4. An Unshakeable Awareness: The ‘Liberation while Living’ According to the Moksopāya
Teaching Awareness in the Buddhist Tradition - Essays in Honour of Professor Corrado Pensa - Chiara Neri
Bruno Lo Turco [+]
La Sapienza University of Roma
This study returns to the question of the jīvanmukta (“liberated while still living”) in the Mokṣopāya, a Hindu work heavily influenced by Buddhism and composed around the 9th century CE, in order to add some details that have been neglected to date. In particular, the chapter 6.259 along with Bhāskarakaṇṭha’s commentary (Ṭīkā) has been edited and translated here for the first time. This chapter shows that the figure of the jīvanmukta in the Mokṣopāya is comparable to the figure of the siddha (“perfect”) of the dohās (vernacular poems belonging to Buddhist Tantrism). Thus, he lives fully an ordinary life — he can even belong to a low social class —, or even a very peculiar life, for example “in the sky”, always without flaunting his achievements. At the same time he never abandons the supreme kind of awareness: “the perceivable exists only through one’s own perception”. This supports the hypothesis, put forward in the recent past, that the Mokṣopāya itself originated from the preaching of a siddha-like figure.