This manuscript, a fine calligraphic copy in the Rañjanā script written in gold ink on black paper with ten miniatures and one full page illustration of the donors and their families, was made in Kathmandu, Nepal.
What is the Pañcarakṣā?
The Pañcarakṣā is a collection of Sanskrit texts relating to five protective mantras or spells (dhāraṇīs), which according to tradition, were pronounced by Buddha himself. These spells are visually represented by five goddesses: Mahāpratisarā, Mahāsāhasrapramardanī, Mahāmāyūrī, Mahāmantrāṇusāraṇī and Mahāśītavatī.
Pañcarakṣā manuscripts are commonly found in most Nepalese Buddhist houses and have the same function of amulets. The texts explain the power of each goddess (and each spell) against various diseases, calamities and misfortunes, and contain the ritual instructions for worship. It is believed that just hearing the name of one of the goddesses or the related spell releases the individual from all sins.
- Article by:
- T H Barrett
- Buddhism, Sacred texts
The Buddhist ‘canon’ is vast, complex and difficult to define. Here Professor Tim Barrett outlines some of the key works for the different branches of Buddhism.