May 10 2016 – month of flower & buddha photos – day 10
“the whitest Buddha ever” !? That’s because this Buddha image (Japan, c. 1900, glazed & hand-painted porcelain, 5.5 inches in height), represents not the Earthly Gautama Siddhartha Buddha Shakya Muni, but rather a celestial or cosmic buddha – one of the five dhyani buddhas (meditational wisdom archetypes) – in this case, Vairochana (Maha Vairochana) Buddha, or Dainichi Nyorai.
As the central figure among the Five Dhyani Buddhas, Vairochana is associated with the all-accommodating quality of the Buddhist path and the destruction of the poison of ignorance. His cosmic body is depicted by the color white, symbolizing being unstained by confusion and boundless as space. He is associated with space, the subtlest of the five elements, and his cardinal “direction” is the center.
In Shingon Buddhism (Chinese Zhēnyán: True Word, Sanskrit Mantrayana), the Chinese form of Vajrayana (Mantrayana) Buddhism brought to Japan by Kukai (Kobo Daishi, 774-c835), Maha Vairochana (also named Dainichi Nyorai) is regarded as the Adi Buddha, the Primordial, First, or Unborn Buddha, the Cosmic Central Buddha – an eternal Enlightenment Being, representing the metaphysically abstract but experientially concrete essence of Buddha-nature Itself, the fully awakened Buddha-mind, existing in Its own realm where boundless unborn consciousness is pure existence itself, and where the only “thing” that exists is this same one boundless pure consciousness – Buddha-mind, or fully awake Buddha-nature. Another way of saying this is that Maha Vairochana in the Shingon and some other Mantrayana systems represents the Dharmakaya, or absolute body of eternal cosmic Buddha-nature. Enlightenment involves the spontaneously ever-present experiential realization that one’s own mind in its pure state is none other than Dharmakaya or Maha Vairochana Buddha, and that the Dharmakaya is none other than one’s own mind in its true primordial and pristine state.
This small Dainichi Nyorai figure would have been the central object in a shrine room, or cabinet altar in a modest Japanese Shingon Buddhist family home.
His robe is elaborated decorated, representing the formal ceremonial heavy silk brocade embroidered robes favored in many Vajrayana / Shingon traditions.
I was gifted with this Buddha only a few days ago. I really dig his peachy colored “English rose” cheek blush and the somewhat worn-away gilt glaze coloring his celestial, cosmic hair. I also really love his slightly side-long gaze!
big gold flower – may 10, 2016 – photo © gilded hand carved wood panel. China.
Side-long gazes at the Master. May 1973. His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; my long-time friend & fellow-artist, Lady KK (with bangs, in the background); the ever-sincere & scintillating Lady H, carrying international paperwork; and yours truly. Photo by W. Neuitt.