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 Arbuta, 4) the urna (the hair at the center of the forehead) is Rāmeśvara, 5) the right ear is Oddiyana (Skt. Oḍḍiyāna), 6) the left ear is Godāvarī, 7) the eyes are Devikota, and 8) the shoulders are Malava.

b) Eight earthly abodes (Skt. gocharya; Tib. ས་སྤྱོད་, Wyl. sa spyod): 9) the throat is Lampāka, 10) the underarms and kidneys are Kāmarupa, 11) the two breasts are Odra, 12) the navel is Triṣanku, 13) the nose-tip is Kosala, 14) the palate is Kaliṅga, 15) the heart is both Kaṅcika and 16) Himalaya (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 Gṛhadeva, 19) the thumbs and the big toes are Maru, 20) the thighs are Saurashtra, 21) the calves are Suvarṇadvīpa, 22) the sixteen other fingers and toes are Nagara, 23) the knees are Kulata, 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).