Manjushri is most often depicted as a male Bodhisattva wielding a flaming sword in his right hand. The sword represents the realisation of transcendent...
Manjushri is the oldest, best known and most significant Bodhisattva in the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon and was first referred to in early Mahayana sutras such as the Prajnaparamita (Perfection Of Wisdom) Sutras.
Manjushri in the Chinese tradition
Within Vajrayana Buddhism, Manjushri is a meditational deity and considered a fully enlightened Buddha. In Shingon Buddhism, he is one of the Thirteen Buddhas to whom disciples devote themselves.
He figures extensively in many esoteric texts such as the Manjusri-mula-kalpa and the Manjusrinamasamgiti. Through his early association with the Prajnaparamita Sutras, he came to symbolise the embodiment of prajna (transcendent wisdom).
Manjushri is most often depicted as a male Bodhisattva wielding a flaming sword in his right hand. The sword represents the realisation of transcendent wisdom which cuts down ignorance and duality which binds sentient beings to a cycle of suffering and unhappiness.
Who wields the sword of wisdom hewing down suffering wherever its sprouts appear, clearing away the darkness of all ignorance.Praise to Manjushri (Gangloma)
In Chinese and Japanese Buddhist traditions, Manjushri’s sword is occasionally replaced with a ruyi scepter, especially in representations of his Vimalakirti Sutra discussion with the layman Vimalakirti. This is significant because in this form or aspect, Manjushri is playing the part of an arhat or a liberated person (one who has attained Nirvana) and is not wielding a wisdom sword to help others transcend or win over ignorance.
A ruyi scepter serves as a ceremonial scepter in Chinese Buddhism or a talisman symbolising power and good fortune in Chinese folklore. A traditional ruyi has a long S-shaped handle and a head fashioned like a fist, cloud, or lingzhi mushroom.
Up Close and Personal
Dorje Shugden is an emanation or aspect of Wisdom Buddha Manjushri. Just like Bodhisattva Manjushri, Dorje Shugden too wields a flaming sword in his right hand but his sword is curved.
Dorje Shugden in Kechara Forest Retreat, Malaysia
In contrast to a straight sword, a wavy sword is reminiscent of the South East Asian keris dagger and greatly increases the severity of wounds inflicted.
The keris is also effective in up-close martial arts. Indeed in the past, they were carried by warriors as a secondary armament in case they lost their main weapon, which was usually a spear and used for fighting at a distance.
Hence, the significance of Dorje Shugden’s sword is not only that it is the same Manjushri sword of discriminating wisdom, but it does its job “better”. It also indicates that Dorje Shugden stands by very close to us to do his work.
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