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Akshobhya

Page history last edited by perrin.cook@... 9 years, 10 months ago

Aksobhya

Akshobhya

"Immovable One"

Japanese: 阿閦如来 Ashuku nyorai

Chinese: 阿閦如来 āchùrúlái

Mongolian: Ködelüsi ügei

 

 

Overview

Akshobhya is one of the five dhyani buddhas (wisdom buddhas), along with Vairocana, Amitabha, Ratnasambhava, and Amoghasiddhi.

Akshobhya Buddha symbolizes the overcoming of passions such as anger and hatred towards other beings. The Akshobhya buddha originates from the blue mantra "Hum" and when he became a Buddha and reached enlightenment, he was given charge over the eastern paradise Abhirati. Sankskrit for this land translates to the joyous, so therefore, it is the land of the joyous. It is believed that those who are reborn in this realm can never fall back to lower realms of consciousness and are never to be born again. Therefore, it is said that all believers should seek to follow and fulfill the vow of Akshobhya. Akshobhya's bija is Hum and his mantra is Om Akshobhya Hum.

 

 

The Five Wisdom Buddhas

 

Vairocana

Akshobhya

Ratnasambhava

Amitabha

Amogasiddha

Name

Buddha Supreme and Eternal; The Radiant One

Immovable or Unshakable Buddha

Source of Precious Things or Jewel-Born One

Buddha of Infinite Light

Almighty Conquerer or Lord of Karma

Direction

Center

East

South

West

North

Color

white

blue

yellow

red

green

Mudra

dharmachakra (wheel-turning)

bhumisparsa (witness)

varada (charity)

dhyana

abhaya (fearlessness)

Vija (Syllable)

Om

Hum

Trah

Hrih

Ah

Symbol

wheel

thunderbolt

jewel (ratna) or Three Jewels (triratna)

lotus

double thunderbolt

Embodies

sovereignty

steadfastness

compassion

light

dauntlessness

Type of wisdom

integration of the wisdom of all the Buddhas

mirrorlike

wisdom of equality

discriminating

all-accomplishing

Cosmic element (skandha)

rupa (form)

vijnana (consciousness)

vendana (sensation)

sanjna (name or perception)

samsakara (volition)

Earthly element

ether

water

earth

fire

air

Antidote to

ignorance and delusion

anger and hatred

desire and pride

malignity

envy and jealousy

Sense

sight

sound

smell

taste

touch

Vehicle

lion

elephant

horse

peacock (because of eyes on its plumes)

garuda (half-man, half-bird)

Spiritual son

Manjushree

Vajrapani

Ratnapani

Avalokiteshvara

Vajrapani

Consort

White Tara

Locana

Mamaki

Pandara

Green Tara

Paradise

 

Abhirati, the Land of Exceeding Great Delight

 

Sukhavati, Western Paradise, or Pure Land

 

Other info

Integration or origin of other Dhyani Buddhas

       

 

 

http://www.manjushri.com/Buddha-List/Akshobhya.html

 

Origins

In at least one legend Akshobhya was a Bodhisattva that vowed to never give into anger or disgust towards anyone. He was very immovable when it came to keeping his vows. This is how he received his name meaning the "immovable one." It is said he pursued his enlightenment after an endlessly long amount of years. He finally obtained this enlightenment and along with it he obtained the Abhirati Paradise. Because of that, he is often used to meditate to when needing to overcome fear and hatred.

 

Akshobya is one of the central Buddha's in the Vajrayana Buddhism. He is considered by some accounts the lord of the second tantra within the five Buddha families. Akshobhya is mentioned also in several Mahayana sutras, the Vimalakirti Nirdesa is the one in which he is most well known for.

 

 

Pure Land

Pure Land Buddhism traditions of the Mahayana Buddhism that is specific to different regions which originated in Japan.  They are practices and concepts from the Mahayana Buddhism traditions of cosmology. Pure Land Buddhism was practiced in schools and eventually became its own school only in Japan. One of the main concepts of the Pure Land Buddhism is that Nirvana has become harder and harder to attain. The only way to attain Nirvana is through complete devotion to Amitābha Buddha with guidance from Amida Buddha. Then one can be reborn into the Pure Land Buddhism. Each Buddha has his own Pure Land.  Akshobhya’s is the Eastern Pure Land.  Even though the Western Pure Land is traditionally considered to be more popular, Akshobhya’s Eastern Pure Land is the most popular. This has been one of the most straightforward ways of attaining salvation.

 

Once one is born into the Pure Land, that person will not ever be born again. Each person is born painlessly through the lotus flower. During the spiritual path, every person is instructed through many of the different Boddhisattvas as well as the Amitabha Buddha until that person has reached the full enlightenment. Therefore, being born into the Pure Land Buddhism is the equivalent of saying one has reached enlightenment, or Nirvana. The Pure Land Buddhism can also be understood through the Wheel of Existence, which explains the many stages of life and death.  When practicing the Pure Land Buddhism, chanting of the Amitābha Buddha's is done to receive merit, or karma. An alternative practice to chanting is meditating to the Amitābha Buddha.  The Pure Land Buddhism is mostly practiced throughout Japan.

 

It was in Akshobhya's pureland of Abhirati, attainable only by 8th level bodhisattvas, where the yogi Milarepa the scholar and Sakya Pandita obtained complete buddhahood.

 

(http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Pure_Land_Buddhism)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iconography

Akshobhya is one of the five Dhayani buddhas, which are icons of the Mahayana Buddhism. Each icon represents the different stages of the path to spiritual enlightenment. Akshobhya is usually shown blue, but sometimes gold as well.  Akshobhya is most often portrayed with his right hand touching the earth.  Touching the earth is a symbol for using the earth as a witness to enlightenment. In his left hand he holds his eblem; a vajra which is the symbol of shunyata, or emptiness. All beings are unmanifested. Akshobhya is known as the immovable one because he was immovable at keeping his vow which was to never feel anger or disgust at another being. Therefore, he is often used in meditation to overcome hatred and anger.  (http://buddhism.about.com/od/thetriyaka/ig/Five-Dhyani-Buddhas/Akshobhya-Buddha.htm)

 

Picture Analysis

This depiction of the wisdom buddha, Akshobhya, shows him calling the earth as his witness by forming touching the earth mudra with is right hand. Through this stance, Akshobya, tells us that he is an Enlightened being and conveys his "Unmovable" reputation. Akshobya supposedly said that he would never give into hatred or anger. Interestingly enough, this image shows him as intimidating by his blue skin and holding a diamond in his left hand. This buddha is also commonly seen riding a blue elephant, but this image shows his skin being blue instead. His emphasis is on the significance of the presence and one's actions 'now' in order to cleanse one's past. 

 

 

Akshobhya's insignia is the vajra, which is the symbol of Vajrayana Buddhism or otherwise known as the last period of Indian Buddhism. The vajra means "thunderbolt" and the bell shape stands for wisdom that conveys his reputation as the mirrorlike wisdom buddha. Akshobhya generally has a vajra resting in his lap and is seen as either four-sided object (the Vajra cross as seen above) or two-sided that have a shaft connecting sphere-like intricately crafted shapes that resemble royal crowns. The vajra can also be depicted as a diamond which is seen in the image above the black and white vajra. The composition of the vajra is significant in that the center stands for the 'sphere of actual reality,' and also stands for freedom from karma, freedom from conceptual thought, and the groundlessness of all dharmas. The eight-pedaled lotuses blossoming outward denote the eight bodhisattvas. The presence of Akshobhya with the vajra also symbolizes protection. On top of these qualities this buddha represents consciousness as part of reality and limitless light. 

 

 

In this ancient painting of Akshobhya, he is in the center of the picture forming the earth mudra with his right hand while holding the vraja (sp. vajra) in his right (represented by a diamond). The touching of the earth is meant to be an unalterable gesture, just as Akshobhya's elephant places its foot onto the ground with unshakeable certainty. The vraja is an industructible thunder bolt or diamond which destroys ignorance. Interestingly Akshobyha is holding the vraja in his left hand, which contrasts with tantric rituals in which the vraja is held in the right.

 

The four surrounding blue buddhas are most likely the other four of the five wisdom buddhas; Vairocana, Amitābha, Ratnasambhava, and Amoghasiddhi. Blue represents water, which can act as a mirror just as Akshobhya can transform anger into mirror-like wisdom. Water is also heavy and difficult to move, suitable for the immovable one.

 

The green light behind Akshobhya's head represents his accomplishing wisdom, and you can see many monks praying to him in the green field in the center of the picture. The clouds bordering the grounds and the blue sky in the background probably mean that the image represents Akshobhya in his own Pure Land. The presence of the other four wisdom Buddhas probably means that the overall painting is a view of the Diamond Realm, the metaphysical space inhabited by all five of the wisdom buddhas.

 

The watery pond at the base of the painting again brings up the element of water with which Akshobhya is associated, and the various colorful beings beneath him in the center are most likely gods come to learn from his wisdom and insight.

 

 

 

 

 

In this picture Akshobhya is sitting in a calm manner, he is painted in gold and has a smile on his face. His right had is extending out and touching the ground, this is his touching the earth mudra that he is known for. Akshobhya's left hand is on his lap facing upwards forming the mudra of meditation. Wearing a crown of gold and jewels, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, he also has on him different colored cloths draped around his body. With the legs folded in vajra posture which is normal in the form for meditation, he is sitting on top of a  multi-coloured lotus which is on top of two elephants on both sides of the lotus. on both sides of him by his arms there are elephants, snow lions, and naga's all on top of each other. The human figures on the sides are supposed to be Bodhisattva's displaying various mudra's. Above Akshobyha to the right and left of him, there are four more seated Bodhisattva's. There are 191 golden buddha's that are the surrounding pictures in this image.

 

 

 

 

 

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://dharmaflower.net/_buddha/_images/akshobhya.jpg&imgrefurl=http://dharmaflower.net/_buddha/akshobhya.aspx&usg=__QG1k9hVl_QU8HBjMml2RZzMp4Pw=&h=246&w=180&sz=30&hl=en&start=9&sig2=dD4SG4b9QM_5FFiFCeas-w&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=5nssLmIq5_ZOiM:&tbnh=110&tbnw=80&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dakshobhya%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26sa%3DX%26rls%3Den-us%26tbs%3Disch:1&ei=Wom7S8jaHZj6tAOInfS-BA

http://www.himalayanart.org/image.cfm/373.html

 

 

Sources

http://www.khandro.net/ritual_vajra.htm

http://www.creedopedia.com/topics/Akshobhya

religionfacts.com/buddhism/deities/five_dhyani_buddhas.htm

en.allexperts.com/e/a/ak/akshobhya.htm

en.allexperts.com/e/v/va/vajra.htm

www2.bremen.de/info/nepal/Gallery-3/Cosmos/9-6/garbhadatu-0.htm

viewonbuddhism.org/5_dhyani_buddhas.html

Comments (9)

cassie.fosheim@... said

at 11:56 am on Apr 12, 2010

I like that you included the graph with the Five Wisdom Buddhas. I also like that this Buddha symbolizes "overcoming passions such as anger and hatred towards other beings," because that is something that is not easy to do, but that could change your life if overcome.

adrienne.brunjes@... said

at 8:43 pm on Apr 12, 2010

The descriptions of the images were detailed and concise, giving valuable information. Some sentences throughout were a bit awkward, with some mistakes that could be caught with further proofreading. 4/5

abigail.worsnop@... said

at 9:05 pm on Apr 12, 2010

The graph with the Wisdom Buddhas was a great thing to include--very informative and not unnecessarily verbose. I like the images, but I would like more information about where they are located and the like. Overall, very good job. 4.5

Amber Solinger said

at 11:56 pm on Apr 12, 2010

Nice work, I think you covered some great stuff. I agree with the above that the graph of the Five Wisdom was a nice addition, that is a helpful way to look at it.

casey.helmig@colorado.edu said

at 1:04 pm on Apr 13, 2010

I think you did a great job. I liked the five wisdom buddhas in the beginning, it added something different. I also liked how you organized your site, it was very clear and concise, which made it easy to follow. I thought your picture analysis was very well done.

hunter.thompson@... said

at 12:03 pm on Apr 14, 2010

A lot of good information here. I like the chart of the five Buddhas, it presents a better understanding of the differences are between them. Maybe you could have highlighted Aksobhya's column to make it easier to find the information. I didn't find it neccessary to repeat the image at the top of the page, I think the one with the description would have been suffcient. 4/5

Joshua.J.Smith@Colorado.EDU said

at 9:34 am on Apr 17, 2010

Well done, I very much liked the explanations of the surrounding features of the images as well as the variety of types of images. The chart with the wisdom Buddhas was helpful to quickly see how they differed. 4/5

Henry said

at 1:36 pm on Apr 17, 2010

Nice use of the spread-sheet of the Five-Buddhas, judging by the comments, a useful reference point. This post covers most but not all of the aspects of the assignment. It needs some examples of rituals associated with Akshobhya and more myths surrounding this Buddha would add substance to the article. The Vimalakirti Sutra is alluded to and is a good source to find some descriptions of Abhirati, Akshobhya, and his interactions with various beings. This page gives good analysis of certain symbolism but is at times overly repetitive. I would suggest editing the post to remove redundancy, there is enough richness in the iconography to avoid repetition. As another person noted, some attention to sentence structure is needed and I have highlighted in red an important error in spelling. With a few revisions (based on these and other comments) this will be a very solid piece.

Henry said

at 2:05 pm on Apr 17, 2010

Grade: 4.0

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