Eight similes of illusion

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The eight similes of illusion. (S. aṣṭamāyopamā; T. sgyu ma’i dpe brgyad; C. ruhuan yu 如幻喩) are similies or metaphors that are used to show how phenomena are empty of inherent existence and yet still appear.

The eight similies are:[1][2][3]

  1. A dream (S. svapna; T. rmi lam): like a dream, objects perceived with the five senses are not there, but they appear through delusion
  2. A magical illusion (S. māyā; T. sgyu ma): like a magic illusion, things are made to appear due to the temporary coming together of causes and conditions
  3. An optical illusion (S. pratibhāsa; T. mig yor): like an optical illusion, things appear, yet there is nothing there
  4. A mirage (S. marīci; T. smig rgyu): like a mirage, things appear, but they are not real
  5. An echo (S. pratiśabda; T. brag cha): like an echo, things can be perceived, but there is nothing there, either inside or outside
  6. A city of gandharvas (S. gandharvanagara; T. dri za'i grong khyer): like a city of gandharvas, there is neither a dwelling nor anyone to dwell
  7. A reflection of the moon in water (S. udakacandra; T. chu zla): like a reflection, things appear, but have no reality of their own
  8. An apparition (S. nirmita; T. sprul pa): like an apparition, there are different types of appearances, but they are not really there


  1. Patrol Rinpoche 1998, p. 252.
  2. RW icon height 18px.png Eight similes of illusion, Rigpa Shedra Wiki
  3. Listed here in the order in which they appear in Longchenpa's Finding Comfort and Ease in the Illusoriness of Things.


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