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Five Dhyani Buddhas

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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03-jina-budha.JPG

In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Five Dhyani Buddhas (Chinese: 金刚界五智如来 / 五方佛), also known as the Five Wisdom Tathāgatas (Chinese: 五智如来; pinyin: Wǔzhì Rúlái), the Five Great Buddhas and the Five Jinas (Sanskrit for "conqueror" or "victor"), are representations of the five qualities of The Buddha.

The term "dhyani-Buddha" is first recorded in English by the British Resident in Nepal, Brian Hodgson, in the early 19th century, and is unattested in any surviving traditional primary sources.

These five Buddhas are a common subject of Vajrayana mandalas. These five Buddhas are the primary object of worship and Meditation in Shingon Buddhism, a school of Vajarayana Buddhism founded in Japan by Kūkai.

Origination

The Five Wisdom Buddhas are a later development, based on the Yogācāra elaboration of concepts concerning the jñāna of the Buddhas, of the Trikaya (In Sanskrit, Tri is "three", kaya is "Body") theory, which posits three "bodies" of The Buddha.

The Wisdom Buddhas are all aspects of the Dharmakaya or "Truth-Body", which embodies the principle of Enlightenment.

Initially two Buddhas appeared which represented Wisdom and Compassion - they were, respectively, Akṣobhya and Amitābha.

A further distinction embodied the aspects of Power, or activity, and the aspect of Beauty, or spiritual riches.

In the Sutra of Golden Light (an early Mahayana Sutra) the figures are named Dundubishvara, and Ratnaketu, but over time their names changed to become Amoghasiddhi, and Ratnasaṃbhava.

The central figure came to be called Vairocana.

When these Buddhas are represented in mandalas, they may not always have the same colour or be related to the same directions. In particular, Akṣobhya and Vairocana may be switched.

When represented in a Vairocana Mandala, the Buddhas are arranged like this:

Amoghasiddhi

(north)

Amitabha

(West)

Vairocana

(principal deity/ meditator)

Akshobhya

(East)

Ratnasambhava

(South)

Myth2-13-4.JPG

Names

Names in other languages:

Sanskrit Chinese Japanese Tibetan Vietnamese
Vairocana 大日如來 Dàrì Rúlái
毘盧遮那佛 Pílúzhēnà Fó
大日如来, Dainichi Nyorai Nampar nangdze, Nam nang Đại Nhật Như Lai
Akshobhya 阿閦如來, Achù Rulai 阿閦如来, Ashuku Nyorai Mitrugpa A Súc Bệ Như Lai
Amitābha 阿彌陀佛, Ēmítuó Fó or Āmítuó Fó 阿弥陀如来, Amida Nyorai Wöpakme A Di Đà Như Lai
Ratnasambhava 寳生如來, Baosheng Rulai 宝生如来, Hōshō Nyorai Rinchen Jung ne Rin jung Bảo Sanh Như Lai
Amoghasiddhi 成就如來, Chengjiu Rulai 不空成就如来, Fukūjōju Nyorai Dön yö drub pa Dön drub Bất Không Thành Tựu Như Lai
Ratna s.jpg

Qualities

There is an expansive number of associations with each element of the Mandala, so that the Mandala becomes a cipher and mnemonic visual Thinking instrument and concept map; a vehicle for understanding and decoding the whole of the Dharma.


Some of the associations include:

Family/Buddha ColourElementSymbolism Cardinality → WisdomAttachmentsGestures MeansMaladaptation to Stress Season
Buddha/Vairocana white ← spacewheel center → all accommodatingformTeaching the Dharma Turning the Wheel of DharmaIgnorance n/a
Vajra/Akshobhya blue ← water → scepter, Vajra east → nondualistconsciousnesshumility protect, destroyAnger, hate spring
Padma/Amitābha red ← firelotus west → inquisitivePerceptionMeditation magnetize, subjugateselfishness summer
Ratna/Ratnasambhava gold/yellow ← earthjewel south → equanimousFeelinggiving enrich, increasepride, Greed autumn
Karma/Amoghasiddhi green ← air, winddouble vajras north → all accomplishingMental formation, conceptfearlessness pacifyenvy winter

The Five Wisdom Buddhas are protected by the Five Wisdom Kings, and in Japan are frequently depicted together in the Mandala of the Two Realms and are in The Shurangama Mantra revealed in The Shurangama Sutra.

They each are often depicted with consorts, and preside over their own Pure Lands.

In East Asia, the aspiration to be reborn in a Pure land is the central point of Pure Land Buddhism.

Although all five Buddhas have pure lands, it appears that only Sukhāvatī of Amitabha, and to a much lesser extent Abhirati of Akshobhya (where great masters like Vimalakirti and Milarepa are said to dwell) attracted aspirants.

Buddha (Skt) Consort Dhyani Bodhisattva Pure land seed syllable
Vairocana White Tara or Dharmadhatvishvari Samantabhadra [[central Pure land Akanistha Ghanavyuha Om
Akshobhya Locanā Vajrapāni eastern Pure land Abhirati Hum
Amitābha Pandara Avalokiteshvara western Pure land Sukhāvatī Hrih
Ratnasambhava Mamaki Ratnapani southern Pure land Shrimat Trah
Amoghasiddhi Green Tara Viśvapāni northern Pure land Prakuta Ah

Source

Wikipedia:Five Dhyani Buddhas