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By Marco Pallis

Essays distilling a life of concept and perform via one of many earliest explorers of either the actual panorama of Tibet in addition to it Vajrayana culture.

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Qxd 9/16/2003 4:18 PM Page 23 Living One’s Karma boundaries of the personality concerned. By the same token one is shown what possibilities of action lie open to one—as also of thought, since this is activity of a kind and limited in its own way. The things one lacks cannot be utilized; each man must work with the tools, mental or physical, he has been given, and this means, in effect, that he will be qualified for certain kinds of activity and not for others. It indicates for each his own vocational trend, and this, when one is striving to find one’s center, is already a valuable pointer.

Qxd 9/16/2003 4:18 PM Page 25 II The Marriage of Wisdom and Method In order to illustrate the present theme I have drawn on two traditions, the Buddhist and the Christian; if such a juxtaposition of two very different pictures of the universe and of man’s place in it implies something of a confrontation on the one hand, it also provides, on the other, a means of reciprocal confirmation across the bridge of contrast: all comparisons of orthodox, that is to say intrinsically valid, religious forms are able to serve this dual purpose.

Let us now turn to the consideration of the symbolism which has given its title to the present essay: ‘the Marriage of Wisdom and Method’. This symbolism runs right through the sacred iconography of northern Buddhism and has been given the greatest extension in Tibetan art. What we are shown in countless frescoes on temple walls, in painted scrolls for domestic use, and in cast images are paired figures clasped in the ecstasy of union and holding certain objects in their hands, namely a bell and something like the thunderbolt of Jupiter as known to Graeco-Roman antiquity; this second object is called vajrâ in Sanskrit, dorje in Tibetan, whence the name of Darjeeling, which means ‘place of the dorje’..

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