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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Fierce Fudo Myo-o.

If you've been reading me for a while now then you also know that I like deities, Bodhisattvas and other super natural beings, but as archetypes only. They inspire, motivate and help give me strength to face the challenges of life. That is primarily because as an artist their visual representation brings their meaning and symbolism out stronger for me sometimes than just reading esoteric lines in a daunting tome.

Though don't get me wrong, I adore a good esoteric tome but they are best absorbed in my brain coupled with visual representations. These statues of beings are powerful representations of aspects that exist within all of us. Fudo Myo-o is one of the "Five Wisdom Kings" in Vajrayana Buddhism. A wisdom king is a being that is not yet a Buddha, nor Bodhisattva. They are guardians of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas--they are the gate keepers to those advanced states of being. Those states of being that unlock the doors to allow the lotus of enlightenment to unfold above the waters of fear and delusion. Of course wisdom isn't the only attribute to cultivate. The masters teach us that it must be balanced with compassion to reveal the truly balanced being that comes from realizing enlightenment. Represented by the mythological demi-Buddha, Avalokiteshvara of Kwan Yin.

Fudo Myo-o (also known as Acala in sankrit, which appropriately means "Immovable") is known for his wisdom, which compares to the development of wisdom in our practice. Fudo Myo-o is that development process--he is that state of mind, which propels us to realize greater wisdom. Meditating upon him is to remind ourselves of our potential. He is a destroyer of delusion. So, he compares to the strength and perseverance within us all to realize the hold that delusion has over our lives, and destroy it through wisdom. He reminds us that wisdom is also a sacred treasure to be protected but shared. This, "knowing" then, like a guardian protects our Buddha-to-be essence and/or our Bodhisattvas vows, which can be compared to our true nature. This wisdom protects these natures and vows from the "poisonous" influences of greed, hatred and delusions. Thus, the fierce-some appearance of the kings who will turn on even us if we miss use our wisdom.

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7 comments:

Mushinronsha said...

From an artistic, aesthetic and personal (shallow) point of view, I think I prefer the Japanese and Tibetan style of depicting gods, demons and Bodhisattvas than the traditional Indian style.

I believe the Indian idea is that since their gods are described as being beautiful and attractive (take Krishna for example) they think it desirable to depict their gods (and Buddha too) as rather feminine. Even Shiva "the destroyer" is normally depicted as appearing very woman-like.
I'm no misogynist, but for me the gods should look a little more... I don't know... Macho. Like the Norse Thor for example.
Usually (but not always) in Japanese and Tibetan art, the gods are a little more masculine. The Buddha on the other hand is still a little too girly in my opinion.

Julie said...

Upon the sudden death of my oldest son, my five year old began drawing picture upon picture of a being with many many arms. What does this image mean to you? thank you!

Julie said...

(I'm talking of gods,deities etc...)??

They call him James Ure said...

Mushinronsha:

I like the Tibetan and Japanese styles too though I also like the Indian ones.

Julie:

In Buddhism there is a deity of compassion and empathy named Avalokiteshvara. Or Kwan Yin/Guanyin.

This being is a bit of an androgynous figure. That in part means that this being's compassion and empathy is balanced between all beings--male and female.

He/she is sometimes depicted with many, many arms. This depiction represents his/her ability to give compassion to myriad beings all at once. Thus, the many arms.

Julie said...

A big thank you to you James! Interesting!

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Shindo said...

Hi! I wanted to let you know that I used your post as an explanation of my Fudo Myo tattoo... great write up..

take care

kevin

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