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Suffering in this World is Inevitable!

Suffering in this World is Inevitable!

The entire world is in flames, all the entire world is blazing up in smoke!
The entire world is burning, the entire world is decaying and vanishing...
But that which does not vanish or burn, which is experienced by the Nobles,
where Death has no entry, in that stilled silence mind finds sweet delight.
Samyutta Nikāya 1.168

Without sign, unknown, uncertain, is the life here of mortals, demanding,
short, tied up with pain and misery. For there's no way by which those who
are born will not die. All Beings will surely die even if they become very old!

Like ripe fruits, whose downfall, whose danger always is inevitable falling,
so for mortals, once born, the constant danger is forever hereafter death!

As a potter's clay vessels, large & small, fired & unfired, all end up broken,
so too life heads to death. Young & old, wise & foolish, rich & poor: Everyone
come under the sway of death, all have death as their assured certain end.

Note the hands are taken to the Head & Mind that suffers!

For those overcome by death, gone to the other world, father cannot protect
son, nor relatives any family. See: Even while relatives are looking & wailing
heavily, mortals are one by one led away like dumb cows to the slaughter...

In this way is the world afflicted with aging & death! Knowing this indeed
inescapable and unavoidable nature of the world, the enlightened don't ever
grieve! You don't know from where the dying came or where he is going...
Seeing neither end, you lament uselessly in blind vain.. Helping nobody at all!

If, by lamenting, confused, harming yourself, any good use could be gained
the prudent would do it as well. But not by weeping & grief do you gain peace
of mind. Pain just arises all the more. Your body is hurt. You grow thin, pale,
harming yourself by yourself. Not in that folly way, are the dead protected.
Lamentations are all in pointless vain.

Not abandoning grief, a person suffers all the more pain. Bewailing one whose
time is done, you fall under the sway of grief yourself. Look at others, going
along, people arriving in line with their past actions: Falling under the sway
of death, beings simply shivers here, for a short unstable waste of a life...

For however they imagine it to be, it always becomes quite other than that!
That's a fate of their blinded estrangement. See this evil way of the world...

Even if a person lives a century, or even more, he will be separated from his
community, friends & relatives. He leaves his life alone & naked right there!

So, having heard the Arahat, who have subdued all lamentation, seeing that
the dead is one whose time is done, understanding: "I can't fetch him back."
Just as one would extinguish a burning shelter with water, even so does the
Enlightened One, intelligent, clever and wise, blow away any arisen sorrow,
like a strong wind, a bit of cotton fluff!

Seeking your own happiness, you should pull out your own injuring arrow:
All your own lamentation, longing, hoping, hungering producing only sorrow!
With arrow pulled out, independent, attaining peace of awareness, all grief
is transcended, griefless you are unbound, free, safe, at ease in peace...

Source:  Salla Sutta:
The Arrow. Snp 3.8, PTS: Sn 574-593
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Edited Extract)
Kindly forwarded by our Friend Ivan Dhammavaro Wijaya:

More on Suffering, Misery, Dissatisfaction, Frustration & Stress (Dukkha):
SN.III.196.1, Cause_of_Identity_View, Source_of_What, Ceasing_of_Suffering
The_1st_Noble_Truth_on_Suffering, What_is_SufferingOrigin_of_Suffering,
The_3_kinds_of_Suffering, Stopping_Mental_Frustration,
Contemplating_Suffering, Contemplating_Suffering_2!

More on this inevitable Death (Marana):
Death, Death_Contemplation, Game_Over, Momentary_Life, End_Making
The_Problem, Inevitable_but_not_the_End, Ageing_and_Death, Ageing_Again,
The_Thorn, Just a Bag_of_Bones...



Jhãna Absorption eliminates all Physical Pain!

The Blessed Buddha once pointed out:
Where does all bodily pain cease, without any even trace remaining?
Aloof of all sense-desire and secluded from any disadvantageous state,
one enters and remains in the first
jhāna absorption of directed thought
and sustained thinking, joined with pleasure and joy, born of sole isolation.
It is right there, that all bodily pain ceases without a trace remaining...

Therefore do beings reborn at the fine-material
brahma level, never feel
any physical pain, since they are continuously absorbed in this first


On how to attain the Jhāna absorptions:


Microscopic, astronomic, or other visions are not uncommon during jhāna

The Grouped Sayings by the Buddha. Samyutta Nikāya. Book V 213-4
The Abilities section 48. Thread on The Irregular Order: Uppatika 40


The Will To Survive

As a child growing up in a remote village in the mountainous region of Kham, Tsewang Dhondup loved to listen to the heroic fables recounted by the local elders. But Tsewang's own story is the stuff of legend, and might well end up woven into local lore and marveled at by Tibetan boys for generations to come.
Everything about him confirms the reputation of the Khampas, as the people from his area are called, renowned for their swash-buckling vigor and warrior spirit. Sturdily built with large expressive eyes, a generous smile and mass of thick black hair, the 39-year-old Tsewang seems full of life in his stark room at the Tibetan refugee center in Dharamsala, India. The name Tsewang, means 'longevity,' but from his own account, it is incredible that he is still alive.

Read more...Collapse )

Remembering Death is Daily Buddhist Routine!

The Blessed Buddha once said:
Just as the mighty Himalayan mountains
Are high, all-expansive, & weighing heavily;
Just so do ageing & death suppress & defeat
All living beings in this world, whether divine,
rich, warrior, priest, trader, slave, or sweeper!
Not sparing anyone whatsoever,
Crushing anybody that is found!
Source: SN 3:25

The Most Precious Altar of our Temple:
Soon this fragile body will fall to the ground,
lifeless, cast aside, without any consciousness,
stiff, cold & useless like a rotten log of wood ...
Dhammapada 41

Whosoever knows this body
to be as temporary as a bubble,
as insubstantial as a mirror image,
May  break Mara's honey tipped arrows and
Can thus not be seen by this evil King of Death ...
Dhammapada 46

Big Surprise!
Death carries off the folly man while distracted
by gathering various flowers of sensual pleasure,
even & exactly so as the huge tsunami wave runs
all over and carries away the sleeping village.
Dhammapada 47

In the ultimate sense, beings have only a very short moment to live:
Only as long as one single moment of consciousness lasts!
Just as the cart wheel, in rolling forward as in standing still,
every time rests merely on one point of its rim: just so does any life
of any being last only as long as a single moment of consciousness lasts!
As soon as this moment is gone, that momentary being is also all gone...
One is therefore reborn millions of times in each second!
For as it was said by the ancient elders:
All life and all existence here is blinking & momentary,
All life's engaged involvement, its joy and all its pain,
Depends all only on one single discrete state of mind,
And quickly that moment passes by, for never to return...
Source: Visuddhimagga VIII,1


Daichini Buddha

Represents Center or Zenith
Cosmic Buddha, Great Buddha
All-Encompassing Buddha
Life Force Who Illuminates the Universe
Identified with
Birushana Nyorai
Sanskrit = Vairocana or Mahavairocana
Dainichi's Messengers are the Wrathful

Origin = India
Important to Shingon & Tendai Sects of Esoteric Buddhism.
Central Deity among the Five Tathagata (Gochi Nyorai).
These five appear most frequently in Japanese Mandala.

Last Update: Sept. 13, 2006
Added Showa Daibutsu and Ichijikinrin

Dai Nichi, Heian Era 1176, at Enjyo-ji in Nara, courtesy Handbook on ViewingBuddhist Statues
 Dainichi, Heian Era 1176, at Enjyo-ji in Nara
Photo Courtesy "Handbook on Viewing Buddhist Statues"

Mantra for Dai Nichi, Kongoukai
Mantra for Dainichi (Kongokai Mandala)

Mantra for Dai Nichi, Taizoukai
 Mantra for Dainichi (Taizoukai Mandala)

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OVERVIEW. Dainichi Buddha (Sanskrit = Mahavairocana) represents the center (zenith) among Japan's esoteric sects. Esoteric Buddhism is another term for Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism, one of the three main schools of Buddhism in Asia, most widely practiced today in Tibet. The other two forms are Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana is the mainstream in Japan, but the country's Shingon and Tendai sects are still strongholds of esoteric traditions, especially the Shingon sect. As early as the Heian Period (794 - 1192 AD), devotees of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan worshipped Dainichi as the Central Buddha of the Universe, the Cosmic Buddha. Among non-esoteric sects, Dainichi (or Dai Nichi) is known as Birushana Buddha (Sanskrit = Vairocana). Dainichi generally supplants the Historical Buddha as the object of veneration among Japan's esoteric practitioners. Indeed, in Japan's Esoteric Buddhist traditions, Dainichi is the most important of all the myriad Buddha. In fact, Dainichi is said to be everywhere and everything, like the air we breathe, with all other Buddha and divine beings considered as emanations of Dainichi.

Dainichi's Messengers. Images of Dainichi in Japan are also often surrounded by the Myou-ou (Myo-o), warlike protectors who represent the Dainichi's wrath against evil and serve as messengers of the various Buddha.

Dainichi in Japanese Mandala (Mandara). Dainichi is the central figure in mandalas of the Shingon Sect of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism. In mandala scrolls and paintings, Dainichi is typically surrounded by four other Buddha, each representing one of the directions of the compass. The five, with Dainichi Nyorai at the center, are known as the Five Tathagatas (Jp. = Gochi Nyorai). The most widely known mandala form in Japan is the Ryoukai Mandala (Two World Mandala). Sometimes also written as the Ryougai Mandala. It is composed of two separate mandala, which together represent the central devotional images of Esoteric Buddhism. The Taizoukai (Womb World Mandala, Sanskrit = Garbhadhatu) is based on the Dainichikyou Sutra (Jp), while the Kongoukai (Diamond World Mandala, Sanskrit = Vajradhatu) is based on the Kongouchoukyou Sutra (Jp). Even today, in Japanese Shingon temples, two large mandalas are typically mounted on both sides of the main image platform. The mandala on the east side is the Kongoukai Mandala, and the mandala on the west side is the Taizoukai Mandala. The Kongoukai mandala represents the cosmic or transcendental Buddha (aka Dainichi Nyorai), while the Taizoukai mandala represents the world of physical phenomenon.

Dainichi's Mudra (Hand Gesture). Dainichi's characteristic hand gesture in Japan (although not always) is the Mudra of Six Elements -- also called the Knowledge Fist Mudra; Jp. = Chiken-in 智拳印. In this mudra, the index finger of the left hand is clasped by the five fingers of the right. This mudra symbolizes the unity of the
five worldly elements -- earth, water, fire, air/wind, and space/void -- with spiritual consciousness. For a review of the most common mudra in Japan, please visit the Mudra page. For more on the Six Element Mudra, see below.

Dainichi Buddha (Nyorai) Sitting atop Lotus -- Available for Online PurchaseCloseup - Dainichi Buddha (Nyorai) sitting atop lotus -  available for online purchase !
Dainichi Buddha (Nyorai) Sitting Atop Lotus
Statue Available for Online Purchase

Dainichi Nyorai, 12th Century AD, Chuson-ji Temple
 Dainichi Nyorai, 12th Century AD, Chuson-ji Temple

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Sanskrit Seed Syllables for Dainichi Nyorai

Dai Nichi Nyorai - Sanskrit symbol -- aanku

Dai Nichi Nyorai - Sanskrit symbol -- aaku

Dai Nichi Nyorai - Sanskrit symbol -- ah

Dai Nichi Nyorai - Sanskrit symbol -- baanku

Dai Nichi Nyorai - Sanskrit symbol -- ban

Dai Nichi Nyorai - Sanskrit symbol -- ban

 Japanese Pronunciation
 Most common Sanskrit Seed Syllable for Dainichi

DAINICHI - Sanskrit, Chinese, and Japanese Spellings

DAINICHI - Sanskrit, Chinese, and Japanese Spellings

DAINICHI - English Translations and Reference Notes

  • Cosmic Buddha, Buddha of Cosmic Life
  • All-Encompassing Buddha, All-Encompassing Lord of the Cosmos
  • Life Force That Illuminates the Universe
  • Spreader of Light in All Directions
  • Great Solar Buddha of Light and Truth
  • Great Sun Buddha, Resplendent One
  • Radiant Preacher, Luminous One
  • Identified closely with Birushana Buddha (Skt. Vairocana),
    whose name means "belonging to or coming from the sun"
  • Especially important to Japan's Shingon Sect of Esoteric Buddhism
  • Central deity among the Five Tathagata (Jp. = Godai Nyorai); these five appear frequently in Japanese mandalas, with Dainichi positioned in the center, surrounded by the other four, with each representing one of the cardinal directions.
  • Dainichi's messengers are the Myo-o; also see Fudo page

Guardian of People Born in the
Zodiac Year of the Sheep and the Monkey
Who is Your Buddhist/Zodiac Patron Deity? 

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Appears as central figure in Japanese Mandala

Unlike most statues of the various Buddha (Nyorai) in Japan (which are simple and unadorned), images of Dainichi Buddha are typically depicted in the guise of a Bodhisattva -- with elaborately arranged hair topped with a crown, and wearing richly jeweled ornaments or garments. In addition, Dainichi in Japan appears in different forms based on the iconography of either the Womb World Mandala (Jp. = Taizoukai) or Diamond World Mandala (Jp. = Kongoukai), in which Dainichi is frequently portrayed (see Mandala Page). The mandala art form is especially important to Japan's Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism, and Dainichi is their central object of worship.

Dainichi Buddha corresponds to the Historical Buddha's first turning of the Wheel of the Law in Deer Park in India, where the Historical Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. The Turning of the Wheel is a metaphor for teaching the way of enlightenment. Images of Dainichi are accordingly represented often with the preaching-hands gesture, called the Dharmacakra Mudra (Sanskrit; Jp. = Hokai Jo-in). See Mudra Page for more details. In both Japan and Korea, however, Dainichi's hands are more often depicted in the Mudra of the Six Elements, which is also called the "Mudra of the Fist of Wisdom," the "Wisdom Mudra," or the "Knowledge Fist Mudra." It is known as Chiken-in 智拳印 (ちけんいん) in Japan.

Six-Elements Mudra of Dainichi Buddha (Nyorai)SIX ELEMENTS 六界
Jp. = Rokukai  ろくかい
In Esoteric Buddhism, the five elements (Jp. = Goshiki 五行) are combined with one additional element, the MIND, for a total of six. Statues or paintings of Dainichi Buddha, the central deity of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan, often portray Dainichi with a characteristic hand gesture called the Mudra of Six Elements (Chiken-in 智拳印), in which the index finger of the left hand is clasped by the five fingers of the right. This mudra symbolizes the unity of the five worldly elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space) with a six element, spiritual consciousness. Others equate the left hand with the male organ and the right hand with the female organ, and maintain that it represents, by means of sexual symbolism, the central deity of the mandala from which all the other deities emanate. According to another interpretation, the left hand represents sentient beings and the right hand the Buddha, and thus symbolizes the two-way response of the Buddha and sentient beings.

In the Mandala artform, which is of special importance to Japan's Esoteric sects (Shingon, Tendai), the five elements are considered inanimate (this equates to the Garbhadhatu or Womb World Mandala). Only by adding the sixth element -- mind, perception, or spiritual consciousness -- do the five become animate. This equates with the Vajradhatu or Diamond World Mandala. Phrased differently, there is "unity" only when the sixth element is added. Without the sixth element, ordinary eyes see only the differentiated forms or appearances.

  1. Earth
  2. Water
  3. Fire
  4. Air (or Wind)
  5. Space
  6. the MIND (spiritual consciousness or perception)

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Dai Nichi Nyorai - The Great Buddha at Todai-ji in NaraDAINICHI NYORAI
An exception to the rule

Images of the Nyorai are rarely shown wearing jewellery or ornaments, but this is not always the case. Dainichi Nyorai, in fact, is one of the exceptions to the rule. Not only does the mudra of six elements help to identify Dai Nichi, but also images of Dai Nichi often show the deity wearing a crown and jewels.

One of the most famous examples of Dainichi can be found at Todai-ji in Nara (see photo at right). This is the world-famous Daibutsu of Nara, supposedly the largest bronze statue in the world. But it is actually Birushana Nyorai, not Dainichi Nyorai -- the two are manifestations of the same deity, and different sects give the deity different names. It is likely that Dainichi was "derived" from Birushana. Click here for more on Birushana, more photos, and a history of the Big Buddha of Nara.

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Dainichi Nyorai Stone Statue, in private garden in home in KamakuraDAINICHI - The Cosmic Buddha and Mandalas
Below text courtesy of: www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/ANCJAPAN/GALLERY.HTM

Esoteric Buddhism was founded on the principle that the two aspects of Buddha, both the unchanging cosmic principle and the active, physical manifestation of Buddha in the natural world, were one and the same. The truth of the cosmic order, which is contained in the relationships between the Cosmic Buddha and all his manifestations, cannot be known verbally.

Five Buddha of Wisdom (Gochi Nyorai, Gochi Buddha, Gochi Jina)One method for understanding this truth was to comprehend it visually and symbolically; to this end, Japanese esoteric Buddhists imported the mandala (in Japanese, mandara), or circle, to express symbolically the order of the universe related to the cosmic Buddha. Since the Buddha occupied two separate realms, the mandala form that the esoteric priests imported was the Mandala of the Two Worlds, or Ryokai mandara (Ryo=two, kai=world, mandara=mandala). On the east side of the temple would be placed the Diamond World (Kongokai in Japanese, Vajradhatu in Sanskrit), which represented the world of the transcendental Buddha. It was called the Diamond World because it embodied a static, crystal clear, and adamantine truth of the universe. In the Diamond World, the Cosmic Buddha (Dainichi Nyorai in Japanese), sits in the center of assemblies of Buddhas arranged in a three by three square.

Dainichi Nyorai and Deities from Lotus Holder Court 859AD

Detail from Taizokai (Womb World). The Ryokai Mandara is the oldest color mandala still in existence in Japan. It is believed to have been a copy made in China and brought to Japan in 859 AD by the Tendai priest, Enchin. Photo courtesy of Washington State University.

Photo Courtesy of:

The other world, the Womb World (Taizokai in Japanese, Garbhadhatu in Sanskrit), was the world of physical phenomenon. In this mandala, the Dainichi Nyorai sits in the middle in relationship to all his physical manifestations ranged in several courts radiating outward from him. In the detail here, we see nine physical manifestations from the Lotus Holder's Court (which sits on the right side of the Court of Eight Petals, which is the court of the Cosmic Buddha). The physical manifestations of the Lotus Holder's Court represent the purity of all things. In the picture, you can see Buddha in several different aspects. To the bottom right, he is a three-headed, angry creature that represents the Buddha's ability to overcome evil (the three heads symbolize vigilance over evil). Most of the Buddhas, however, represent compassion or mercy. Not only are all the Buddhas surrounded by unique symbols, each one has a unique pairing of hand gestures, called mudras. The mudras are key in Buddhist practice; they recreate hand gestures from the life of Buddha. Not only did Buddha teach in words, he taught symbolically in hand gestures. Like all Buddhist art, a large part of the symbolic meaning is located in these hand gestures. For instance, the middle figure is making the semuiin gesture with his right hand (in Sanskrit, abhayamudra ). This means "fear not." Yes, an esoteric devotee could name each and every hand gesture in the picture you're looking at!

An esoteric devotee would be asked to starre and meditate on each of these Buddhas in turn. He would meditate on their symbolic meaning as it is represented visually and he would meditate on that deity's relationship to the other deities as those relationships are represented visually. When he's fiinished with the Taizokai Mandara, he would move on to the Kongokai Mandara. Once he's meditated and, through visual and symblic understanding, come to comprehend all the Buddhas and their relationships across the two worlds, he will have unified himself with the Cosmic Buddha. Beginning priests would be asked to throw a blossom at each of the two mandalas; the deity that the blossom landed on would be adopted as that person's personal deity for the course of his study.

The Ryokai Mandara is the oldest color mandala still in existence in Japan. It is believed to have been a copy made in China and brought to Japan in 859 by the Tendai priest, Enchin.

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courtesy buddha-gallery.net/pantheon.htm#jinas
(no longer online)
The Buddha of the Zenith: Vairocana or Mahavairocana.
Japanese: Dainichi Nyorai, Rushana Butsu, Birushana Butsu
Chinese: Palushena.

He whose name means "Spreader of Light in All Directions." In Japan he is the "Great Solar Buddha of Light and Truth," "The Resplendent One," the "Radiant Preacher." Dainichi corresponds to the Historical Buddha's first turning of the Wheel of the Law in Deer Park at Sarnath, his first sermon to his disciples after his enlightenment. The Turning of the Wheel is a metaphor for teaching the way of enlightenment. Dainichi is accordingly represented in the preaching gesture, the Dharmacakra mudra (Japanese: Hokai Jo-in). In Japan and Korea, however, Dainichi can also be seen in the "mudra of the six elements," or "mudra of the fist of wisdom." This mudra is called "Chiken-in" in Japan. Please see Mudra page for details. Outside of Japan, Dainichi is sometimes shown holding a medicine jar in the left hand while the right hand forms the Abhaya or Varada mudra. 

Dainichi Nyorai (Vairocana or Mahavairocana)
Represents the Tathagata (Buddha) family among the Five Budda Families. These five families are especially important to the Shingon Sect of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, and they appear frequently in the Japanese Ryokai mandara. Dainichi Nyorai converts ignorance and bewilderment into the wisdom of primordial awareness, or the wisdom of universal lawfulness. Dainichi is known as the primordial or cosmic Buddha, and represents the center or zenith and the color white. Dainichi also represents body, earth, and eye consciousness. For a review of the Five Great Buddha and the families they represent, please click here.

Dainichi on the Kongokai Mandala, Heain Era, Toji Temple (photo Kyoto National Museum)

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Ichiji Kinrin Butchou (Skt. = Ekaaksarausnisacakra)
Ichiji Kinrin Butchou (Skt. = Ekaaksarausnisacakra)
Courtesy Tokyo National Museum
Formerly owned by the Hara Family.113.9 x 86.0
 Kamakura Period, 13th century

The Mudra of Six Elements (Chiken-in 智拳印) is most commonly seen in images of Dainichi in the Diamond World Mandala (Kongoukai Mandara 金剛界曼荼羅), but is also found on other deities affiliated with Esoteric Buddhism, such as Ichijikinrin Butchou 一字金輪仏頂 (e.g., Chuusonji 中尊寺 in Hiraizumi 平泉, Iwate prefecture), Sonshou Butchou 尊勝仏頂 (e.g., central deity of the East Stupa on Mt. Kouya 高野), and Daishou Kongou 大勝金剛. < This last paragraph courtesy of JAANUS >

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Showa Daibutsu, Large Efficy of Dainichi Buddha
Showa Daibutsu
Photo Courtesy of

Other Photos (outside link)

Showa Daibutsu (Aomori)
Dainichi Buddha Daibutsu
Bronze, H = 21.35 Meters
Weight = 220 tons

Built in 1984 (Showa 59), the Showa Daibutsu is a giant effigy of Dainichi Nyorai, the central deity of worship among Japan's Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism. Located at Seiryuu-ji Temple (Blue-Green Dragon Temple) in Aomori City, the statue is taller than the Nara Daibutsu and Kamakura Daibutsu. The temple itself is new, with construction launched in 1982.

TEL: 017-726-2312
FAX: 017-726-2124

Lighting Ceremony for the Respose of Dead Souls, Showa Daibutsu, Seiryuu-ji Temple, Aomori
Showa Daibutsu
Photo Courtesy of

Seiryuuji Temple (J-site)

Like many Shingon temples throughout Japan, Seiryuu-ji holds special light ceremonies during the Bon Festival (mid-August) to pray for the response of ancestors, dead children, and the transmigration of their departed souls. Indeed, there are many sites in Aomori Prefecture where grieving parents go to to pray and make offerings to pacify the soul of their lost child and to pacify their own soul as well. Details Here.

One of the most popular lighting ceremonies is the "Festival of Ten Thousand Lights" held during the Bon holidays. Details Here. The Seiryuu-ji Temple follows this tradition by holding Buddhist services for the dead and lighting ceremonies during the Bon period.

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  • Buddhist-Artwork.com. Statues of Dainichi Buddha are available for online purchase at our sister site.

Jump to Buddhist-Artwork.com -- Online Store Selling Quality Hand-Crafted Buddhist Statues

My zodiac Buddha: Daichini


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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This article is about the primordial Buddha Vairocana. For the Tibetan translator, see Vairotsana.
Gilt-bronze Vairocana Buddha at the Bulguksa Temple and a National Treasure of South Korea.
Gilt-bronze Vairocana Buddha at the Bulguksa Temple and a National Treasure of South Korea.
Sanskrit: Vairocana
Chinese: 大日如来 (Dàrì Rúlái)
Japanese: Dainichi Nyorai
Tibetan: rNam-par-snang mdzad
Korean: 비로자나불 (Birojanabul) or 대일여래 (Daeil Yeorae)
Vietnamese: Đại Nhật Như Lai
Venerated by: Vajrayana
Attributes: Emptiness


The Daibutsu of Tōdai-ji (a Kegon Buddhist temple in Nara, Japan). A representation of Vairocana.

Vairocana (also Vairochana or Mahāvairocana; Sanskrit: वैरोचन, Bengali: বৈরোচন, Chinese: 大日如來 Dàrì Rúlái or 毘盧遮那佛 Piluzhenafo, Korean: 비로자나불 Birojanabul or 대일여래 Daeil Yeorae, Japanese: Dainichi Nyorai, 大日如来; Tibetan: རྣམ་པར་སྣང་མཛད། rNam-par-snang mdzad; Mongolian: Teyin böged geyigülügci; Vietnamese: Đại Nhật Như Lai) is a Buddha who is the embodiment of Dharmakaya, and which therefore can be seen as the universal aspect of the historical Gautama Buddha. In Sino-Japanese Buddhism, Vairocana is also seen as the embodiment of the Buddhist concept of shunyata or Emptiness.

In the conception of the Five Wisdom Buddhas of Vajrayana Buddhism, Vairocana is at the center. His consort is White Tara (for every dhyani Buddha there is an affiliated female Buddha). The Vairocana statue in Nara's Tōdai-ji in Japan is the largest bronze image of Vairocana Buddha in the world. The larger of the monumental statues that were destroyed at Bamyan in Afghanistan was also a depiction of Vairocana. In Java, Indonesia, the ninth century Mendut temple near Borobudur in Magelang was dedicated to Dhyani Buddha Vairocana. Built by Sailendra dynasty the temple featured 3 metres tall seated stone statue of Dhyani Buddha Vairocana performing Dharmachakra mudra hand gesture. The statue flanked with statue of Boddhisatva Avalokitesvara and Boddhisatva Vajrapani.

The Spring Temple Buddha of Lushan County, Henan, China, with a height of 126 meters is now the tallest statue depicting the Vairocana Buddha, and also the tallest statue in the world (see List of statues by height).

Vairocana Buddha is first introduced in the Brahma Net Sutra:[1]

Now, I, Vairocana Buddha am sitting atop a lotus pedestal; On a thousand flowers surrounding me are a thousand Sakyamuni Buddhas. Each flower supports a hundred million worlds; in each world a Sakyamuni Buddha appears. All are seated beneath a Bodhi-tree, all simultaneously attain Buddhahood. All these innumerable Buddhas have Vairocana as their original body.

He is also mentioned in the Flower Garland Sutra; however, the doctrine of Vairocana Buddha is based largely on the teachings of the Mahavairocana Sutra (also known as the Mahāvairocana-abhisaṃbodhi-tantra) and to a lesser degree the Vajrasekhara Sutra (also known as the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha Tantra). Vairocana features prominently in the Chinese school of Hua-Yen Buddhism, and also later schools including Japanese Kegon Buddhism, and Japanese esoteric, or Shingon Buddhism. In the case of Shingon Buddhism, Vairocana is the central figure.

In Sino-Japanese Buddhism, Vairocana was gradually superseded as an object of reverence by Amitabha Buddha, due in large part to the increasing popularity of Pure Land Buddhism, but Vairocana's legacy still remains in the Tōdai-ji temple with its massive bronze statue and in Shingon Buddhism, which holds a sizeable minority among Japanese Buddhists.

Vairocana is not to be confused with Virocana, who appears in the eighth chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad as the king of the Asura.



[edit] Doctrine

18/19th Century Indo-Nepali Style gilt and painted figure, distinct in its six-armed form, which illustrates the embodiment of the Six Perfections that are the practice of a Bodhisattva.

In the Rigveda of Hinduism, the word ‘vairocana' has the connotation of a brilliant and luminous sun. Indeed, Vairocana in Tibetan is called ‘Namnang' (rnang.par snang.mdzad), meaning ‘the illuminator', and the Japanese 大日(Dainichi) translates as "Great Sun".

In the Buddhist Mahavairocana Sutra, Vairocana teaches the Dharma to Vajrasattva, but it is utterly incomprehensible, so Vairocana provides esoteric techniques and rituals to help conceptualize the Dharma beyond verbal form. It was this sutra that prompted the Japanese monk, Kukai to journey to China to learn more about Tantric Buddhism.

Vairocana often displays the Dharmacakra mudrā. Dharmacakra in Sanskrit means the Wheel of Dharma. This mudra symbolizes one of the most important moments in the historical life of the Buddha, the occasion when he preached to his companions the first sermon after his Enlightenment in the Deer Park at Sarnath. It thus denotes the setting into motion of the Wheel of the teaching of the Dharma.

Vairocana is an idealization of this central function of the Buddha as a teacher, without which there would have been no Buddhism, and no path to enlightenment. While Amitabha Buddha is seen as a personification of Compassion (balanced by Wisdom), Vairocana is often seen as a personification of Wisdom.

[edit] Iconography

The statue of Dhyani Buddha Vairocana with Boddhisatva Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani, 9th century Mendut temple, near Borobudur, Indonesia.
An image of the Hyōgo Daibutsu depicting Vairocana in Kobe, Hyōgo Japan.

Significantly, Vairocana is said to be the sum of all the Dhyani Buddhas and combines all their qualities. He is therefore, pure white, since white is a blend of all colors.

Indeed, his lotus seat is supported by a pair of two great lions. The lion is the king of beasts and when he roars all others fall silent. Similar is the roar of Buddha's teachings, in relation to the grandeur of which all other voices of our everyday life become insignificant and fall silent. Not surprisingly, meditating on the image of Vairocana is specifically believed to transform the delusion of ignorance into the wisdom preached by the Dharma. When Gautama Buddha turned the wheel of the Dharma, it illuminated (like a sun), the hearts of men and women darkened by ignorance.

With regard to Emptiness, the massive size and brilliance of Vairocana statues is intended to serve as a reminder that all existence is empty, and without a permanent identity.

Vairocana's distinguishing emblem is the golden or solar wheel.

[edit] Miscellaneous

During the initial stages of his predication in Japan, the Catholic missionary Francis Xavier was welcomed by the Shingon monks since he used the word Dainichi for the Christian God. As Xavier learned more about the religious nuances of the word, he changed to Deusu from the Latin and Portuguese Deus.

[edit] Sources

  1. ^ "YMBA's translation of Brahma Net Sutra" (in English). http://www.ymba.org/bns/bnsframe.htm. Retrieved on 2008-12-12. 
  • Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra (Pennsylvania State University Press, December 1977) by Francis H. Cook
  • Meeting The Buddhas by Vessantara. Birmingham : Windhorse Publications 2003. ISBN 0904766535.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Sister projectWikimedia Commons has media related to: Category:Vairocana

Laughing Buddha 2

Last Update: March 26, 2008
Hotei God of Contentment and Happiness
HOTEI - God of Contentment & Happiness

Origin = China Taoism / Buddhism

Chinese Name
Budai or Putai
Said to be an incarnation of Miroku Bosatsu
Miroku in China is known as Miluo Fo (or as Miluo Pusa)
Hotei is known as the Fat Buddha or Laughing Buddha in the West
Hotei is one of Japan's Seven Lucky Gods

Associated VIRTUE = Magnanimity

Hotei God of Contentment/Happiness, Bizen Ceramic, Meiji PeriodHotei God of Contentment/Happiness, Bizen Ceramic, Meiji Period
Hotei God of Contentment/Happiness, Stone Statue, Meiji PeriodHotei God of Contentment/Happiness, Stone Statue, Meiji PeriodHotei God of Contentment/Happiness, Stone Statue, Hase Kannon, KamakuraHotei God of Contentment/Happiness, Metal Statue, California
Hotei Product in Our eStore
One of the Hotei statues in our estore

Hotei. Male. The god of contentment and happiness, Hotei has a cheerful face and a big belly. He is supposedly based on an actual person, and is widely recognized outside of Japan. He carries a large cloth bag over his back, one that never empties, for he uses it to feed the poor and needy. Indeed, the Japanese spelling of "Ho Tei" literally means "cloth bag." He also holds a Chinese fan called an oogi (said to be a "wish giving" fan -- in the distant past, this type of fan was used by the aristocracy to indicate to vassals that their requests would be granted). Hotei is most likely based on the itinerant 10th-century Chinese Buddhist monk and hermit Budaishi (d. 917), who is said to be an incarnation of Miroku Bodhisattva (Maitreya in Sanskrit).

Hotei is sometimes shown surrounded by a group of small children, romping and squealing in delight around his rotund shape. For many more details on Hotei, click here for story by Jennifer Polden.

In recent times, Hotei is also referred to as the patron saint of restaurateurs and bartenders. When one over eats and over drinks, one may sometimes jokingly attribute it to Hotei's influence.

Small human children near his feet

Daikoku at left, Ebisu in middle, Hotei at right; Meiji Period Bizen Ceramic
L to R Daikoku, Ebisu, and Hotei

Hotei in Kamakura Shop Window
Hotei in Kamakura Shop Window

Hotei - stone statue at Zenyo-in in Inatori CityHotei - stone statue at Zenyo-in in Inatori City
Hotei stone statue found at Zenyo-in (Inatori City)

Ivory Hotei
Ivory Hotei in collection of
 Andres Bernhard AKA Rapick - Italy

Hotei, by Kano Yukinobu
Hotei, by Kano Yukinobu
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Below Text Courtesy of JAANUS

Chinese = Budai. A semi-legendary itinerant 10th-century Buddhist monk who became a popular subject in Chinese and Japanese ink painting. His real name is said to have been Qici 契此 (Jp. = Keishi), whose biography is found in the 908 Song Gaosenzhuan 宋高僧伝 (Jp. = SOU KOUSOUDEN) or the "Legends of High Priests of the Song Dynasty." He lived on Mt. Siming 四明 in Mingzhou 明州, Fenghua 奉化, where he frequently strolled through a nearby town carrying his large cloth bag (Ch. = Budai; Jp. = Hotei 布袋). Thus he earned his affectionate nickname, "Priest Budai." Budai's air of "enlightened innocence" led him, like Hanshan and Shide Kanzan Jittoku 寒山拾得, to be admired as an exemplar of Zen values. Although originally he was said to have filled his bag with anything he encountered on his wanderings, later Zen interpretations speak of Budai's "empty bag." Ironically, in Japanese popular culture Budai's bulging bag and contented appearance led to his inclusion in the Seven Gods of Good Fortune. Budai was also thought to have been an incarnation of Maitreya (Miroku 弥勒). In painting Budai is shown with sparse hair, a smiling face, a large bare belly, loose garments and carrying a bag and wooden staff. In later paintings he is shown in a variety of poses, usually seated or sleeping on his bag, but also dancing, walking or pointing upwards at the moon. In Edo period painting Budai is frequently pictured together with groups of playing children. Early Chinese examples include paintings by Liang Kai 梁楷 (Jp: Ryoukai, mid-13c, Kousetsu 香雪 Museum, Koube), Muqi 牧谿 (Jp: Mokkei, late 13c), and Yintuoluo 因陀羅 (Jp: Indara, late 14c, Nezu 根津 Museum, Tokyo), while a plethora of Japanese versions range from works by Mokuan 黙庵 (?-1345) to Ogata Kourin 尾形光琳 (1658-1716) to numerous mitate-e 見立絵 prints in ukiyo-e 浮世絵. <end JAANUS quote>

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Says the Flammarion Iconographic Guide:
Hotei could be the Chinese hermit Budaishi (d. 917), who was thought to be an incarnation of Maitreya; the latter is venerated in some Zen monasteries of the Oubaku sect (as at Manpuku-ji Temple in Kyoto) by the name of Hotei, the "Miroku with the Large Belly." He is represented as a Buddhist monk: bald, unshaven, smiling, with a huge belly. He holds a non-folding fan in the right hand, and leans on a large sack which contains endless treasures, a sort of horn of plenty for his followers. He is also sometimes confused with Warai-Hotoke (smiling Buddha) or with Fudaishi (Japanese version of the name of the Chinese hermit Budaishi) when he is assigned to guard monastery libraries. In this case he is accompanied by his two "sons.*" In Japan, the image of Hotei is often made as a toy for pulling or tilting. When it has wheels, the toy is called kuruma-sou (the rolling monk). In some representations in Japan, Hotei has an eye drawn on his back, a symbol of universal vision.

* Footnote: A legend relates, against all the evidence, that Fudaishi was the inventor of the buildings intended to contain the sutras (rotating libraries, called kyōdō in Japan), and built by the so-called Azekura-zukuri technique. His two sons, shown clapping their hands and laughing, are sometimes called Fuwaku (or Fuken) and Fukon (or Fujō). Sculptures at Kōmyō-ji Temple in Kamakura, and at Daikoku-ji Temple in Kyōto. <end Flammarion quote>

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Laughing Buddha 1

Budai (Chinese: 布袋; pinyin: bùdài) or Budai Luohan, pronounced Hotei in Japanese, is a figure that appears throughout Chinese culture. He is a representation of contentment and abundance, and is sometimes seen as a deity by religious Taoists and Buddhists. His image graces many temples, restaurants, amulets, and businesses. He is almost always shown smiling or laughing, hence his nickname in Chinese, the Laughing Buddha (Chinese: 笑佛).

Budai is based on an eccentric Chinese Zen (Chán) monk who lived in the time of the Liang Dynasty. He has since become incorporated into a number of Buddhist, Taoist and Shinto traditions. Some Buddhist traditions use him as an representation of the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the predicted Buddha to succeed Gautama Buddha in the future. In Japan, Hotei persists in folklore as one of the Seven Lucky Gods (Shichi Fukujin).



[edit] History

[edit] As Angida Arhat

Budai as depicted in a print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Note the sack in his hand.

Budai derives from the time of Sakyamuni Buddha, where there was a monk named Angida, whose name also meant calico bag.[1] Angida was one of the original eighteen Arhats of Buddhism. According to legend, Angida was a talented Indian snake catcher whose aim was to catch venomous snakes to prevent them from biting passers-by. Angida would also remove the snake's venomous fangs and release them. Due to his kindness, he was able to attain bodhi. Both Budai and Angida have similar resemblances, as they both are rotund, seen laughing and carrying a bag, However, in Chinese art, Angida is portrayed as Budai, so it may be unclear whether the imagery between the two are similar in any way. In Nepali, it is also called hasne buddha.[citation needed]

[edit] As a Chinese Buddhist monk

In the Chinese tradition, Budai was a monk who lived during the Later Liang Dynasty (907–923 AD) of China. He was a native of Fenghua, and his Buddhist name was Qieci (Chinese: 契此; pinyin: Qiècǐ; literally "Promise this"). He was considered a man of good and loving character. Apart from his character, his identification with the Maitreya Bodhisattva (the future Buddha) is also attributed to a Buddhist hymn (Chinese: 偈语; pinyin: Jiéyǔ) he uttered before his death:

Maitreya, the true Maitreya
has billions of incarnations.
Often he is shown to people at the time;
other times they do not recognize him.

[edit] Description

Budai is often depicted as having the appearance of a fat bald man wearing a robe and wearing or otherwise carrying prayer beads.

[edit] Faiths that revere Budai

[edit] Zen Buddhism

Statue of Budai in Beipu, Taiwan

The primary story that concerns Budai in Zen (Chán) is a short kōan. In it, Budai is said to travel giving candy to poor children, only asking a penny from Zen monks or lay practitioners he meets. One day a monk walks up to him and asks, "What is the meaning of Zen?" Budai drops his bag. "How does one realize Zen?" he continued. Budai then took up his bag and continued on his way.

[edit] I Kuan Tao

Statues of Budai form a central part of shrines in the I Kuan Tao. He is usually referred to by his Sanskrit name, Maitreya, and is taken to represent many important teachings and messages, including contentment, generosity, wisdom and open kindheartedness. He is predicted to succeed Gautama Buddha, as the next Buddha. He helps people realize the essence within, which connects with all beings. and he fosters the realization of tolerance, generosity and contentment; thus, he helps to bring heaven to earth.

[edit] Phra Sangkadchai/ Phra Sangkachai

Phra Sangkachai

In Thailand Budai is sometimes confused with another similar monk widely respected in Thailand, Phra Sangkadchai or Sangkachai (Thai: พระสังกัจจายน์). Phra Sangkadchai, a Thai spelling of Mahakaccayanathera (Thai: มหากัจจายนเถระ), was a Buddhist Arhat (in Sanskrit) or Arahant (in Pali) during the time of the Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha praised Phra Sangkadchai for his excellence in explaining sophisticated dharma (or dhamma) in an easily and correctly understandable manner. Phra Sangkadchai also composed the Madhupinadika Sutra.

One tale relates that he was so handsome that once even a man wanted him for a wife. To avoid a similar situation, Phra Sangkadchai decided to transform himself into a fat monk. Another tale says he was so attractive that angels and men often compared him with the Buddha. He considered this inappropriate, so disguised himself in an unpleasantly fat body.

Budai, Wat Don Phra Chao, Yasothon, Thailand

Although both Budai and Phra Sangkadchai may be found in both Thai and Chinese temples, Phra Sangkadchai is found more often in Thai temples, and Budai in Chinese temples. Two points to distinguish them from one another are:

  1. Phra Sangkadchai has a trace of hair on his head (looking similar to the Buddha's) while Budai is clearly bald.
  2. Phra Sangkadchai wears the robes in Theravadin Buddhist fashion with the robes folded across one shoulder, leaving the other uncovered. Budai wears the robes in Chinese style, covering both arms but leaving the front part of the upper body uncovered.

[edit] Folklore

Temple shrine in Taroko Gorge, Taiwan

Budai in folklore is admired for his happiness, plenitude, and wisdom of contentment. One belief, popular in folklore but not part of Buddhist doctrine, maintains that rubbing his belly brings wealth, good luck, and prosperity.

[edit] See also

What is the Mental Ability of Awareness (Sati)?

The Blessed Buddha once said:
Bhikkhus, there are these five mental abilities (indriya). What five?

The ability of Faith (saddhā)
The ability of Energy (viriya)
The ability of Awareness (sati)
The ability of Concentration (samādhi)
The ability of Understanding (pañña)

But what is the mental ability of Awareness (Sati)?
That which is Awareness, constant attention, recollection,
mental presence, mindfulness, remembering, bearing in mind,
alertness, watchful consciousness, non-neglect, non-oblivious,
non-forgetfulness, non-carelessness, and non-superficiality.
This is called the ability of Awareness, the Power of Awareness,
Right Awareness, and the Awareness link to Awakening!

But what is the Awareness link to Awakening?

Herein a Bhikkhu is mindful, furnished with excellent Awareness,
recollection, he remembers, remembers constantly, what has long
been done & long been said concerning release even very long ago.
This is called the Awareness link to Awakening...
There is Awareness of internal states and there is Awareness of
external states. Both Awareness of internal states & Awareness
of external states is an Awareness link to Awakening leading to
full knowledge, Enlightenment, & to complete emancipating release!

The Rainbow

The rainbow is eternity’s expression of delight. It cannot but be auspicious, even if it portends the demise of a great master. For such a master – now merged into ‘clear light’ (prabhasvara) of the death process where the most subtle level of mind is experienced as pristine inner radiance – there is no sense of ‘leaving behind’, the notion of self and others having been transcended. For the ‘others’, the disciples or students, there is inevitably a great sense of loss and grief. Yet the miracle of the master’s departing rainbow will always remain as a great source of strength and inspiration for the devotees.

The vaulting arc of the rainbow is known as ‘Indra’s bow’

(Indradhanush), one of the weapons of the ancient Vedic sky god, Indra. The seven colours of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet on the inside. When a double rainbow occurs, the order of colours in the second rainbow is reversed. On rare occasion a similar rainbow effect is created by the moon’s light at night, producing a silver ‘moonbow’ on the opposite side of the sky. A circular rainbow known as ‘glory’, can sometimes be seen from high vantage points, such as hazy mountain summits, forming an aureole halo ring of rainbow light. In Tibetan art the rainbow takes on a more supernatural manifestation. The divine forms of deities manifest and dissolve into emptiness just as a rainbow appears and vanishes into the sky. Rainbows in Tibetan art arise from sacred places or objects, expanding outwards as they twist and interweave with other rainbows or horizontal cloudbanks. They originate from a point and eventually dissolve into space, like winding rivers of light. A miraculous phenomena in the Tibetan tradition is the taking of the ‘rainbow body’ at the time of death. This miraculous sign of realization is known as the ‘body of light’. When a great master has attained the realization of Mahamudra, the world is no longer perceived as a conceptual concrete dimension. Sine all appearance have transformed into ultimate nature of reality itself – as the fully enlightened ‘body’ of the Buddha (dharmakaya), permeating space with no solidity or separation. When the notion of a individual self has dissolved, leaving no residue of an intermediary ‘I’ between unmanifest consciousness and the appearance of a physical universe as light, the physical body is likewise perceived as merely an appearance of light. Such a master will leave instructions that his body should remain undisturbed for a period of days after his death. During this period rainbow emanates from the place where his body rests, as his consciousness remains absorbed in the state of ‘clear light’. When the miraculous rainbows have ceased, all that remains of the master’s bodily form are his clothes, hair, his fingernails and toenails. Tibetan folklore ascribes various omens to the appearance of rainbows. At the end of every rainbow is believed to be a wish-fulfilling jewel. A rainbow at night is believed to be an ominous sign. White rainbow symbolizes, the death of a yogin. A rainbow around the sun is usually caused by ice crystals, but in Tibet it is seen as an omen of the birth or death of a great teacher.

One of the most frequently painted forms of rainbow-body emanation is that of Padmasambhava, a great Buddhist teacher and tantric master. When Padmasambhava is represented as manifesting on the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya level simultaneously, then three rainbow sources emanates from his crown, forehead and heart centres, respectively. These three rainbow-streams merge together very subtly to produce a harmonious triple whirl-pool of rainbow waves. As finely depicted in this thangka.