Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Five Buddhas

The five  transcendental Buddhas - Vairocana, Aksobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha an Amoghasiddhi represents the sambhogakaya aspects of buddhahood and are very important in Newar paintings.The Five buddhas are also known as  Five Dhyani Buddhas ,  the Five Wisdom the Five Great Buddhas and the Five Jinas , are representations of the five qualities of the Buddha.These five Buddhas are a common subject of Vajrayana mandalas. An important role of the five transcendental Buddha is to represent the four cardinal direction and the center. They are often placed as such around the image of a stupa, which is the symbol of the Buddha's mind.They are also frequently found in upper register of Newar Buddhist paubha paintings, where they represent the knowledge of the main deity.


1) Buddha Vairocana  :

 Vairocana is the Tathagatas who symbolises all pervasive wisdom i.e.  knowledge free from all kinds    of obscuration. He is placed in the inner    sanctum of stupa though he is sometime placed between Akshobhya  and  Ratnasambhava.He is white in color and his vehicle is a pair of lions,  symbolizing the lion's roar of the  knowledge of the Dharmadhatu, which terrifies all wrong views. He can be recognised by the white wheel or  Dharmachakra which cuts all wrong views.

2) Buddha Aksobhya :

 Aksobhya is the Tathagatas who symbolises the mirror like wisdom which  means the wisdom like space, all  persuasive, without limit and without  characteristics.He is the essence of the purified form of hatred.The image of  Aksobhya is generally placed in east in the stupa. He is blue in color and rides  on elephant throne, symbolizing  the steadfast nature of his bodhisattva vows.

3) Buddha Ratnasambhava  :

Ratnasambhava is the Tathagata who symbolises the wisdom of equality.He  also represents the purified form of  of the defilement of pride. In the extant    literature his vows, aspiration and activity are  rarely  described. He is    usually known as the Buddha born from Jewel .He is yellow in color and  placed at south face of stupas. He rides  on horse throne, symbolises that he  ferries over suffering sentient beings with full vigor.

4) Amitabha Buddha  :

Amitabha Buddha is also one of the five Tathagatas ,who  represents the    wisdom of discriminating awareness and the purified form of desire.  Amitabha is red in color and placed on the west face of stupas. He rides on  peacock , symbolising that he can take away the suffering of others,just as the  peacock eats poisonous plants and yet his tail shines forth.

5) Amoghasiddhi Buddha  :

Amoghasiddhi is the last among the Five Buddhas, who represents the all  accomplishing wisdom and the purified form of jealousy. Amoghsiddhi is green in color and placed at north face of stupas. He rides on Garuda   symbolizing that he can detect the presence of serpent-like delusion from a distance. Amoghsiddhi alone has a canopy of snakes over his head. His  visage resembles that of Shakyamuni Buddha covered by the nine headed Naga  King Mucalinda.