Third eye

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Third eye

Post by Waterearth » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:33 pm

The Urna, more correctly ūrṇā or ūrṇākośa (Pāli uṇṇā) is a spiral or circular dot placed on the forehead of Buddhist images as an auspicious mark. It symbolizes a third eye, which in turn symbolizes vision into the divine world; a sort of ability to see past our mundane universe of suffering.

Apparently the Lakkhana Sutta has more to say about the third eye.
Has anyone more info?
When the mind only minds the mind,
reality stands alone and shines,
this is wisdom in action,
its expression is compassion...

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Re: Third eye

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:02 pm

Greetings WaterEarth,

There is a listing of the 32 marks here: ... the_Buddha" onclick=";return false;
I can't find the Lakkhaṇa Sutta, (DN 32) on line, but there is a brief summary in
MN91: Brahmāyusuttaṃ ... yu-e1.html" onclick=";return false;
.. Between the eyebrows, is a tuft of hair turned to the right. ...
My understanding is that these marks pre-date the Buddha, and are not particularly emphasised in the Pali (Theravada) literature.


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Re: Third eye

Post by pink_trike » Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:25 am

Imo, in the astronomy of the times during and prior to what are attributed within "Buddhism" as being related to the life of the "Buddha", the 32 marks were anthropomorphized representations of 28 asterisms (small constellations) plus the 4 cardinal directions (known as winds, realms, influences, other cultures). Various premodern cultures anthropomorphized them differently...for example in Chinese astronomy the 28 asterisms were called "officials" and given anthropomorphized names, as were the 4 cardinal directions which were known as "Ministers". Combined, these 32 "dignitaries" represented an anthropomorphized celestial "body" or "being" known as the "Monarch". This anthropomorphized Monarch, officials, and Ministers who lived in the "royal court" were the basis of much so-called classical Chinese "fiction" - in the last decade these characters and events have clearly been revealed by scholars as symbolic elements of Chinese astronomy and astronomical processes (and not a "fictional" account of actual humans beings involved in earthly historical events, as was previously believed in decades past)

What we understand as "Buddhism" is one part of a more inclusive and much older world view - it is what's left after the astronomy component was severed from the larger body of knowledge that was known in nearly all advanced premodern cultures - the severed earthly component has evolved into what is now known as "Buddhism" - prior to this severing, what evolved into "Buddhism" was regarded as the earthly counterpart or reflection of the celestial realm and the movements of the heavens...'as above, so below" - also common to all premodern advanced world views. What is commonly known now as the "Buddha" is a stripped down version of the celestial Monarch, Supreme Being, Great Man, Celestial Body, or "The Heavenly Throne" - all of which represented a particular astro-mathematical region/composite of the heavens. Various names are found in all premodern cultures for various manifestations of this celestial "great being" as it transformed and reshaped over vast periods of times.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen


Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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