the knees are Kulatā, and 24) the ankles are Sindhu.

Notes

  1. see Snellgrove 1959, 1:70. Quoted in Matthieu Ricard, The Life of Shabkar, p. 605.

Further Reading

  • Elizabeth English, Vajrayogini—Her Visualization, Rituals, and Forms, Wisdom Publications, 2002
  • Matthieu Ricard, The Life of Shabkar (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2001), pages 342-343, note 10.
  • Ngawang Zangpo, Sacred Ground: Jamgon Kongtrul on "Pilgrimage and Sacred Geography," (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2001).
    • David B. Gray, The Cakrasamvara Tantra: A Study and Annotated Translation, American Institute of Buddhist Studies, 2007. Pages 58-60.