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Prapanca ( Sanskrit ) and Papanca ( Pali ) concerns the tendency of our minds to speculate more and more..the origin of the word translates as expansion..
To give an example..it is night. We hear a sound downstairs, our mind forms the idea of a robber.
It then goes on to tell us a story that becomes more and elaborate..injury.. death..heroism...
All from hearing a sound. That is papanca.
Another example we speculate about some future scientific discovery and the way that it will affect humanity..the narrative takes on a life of its own.
It might be fun but it has little to do with suffering and the ending of suffering.
It is another exmple of Papanca.
The Buddha talks about Papanca in the Honeyball Sutta.
A lesser known sutta/sutra.
But one that is extremely interesting because it outlines a different model of the Nidanas than the more well known model.
A model that focuses on our emotional functitioning and the way that it affects perception.
It came as a bit of a surprise to me when I learned about Pure Land for the first time. Such a faith based approach seemed counter to what I had learned.
I don't know if Pure Land will take hold among westerners though. It seems to me that western converts to Buddhism are drawn to its practical and tangible aspects. If they wanted an approach to spirituality based on other power they'd probably just stick to some version of Christianity.
Its early days @person..Suzuki predicted that it would take several generations of western Buddhists before it took hold widely.
There are several Shin or Pure Land Sanghas in the UK which are growing apace.
I think its valuable to reflect on the fact that a rationalistic model of Buddhism might have its appeal to some..but that Buddhadharma is a very wide spectrum and that a literal belief in Other Power. Devas, Pretas, Rakshas etc is very much part of the Buddhist package that is shared by a majority of the world's Buddhists.
Such beliefs are not compulsory, but they are pretty pervasive.
I think we should avoid the two extremes of uncritical acceptance on the one hand, and talking down to ethnic Buddhists on the other.
It makes me cringe when I see western Buddhists saying to Malay or Sri Lankan or Nepalese Buddhists.." come over here old chap while I explain the Dharma to you..whose whole culture has been based on it for a thousand years , you see the first thing that you must understand is that some very important chaps in my country have decided that Buddhism is not a religion..."
Shakyamuni and 1000 armed Chenrezig ( Avalokitesvara ) as lobster says.
I am not sure that's Guru Rinpoche ( Padmakara ) though, it looks like Manju Shri to me. But hard to see because of the flowers.
I would guess that the smaller figure with the pointed hat top left is Tsongkapa the great Reformer.
The scrolls are the Kangyur and Tengyur..which former is the Buddhavacana 'words of the Buddha', translated into Tibetan. The Tengyur are the commentaries on the Kangyur.
Its a very typical Gelug shrine...
The Gelug is the monastic school of the Vajrayana. The school of which HH the Dalai Lama is a member.
I agree. Much better imo to internalise the meaning from seeing it used in a number of contexts...