Talk:Twilight language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Yoga (Rated Stub-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Yoga, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Yoga on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Stub-Class article Stub  This article has been rated as Stub-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
Note icon
This article has been automatically rated by a bot or other tool as Stub-Class because it uses a stub template. Please ensure the assessment is correct before removing the |auto= parameter.


A good portion of this article appears to be directly plagiarised (images and all) from the article at: This article is listed as a source, but is not so much sourced from as copied in its entirety.


Disagree with merge. Sri Yantra is the most common yantra and whole books have been written about it. While this article could certainly be expanded and there are dozens of yantra which could be listed here, Shri Yantra is significant enough for a whole article. IPSOS (talk) 13:03, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Twilight language: godsmacked[edit]

Twilight language (and the Sanskrit term from which it is rendered) is a valuable categorisation term that fords dialogue between mutually informing technologies and processes. I am godsmacked how you can dismiss it out of turn.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 01:21, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

But what's it got to do with this article? The quote is vague and has no infomation specific to yantra. It a non sequitur in the lead section of this article. Why not spend your time writing a proper article on twilight language? An article on the topic is quite obviously missing and the disambig page you created does nothing to remedy it. IPSOS (talk) 01:34, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
I have been trying to figure out where the book is being inserted and so far have found it on these articles, many with the same pattern of insertion of the book with no quotation or other citation that would justify placement in References (according to WP:LAYOUT). Bucknell insertions:

Buddhipriya 23:07, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Still a problem solving[edit]

The quote is specifically about Buddhism. It doesn't include the word yantra, because yantra are in general only found within Hinduism. In Buddhism, mandalas are used. Please stop forcing an unsuitable quote into multiple article. It's a form of spamming. IPSOS (talk) 02:58, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

The editor persists in edit warring without bothering to discuss the issue on the talk page to try to reach agreement. I am exercising a reversion to try to make the point that we must talk about things here and try to reach agreement: [9]. The persistent addition of material over and over again despite clear disagreement with other editors is a type of disruptive behavior that needs to be addressed. If this continues I would support moving to an RfC process or some other method of getting more third-parties involved.Buddhipriya 03:44, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Again agreed. These edits are disruptive. Even moreso since it's not clear what the point is. Did the editor or a friend of the editor write the book? Trying to boost sales? or what? because the quote has almost nothing to do with the article except for the occurance of the word which forms the title of the article - heck, in this case the subject isn't even mentioned but has to be parenthetically added. I thought there was a rule that we could not change quotes except to indicate where material is left out with ... I don't want to write an RfC, but I'd endorse one. IPSOS (talk) 04:12, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
While I also would endorse an RfC if one is written, at this stage I think it would be best to try to get more editors looking at these articles and participating in the editorial decisions. I think when you said "I thought there was a rule that we could change quotes" did you mean to say "we could not change quotes..." which is the correct policy. Omission of material within a quotation is permitted so long as the omission is clearly indicated (... or .... if at the end of a sentence). That solves the "movie review quotation" trick, in which if a movie review says: "This movie is an incredible failure", the movie publicist will put an ad in the newspaper quoting the review as saying: "Incredible!" Buddhipriya 04:25, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I meant not change quotes, and I've changed it above. Never thought of that movie review trick. Not nice. IPSOS (talk) 04:45, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
I think an RfC is not inappropriate at this time. I too noticed the repeated inclusion of the book link and wondered if there was a personal interest involved. 07:37, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
I also considered the self-interest possibility, but there is also spamming of Snellgrove, which suggests that perhaps the editor just gets enthusiastic about particular books: [10]. (...and probably elsewhere, but I did not check closely) Here it is added to a Hinduism article with no obvious relevance: see Panchamrita [11]. In that case the addition may be because the editor has confused the concept of the tantric five M's with the completely unrelated idea of the five sweet things used in Hindu worship. If you look at the edit war pattern on Panchamrita it is the same practice of reverting with no discussion. Buddhipriya 08:10, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
I have removed linkspam to the Bucknell book promotion page and object to the term saṃdhyā-bhāṣā, which appears to be a neologism. I left the citation in because the specific fact as it reads now is correct. However if other speculative content is used, this source needs to be challenged as a WP:RS for this subject. I have not read the book and have not read any academic review of it. Does anyone else have an opinion on the relevance of that text for this article? Buddhipriya 16:53, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
No, I recognize saṃdhyā-bhāṣā from my various studies. It is not a neologism, but it normally refers only to coded language, not to yantra, mantra, etc. IPSOS (talk) 17:18, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
I recognize the literal translation of saṃdhyā ("twilight") + bhāṣā ("speech, talk"), but since I have not found it before, and could not find the compound in Apte, I would like to learn more about the use of the term. Where is it cited? Is there an example of a scriptural source for its use? Is it possible that the term is used primarily in Western literature, or as a technical term in some specific school? Buddhipriya 02:56, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I'll see if I can find any references. It is generally used in Tantra, and most frequently transliterated "sandhya bhasya". It gets a few Google hits that way... IPSOS (talk) 03:44, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I found one reference. Seems it is primarily used in Buddhist tantra. Douglas Brooks mentions it in Auspicious Wisdom: The Texts and Traditions of Srividya Sakta Tantrism in South India, p. 112: "Rarely, however, does one find in Srividya sources the use of poetic or metaphoric simile such as is common in the so-called sandhā-bhāṣā or 'twilight language' of Buddhist Tantra." (Please forgive my laziness in not putting in the proper diacritics throughout: I used to Macs and I'm using Windows...) IPSOS (talk) 03:59, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the strong reference, and Brooks (1992) qualifies as a WP:RS without question. I have it on hand and have confirmed the use in Brooks (1992:112), where he cites it as a term in Buddhist Tantra. That confirms my impression that it is not a general-use term. I do not think it should be used as a general term in the article unless it is specifically noted as such. One of the problems I am seeing with some of the sourcing is the persistent application of Buddhist tantric ideas to articles that really have nothing to do with that subject. The book being added on multiple articles with marginal relevance is a source of concern that has already been discussed. Unless there is a specific reason to use the technical term, I think using it gives WP:UNDUE weight to it. Buddhipriya 05:03, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

In the case of this article, I certainly have to agree, given what we know about the term. While there might be occasional use of yantra in Tantric Buddhism, it is fairly rare. 99.9 of the time mandalas are used. IPSOS (talk) 13:11, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
It isn't my intention to be disruptive. I want to be a member of this community. The Twilight Language by any other name is pervasive throughout the Dharmic Traditions whether or not it is publicly acknowledged or explicitly stated. I would appreciate help in charting this. It is significantly challenging because the sources are rare and not easily accessible. Many scholars use terms that conceal and reveal exactly like the Twilight Language. If you find comparable names that are used by specific schools I would appreciate being informed. There is a 'twilight language' used in Vaishnavism, Tantra, Yoga and Buddhism. I was starting the article on Twilight Language and an editor turned it into a book review on Friday night after I left the State Library. I left it that way because I thought it useful. But I will progress an article on Twilight Language as well in due course. IPSOS and Buddhipriya, can we please work together? Am I really the problemo?
*tears well*

B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 14:02, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

the two of u do not constitute a consensus... it is always u two that are bullying me... Panchamrita, Panchatattva, Panchamakara, Mahabhuta are all directly related in the Twilight Language... they are different manifestations of the five elements. Can you not see the wood for the trees?
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 14:09, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Your additions are original research and personal opinion. Unless you can provide a citation which verifies exactly what you are trying to say. You cannot synthesize from multiple sources. You cannot use your own personal insights. Even if you are right, and you may be, you are saying something that noone else has explicitly stated, and that falls under the definition of WP:OR. I know you've been told this before, please try to understand it this time. IPSOS (talk) 14:29, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
">B9 hummingbird hovering persists in adding unsourced material and WP:OR despite numerous requests to comply with these fundamental policies. Since the user has been warned multiple times, I am feeling that some additional effort, such as RfC is increasing likely to be needed to get a wider range of views on this. Note that the pattern of hostile personal attacks is also continuing ("Can you not see the wood for the trees?") despite warnings about that. The content spamming regarding that particular book is taking place on multiple articles, including some like Panchamrita that have nothing at all to do with Buddhist Tantra. What to do? Buddhipriya 22:49, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks to the solid reference provided by IPSOS to Brooks (1992:112), where he cites it as a term in Buddhist Tantra, I have been looking for citation to saṃdhyā ("twilight") + bhāṣā ("speech, talk") in some of the Buddhist Sanskrit and Pali sources on hand, and have found a citation which verifies the use of the phrase as a Buddhist technical term. While I have some exposure to Buddhist materials I am much less familiar with them than with Hindu sources. The fact that it is a Buddhist technical term is confirmed by the fact that it is listed in Franklin Edgerton's Buddhist Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary which is a specialized dictionary of Sanskrit and Pali terms that have technical Buddhist meanings not covered in the standard Sanskrit dictionaries such as Monier-Williams and Apte, which are two of the standards. Edgerton's dictionary is specifically for non-Hindu usages of Sanskrit terms and Buddhist terms not found in normal Sanskrit lexicons. On volume 1, p. 558, he has the following entry: " saṃdhyā-bhāṣya, = (and prob. error for) saṃdhā-bhāṣya (see s.v. saṃdhā), esoteric, mystic language (so, acc. to Suzuki, Tib., Idem po = saṃdhā: a-saṃdhyā-bhāṣya-kuśalaiḥ Laṅk 236.15, by those not skilled in...". This reference indicates that Edgerton is extracting the term from D. T. Suzuki's translation of the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, which is most definitely not a tantric text. It is one of the cornerstone texts of the Zen tradition.
I do not have the source text for the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, but I was able to obtain copies of Suzuki's translation and also his separate book of studies on the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra to try to dig deeper on where the term is actually used in context. I have not examined this question before, so this may take a day or so. Buddhipriya 06:41, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Here is a book review that I have not accessed in full: [12] [13]. The first few paragraphs express reservations about the book and note that the "retracing" method of the authors is entirely their own invention. It seems clear that this book is about Buddhist issues, and thus cannot be generalized to Hindu practice even if some people would find it acceptable for Buddhist issues. Buddhipriya 07:01, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

With deep thanks to one of my favorite librarians, here is what I found when checking the two books by D. T. Suzuki that are his standard works on the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. In nether case was I able to find any major reference to saṃdhyā-bhāṣya, but that may be due to organization issues with the books. I have not read either of these books and am largely ignorant of this Mahayana Buddhist scripture:

  • The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra (1932; 2003 edition ISBN 81-215-0925-4) is an English translation. According to Edgerton, the citation is to Laṅk 236.15, but the verse numbers in the translation are not to the line number, making verification difficult as the Sanskrit source is not given and each chapter restarts the line numbering over again. There is no index or glossary. There are two concurrent versification numbering sequences in the text. The first "236" is on page 203, and allowing for approximate length to get to the (unnumbered) verse 15 we have a line on p. 204 which may be it: "How is it that the ignorant, failing to recognize the hidden meaning of all things internal and external, discriminate in the sense of momentariness?" Perhaps the "hidden meaning" is the saṃdhyā-bhāṣya, perhaps not. At any rate, the entire section is dealing with debates between different Buddhist schools, some of which the author repeatedly characterizes as "ignorant" (which echos the Edgerton "by those not skilled in..."). However without having the souce text, it is impossible to say for sure. I only skimmed the surrounding material and am not qualified to comment on it.
  • Studies in the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra (1930; First Indian Edition 1999, ISBN 81-208-1656-0) is Suzuki's companion work. The term saṃdhyā-bhāṣya is not listed either in the index or in the glossary, which is a sign that the concept is not significant for purposes of Suzuki's analysis. However Edgerton's comment that "saṃdhyā-bhāṣya, = (and prob. error for) saṃdhā-bhāṣya (see s.v. saṃdhā)" is undoubtedly correct, because the Glossary does have an entry for: "Saṃdha" which reads: "secret meaning" and gives a translation in Chinese characters that are incomprehensible to me; usage of the term is cited as appearing in verses (213 and 349). He gives an example of a phrase in Chinese characters using the concept as translated into Chinese, which he translates into English as "the secret meaning of existence", cited as appearing in verse.

I have uploaded an image of the glossary entry showing the Chinese characters on the assumption that this fair use is permitted: Suzuki 1930 image

While all of this is interesting, I still find it irrelevant to the subject of the article on Yantra. Buddhipriya 06:16, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

    • KTo288 kindly provided the characters used in the Suzuki glossary entry: (密意)(密語)(一切法深密義). If the glossary entry is ever cited anywhere, these could be used in the reference. It may be good to have a third party verify that they are correct. Buddhipriya 21:22, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Yantra in Sanskrit denotes "loom", "instrument" and "machine". Yantra is an aniconic temenos or tabernacle of deva, asura, genius loci or other archetypal entity. Yantra are theurgical device that engender entelecheia. Yantra are realised by sadhu through darshana and samyama. There are numerous yantra. Shri Yantra is often furnished as an example. Yantra contain geometric items and archetypal shapes and patterns namely squares, triangles, circles and floral patterns; but may also include bija mantra and more complex and detailed symbols. Bindu is central, core and instrumental to yantra. Yantra function as revelatory conduits of cosmic truths. Yantra, as instrument and spiritual technology, may be appropriately envisioned as prototypical and esoteric concept mapping machines or conceptual looms. Certain yantra are held to embody the energetic signature of both the Universe and consciousness. Some Hindu esoteric practitioners employ yantra, mantra and other items of the saṃdhyā-bhāṣā (Bucknell, et. al.; 1986: p.ix) in their sadhana, puja and yajna. Though often rendered in two dimensions through art, yantra are conceived and conceptualised by practitioners as multi-dimensional sacred architecture and in this quality are identical with their correlate the mandala.
The aforecited was informed through the mindstream of Herbert V. Günther, teacher, writer and scholar.
सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः। B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 02:06, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't understand what citation you are making. I don't know what you mean by the term "mindstream". Buddhipriya 03:49, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Please don't be sorry Buddhipriya, be joyful! You have nothing to be sorry for, asking mindful, thoughtful and insightful questions is honourable and so are you. Your tireless devotion to Wikipedia and mapping various knowledges inspires me with joy. There is too much for any one to hold except in direct Communion. In answer to your question, Mindstream may be nailed as the resolution of Atman and Anatman and it may be envisioned as, and has the functionality of, Indra's Net. You are the first formidable person I have encountered in a very long time. Thankyou for honing my facility.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 01:16, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I have tracked down a reference related to how the term saṃdhā-bhāṣya (as noted by Edgerton) became corrupted as saṃdhyā-bhāṣya, with some additional discussion of variant uses of the term. The citation is to pp. 249-253 in Mircea Eliade (1969), Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, Second Edition, Bollingen Series, Princeton. Eliade translates the phrase as "Intentional Language" but reviews other translations. According to Eliade, in 1916 Haraprasād Shāstri proposed the translation of "twilight language", and that seems to be the first use of that particular version. However in 1928 Vidhushekar Shāstri debunked that translation, showing the the term is based on a shortened form of the word sandhāya, which can be translated as "having in view", "intending", "with regard to", etc. So Eliade concludes that: "Hence there is no reference to the idea of a 'twilight language'." He continues by speculating on how the term came to be corrupted by scribes who read the familiar word sandhyā ("crepuscular") for the original sandhā. Eliade discusses the usage of the concept in some specimin texts. Since some solid citations have emerged, perhaps these should be added to the article on "twilight language", but they will have the effect of debunking some of what is there now. Buddhipriya 05:42, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

New Lead[edit]

I note from the dab page that there's no article on Twilight Language as a whole, although we have this one on the book. This article on the book also has material about the language as a whole. Therefore it would seem to make sense - since notability of the book is in question - to expand the page into an article about Twilight Language as a whole. Towards that end, I've re-written the lead and added a quote re the language Dakinijones (talk) 10:24, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

This page was initially inaugurated by me specifically to showcase the Twilight Language and another author turned it into a discussion of the book by that name. This will be repaired by the grace of the Wheel of Time as I now have located a number of scholarly sources.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 13:13, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
That's great... seems like we're on the same page with this one then. Dakinijones (talk) 20:29, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
University Thesis important for this article.
Songs of realization of the 'Natural mind' (Sanskrit: cittaprakrti)
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 05:53, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Indeed. I found this page while seeking "intentional language", a more general term that still lacks a WP entry. I was directed to Charyapada, where there is a brief reference to Twilight Language.

I modified the presumptuous section heading "The book" -- the use of "the" only makes sense if the entire article is devoted to a single book, which it is not (or should not be).

The article could be improved by adding a paragraph from Bucknell/Stuart-Fox that explains part of the cypher. Otherwise, we are just left with a lot of abstractions and mystification.

The Classifications and numerology section contradicts itself by referring to symbolism of 5 and then giving 4 kayas as an example. The relevant quote should be trimmed by whoever added it.

The section on Pali canon mentions the Thai monk Buddhadasa, who had many western students. If the topic is going to be stretched beyond vajrayana, then let's add material on intentional language in Gematria and the parallel method found in Sufism.

The section on Vajrayana tradition imposes an Indian-Himalayan dichotomy from Bucknell, who seems to be completely oblivious to Vajrayana Buddhism in Southeast Asia. Why quote a single author's concept of a "tradition" that is present in a huge part of Asia? Too narrow. Martindo (talk) 23:48, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

One source?[edit]

Pretty well the entirety of this article is based on one source, Bucknell, Roderick & Stuart-Fox, Martin (1986). The Twilight Language: Explorations in Buddhist Meditation and Symbolism William M. Connolley (talk) 12:09, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

In Tantric practice[edit]

I took out this section. The link is a 404 - but is at - but the text quoted is from the intro and not clearly what the article is actually about. If you can tell what it is about William M. Connolley (talk) 18:38, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Very badly organized[edit]

This article is a mess, perhaps comprehensible to those who already fully understand the subject, but incomprehensible to those seeking understanding. For example, the first section after the introduction, "Sonepur literature", is not connected logically with the subject. I'm sure there's a connection, but it's missing from this Wikipedia article. It's almost as though this article itself is written in an English-language form of twilight language. Unfortunately, the purpose of Wikipedia is to provide information, not to conceal it.

The entire article needs to be re-written by somebody who knows the subject and can construct a logically integrated, informative text. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Floozybackloves (talkcontribs) 18:29, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

In the lengthy section on "Still a problem solving" on this talk page years ago I provided quite a few detailed references showing that the entire concept of "twilight language" is dubious. The editor who was the main proponent of the theory has subsequently been blocked and has not been seen in some time. I do not think the article in present form is worth keeping unless it is rewritten to include refutation of the idea it promotes. Buddhipriya (talk) 00:25, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
As it stands, the article is at best a synthesis out of many primary and secondary sources, chiefly the eponymous book. It cannot be disputed that the book exists (I own it, I've read it) or that it discusses the idea of a 'twilight' or esoteric or coded language present in Vajrayana Buddhism. What is far less clear is that the concept "twilight language" warrants an article of its own in the first place, and that if it does, that this is that article. I would think whatever can be salvaged, if anything, might be profitably merged into another article (where, I am not sure). (talk) 02:40, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ *blinks in wonder*