Guam Buddhist Sangha

American Humanistic Buddhism

FAQ: What is the Meaning of the Buddhas of the Five Directions November 20, 2010

Filed under: FAQ — memeandbojo @ 5:18 am

The Buddhas of the Five Directions located in the Main Hall of Fo Guang Shan Guam temple:

Li-Bu-Wei Buddha (statue on far left):   This Buddha’s symbolic direction is east. He signifies confidence and fearlessness. The hands are in a mudra of casting out fear. With the daily occurrence of violence and natural disaster around our world, many people find it difficult to pursue their way forward into the future. The tranquility gained from following the Buddha’s way better enables one to remain calm; like a mountain unmoved by ravaging elements, one can approach each day without fear.

Amitabha Buddha (statue second from left):   This Buddha’s symbolic direction is west and his hands are in a mudra of meditative concentration. He signifies infinite light and boundless life. Amitabha Buddha presides over the Western Pure Land. Chanting the dharma of Amitabha Buddha improves one’s constitution and increases longevity.

Tuo-Pao Buddha (middle statue):   This Buddha’s symbolic direction is the central direction and represents wealth.  The hands are in the mudra of the ceremony of unction. Humans craving for material-wants find themselves in a futile exercise. At best, the joy derived from materialism is short-lived. True wealth and fulfillment, however, can be attained by developing wisdom through following the Buddha’s teachings.

Miao-Se-Shen Buddha (statue second from right):   This Buddha’s symbolic direction is south. The hands are in a mudra of touching the ground which symbolizes Sakyamuni Buddha’s resolve to overcome the temptations of Mara and thereby gain supreme enlightenment. He represents beauty and dignity. The practice of Buddhism cultivates inner beauty and sincerity. This in turn results in a more relaxed and pleasing external beauty.

Gan-Lu-Wani Buddha (statue on far right):   This Buddha’s symbolic direction is north. He signifies calmness and purity. His hands are in the mudra of casting out fear. This gesture derives from an incident in which Devadata, Sakyamuni Buddha’s jealous cousin, set a charging elephant loose upon him. Without fear, the Buddha calmly sat down and the beast stopped before him. Like a charging elephant, life’s problems can overtake the mind, causing fear and forcing one to seek escape. The teachings of the Buddha can purify and calm the mind so that fear creating problems can be faced, and brought under control.

Ten Thousand Buddhas:   Lining the walls in the front, sides, and rear of the Main Shrine Hall, and in the ceiling tiles, are 10,000 miniature Buddhas. This repetition of images has long served as a way to reinforce a major Buddhist concept. The multitude of figures represents the universality of the Buddha nature that resides in everyone, and everywhere. Each and every person has the potential to become enlightened, to achieve Buddhahood, through their own effort to learn, practice and develop his or her Buddha nature.

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2 Responses to “FAQ: What is the Meaning of the Buddhas of the Five Directions”

  1. helen killham Says:

    Who exactly is Mara?

    • memeandbojo Says:

      Mara is the creator of delusion. Delusion is the cause of suffering. The delusion of permanence makes us think that we have time to waste, to cling to the passed wounds and attach to future fears of suffering. Live in the present moment and we live without Mara.


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