Number 17 in Buddhism?

sadananda sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Wed Mar 11 07:25:55 CST 1998

> Pardon this Buddhist-themed posting here.  (Doing it for a friend, and
>I'm not on any Buddhist lists).  Does anyone know the significance of 17
>in Buddhism?  A friend took a trip to the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau
>Island, one of the islands comprising Hong Kong.  There are 17 sets of 17
>steps leading up to the statue of the Buddha which is the largest statue
>of Buddha ever built.  Also, the same friend told me that there is a large
>statue of the Buddha at the monastery in Carmel, New York (where the Dalai
>Lama visited last year) and it sits on a 17-foot-high pedestal.  Any
>ideas?  Sorry, and thanks.  --Greg Goode

Greg - I donot know - but here is my make-up.

Seventeen leads to Budhaa - Seventeen leads to eighteen.  Eighteen is
called jaya - the victory.  So one has to climb the seventeen steps towards
the eighteen - ones victory over the lower.   For that reason Mahabharata
is also called Jaya - Hence it contains - 18 parvas or chapters - it
signifies the victory over lower (kouravaas - tamasic and rajasic) by the
satwic (Pandavaas with the help of the divine intelligence). There are
eighteen chapters in Bhagavad geeta and the war also took place for 18
days.  Hence the nama Jaya for mahabhaarat.

I figure seventeen should have similar significance since it takes one, by
ones own effort towards Bhudda. By the by, in Ayyappa temples in south
(kerala) there are 18 steps one has to climb to go the temple, and at each
step one performs a ritual - symbolically to get rid of ones attachments to
the lower.

Seventeen can also add up many other way - 9 + 8 - the nine stands for the
boutika shareera - bag with nine holes!
Eight is frequently used in our scriptures - it can be five
senses(faculties) + mind + intelect + ahankaara ( constituting the
suukshama shareera aspect) - total the Jeeva. Suukshama shareera + bouticka
shareera (8+9) - 17, is the indiviudal - has to be transended to reach the
abode of Bhudda.

There may be better explanations for the seventeen.

Hari Om!

K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117

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