Cintāmaṇi (Sanskrit; Devanagari: चिन्तामणि), also spelled as Chintamani (or the Chintamani Stone), is a wish-fulfilling jewel within both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, said by some to be the equivalent of the philosopher's stone in Western alchemy. It is one of several Mani Jewel images found in Buddhist scripture.
In Buddhism it is held by the Bodhisattvas (divine beings with great compassion, wisdom and power) Avalokiteshvara and Ksitigarbha. It is also seen carried upon the back of the Lung Ta (wind horse) which is depicted on Tibetan prayer flags. By reciting the Dharani (small hymn) of Cintamani, Buddhist tradition maintains that one attains the Wisdom of Buddha, able to understand the truth of the Buddha, and turn afflictions into Bodhi. It is said to allow one to see the Holy Retinue of Amitabha and assembly upon one's deathbed. In Tibetan Buddhist tradition the Chintamani is sometimes depicted as a luminous pearl and is in the possession of several of different forms of the Buddha.
Within Hinduism it is connected with the gods, Vishnu and Ganesha. In Hindu tradition it is often depicted as a fabulous jewel in the possession of the Naga king or as on the forehead of the Makara. The Yoga Vasistha, originally written in the 10th century AD, contains a story about the cintamani. The Hindu Vishnu Purana speaks of the "Syamanta jewel, bestowing prosperity upon its owner, ecapsulates the Yadu clan system". The Vishnu Purana is attributed to the mid-first millennium AD. It draws on earlier religion or folklore.
Nomenclature, orthography and etymology
- Cintāmaṇi (Sanskrit; Devanagari: चिन्तामणि): 'Wish-Fulfilling Gem' (Tibetan: ཡིད་བཞིན་ནོར་བུ, Wylie: yid bzhin norbu)
- The mani (jewel) is translated in Chinese ruyi or ruyizhu 如意珠 "as-one-wishes jewel" or ruyibaozhu 如意寶珠 "as-one-wishes precious jewel". Ruyibaozhu is pronounced in Japanese nyoi-hōju or nyoi-hōshu 如意宝珠. Ruyizhu is pronounced in Korean yeouiju 여의주.
In Buddhism the Chintamani is said to be one of four relics that came in a chest that fell from the sky (many terma fell from the sky in caskets) during the reign of king Lha Thothori Nyantsen of Tibet. Though the king did not understand the purpose of the objects, he kept them in a position of reverence. Several years later, two mysterious strangers appeared at the court of the king, explaining the four relics, which included the Buddha's bowl (possibly a Singing Bowl) and a mani stone with the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra inscribed on it. These few objects were the bringers of the Dharma to Tibet.
The Digital Dictionary of Buddhism's ruyizhu entry says:
A maṇi-jewel; magical jewel, which manifests whatever one wishes for (Skt. maṇi, cintā-maṇi, cintāmaṇi-ratna). According to one's desires, treasures, clothing and food can be manifested, while sickness and suffering can be removed, water can be purified, etc. It is a metaphor for the teachings and virtues of the Buddha. ... Said to be obtained from the dragon-king of the sea, or the head of the great fish, Makara, or the relics of a Buddha.
- Guénon, René (2004) . Symbols of Sacred Science. Sophia Perennis, USA. ISBN 0-900588-78-0. p. 277
- R. A. Donkin, Beyond price: pearls and pearl-fishing : origins to the Age of Discoveries, American Philosophical Society, 1998. ISBN 978-0-87169-224-5. p. 170
- Venkatesananda, Swami (1984). The Concise Yoga Vāsiṣṭha. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 346–353. ISBN 0-87395-955-8. OCLC 11044869.
- The Past before us: Historical traditions of early North India, Romila Thapar, Harvard, 2013
- Scheidegger, Daniel (2009). 'The First Four Themes of Klong chen pa's Tsig don bcu gcig pa.' Achard, Jean-Luke (director) (2009). Revue d'Etudes Tibetaines. April 2009. p.49
- "ruyizhu", in Digital Dictionary of Buddhism
- Beer, Robert (1999). The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs (Hardcover). Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-416-X, ISBN 978-1-57062-416-2
- Buswell, Robert Jr; Lopez, Donald S. Jr., eds. (2013). "Cintamani", in Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691157863.