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.
Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:
I received an initiation from
Kabje Yongyal Rinpoche
In Bloomington Indiana sometime ago and I have a
question about it. How
can I contact Rinpoche
to discuss some features of
Many thanks wishes for
your sucess and well
Good day, I’m a Dharma practitioner based in South Africa. I took refuge and Bodhisattva vows in the Nyingma tradition. I am not bound to any particular tradition though, in my personal approach. I am also loosely affiliated with the New Kadampa Tradition as I received my very first teachings in that lineage, namely a Je Tsongkhapa empowerment in 2010. After I took Refuge and Bodhisattva vows in 2019 I began having dreams about Dorje Shugden. In one dream he appeared as though hovering over my chest and promised to protect me. I have had other dreams where Dorje Shugden appeared and had a very compassionate nature and expression. My question is: why was it difficult to do Dorje Shugden practice as a member of the NKT but upon taking refuge in the Nyingma lineage, I’m having dreams of Dorje Shugden and experiencing his energy positively? I am considering rejoining the NKT but I don’t want to break my connection to the Nyingma lineage or my gurus. The NKT’s structure and Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings resonate strongly with me. Your advice would be much appreciated.
May the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas bless you.
Thank you 🙏🏻
Ps. Can one do Dorje Shugden practice without empowerment?