September 20, 2022

Kongokai Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana):Tokyo National Museum

Kongokai Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana):Tokyo National Museum


Wood with lacquer and gold leaf
Japan, Heian period, 11-12th century


I recently visited the Tokyo National Museum to view a variety of beautiful Buddhist sculptures displayed there. I am uploading some of the photos of the Buddha images I took during this visit. 

This museum generously allows the photographs of its exhibits to be posted on non-commercial personal blogs and social networking sites with the exception of the items which are prohibited to be photographed.

Further information on the uploaded images of the exhibits can be found on the website of the Tokyo National Museum (https://www.tnm.jp/?lang=en).

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Dainichi Nyorai or Dainichi Buddha (Vairocana) is the supreme Buddha in the teaching of Esoteric Buddhism (Mikkyo). Esoteric Buddhism or Tantric Buddhism of Japan is said to be a fusion of Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism. 

The name "Dainichi" means "the great central sun" located at the center of the macrocosm. As this name suggests, this Dainichi Nyorai, like the central sun, illuminates the whole universe with his brilliant light of supreme wisdom and compassion.

Esoteric Buddhism has two Mandala (the design of universe) worlds, namely, Vajradhatu (Kongokai or Diamond Realm) and Garbhadhatu (Taizokai or Womb Realm), each of which has a distinct Dainichi Nyorai of a different character. 

In Esoteric Buddhism, Dainichi Nyorai is the central Buddha, who, although in the form of a Buddha, is the macrocosm itself. All living things in the universe are said to be born from this Dainichi Nyorai.

It is also believed that all Buddhas, including the Buddha Shakyamuni, are the manifestation of this Dainichi Nyorai.


Aizen-myoo (Ragaraja): Tokyo National Museum

Aizen-myoo (Ragaraja): Tokyo National Museum

Wood with gold and other pigments, lacquer, gold leaf, and crystal

Japan, Kamakura period, 13th century


Aizen-myoo is an avator of Buddha and the god of love which believed in Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. He has three eyes and six arms, wears the crown of lion's head, is red in color with anger, and is seated in the lotus position with his legs crossed. He holds a bow and arrows for destroying demons on his six arms, and a Hobyo (sacred water vessel) is placed below the lotus seat.


As "Aizen(love)suggestshe is in charge of love and lust and has the power to transform our earthly lust and greed into pure bodhi-citta (enlightened mind), symbolizing the extinction of worldly desires and the attainment of enlightenment.


Humans have many desires, and these desires have the power to drive us to destruction, but, at the same time, they also have the power to energize our lives. Aizen-myoo's teaching is to purify such a crude human desire, which is like a double-edged sword, into the encouraging energy that causes spiritual enlightenment and self-improvement.





Standing Buddha Triad: Tokyo National Museum

Standing Buddha Triad: Tokyo National Museum


China
Limestone
Eastern Wei dynasty, 6th century
 

Ekadasamukha in a Niche: Tokyo National Museum

Ekadasamukha in a Niche: Tokyo National Museum

Baoqingsi temple, Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China

Limestone
Tang dynasty, 8th century
 

Buddha Triad in a Niche: Tokyo National Museum

Buddha Triad in a Niche: Tokyo National Museum


Baoqingsi temple, Xi'an, Shaanxi province, 
China

Limestone
Tang dynasty, 8th century

Sitting Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Sitting Buddha: Tokyo National Museum


Thailand

Bronze

Sukhothai style, 14-15th century


Standing Bodhisattva: Tokyo National Museum

Standing Bodhisattva: Tokyo National Museum

China

Lime stone
Northern Qi dynasty, dated 552
 

Head of Crowned Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Head of Crowned Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Ayutthaya, Thailand

Bronze
Ayutthaya period, 16-17th century

 

Sitting Bodhisattva: Tokyo National Museum

Sitting Bodhisattva: Tokyo National Museum

India

stone
Pala dynasty, 9-10th century

Buddha entering Nirvana: Tokyo National Museum

Buddha entering Nirvana: Tokyo National Museum

Gandhara, Pakistan

Schist
Kushan dynasty, 2nd-3rd centry

Seated Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Seated Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Gandhara, Pakistan

Schist
Kushan dynasty, 2nd-3rd century
 

Birth of the Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Birth of the Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Gandhara, Pakistan

Schist
Kushan dynasty, 3rd centry

Standing Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Standing Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Near Peshawar, Pakistan

Schist
Kushan dynasty, 2nd-3rd century

Preaching Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Preaching Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Preaching Buddha
Gandhara, Pakistan

Schist
Kushan dynasty, 3rd century

 

Head of Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Head of Buddha: Tokyo National Museum

Hadda, Afghanistan

Stucco
3-5th century

 

The life of Buddha, First Sermon: Tokyo National Museum

The life of Buddha, First Sermon: Tokyo National Museum

Gandhara, Pakistan

Schist
Kushan dynasty, 2nd-3rd century