HALL OF WATER 水大之殿

Deities of the Lotus 莲花部诸尊

Chamber 1 第一堂

Buddha Amitayus/Amitabha 无量寿,无量光如来 the Tathagata of the Lotus Court, Vajra of Compassion. Also known as Avalokitesvara-raja & Amrita-raja 观自在王,甘露王. These 2 names reveal the deep karmic link between Avalokitevara & Amitabha. Once the bhikku Dharmakara 法藏比丘 he made 48 incomparable vows to benefit all sentient beings, resulting in his attainment of the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss upon full enlightenment. Thus Buddha Sakyamuni taught us that whoever recites Amitabha's name sincerely can also attain this wonderful merit & Pure Land. Amitabha is mentioned in many Mahayana sutras, but the most detailed info on this famous Buddha is in the Sukhavati Vyuha sutras, as well as the Saddharma & Karuna Pundarika sutras. It is said all Buddhas in the 10 directions praise his name. Amitabha also plays a significant role in Vajrayana Buddhism. He represents one of the 4 Buddha-wisdom of Tathagaha Maha-vairocana, the 妙观察智 Wisdom of Excellent Observation. The above statue at Nara, Japan is shown forming the 弥陀定印 Amitayus Dhyana Mudra, representing the said Wisdom. In the Garbhakosa & Vajradhatu Mandala Buddha Amitabha is always situated west of Vairocana. Besides reciting his name, followers of Vajrayana also recites his Dharani & Heart Mantra, which is:

Om amrita teje hara hum

Or the more common:

Om ami dewa hrih

And the Garbhakosa Mantra is:

Namah samanta buddhanam sam sah svaha

The Vajradhatu Mantra is:

Om lokeshvara-raja hrih

 

   

Bodhisattva Vajradharma, 金刚法菩萨 the Vajra of Purity, one of the 16 Mahasattvas of the 金刚界曼荼罗 Vajradhatu Mandala, where all sentient beings all none other than the Tathagata Maha-vairocana. Flesh-colored, it's the fundamental esoteric form of Avalokitesvara, which represents the tranquil, undefiled samadhi of Vairocana. He is situated directly below Buddha Amitabha in the Vajradhatu Mandala. The function & vow of this form is basically the same as Aryavalokiesvara, to open the Lotus in the hearts of all beings. In this case he goes further to reveal to them the absolute truth. His Mantra, which is the same with the heart mantra of Sahasra-bhuja Avalokitesvara, is thus:

Om vajra dharma hrih

 

 

Cundhi Saptakoti, 准提七俱底佛母, the Vajra of Highest Glory. Light yellow in appearance, she is an 18-armed Buddha-bhagavati (female Buddha) deity who is chief of all merits of the Lotus Court of the 胎藏界曼荼罗 Garbhakosa Mandala, & thus able to perform the functions of all the other Lotus deities. However she is not situated in the Lotus Court but at the left end of the Court of Sarvajna. Also called Cundhi Avalokitesvara 准提观音 sometimes. 'Sapta' means 7 & 'koti' is an astronomical number. This is used to compare to her all-encompassing virtues. Her mantra, which is a source of generating measureless merit with infinite applications, even unto enlightenement, is thus:

Namo saptanam samyaksambuddha kotinam tadyatha om cale cule cunde svaha

 

Bodhisattva Maha-sthama-prapta, 'Great strength reaching', 大势至菩萨, the Vajra of the Wheel. He is the left-hand man of Amitabha Buddha in his Pure Land, and closely related to Avalokitesvara. So-called because the strength and light of his wisdom is able to illuminate all worlds. His fundemntal vow is to awaken the Bodhicitta (the seed of enlightenment) in all sentient beings.. He seldom appears in our world, at least to most of our knowledge. In the Garbhakosa Mandala, he is usually flesh colored & portrayed as carrying a half-bloomed lotus. This represents the ability to nurture & protect the inherent good in all sentient beings. He is situated in the 1st row of the Lotus Section, 2nd from the top. His common mantra is:

Om sam jam jam sah svaha

The Garbhakosa Mantra is:

Namah samanta buddhanam jam jam sah svaha

 

Bodhisattva Maha-pratisara, 大随求菩萨, 'Great fulfiller of wishes' or the Vajra of Wish Fulfillment. The image above from the Garbhakosa Mandala is in a deep yellow color & has 8 arms, carrying vajra, axe, lasso, sword, wheel, trident, fascicle and banner. These represent his fundamental vows which gives him infinite powers to protect, teach, and remove obstacles and fulfill the wishes of all sentient beings. He is situated at the top of the 2nd row of the Lotus Section. According to the Maha-vairocana Sutra:

"The moment a person hears his Mantra, his past sins will be relieved, & if the person constantly recites it, know that he will be indestructible. Fire cannot burn him, blades cannot cut him & poison cannot hurt him."

His Mantra is:

Om bhara bhara sambhara sambhra indriya visudhani hum hum ruru cale svaha

And the alternative:

Om vajra parasu pasa kharga cakra trisula cintamani mahavidya dharani svaha

 

 

Bodhisattva Bhogavati 丰财菩萨, 'He who is endowed with wealth',  also called the Vajra of Satisfaction. So called because he is in charge of bestowing blessings & virtues, whose fundamental vow is to give freely to all sentient beings. According to the sadhanas he is white in color, holds 2 stalks of Lotuses in his left hand. The one over his left shoulder is a 3-shoot lotus bud, whereas the one over his right is a fully bloomed one. The 3 shoots represent the body, speech & mind of sentient beings, and the one bloom represents the heart of compassion that transforms them. Together they represent the equality of sentient beings & the Buddhas in fundamental purity. His right hand, raised to the shoulder level, is formed into a Mudra of Tri-karma. The image above from the Garbhakosa Mandala is white, garbed in celestial robes & sits upon a red lotus. He is situated at in the 3rd row of the Lotus Section, 3rd from the top. His Mantra is.

Om arya dharari svaha

Or the alternative:

Om aryabhogavati svaha

 

Bodhisattva Laksma-mahavidya 大吉祥变菩萨, 'Transformed from the greatly auspicious',  also called the Vajra of Activation. In the Lotus Section of the Garbhakosa Mandala, he is located at the 3rd row, 2nd from the bottom. He is a deity in charge of the usage of the 33 transformation bodies of Avalokitesvara. His body is white, holding a half-bloomed lotus in the left hand, and appear to gaze attentively at it. The right hand is pressed to the chest, palm faced up, as if accepting something. This represents the ability to adopt any skillful means necessary to cause the inherent good in sentient beings to grow. His mantra is:

Om laksma-mahavidya svaha

 

Bodhisattva Tara 多罗菩萨 also known as the Vajra born from Compassion. Tara means 'eye' or 'deliverer', born from Avalokitesvara's tears. A female deity of the Lotus Court in the Garbhakosa Mandala, she represents the virtue of concentration of Avalokitesvara. She is situated on the 1st row, 3rd from the bottom of the Lotus Court. Some Sutras call her the 世间母 "Worldly Mother", the 出世间母 "Renounced Mother", & the 智慧母 "Wisdom Mother", for she is like the compassionate mother of all sentient beings. Very popular in Tibet, where she is known as the "Deliverance Mother" or 度母. In the Mahavairocana Sutra she is described as colored a mixture of blue & white (green), resembling a matured lady (see above image). Her palms are clasp in Padma-anjali, holding a blue lotus. Hallowed like shining gold, she is smiling & clad in fresh white robes. Though she is neither strictly green nor white, in Tibet Tara has evolved into both Green & White (see images below), which are 2 similar deities. It is believed that Green Tara comes from Avalokitesvara or Amitabha's left eye, whereas White Tara comes from the right. Green Tara is the chief deity in the 21 Tara Mandala formation, & White Tara is also known as the 7 eyed buddha-bhagavati (she has 3 eyes on the head & 1 on each limb). Together they perform Avalokitesvara's work of deliverance in Tibet without fail.

Green & White Tara 绿度母,白度母

The Garbhakosa Mantra for Tara is:

Namah samanta buddhanam tare tarini karunobhava svaha

Then there is the more commonly known Mantra of Green Tara, which is:

Om tare tuttare ture svaha 

And there is the longer, less known Mantra of White Tara, which is:

Om tare tuttare ture mama ayubunirjana bujen inkuruya svaha

 

 

 

 

And more to come…

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