The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Five Dhyani Buddhas
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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.
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.
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 central figure came to be called Vairocana.
Names in other languages:
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||Colour ← Element → Symbolism||Cardinality → Wisdom → Attachments → Gestures||Means → Maladaptation to Stress||Season|
|Buddha/Vairocana||white ← space → wheel||center → all accommodating → form → Teaching the Dharma||Turning the Wheel of Dharma → Ignorance||n/a|
|Vajra/Akshobhya||blue ← water → scepter, Vajra||east → nondualist → consciousness → humility||protect, destroy → Anger, hate||spring|
|Padma/Amitābha||red ← fire → lotus||west → inquisitive → Perception → Meditation||magnetize, subjugate → selfishness||summer|
|Ratna/Ratnasambhava||gold/yellow ← earth → jewel||south → equanimous → Feeling → giving||enrich, increase → pride, Greed||autumn|
|Karma/Amoghasiddhi||green ← air, wind → double vajras||north → all accomplishing → Mental formation, concept → fearlessness||pacify → envy||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.
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.