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Manjushri - artelino

Manjushri ThangkaAccording to the legend Manjushri was a Chinese saint who came from China to Nepal to find the blue flame that symbolizes Swayambhu Buddha. He found the flame. But the flame was on a lotus in the middle of a huge lake surrounded by hills and he could not get there. Manjushri took his sword and cut into the Southern part of the hill chain. Thus the water drained southward, and Manjushri had created the Kathmandu valley.

Manjushri - Rambo in the Kathmandu Valley

Then he moved the lotus with the blue flame on top of a steep hill in the newly created valley, the place where later the Swayambhunath stupa was erected. Therefore the Nepalese consider Manjushri as the creator of Kathmandu Valley and of Nepalese civilization.

The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Knowledge

Manjushri with Lotus and Book.

Apart from his merits as a somewhat rough landscape architect, the Nepalese revere Manjushri as a Bodhisattva of wisdom, knowledge and eloquence. People who worship him, hope that these characteristics will be transferred upon them.

Flaming Sword and Tibetan Book

Manjushri Nepal Statue.

Manjushri is nearly always shown swinging a flaming sword high in his right hand. His left hand makes the teaching gesture. On his left shoulder you should see a lotus, and on this lotus is a book depicted. The book is hard to recognize, especially on statues. It is indicated as a rectangular symbol. The Tibetan books were made as a pile of single papers with a cover on bottom and on top.

PS: I forgot to explain what Bodhisattva are. They are friendly male or female deities, someone who has already attained nirvana but remains voluntarily on earth to help us poor human beings by their compassion to reach enlightenment (nirvana). There are quite a few of these Bodhisattva. Also the White and the Green Tara are Bodhisattva.

In contrast to the wrathful deities their images on thangkas or metal figures are friendly-looking and make Buddhists and non-Buddhists feel comfortable.

Dieter Wanczura, May 2010

Manjushri - Detail with book on lotus.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 23:50  

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