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 (


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.

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