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From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Kukuraja was a mahasiddha within the lineages of Esoteric Buddhism and he was contemporaneous with Indrabhuti of Sahor in Oddiyana (also known as King Ja) and Kambalapada (also known as Lawapa).

Some sources hold that it was Kukuraja who prophesied the birth of Garab Dorje, the founder of the human lineage of the Nyingmapa Dzogchen Tantra teachings though the chronology is problematic. The tradition holds that there may be multiple Kukaraja's which are conflated (a view also propounded by modern scholarship) or the different Kukkaraja according to Nyingma tradition may be understood as a lineage of mindstream emanations.


According to Nyingma tradition, King Ja taught himself intuitively from "the Book" of the Tantric Way of Secret Mantra (that is Mantrayana) that magically fell from the sky along with other sacred objects and relics "upon the roof of King Ja" according to Dudjom (1904–1987), et al. (1991: p. 613 History) took place on the Tibetan calendar year of the Earth Monkey, which Dudjom et al. identify as 853 BC[E]. Kukuraja received instruction drawn from "the Book" on what may be understood as the Outer Tantras from King Ja, then King Ja received instruction on what may be understood as the Inner Tantras from Kukuraja (Kukkuraja taught King Ja after Kukkuraja received a direct revelation of Vajrasattva wherein Vajrasattva prophesied the imminent esoteric transmission of Vajrapani, the Lord of Secrets, to Kukuraja which was only made possible through the quickening of Kukuraja by King Ja with his intuitive knowledge drawn from "the Book") as Dudjom (1904–1987), et al. (1991: p. 460) of the principally Nyingma view relates:

"Then King Ja taught the book to master Uparaja, who was renowned as a great scholar throughout the land of Sahor, but he could not understand their symbolic conventions and meaning. The king then taught them to the master Kukkuraja. He intuitively understood the chapter on the "Vision of Vajrasattva", from the Tantra of the Magical Net of Vajrasattva (Wylie: rdo rje sems dpa' sgyu 'phrul drva ba (also known as the Guhyagarbha Tantra), and practiced it, whereupon Vajrasattva revealed himself and predicted that the Lord of Secrets would reveal the meanings of this tantra thereafter. When he had practised more, the Lord of Secrets actually appeared and granted him (Kukkuraja) the complete empowerment of the authentic teaching and of all vehicles. Then he told him to request the verbal teaching from the Licchavi Vimalakirti. It is said that, following the transmitted precepts of the Lord of Secrets, master Kukkuraja divided [the Mahayoga tantras) into the Eighteen Great Tantrapitaka (tantra chen-po sde bco-brgyad) and taught them to King Ja."


Kukuraja interpreted Tantras for King Indrabhuti. Indrabhuti is held in some sources to be the father of Padmasambhava.

Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

Kukuraja, Kukkuraja, Kukuradza, Kukkuradza and many other permutations.

Indonesian or Malay Mantranaya

There is a Dancing Ganesha at Candi Sukuh that holds a small dog, a marked Buddhadharma motif of the Hindu deity which holds iconic salience with the narrative and motifs of the "Dog King", Kukuraja. This is important for identifying the date of the tantric lineage(s) that disseminated to the Indonesian archipelago, refer: Vajrayana Buddhism in Southeast Asia.

Candi Sukuh is a fifteenth century Javanese-Hindu-Buddhist temple (candi) that demonstrates strong tantric influence. Candi Sukuh is located on the western slope of Mount Lawu (elev. 910 m or 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level) on the border between Central and East Java provinces. The monument was built around 1437, as written as a chronogram date on the western gate, meaning that the area was under the rule of the Majapahit Kingdom during its end (1293–1500). The distinctive Dancing Ganesha relief in Candi Sukuh has a similarity with the Tantric ritual found in the history of Buddhism in Tibet written by Taranatha. The Tantric ritual is associated with several figures, one of whom is described as the "King of Dogs" (Sanskrit: Kukuraja), the mahasiddha who taught his disciples by day, and by night performed Ganacakra in a burial ground or charnel ground. Importantly, Ganesha also appears in Buddhism, not only in the form of the Buddhist god Vināyaka, but also portrayed as a Hindu demon form also called Vināyaka. Ganesha's image may be found on Buddhist sculptures of the late Gupta period. As the Buddhist god Vināyaka, Ganesha is often shown dancing, a form called Nṛtta Ganapati that was popular in North India and adopted in Nepal and then into Tibet. It is this Dancing Ganesha form which is evident in Candi Sukuh. For more information on different permutations of Ganesha beyond 'Hinduism' proper, refer Ganesha in world religions.