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Title: Asian Pantheons
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Autumn_Heather
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(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:21 PM)
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This thread is for

Gods of the Asian Pantheon

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Autumn_Heather
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RE:Asian Pantheons
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:21 PM)


Hotei, god of happiness. Hotei is one of the Shichi Fukujin, the seven Japanese Shinto-gods of luck. He is the god of happiness, laughter and the wisdom of contentment, and is the patron of the weak and children, fortunetellers and bartenders. Hotei is distinguished by his body of generous proportions and round stomach exposed beneath loose robes. His big belly is a symbol of happiness, luck and generosity. On his back he carrys a huge linen bag containing precious things and gifts of good fortune, including children. He also holds an uchiwa, a flat fan of Chinese orgin used by ancient chieftains as an emblem of authority and wish granting. He may sit in an old cart drawn by boys, as the Wagon Priest, and can be compared with the Buddhistic Mi-lo-Fo.
In Chinese Buddhism he is known as Budai, the Loving or Friendly One. He was a wandering Chan Buddhist monk who lived in the ninth century. At his death between 901 and 903, he recited a poem that revealed to the world that he was in fact the Bodhisattva Maitreya in disguise. Maitreya, Chinese Buddhists believe, is the future buddha, who will return to the world and bring innumerable individuals to salvation. This concept of hope for the suffering, combined with Budai's pleasing, human features, made him a most popular Buddhist deity. It was not until the sixteenth century that he was canonised as the sixteenth and last Chinese bodhisattva.
According to Chinese legend he carried a sack of candy to give to children. He is sometimes worshipped as a god of good luck and prosperity. He is always represented as very stout, with the breast and upper abdomen exposed to view. His face has a widely grinning or laughing expression, and he is also known as the Laughing Buddha. He stands in the first hall of the Buddhist monastery. Because of his constant good nature, he has become the symbol of philosophical contentment.
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Autumn_Heather
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RE:Asian Pantheons
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:22 PM)

The Legend of Buddha.

Shakyamuni Buddha, Tibeto-Chinese, Late 17th century. To Tibetans, a Buddha is a being -- both human and divine, either male or female -- who has "awakened" from the sleep of ignorance and has purified all evil, a being who has "expanded" limitlessly the power of his or her compassion and accomplished all goodness. A Buddha is a form of life that has achieved the highest evolutionary perfection possible. He or she is perfect wisdom (the experience of the exact nature of reality) and perfect compassion (the embodiment of the will to other's happiness). Buddhahood transcends suffering and death and incorporates the perfected abilities to experience and communicate happiness to all living beings.
In the mystical Buddhism, a set of Five Transcendent Buddhas, or Dhyani Buddhas (Buddhas in Meditation), became popular over the centuries as symbolic of the purity of the five aggregates, the five elements, the five directions, the five colors, the five transmuted addictions, the five wisdoms, and the five Buddha clans. Akshobhya is the paradigm of the Dharma's ability to transmute all the hate of all beings into blue ultimate-reality-perfection wisdom; Vairochana transmutes delusion into white mirror wisdom; Ratnasambhava transmutes pride and avarice into yellow equality wisdom; Amitabha transmutes lust into red discriminating wisdom; and Amoghasiddhi transmutes envy into green all-accomplishing wisdom. However, these are not separate gods. They are just abstract aspects of Buddhahood, often called Tathagata. The are so popular in Nepal that they are found in every stupa, in thousands of Chaityas (small stupas), in courtyards, and painted in the main entrance of the Buddhist house. In Kathmandu, they are also called Panch Buddhas. They are always shown seated in the position of meditation.
The Medicine Buddha is a form that any Buddha can manifest by identifying with the Medicine Buddha in his Pure Land, and represents a Transcendent Buddha's ability to express himself as healing medicine for the benefit of ailing beings.

Buddha's Birthday
Buddha was born in 463 B.C. in the Lumbini garden at Rummindei in Nepal. His birthday is the main Buddhist festival of the year and traditionally is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, typically a full moon day. Therefore the date will vary from year to year in the Western (Gregorian) calendar. Since it is the day upon which the Buddha was born, died and achieved Enlightenment, for Buddhists the celebrations are massive. Celebrants bow and pour a bamboo ladle full of sweet tea (hydrangea leaf tea) with a prayer over a statue of the baby Buddha, San Francisco, 2005. Families visit the local wat (temple) to pray, and services continue all night and well into the morning. As part of the observance of this festival, celebrants build huge bamboo rockets which they fire at the rain god to bring down the first rains of the season. In addition to the processions there are puppet shows and dancing with everyone dressed up in their very best clothes for the occasion.
Buddha's birthday is a national religious holiday in Hong Kong, Laos, Macau and South Korea. In Japan it is celebrated on April 8th. Those who visit a shrine on his birthday take an offering of fresh spring flowers (cherry blossoms), and so there the festival is called Hana Matsuri or Flower Festival. It is celebrated with offerings and prayers. Things that are offered are flowers, fruit, wine, rice, and lengths of silk or linen. Many believers prostate themselves repeatedly in front of the Buddha statue. A long line of believers waits patiently for the opportunity to bow and pour a bamboo ladle full of sweet tea (hydrangea leaf tea) with a prayer over a statue of the baby Buddha. This is in remembrance of the legend that it rained tea on the day that Buddha was born.
Buddha's birthday is a time to remember the story of how the Buddha gained enlightenment and to reflect on what it might mean for individuals to move towards enlightening themselves. Traditionally, the values of kindness, peace and harmony are stressed during this holiday. It is a time to be more patient and more open to each other's differences, a time to do better and to forgive each other's failings. In some parts of Asia, for example, some prisoners are released from jail during Buddha's birthday.

Bhaishajyaguru, the Medicine Buddha.
Bhaishajyaguru is known as the Medicine Buddha. He is also called the Healing Buddha. He is said to dispense spiritual medicine when properly worshipped. In Tibet he may be represented either as a Buddha or as a Bodhisattva. As a Buddha, he wears a monastic robe and is seated with the legs crossed. His left hand, lying in his lap in meditation mudra, usually holds the medicine bowl while the right hand in charity mudra holds either a branch with fruit, or the fruit alone, of the myrobalan, a medicinal plant found in India and other tropical countries.
Tibetan medicine recognises three basic types of illness, the root causes of which are the conflicting emotions -- passion, agression, and ignorance. Myrobalan is the only herb in the Tibetan pharmacopea that can aid in healing each of these three types of diseases. This is like the action of the Buddha of Healing, who has the power to see the true cause of any affliction, whether spiritual, physical or psychological, and who does whatever is necessary to alleviate it.

Vajradhara, the highest deity of The Buddhist Pantheon. Vajradhara Buddha, Central Regions, Tibet, Late 15th to first half of the 16th century.
From the perspetive of the Apocalptic Vehicle, the Vajrayana, Adi Buddha is regarded as the highest deity of The Buddhist Pantheon, the supreme essence of all Buddhas. When represented he begets the name of Vajradhara and is conceived in two forms, single and yabyum. When single he is decorated with jewels, ornaments, and dress. He sits in the attitude of mediation, and carries the vajra in the right hand and the ghanta (bell) in the left, the two hands crossed in front of the heart in the diamond HUM-sound gesture. In yab-yum, his form remains the same as when single except that when he is locked in close embrace by his Saki. Considered indivisible from the Truth Body of all Buddhas, he nevertheless manifests in the form of a royal Beatific Body Buddha or celestial Bodhisattva with crown and ornaments seated in the diamond posture.

Maitreya, the Future Buddha.
The Tibetans demonstrate their long-term hope for a positive outcome to their evolutionary struggles in believing in the legend of the future Buddha Maitreya. Maitreya is present in Tushita Heaven now and constantly intervenes to improve Maitreya, the Future Buddha, Kashmiri style, with Pala elements, 10th to 11th century. the day, while waiting to emanate as a Buddha far in the future in order to help those who have failed to reach enlightenment in this cycle of history. It is said he will come to earth a full 4,000 years after the disappearance of Gautam Buddha for the deliverence of all sentient beings. He is the only Bodhisattva who is worshipped both by the Himayanists and the Mahayanists.
In their devotion to the myth of Avalokiteshvara's vow to protect the Tibetans, they uphold their convenant with a powerful archangel of total benevolence. They need only put the Buddha Dharma of wisdom and compassion into practice as much as possible in their personal lives and social institutions, and the Bodhisattva will tirelessly come to their aid in all their difficulties. In the sense of planetary spiritual environment, Tibetans feel the continuing presence of Padma Sambhava alive on his copper mountain, of Manjushri dwelling on his five peaks, and of the Vajradakinis in their magic land to the west. In the midst of being invaded and troubled by difficulties in the world, they feel Shakyamuni still radiant from the holy land of India, and they feel the vigilant presence of Shambhala in the north, waiting for the time to turn the world around toward goodness and sanity.
Maitreya may be represented as a standing figure adorned with rich ornaments and holding in his right hand the stalk of a lotus. Maitreya may also be represented seated as a Buddha, with legs either interlocked or dangling down. His color is yellow, and his images sometimes bear the figures of Dhyani Buddhas.
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Autumn_Heather
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RE:Asian Pantheons
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:23 PM)

Shou-Hsing


Other Names:  Shou, Lao.

Description:  God of longevity and old people, keeper of the book of the life-span of men. 
Shown with a prominent bald head with white eyebrows and whiskers. 

A stag beside him, he leaned on a staff and carried a peach, symbol of immortality.
Rules Over:  Life plan, date of death, reincarnation.
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RE:Asian Pantheons
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:23 PM)

MEN-SHEN
 
Three Door Guardians of fearsome aspect.

A very good package deal. Protect your home or business with the Three Door Gods.

QIN-SHUBAO and HU-JINGDE stand guard on either side of the front door, while WEI-CHENG keeps watch round the back. Every home should have one. Or rather, three.

Just like modern security personnel, they have a police background. Originally high-ranking generals from the Tang Dynasty, the MEN-SHEN are mean, moody and very well armed. Their magical weapons are highly efficient — and one glance at their stern military faces keeps all but the most stout-hearted intruders at bay.

You must not call them bouncers.
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RE:Asian Pantheons
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:24 PM)

CAI-SHEN

God of Prosperity and Profit

 He's the Heavenly Treasurer-in-Chief and God of Wealth, having been elevated to Godly status after a spot of mountain meditation.

Once a mortal general named Zhao who fought for the Emperor Zhou (ZHOU-WANG), he rode a black tiger into battle and was armed with exploding pearls.

Fat and cheerful, CAI-SHEN still rides his black tiger and wields a rod of iron. His Godly Accountant is a dab hand with diamonds and pearls, and putting an image of him in your home will do your bank balance no end of good

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RE:Asian Pantheons
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:25 PM)

er-lang.jpg image by gemsylb
 
ER-LANG
Nephew of the Jade-Emperor 

He specialises in outwitting demons and evil spirits. With seventy-two separate disguises in his dressing room, they seldom spot him coming.

ER-LANG was called in by Heaven to subdue the troublesome MONKEY, which he attempted to do with great confidence. But pride comes before a fall and he failed most miserably, not realising that the Monkey King was just as adept at the seventy-two transformations and had a much bigger stick.

ER-LANG is also a mortal enemy of ZHANG-XIAN. We don't know why, but we aim to find out. There are giveaway hints however. He has a third eye in the middle of his forehead on which an eyepatch would be out of place, and he favors a three-bladed spear and rather swirly clothes. Also his black hound will never be far away.

 Gender:  male
Category:  deity
Pronunciation:  "Uh Larng"
Aternative Names: Er-Long, Erh-Lang
Mystic number:  3306
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