buddhist deities

Mandala of Avalokiteshvara.

Avalokiteshvara, or Chenrezig as he is known in Tibet, is the Buddhist deity who personifies the ideal of compassion. He can be portrayed in several different forms, two of the most popular being as a white deity with either four arms or 1000 arms; the extra arms symbolize his ability to help many beings simultaneously.

The Mandala can be described as being the residence of the respective deities and their retinues. The sand Mandala of Avalokiteshvara was originated from the tantric teachings of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni. Although depicted on a flat surface, the Mandala is actually three-dimensional, being a “divine mansion” at the center of which resides Avalokiteshvara, surrounded by the deities of his entourage. Every aspect of the Mandala has meaning: nothing is arbitrary or superfluous. The four outer walls of the mansion are in five transparent layers, representing faith, effort, memory, meditation, and wisdom. The four doorways, one in the center of each of the four walls, represent the Four Immeasurable Thoughts: love, compassion, joy, and equanimity and there are decorated with precious jewels. The lotus flower in the center of the Mandala represent the lotus family, one of the Buddha families that correspond to the five psychophysical components of a human being, and which purify specific impure states of mind; the Lotus family purifies passion into discriminating awareness. The white thousand arms, thousand-eyed Avalokiteshvara is standing in the center of the lotus flower, on a white moon disk. In the four directions are seated his retinue seated on white full moon disks. The deities arise from the unity of; the wisdom of emptiness and great bless of the principle deity Avalokiteshvara. Seated on the eastern petal is the purified aspect of Hatred in the form of a blue deity Akshobhya, on the southern petal is the purified aspect of Misery in the form of a deity Rathasambhava and likewise, the purified part of Ignorance & Jealousy are represented by the deity Vaivochana at the western and the deity Amogasiddhi at the northern petal respectively. The central deity Avaloketishvara represents the freedom from attachment. The lotus itself symbolizes the mind of renunciation. To protect the residence from negative conditions, it is surrounded by a Vajra fence, which also symbolizes the continuous teaching of the Vajrayana (Tantric Teaching) by lord Avalokiteshvara. In the outmost part, it is circled with burning flames radiate with intense light are not only for protection but also to burn away or to get rid of delusion and the dark nesses of the ignorance.

In general, the Mandala shows a method of bringing peace and harmony in our world, through genuine practices of the mind of Great Compassion, the Wisdom of Emptiness, and the meditations of Mandala with their respective deities. We can generate the respective qualities as mentioned and thereby bring about a positive change in this world of ours. For a practitioner who meditate on the Tantra of Avalokiteshvara, one would familiarize oneself with every detail of the Mandala and the deities within it, engaging in repeated exercises based upon visualizing the pure beings and pure environment which symbolized one’s own being and environment in purified, sublime form. Such exercises, carried out within the basic Buddhist framework of developing wisdom and compassion, bring about a profound transformation of the psyche. Just to glimpse the Mandala, however, will create a positive impression on the mind-stream of the observer, who for a moment is in touch with the profound potential for perfect Enlightenment, which exists within the mind of all beings.

At the end of ritual ceremony, the Mandala will be systematically dismantled and the sand powder of the Mandala will be thrown into a clean river or a sea to remind the impermanence of the world. In fact, it serves to enrich the soil and the mineral resources and to eliminate the untimely death.

Series of Tibetan Mandalas from Buddhist Temple Walls.

Mandala can be shown to represent in visual form the core Essence of the Vajrayana teachings. The Mind is a Microcosm representing various Divine Powers at work in the Universe. The Mandala represents the Nature of the Pure Land, Enlightened Mind. While on the one hand, the Mandala is regarded as a place separated and protected from the ever-changing and impure outer world of Samsara, and is thus seen as a “Buddhafield” or a place of Nirvana and Peace, the view of Vajrayana Buddhism sees the greatest protection from Samsara being the Power to see Samsaric confusion as the “Shadow” of Purity (which then points towards it). Mandala can also represent the entire Universe, which is traditionally depicted with Mount Meru as the Axis Mundi in the Center, surrounded by the Continents.

In the Mandala, the outer circle of fire usually symbolises Wisdom. The ring of eight charnel grounds represents the Buddhist exhortation to be always mindful of Death, and the impermanence with which Samsara is suffused: “such locations were utilized in order to confront and to realize the transient nature of life.” Inside these rings lie the walls of the Mandala Palace itself, specifically a place populated by Deities and Buddhas.

en.wikipedia.org
Greco-Buddhism: the Coolest Cultural Cross-Over Ever
Greco-Buddhism, sometimes spelled Graeco-Buddhism, refers to the cultural syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism, which developed between the 4th century BCE and the 5th century CE in Bactria and the Indian subcontinent.

It was a cultural consequence of a long chain of interactions begun by Greek forays into India from the time of Alexander the Great, carried further by the establishment of the Indo-Greek Kingdom and extended during the flourishing of the Hellenized Kushan Empire. Greco-Buddhism influenced the artistic, and perhaps the spiritual development of Buddhism, particularly Mahayana Buddhism.

Buddha in a Corinthian capital (top of a column), found in Ghandara

Several Buddhist deities may have been influenced by Greek gods. For example, Heracles with a lion-skin, the protector deity of Demetrius I of Bactria, “served as an artistic model for Vajrapani, a protector of the Buddha” In Japan, this expression further translated into the wrath-filled and muscular Niō guardian gods of the Buddha, standing today at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.

Vajrapani, protector of the Buddha, in the style of Hercules

In the direction of the West, the Greco-Buddhist syncretism may also have had some formative influence on the religions of the Mediterranean Basin…

Strabo and Plutarch (c. 45–125 CE) also wrote about Indo-Greek Buddhist king Menander, confirming that information about the Indo-Greek Buddhists was circulating throughout the Hellenistic world…

Buddhist gravestones from the Ptolemaic period have been found in Alexandria in Egypt, decorated with depictions of the Dharma wheel.

AU where Buddhism becomes a popular mystery religion in the Roman Empire

  • yoga classes in the forums
  • hot yoga classes in the bathhouses
  • people getting less worked up about minute differences of Christian doctrine because they have a chiller religion to believe in
  • philosophers in the Platonic Academy of Athens learning how to meditate
  • Buddhism being taken up by the Empress and then suddenly all the rage in high society during her reign
  • Buddha being depicted in a Roman-style toga
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Uh… heya.

Sayoko Uehara’s Persona, Kishimojin

Kishimojin is the Japanese name of a Buddhist deity originally named Hariti in India.  She originated as a vengeful Hindu deity known for eating children, but she converted to Buddhism when Buddha taught her a lesson.  She herself was the mother of many children, and when Buddha hid one of her children she became overwrought with grief and finally understood the pain she was putting other mothers through.  She then became a Buddhist deity of child rearing and child protection and now only eats pomegranates.

I jokingly refer to her as “the one who used to eat babies but doesn’t anymore,” and I thought that was kind of a good parallel for her Social Link, sort of, going from preying on someone much younger than her then turning around and becoming a force for good.

But, hoo boy, her design.  You can see in the bottom left I had a very different design at first–it was a weird pregnant looking thing.  I had that design mostly finished and ended up hating it so much that it was partially responsible for why I took such a long break from this (on top of just feeling burnt out).  So when I went back I decided to start over.

The number one thing I knew I needed to retain from Shadow Sayoko was the empty face, which carried through all depictions, though now it bears an eye.  Another design I had in mind through all of them was something that resembled a nursing bra, as I wanted to transform the figure from a sexual one to an overt mother figure, and that was the best I could come up with.  One last aspect I retained through all was the horns being covered in wrappings–much like Hariti’s SMT designs she’s covering up her demon past.

It’s when I gave her a giant pomegranate to hold like a baby wrapped in a cloth did I finally find the “all wrapped up” design I got here.  Colors also took forever to decide on.  The earlier pregnant concept was hot pink, no fooling.

Weapon wise Sayoko has a medic bag.  My concept is that she wouldn’t hit things with the bag, but rather that she would attack by pulling things out of the bag and maybe, I dunno, throw them at the Shadows.  Like scalpels and surgical scissors and stuff.  And for criticals she’d poke them with a syringe!  It was cool sounding in my head.

So yeah, I want to apologize for not doing anything of note for like, a year.  But as I said before I was seriously burnt out.  But I feel a second wind coming on, I think.  Not too many more to do anyhow.

Go here to compare to Shadow Sayoko.

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Laura Santi 5

Lapis Blue Medicine Buddha Sutra, Bhaiṣajyaguru, King of Healing, Suryaprabha, Śākyamuni, Amitabha Alternative Medicine, Herbal Medicine 

Dorje Drolo, aspect of Padma Sambhava, subduer of demons, machig Labdron, tiger, Purbha

Mahakala blanco, prosperidad creador de riqueza feroz forma arte de thanka tanka Thangka de Avalokitesvara Lokapala budista de Tíbet de Deidad

Águila Garuda de la Deidad, Protector, enemigo de la raza serpiente, 

The Medicine Buddha: Bhaishijyaguru Vaiduryaprabha

Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist deity, magic Square, Giclee print Kubera, god of Increase, wealth, the arts and the environment, Vaisravana

DAMCHEN GARWAI NAKPO, THE OATH-BOUND BLACKSMITH
18TH CENTURY, QING DYNASTY (1644-1911)

Damchen Garwai Nakpo, the Blacksmith, was a local pre-Buddhist Tibetan deity subdued by the great master Padmasambhava (8th century), who was invited to Tibet by the king to introduce Esoteric Buddhism to the region. Padmasambhava converted the Blacksmith and other local deities by oath to protectors of the Buddhist teachings. Riding atop a shaggy goat, his upraised right hand once held a hammer and his outstretched left hand once held a blacksmith’s bellows. Cast separately, the two objects are now lost.

Rubin Museum of Art

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The above images are asuras, a sort of demi-god manifesting within the six realms of existence. Many have wrathful countenances, several faces and numerous arms. Asuras can also manifest as demons, animals, and even human beings. While rebirth as a demi-god might seem like good fortune, the fact remains that the Asura realm is dominated almost exclusively by intense jealousies. (Rokuten)

A very fine white jade Mughal style vase and cover

The ovoid vessel raised on a flared foot tapering into narrow shoulders set off by chrysanthemum blossoms and leafy stems repeated as the knob finial of the cover, the surface elegantly carved from the paper-thin stone with dancing Buddhist attendant deities surrounded by clusters of blossoming lotus and leafy foliage, the stone an icy white color with a few grey flecks, the foot ring encircling a recessed base bearing a four-character raised Qianlong yuzhi mark.

9 5/8 in (24.4cm) high

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National Geographic December 1968

Snow Festival in Japan’s Far North

Last rites for the god of love: Aizen Myo-o, Buddhist guardian deity of lovers, receives a final libation of saki before suffering the ungodlike indignity of being hacked back to bits. His military destroyers start at the top and work their way down, until the fearsome divinity has been reduced to icy rubble.

Actually Nanjo’s Personas are Aizen Myouou (his initial Persona) and his deceased butler/father figure Yamaoka (ultimate Persona). They have solely been used by him.

Aizen Myouou/Rāgarāja/Àirǎn Míngwáng (Lustful Tinted Wisdom King) is a Buddhist deity (originally he was a Hindu deity) from the Vajrayana traditions. In Japan the schools of Shingon and Tendai, worship him.
He represents sexual desire and the spiritual awakening to overcome it and is among the group of The Eight Wisdom Kings. Overcoming the desire (enlightment) turns it into compassion.

He usually has six arms, three eyes, red skin and wild hair (which symbolizes lust and desire which are suppressed). He very often wears a Lion head and is usually depicted with an angry face.

Kaneko drew Aizen Myouou with female forms and long finger nails. Kei is a rich man and was raised like this. His parents are socialities and hardly have time for him which is why he kinda wants and needs more affection and love in his life.

Yamaoka the Ultimate Persona was Kei’s butler Yamaoka in the original Persona who was killed by zombies. He was actually the only member of the family who cared about Kei and became his father figure.

HOWEVER:
There are two cases in which myths have been reused for Personas

Namely Jun and Junpei both have Hermes as an initial Persona and Masao and Yosuke both have Susanoo as Ultimate Personas.

As for the Hermes depictions they differ regarding their development:

JUN’S HERMES:

Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia a daughter of Atlas who is the oldest and most beautiful of the Pleiades. This is why Jun sees Maya as a mother replacement/older sister.


-Jun sees Maya as a mother replacement figure


-Maia, baby Hermes and the cattle

Maya became Jun’s big sister figure/mother replacement figure since his own mother Junko neglected him.

Hermes as a trickster also represents Jun’s Joker phase:

Jun/Joker is Nyarlathotep’s messenger just like Hermes is the messenger of the gods. Hermes at the beginning of his life also caused trouble to his older half brother Apollo but was forgiven (Jun is also forgiven after his Joker phase).

One day after his birth Hermes stole Apollo’s cattle and used sandals to lead Apollo in the wrong direction. He was caught, forgiven and Apollo and him exchanged gifts (staff and lyre, in Tatsuya’s and Jun’s case in the childhood flashback lighter and watch).

-gift exchange

Hermes is also a trickster god, god of travelers, a patron of thieves. He is a great story teller/liar, is also described as remarkable smart and he invents several things a well (for example the lyre for which he used the back of a turtle).Hermes also has a role as guide of the dead.

As for Jun’s Ultimate Persona:He is influenced by both Cronos and Chronos:

He is depicted as a clock. This of course reflects the watch Tatsuya gave Jun as a kid (while Tatsuya’s Vulcanus hints at the lighter Jun gave Tatsuya). Chronos is also the god of time.

Cronos/Saturn, the other influence, was a Titan, the eldest son of Ouranus and Gaia. Gaia convinced Cronus to depose of Ouranus. Thus Cronos castrated his father with a sickle. Cronos’ rule over the earth is called the Golden Age but he also swallowed his own children so that they don’t overthrow him. Zeus however was not swallowed due to a trick of his mother and he overthrew Cronos.
Cronos’ story has quite a lot of daddy issue symbolism fitting for Jun.

JUNPEI’S HERMES:

It is said that Hermes created the lyre, but Orpheus mastered it. This might hints at Junpei’s jealousy regarding the MC which he even admits.
Hermes communicates at lot and dwells on Olympus, earth and the Underworld. This is probably why Junpei easily forms a connection to Chidori.

When Chidori dies, she becomes a part of Junpei and Junpei gets a Persona upgrade to Hermes Trismegistus who is a combination of Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth, pairing cunning trickery with wisdom.

As for the Susanoo depictions:

MASAO’S SUSANOO:

Susanoo represents Masao’s goofy personality and class clown image.
Susanoo is the god of the sea and storms who has a very complicated relationship with his sister Amaterasu the sun goddess.
Masao has some tantrums with Nanjo, just like Susanoo and Amaterasu.
In myth once Susanoo got kicked out of heaven he decided to save Kushinadahime which is similar to how Masao has a crush on Maki and decides to save her.


YOSUKE’S SUSANOO:

Yosuke’s Susanoo was chosen due to the Japanese theme of the P4 Personas (for example Yukiko’s Ultimate Persona is Amaterasu). Yu saves the party members and his Persona is Izanagi who is the first one to awaken since Izanagi is one of the creator gods henceforth why some of the Personas of the party members are related to Izanagi.


As for why a myth can be reused in several titles:
The depiction of Persona in the games especially in P2 also include the theory of archetypes.
Various images are imprinted in the collective unconscious which are the basis for myths, fairy tales and legends etc. It’s basically all about symbols.
As for Hermes being reused in P3:
P3 mostly used Greco-Roman legends again since they already work so well in P2 regarding archetypes since the Greco-Roman deities are the best archetypes.
In P4’s case Susanoo was reused due to the Japanese theme.