Mystical Images and Places

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Ksitigarbha Buddha is a Bodhisattva that Vowed to Help All Those Who Suffer in Hell and in this World!

Published Oktubre 6, 2013 by jptan2012

A few days ago I wrote and introduced you to the possible wonderful blessings of THE FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS, and the response has been truly overwhelming. Of course, regular readers are well familiar with WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, and the several personal testimonies of people who has requested for it. Sometimes, between THE FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS, WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, and the WEALTH AND MASTER PROTECTION PENDANT, which, unfortunately is no longer available for requests because of its price, I believe that there is no more excuse for us to go through any form of suffering. The truth Feng Shui, Taoism, and Buddhism has a lot of deities, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, not to mention power of symbols and mantras that can help alleviate us from any form of suffering.Ksitigarbha

However, why do many of us still suffer? Many of us still go through some form of suffering because of either of two things. One, it can be due to the fact that our house Feng Shui is bad, or it can be also due to karma, whether past life karma or recent karma. When I say recent karma, I refer to karma that is sowed during this current lifetime.

Nevertheless, still, we have a lot of Bodhisattva who have vowed to help uplift us from any form of suffering. First, of all these Bodhisattvas is the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin or Avalokitesvara in Tibetan Buddhism. She remains to be the most popular and revered Bodhisattva. In fact, often times she’s referred to as the Bodhisattva of Compassion or Buddha of Compassion.

Today, allow me to introduce to you another such Bodhisattva, who in reality is already a Buddha but vowed to stay on as a Bodhisattva until such time there is no longer any soul in hell. I’m referring to Ksitigarbha Buddha, who again is actually a Bodhisattva.

Ksitigarbha Buddha, is usually depicted as a Buddhist monk, and for bigger temples, he usually has his own temple hall. In the Philippines, and smaller hall he is usually placed at the memorial halls of the dead or mausoleums this is because of his vow to save people from hell. Personally speaking, I believe this is a limitation of how Ksitigarbha should be perceived. A lot of Filipino – Chinese Buddhists thinks of Ksitigarbha only as a Bodhisattva of the souls of the dead. While it’s perfectly true and accurate, this belief doesn’t paint the whole picture of who Ksitigarbha truly is.Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva

Ksitigarbha Buddha or Dizang P’usa (also spelled as Ti Tsang P’usa, he is also called in Chinese as Dizang Wang P’usa or Ti Tsang Wang P’usa). There are a lot of translations of Ksitigarbha’s name in English, but the most common one is Earth Store.

Ksitigarbha Buddha or Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is known for his vow to take care take responsibility of souls that are experiencing hell. This is where the translation becomes a little muddy; because some people took it to mean the literal hell, and while they are not incorrect, they’re not entirely correct either. I personally believe the other translation, hell means suffering, whether these are the souls that are suffering when they are in – between transitions from one earth life to another, or it is suffering because of what we are going through here on earth. Some people seems to have forgotten that Ksitigarbha’s vow is to take responsibility for the enlightenment of all souls in the six worlds between the physical death of Gautama (Sakyamuni or Shakyamuni) Buddha (also known as the Historical Buddha) and the rise of Maitreya Buddha (also known as the Happy Buddha or the Future Buddha), with this vow is the vow of not entering Buddhahood until all hells are emptied.

KsitigarbhaI mentioned earlier that Ksitigarbha Buddha is second to Bodhisattva of Compassion, Kuan Yin in terms of ‘popularity’ and followers to East Asian Buddhist. What’s striking is that Kuan Yin, became a woman in China from the male form of Avalokitesvara.

Ksitigarbha also had a transformation of gender, however with Ksitigarbha, he was she before she became a he. Also, unlike Kuan Yin, it is believed that Ksitigarbha really became a human being.

Much of what we know about Ksitigarbha Buddha or Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is base on his own sutra, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra, which is one of the most popular sutra in Mahayana Buddhism. It is said to have been spoke by Sakyamuni Buddha himself to the Trayastrimsa Heaven towards the end is earth life.ksitigarbha3

To this day it’s not clear whether the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra has an Indian or Chinese origins. It was first believed that Tipitaka Master Siksananda, who is a famous Buddhist monk from Khotan who also provided a new translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra and the Lankavatara Sutra, translated it from the Sanskrit into Chinese during the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century. However, among all the sutras, Ksitigarbha Sutra strongly advocates filial piety, w/c was stereotype associated with Chinese culture. It talked about Ksitigarbha’s filial piety as a human or mortal, which lead to great vows to save all sentient being. Furthermore, no Sanskrit manuscript of Ksitigarbha’s sutras was ever found, which strengthen the belief that it is of Chinese origin.

According to his sutra, Ksitigarbha was a maiden in the distant past eons. He or she was of the Brahmin caste named Sacred Girl. She was said to have shown love and respect towards her parents, especially her mother. When her mother died, Sacred Girl became deeply troubled because her mother had been very slanderous towards the Triple Gem. Wanting to save her mother from the tremendous tortures of hell, Sacred Girl sold everything she has to buy offerings for the Buddha of her era. The Buddha then is known as the Buddha of the Flower of Meditation and Enlightenment. Remember that Sakyamuni Buddha was then still a Bodhisattva.

Some Buddhists, specially in japan and China (where the one child policy is forcing women to commit abortion), Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is considered as the Bodhisattva for the souls of babies who died.

Some Buddhists, specially in japan and China (where the one child policy is forcing women to commit abortion), Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is considered as the Bodhisattva for the souls of babies who died.

Sacred Girl would always make offerings and recitation of prayers to help save her mother’s soul. One day, while she was making an offering and prayers at the temple, she heard the Buddha of her era telling her to go home and recite his name in meditation if she truly wants to know how her mother was in the other world. She did what she was told and her consciousness through a vision was transported to a realm of Hell.  There she met the guardian of hell who informed her that through her offerings and fervent prayer, she has helped her mother accumulate enough merit to negate her karma and she has ascended to heaven where she awaits to be reborn. Sacred Girl was greatly comforted with this; however, she saw the suffering to the souls in Hell, which greatly affected her. She then made a vow to do her best to relieve the beings in hell of their suffering in her future lives.

It is normal that people will call Ksitiagrbha a Buddha even if he is actually a Bodhisattva. That is because like Kuan Yin, it's his choice to remain a Bodhisattva to help suffering people and sould.

It is normal that people will call Ksitiagrbha a Buddha even if he is actually a Bodhisattva. That is because like Kuan Yin, it’s his choice to remain a Bodhisattva to help suffering people and sould.

At this time Sacred Girl is already considered as living Bodhisattva, much like how some people consider the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche to be a living Bodhisattva. When Sacred Girl left her physical body and went to heaven, she was given the chance to go back so she can start her vow to save souls. This time she chooses to be male monk. Before he left heaven to assume his new life as a monk, he found that her mother when she was still Sacred Girl would also go back to earth to take a life of a dog; this is because she has to earn a lesson from being slanderous about the Triple Gems.

Ksitigarbha as a monk seek out Sacred Girl’s mother who is now a dog. The dog often acted as Ksitigarbha’s guard, which is a way for Sacred Mother’s mom to repay Sacred Girl’s love.

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is popularly depicted in two ways, one as a bald monk and the other one as a monk who wears a Five Leave Crown. He is depicted either seated or standing up on a lotus base. On his right hand is the Ringed Staff, which is carried by a lot of monks during his time. The Ringed Staff is also called the Alarm Staff; it is used to warn animals and insects that he is arriving so that he can avoid harming them by unintentionally stepping on them. In Feng Shui the ringed staff has come to symbolize the announcement of an impending danger. On his right hand is the Wish Fulfilling Jewel, which actually is a pearl. The Wish Fulfilling Jewel symbolizes the fact that Ksitigarbha has ability to help us fulfill our wishes. The Wish Fulfilling Jewel becomes a Fireball to help subdue negative energies such arguments or fighting. So it is not surprising that in some temple, you’ll see Ksitigarbha holding a round ball signifying the Wish Fulfilling Jewel, while in other he holds the Fireball. These two are actually one and the same. In Feng Shui, the Ksitigarbha fireball signifies the taming of arguments and fighting.

From my personal collection. A rare Red Amber Ksitigarbha.

From my personal collection. A rare Red Amber Ksitigarbha.

Having an image of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva at home or as a pendant, will help people who are going through some hardships, Ksitgarbha will help make things better. Furthermore, having his image at home or as a pendant will also help people deal with the compulsion or addiction. Addiction and compulsion are a form of hell and suffering, thus devotion to Ksitigarbha will help. People who are going through a difficult time will get some relief if they have the image of Ksitigarbha.

If wearing it as a pendant, I prefer the image with the five leave crown.  This is a rare red jasper Ksitigarbha pendant from my personal collection.

If wearing it as a pendant, I prefer the image with the five leave crown.
This is a rare red jasper Ksitigarbha pendant from my personal collection.

If you are suffering from a fixed karma, meaning karma from your past life and as indicated on your Paht Chee or Bazi, having Ksitigarbha’s image and reciting his mantra will help eradicate this negative past karma.

The mantra for this is OM PRA MANI DANI SOHA.

The other mantra for Ksitigarbha Buddha is OM AH KSITIGARBHA THALENG HUM.

His mantra in Chinese is NAMO DIZANG WANG P’USA.

If you wish to get an image of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, I find that an image of Ksitigarbha made of red jasper, or red amber is the best. The one made of jade only works for a select group of people.

Again, if using an image of Ksitigarbha at home, I prefer to use the one with the crown, unless, he is placed the ancestral altar.

Again, if using an image of Ksitigarbha at home, I prefer to use the one with the crown, unless, he is placed the ancestral altar.

Between the FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS, the images in the WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, GUAN YIN, KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA to name just some of the things that I’ve written there is no reason for us to suffer, as long as we keep our hearts pure and consciousness clean.

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Four Faced Buddha of Bangkok,Thailand-A Famous and Miraculous Wealth Granting and Protector Deity but He is Not a Buddha!

Published Pebrero 20, 2012 by jptan2012

Thailand is one of most iconic Buddhist country. Their monks to this day still literally beg for their food. Many Buddhist, like myself, goes to Bangkok to see some of the most sacred and majestic Buddhist temples. And like most Buddhist I also went to see the iconic ‘Patron Buddha’ of the country, which is the Four Faced Buddha at the heart of Bangkok.

The Erawan Shrine Four Faced Buddha is not a Buddha but a Brahma!

The famous Four Faced Buddha at Erawan Shrine draws both local and ‘international’ devotees as wells as tourists. The funny thing though, the Four Faced Buddha is not inside a Wat (temple in Thai), it is just in a small patch of land at Phloenchit Road corner Rajadamri Road. In fact, tall buildings around the area, a hotel, and Bangkok’s Skytrain tracks dwarf it. But do not be surprise to see that not a single minute passes by with a person praying or paying homage to the Four Faced Buddha. In fact, keeping the area uncluttered is a big problem for the city officials. They need to have somebody removed the flowers offered to the image every 10 minutes for 15 hours a day. If they fail to do this, the area will drowned in a sea of flowers offered to the Buddha.

Although, famously called as the Four Faced Buddha, Thailand’s unofficial Patron Buddha is not a Buddha, it is a Brahma and technically it has nothing to do with Buddhism. However, Thai Buddhist monks have already quietly and unofficially recognized the 4-Faced Brahma as an unlikely Buddhist deity, that a lot of people has recognized it as a 4-Faced Buddha. In a way, it can be said that the Four Faced Buddha is now an ‘adopted’ Buddhist deity.

The picture depicts of that a usual day in Erawan Shrine. This is just any other normal day. Picture lifted from Joy Holiday site.

There are a lot of Four Faced Buddha in Thailand, but the most popular one is the one Erawan shrine. One proof that the Four Faced Buddha in Erawan Shrine is really miraculous is how much money thankful devotees and worshippers throw in as an offering to the Buddha. In fact, the ‘joke’ there its their second central bank and that’s where they mint baht coins and print paper baht. The money is then used to maintain the shrine and also to feed some poor Thai families.

While I was there I met an American guy who said that he believes that it was the Four Faced Buddha who saved his life. He said, on a previous trip to Bangkok his Thai friend toured him to Erawan Shrine, and this friend also gifted him with a Four Faced Buddha pendant. While he doesn’t a strong religious background, he wore the pendant out of respect and also out of sentimental value for his friend who has been nice. “Besides the pendant is quite nice. Exotic. If you know what I mean?” he added.

Anyway, a few months after he got back to the United States, he experience a ‘…. miraculous event that made me believed in the Four Faced Buddha.” Apparently, while working on an electrical problem in his apartment, something that he felt he could handle on his own, he got electrocuted. He said it was really bad and that he literally felt all the electricity going through his body until he lost consciousness. According to him, his roommate saw him thrown off to the other side of the room! But he doesn’t have any recollection of this happening. He was rushed to the hospital and regain consciousness on his way there. After being observed he was released the following day.

This is a typical Four Faced Buddha pendant that you can buy in Bangkok, Thailand. Some of the images inside are made of real gold. My own Four Faced Buddha pendant is similar to this one.

On his way home he remembered his Four Faced Buddha pendant and thought the medics must have taken it off him. Resigned to the fact that he already lost the pendant, he just forgot about it. About a week after the incident when his roommate was cleaning the apartment, his friend saw his broken pendant under a cabinet. When the American saw his pendant, he just knew right away that it was the Four Faced Buddha that saved him.

Another story I heard 3rd hand. My Thai host shared the story with me. He said his officemate was in need of big amount of money for her father who’s battling cancer. Upon the advice of their other officemate his officemate who is need of money went to pray to the Four Faced Buddha. 7 days after she prayed to the Four Faced Buddha she was asked to go S30 hotel in Bangkok to meet a client. When their meeting ended, she went to use the rest room and in the stall the she used she saw a bag that must have been forgotten by somebody. She opened the bag to search for identification as to who might own the bag. What she saw surprised her because there was a huge amount of baht and US dollars inside the bag. She was honest enough to admit that she was really tempted to just get away with the money because it will definitely help her with her financial woes, not to mention the fact tat there was nothing in which she can use to identify the owner of the bag. She even wondered whether this was the help sent by the Four Faced Buddha. As soon as thought of it she also realized that it’s quite impossible that the Four Faced Buddha will be sending help by getting the money from somebody else. She decided to just surrender the bag to the hotel manager.

When she got to reception, there was a frantic girl being consoled by her client. As it turned out the frantic girl is the owner of the bag and she also happens to be the sister of her client. To make the long story short she returned the bag, to the obvious relief of the frantic girl.

They have to 'clean' the shrine every 10 minutes, otherwise it will drown on a sea of flowers and offering and money!

Two days later she got a call from her client. Her client knew of her financial problem because of her father illness from her boss, and as it turn out her client’s sister’s father-in-law is an oncologist in Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, out of gratitude they offered to help her father. Not only will the father-in-law waive his professional fee, he also arranged for somebody to shoulder the medical bills of my host’s officemate’s father. My host said that the father of his officemate is now alive and ‘kicking’! They now visit the Four Faced Buddha every week!

Still another story was shared with me by another devotee who I met online thru the course of my ‘research’ about the Four Faced Buddha. J is a Malaysian Chinese businessman. He visited the Four Faced Buddha at the Erawan Shrine the first time he visited Bangkok. The tour guide told him that the image is miraculous and that it will grant all good wishes. J said he is not a very religious person but seeing the number of devotees that visits the site something just prompted him to ask for his ‘simple’ wish. He has been hoping to expand his business, having 5 children he wants to make sure that he is able to make sure that all children will have financial wealth that he can passed on to them when he gets older. J said while he was sincere in asking for the Four Faced Buddha’s help, he really didn’t give much thought to it. Until he slowly notices that his business was expanding, getting bigger, and more secured. By that time he has already forgotten about the wish that he has asked from the Four Faced Buddha of Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand. Nevertheless, he was really thankful. He decided to see a Taoist monk friend; J wants the Taoist monk to conduct a thanksgiving ceremony. While talking to J the Taoist Monk suddenly had a ‘vision’ and told J that the best way for the thanksgiving is to thank a man with four faces. The Taoist monk was not sure about his vision but J understood it right away! It was the Four Faced Buddha who granted his wish!

Since then J would travel to Bangkok once or twice a year simply to give thanks to the Four Faced Buddha. Every time he is there he would donate some flowers, incense, fruits, Elephant images, and he would always leave 15,OOO Baht as his thanksgiving. In a way he is trying to pay it forward. He also has invited an image of the Four Faced Buddha into his house and all his family even his grandchildren all wear the image of the Four Faced Buddha as an homage to the deity who granted them wealth.

The Four Faced Buddha in Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand is the most popular miraculous Four Faced Buddha in the world. The irony here is that a number of its devotee becamae a devotee after their first visit to the shrine. Meaning, a number of them visited the site without prior devotion but because they experienced a miracle after the visit they started becoming worshippers of the Four Faced Buddha. However, you don't really need to go to the site to pray to Four Faced Buddha. You can all on him where ever you are.

It’s not surprising that the Four Faced Buddha is miraculous, because even the story of its placement in that particular site was sort of a miracle. In 1956, the government was building the government-owned Erawan hotel. However, the government failed to consult geomancers as to what is the best time to built the hotel and this proved to be problematic. They were several accidents and labor problems that the construction workers threatened to walk out of their work, several times. Geomancers, Feng Shui experts, and Geomancers were called in to assess the problem. They reminded the government that the area used to be a dumping ground of people who were salvaged and also criminals were also used to be displayed and killed in the area. In fact, a portion of the place has become a ‘hungry ghost house’ of these troubled souls. They recommended putting an image of the Four Faced Buddha at the location where they identified as the ‘hungry ghost house’. I’m not really as to how they came about the decision that the image that should be placed there is that of the Four Faced Brahma, but after its installation construction went on smoothly and Erawan Hotel became a landmark until it was replaced by the Grand Erawan Hyatt Hotel in 1987 who happens also to be one of the most successful chain of Hyatt.

The image that you’ll see there now is not the original statue. The original one was destroyed by a mentally ill man who smashed the statue completely destroying it! Some people believed that the man is possessed by the devil. Some people who are in the area chased the man and UNFORTUNATELY killed the guy. The incident completely stunned and saddened the whole nation, a lot of Thais openly wept for the destroyed image, and they all felt that there’s a great misfortune that is about to befall their country. True enough 7 months after the incident they saw one of the most violent political crisis Thailand faced in modern era, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted from his position by a coup de’ tat!

Last May 21, 2006 at exactly 11:39am they have installed a new image of the Four Faced Buddha or Four Faced Brahma. It’s now made of a special alloy that consists of 9 different metals which includes the remnants of the first image and gold and silver.

I personally don’t have any ‘miraculous’ story to share about the Four Faced Buddha, however, you only have to go to the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok to see that its impossible for it not to be miraculous given the number of its devotee or worshippers who attests to the power of the Four Faced Buddha!

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