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Five Dhyani Buddhas

When it comes to the Theravada and Mahayana type of Buddhism, important figures within the religion are called Buddhas, who are individuals that have attained the level of full enlightenment. After experiencing his Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, Siddharta Guatama became known as “the Buddha.” Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism treat the concept of the Buddha in different ways. Through Theravada Buddhism, followers only acknowledge Gautama, as well as Buddhas from the past. Followers of Mahayana Buddhism believe that anyone has the potential to achieve the status of enlightenment, therefore earning the title of “buddha.”

 

There are many different Buddhas that you may have come in contact with through literature or visuals. Buddhas are important to many meditation ceremonies and rituals within the many different Buddhist religions, such as Tibetan and Tantric. Mahayana followers believe that there are certain Buddhas, who after their attainment of enlightenment, reside within the heavens or other places of Paradise. These Buddhas are referred to as ”˜celestial.” An example of these Buddhas is seen through the Five Dhyani Buddhas.

 

Laughing Buddha: Often depicted in illustrations and sculptures, the Buddha who often appears “jolly” or in a state of laughing is named Hotei or Pu-Tai. You may know him as the “jolly Laughing Buddha.” Chinese Buddhists view this figure as “the Loving” or “Friendly One.” This icon has also made his way into many Buddhist and Shinto beliefs. His well-known characteristics include a rather large stomach that sticks out into view, as well as a wide smile on his face.

 

Medicine Buddha (Healing Buddha): This figure is viewed as the Supreme Healer, who is associated with more than just healing and the increasing of powers of healing. This Medicine Buddha is also seen as one who can aid in the overcoming of sickness from within, as well as the elimination or decrease of ignorance and hatred. Some feel that meditating on the Medicine Buddha will lower the suffering from mental and physical illness.

 

Five Dhyani Buddhas

 

At the center of Tibetan Buddhism, you will find the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Their images can be found on Tibetan mandalas and thangkas. Each of the Buddhas is connected with different aspects of evil, as well as good. The Five Dhyani Buddhas are also referred to the Great Buddhas of Wisdom, which come through in many of the concepts of Buddhist beliefs and artistic expression. They are as follows:

Vaitocana (Buddha Supreme and Eternal; The Radiant One)

 

This Buddha is attached to the direction of center; color of white; the earthy element of ether; and the sense of sight. The animal associated with this Buddha is the lion. The symbol representing this particular Buddha is the wheel. Vaitocana embodies sovereignty.

 

Asshobhya (Immovable or Unshakable Buddha): This Buddha is attached to the direction of East; color of blue; the earthy element of water; and the sense of sound. The animal associated with this Buddha is the elephant. The symbol representing this particular Buddha is the thunderbolt. Asshobhya embodies steadfastness.

 

Ratnasambhava (Source of Precious Things or Jewel-Born One): This Buddha is attached to the direction of South; color of yellow; the earthy element of water; and the sense of smell. The animal associated with this Buddha is the horse. The symbol representing this particular Buddha is the jewel. Ratnasambhava embodies compassion.

 

Amitabha (Buddha of Infinite Light): This Buddha is attached to the direction of West; color of red; the earthy element of water; and the sense of taste. The animal associated with this Buddha is the peacock. The symbol representing this particular Buddha is the lotus. Amitabha embodies light.

 

Amogasiddha (Almighty Conquerer or Lord of Karma): This Buddha is attached to the direction of North; color of green; the earthy element of water; and the sense of touch. The animal associated with this Buddha is the garuda. The symbol representing this particular Buddha is the double thunderbolt. Amogasiddha embodies dauntlessness.