Gunacakra, Guṇacakra, Guna-cakra: 2 definitions


Gunacakra means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Gunachakra.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Guṇacakra (गुणचक्र) refers to the “merit circle” positioned in the sahaja-puṭa or ‘innate layer’ of the Herukamaṇḍala: a large-scale and elaborate maṇḍala of Heruka, consisting of 986 deities, as found in the Ḍākārṇava chapter 15.—The Herukamaṇḍala consists of four layers (puṭa) consisting of concentric circles (cakra, totally one lotus at the center and 12 concentric circles, that is, 13 circles in total).

The guṇacakra contains 36 pairs of Ḍākinī and Hero, collectively called Lotus Heruka (padmaheruka):

  1. Brāhmaṇī & Brāhmaṇa,
  2. Kṣatriṇī & Kṣatrin,
  3. Vaiśyī & Vaiśya,
  4. Śūdrī & Śūdra,
  5. Caṇḍālinī & Caṇḍāla,
  6. Śvacī & Śvaci,
  7. Ḍombī & Ḍomba,
  8. Naṭī & Naṭa,
  9. Kapālinī & Kapālin,
  10. Kaivartī & Kaivarta,
  11. Veṇunaṭī & Veṇunaṭa,
  12. Śaṅkhinī & Śaṅkhin,
  13. Tantuvāyī & Tantuvāyaka,
  14. Kandukī & Kanduka,
  15. Kāṣṭhakārikā & Kāṣṭhakārika,
  16. Mālinī & Mālāka,
  17. Tailinī (or Tailī) & Taila,
  18. Cheyī & Cheya,
  19. Kośakārī & Kośakāra,
  20. Dūtinī & Dūta,
  21. Haḍagāḍī & Haḍagāḍa,
  22. Gaṇikā & Gaṇika,
  23. Kallavālī & Kallavāla,
  24. Kūpakāriṇī & Kūpakārin,
  25. Rājabhaṭī & Rājabhaṭa,
  26. Khaṭṭikī & Khaṭṭika (or Gaṭṭikī & Gaṭṭika),
  27. Tambolavikrayī & Tambolavikraya,
  28. Suvarṇakārī & Suvarṇakāra,
  29. Lohārī (or Lohakārī) & Lohāra,
  30. Maṇihārī & Maṇihāra,
  31. Dāvakī & Dāvaka,
  32. Mlecchī & Mleccha (=Oḍinī & Oḍina),
  33. Vanijī & Vanija,
  34. Pattharagāḍhī & Pattharagāḍha,
  35. Kṛṣikā & Kṛṣika (or Kṛṣikarī & Kṛṣikara),
  36. Carmakārī & Carmakāra.

They are whitish red in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.

Source: MDPI Books: The Ocean of Heroes

Guṇacakra (गुणचक्र) refers to the “merit circle”, according to the 10th-century Ḍākārṇava-tantra: one of the last Tibetan Tantric scriptures belonging to the Buddhist Saṃvara tradition consisting of 51 chapters.—Accordingly, [while describing the Merit Circle (guṇacakra)]: “Now, outside that is a circle named ‘All Merits,’ [which is colored] whitish-red. He should place thirty-six women of morality, [who are] eminent, in the middles of [the circle’s] adamantine spokes. [...] The color [of their bodies] is the same as [the color] of the circle (whitish-red). All other [features of the Yoginīs] are to be understood as the same as [the features of the Yoginīs] on the Heart Circle. [...]”.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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