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The Four Heavenly Kings: Getting to Know Four Powerful Buddhist Gods that Helps Bestow Wealth, Success, Peace, and Protection.

Published Agosto 30, 2017 by jptan2012

Today is a very good day and an exciting day (please note that actual writing and date of posting are usually different from each other) for me and in a way for my regular readers and believers of Feng Shui and Buddhism it should be a good day for you also, because today is the day I was told by my Guru Lama to share with you about the Four Heavenly Kings.four heavenly kings

The Four Heavenly Kings has been featured in numerous Buddhist Sutras, one of which is in The Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva; Earth Store Bodhisattva is also known as Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva or Di Zhang Pu Sa. In this particular sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha (The Historical Buddha) directly addressed the Four Heavenly Kings to help propagate the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva. They were also prominently mentioned in the highly revered Golden Light Sutra.

It is said that those who recite the Golden Light Sutra will be protected by the Four Heavenly Kings themselves. Furthermore, those who recite and keep the Lotus Sutra will also be protected by the Four Heavenly Kings.

From this we can see that the Four Heavenly Kings are powerful protector Buddhist gods, however, as you read on you will that they don’t only protect us but they each also have a specific function which is different from each other.

At this point, I would like to clarify that the Four Heavenly Kings are gods in the Buddhist pantheon; it means they are not yet Bodhisattvas or Buddhas, and they serve the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas.

Again, The Four Heavenly Kings are Buddhist gods, each of who watches over their assigned cardinal direction of the world. The cardinal directions are East, West, North, and South. In Chinese they are originally known or called as “Fēng Tiáo Yǔ Shùn” (風調雨順), which literally translates to “Good climate”, but in the translation in the Chinese version of sutras they are called “Sì Dà Tiānwáng” (四大天王) which means “Four Great Heavenly Kings”.four heavenly kings 2

In most Chinese Buddhist Temples, one will normally see the THE HEAVENLY KINGS HALL. This is usually one of the first most majestic halls one will see.

The Four Heavenly Kings resides in Mt. Sumeru, a celestial and cosmic mountain where the heavens are. They are also the protector of the world and they fight evil, each of the 4 Heavenly Kings are able to command a legion of supernatural creatures to protect the Dharma or people who follow the Dharma.

Each of the Four Heavenly Kings serves Sakra, the of the devas (gods) of the Trayastrimsha Heaven. In Buddhism there are many heavens, and the Tranyastrimsha Heaven is the heaven nearest to our world, which is called Jambvudpiva is Buddhist sutras.

Although they are more commonly called as the Four Heavenly Kings, each one of them has a name and their specific directions and functions. Allow me to introduce to you the Four Heavenly Kings:

VAISRAVANA (He Who Hears Everything)Vaisravana.

  • Is the chief of the Four Heavenly Kings and is the main protector of the cardinal direction North. He is sometimes likened to Bodhisattva Kuan Yin (also spelled or called as Quan Yin, Guan Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Guan Shi Yin, Quan Shi Yin, Avalokitesvara, Kannon, Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion, Goddess of Mercy) whose literal translation is THE WHO HEAR THE CRIES OF THE WORLD.
  • Vaisravana is also known as Kubera, Namtose (Namthose), Vessavana, Thao Kuwen, Wetsawan, Wetsuwan, Wéthawún Nat Min, Duō Wén Tiānwáng.
  • Vaisravana is the rule of water or rain, which is also the element that represents wealth or money. The umbrella or the pagoda are his symbolic weapons. Vaisravana is considered as a very powerful god of wealth.
  • In fact, Vaisravana rules over the famous gods of weatlh, which are the Five Dzambhalas (also spelled as Dzambhala, Dzambala, Jambala, Jambhala, Zambhala, Zambala) namely Red Dzambhala, Yellow Dzambhala, White Dzambhala, Black or Blue Dzambhala, and Green Dzambhala. He rules over the Dzambhalas amongst other Yaksha (also spelled as Yaksa) which are generals of the heavenly realm.
  • Vaisravana is often associated with the colors yellow and green.
  • Symbols of Vaisravana: Umbrella, Stupa, Pagoda, Mongoose
  • Cardinal Direction: North

VIRUDHAKA (He Who Causes To Grow)Virudhaka

  • Is the king of the South. He is the ruler of the wind. And is the god who helps cause good growth of roots or crops.
  • His symbolic weapon is the sword, which he carries in his right hand to protect the Dharma and also to symbolize power over ignorance.
  • Virudhaka is also known as Virūḷhaka, Thao Wirunhok, Virúlaka Nat Min, Zēng Zhǎng Tiānwáng, Zōchō-ten, Jeungjang-cheonwang,
  • Virudhaka rules over Kumbhanda, which are a group of dwarfish spirits and is considered as one of the lesser deities in Buddhism.
  • Virudhaka is often associated with the color blue.
  • Symbol of Virudhaka: Sword
  • Cardinal Direction: South

DHRTARASTRA (He Who Upholds the Realm)Dhrtarastra

  • Is the king that rules over East. He is also considered as the God of Music.
  • His symbolic weapon is a stringed instrument called pipa.
  • It is said that Dhrtarastra uses music to convert all sentient beings to Buddhism. While all of the Four Heavenly Kings are harmonious and compassionate, Dhrtarastra is considered to be a god that helps promotes harmony and compassion.
  • Dhrtarastra is also known as Dhrutharashṭa, Thao Thatarot, Daddáratá Nat Min, Chí Guó Tiānwáng, Jikoku-ten, Jiguk-cheonwang, Yülkhorsung.
  • Dhrtarastra rule over the gandharvas, which are male nature spirits that has superb heavenly and celestial musical skills. They are part animal usually a bird or a horse, and acts as messenger between gods and humans.
  • Dhrtarastra are often associated with the color white.
  • Symbol of Dhrtarastra: Pipa
  • Cardinal Direction: East.

VIRUPAKSA ( He Who Sees All)Virupaksa

  • Is the king that rules over the West. He is considered as the one who sees everything that happens in the Dharma world.
  • His symbolic weapons are snake or a red cord that is representative of a dragon.
  • It is said the Virupaksa watches over us in the sky, and that when we solemnly call on him in time of danger, he will guard and protect us. And if you are not Buddhist and for some reason knows a lot of Buddhism, it is said that it Virupaksa is the one who feeds you these informations.
  • Virupaksa is also known as Virūpakkha, Virūpaksha, Thao Wirupak, Virúpekka Nat Min, Guăng Mù Tiānwáng, Kōmoku-ten, Gwangmok-cheonwang,
  • Virupaksa rules over the Nagas, which is a deity that has taken the form of a very great snake.
  • Virupaksa is often associated with the color red.
  • Symbols of Virupaksa: Snake, Stupa, Pearl.
  • Cardinal Direction: West

According to Guru Lama praying to the Four Heavenly Kings will provide us with wealth and prosperity (thru King Vaisravana), success and progress (thru King Virudhaka), peace and harmony (thru King Dhrtarastra) and, good health and protection from danger (thru King Virupaksa). Placing their images at home also serves as one of the most powerful protection amulet one can have.

Guru Lama shares with me a story about how when he was assigned by the Dalai Lama to leave Dharamsala, India to help spread Buddhism and build temple in other parts of Asia, he has personally tapped into the blessings and power of the Four Heavenly Kings.

That was a few decades ago and when he left India, he was only given small amount money to travel and spread the Dharma and eventually build a temple. Guru Lama said he was a little apprehensive because a few years back they just left Tibet because of Chinese oppression, and when he was asked to leave again to spread the Dharma, he was apprehensive and really nervous even though he was excited and felt honored to be entrusted with the task of spreading the Dharma.

A few months before leaving India, he started preparing himself physically and mentally to this overwhelming task. He would always meditate on the teaching of the different sutras and would always draw strength from Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (aka Kuan Yin, Quan Yin, Guan Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Quan Shi Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Chenrezig, Kannon) and Bodhisattva Vajrapani. One night in his sleep he received a vision that Vajrapani Bodhisattva visited him and that he was shown the images of the Four Heavenly Kings. Upon waking up he knew then that he would need the help of the Four Heavenly Kings to help progress in his endeavor.

This totally make sense, because if you go back to the description of the Four Heavenly Kings, he will need wealth and prosperity to help build a temple, success and progress so that people will see the good side of what he was about to do, peace and harmony so that he can transmute that feeling to the people around him, good health for this overwhelming task, and protection to ensure that he doesn’t come to harm’s way in spreading the Dharma.

And so my Guru Lama started worshipping and praising the Four Heavenly Kings by making offerings to them and by chanting the mantras of the Four Heavenly Kings. He also vigorously recited The Golden Light Sutra, and The Lotus Sutra (full title is called “Sūtra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma”). And the rest is history. According to Guru Lama he was able to become an instrument into building a temple and building a Sangha (Buddhist community) with relative ease. Money for the temple just kept on pouring in.

Note: To this day Guru Lama still actively participate in building temples. The stipulated donation from the amulets goes to the feeding of the monks or building temples or making of images of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas.

And so today, again for the first time, I want to share with you a powerful mantra that will help you attract wealth and prosperity, success and progress, peace and harmony, lastly, good health and protection, you can recite the mantras of each of the Four Heavenly Kings.

Here are the mantras of each of the Four Heavenly Kings:

  1. For Wealth and Prosperity recite the Mantra of King Vaisravana: OM VAISRAVANA YE SOHA
  2. For Success and Progress in Life recite the Mantra of King Virudhaka: OM VIRUDHAKA KUMBHANDADHIPATA YE SOHA
  3. For Peace and Harmony recite the Mantra of King Dhrtarastra: OM DHRTARASTRA RALAPRAVADHAHA SOHA
  4. For Good Health and Protection recite the Mantra of King Virupaksa: OM VIRUPAKSA NAGA DHIPATA YE SOHA

You can read the following posts to know more about the Vaisravana _ Dzambhala Wealth Amulet:

For questions, comments, and suggestions please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Basic Buddhism 5: The Evolution of Acquiring An Amulet

Published Disyembre 31, 2015 by jptan2012

Have you wondered why when ‘buying’ an amulet Buddhist, especially Chinese Buddhist, will always use the word ‘invite’ instead of buy?

Is it only because most Buddhists are uncomfortable with the thought of paying for an amulet?

The truth is there is a deeper explanation to this.

In the olden times, an amulet was never bought; a person can only acquire an amulet if a Buddhist monk or when a person who has it has chosen a person to receive it. For amulets that are kept in the temple and are to be given to the people, they will have to express to the Buddhist monk or to the abbot or abbess of the temple their desire to invite the said amulet. The abbot or abbess together with the senior Buddhist monks and nuns will either then do an assessment whether the person is worthy of receiving the said amulet. Usually the person will be assessed as to whether they are good member of the Sangha (community of the Buddhist society), and whether they have sincerely contributed to the temple. Contribution here is not just about money, although it may include it in form of donation to the temple, but more importantly, how much they have contributed in terms of service to temple. For example, do they volunteer in the activities of the temple, do they help clean the temple, do they make offerings of flowers, do they help cook food for the Buddhist monks or nuns or even the Sangha? Since the Buddhist monks or nuns are familiar with the members of the Sangha they are able to make the assessment base on quality of the offering and not quantity, meaning, they are able to assess appropriately. They are not judging base on the quantity of the offering but rather quality.

Allow me to explain the last few statements further. Buddhist Student A and Buddhist Student B are members of a temple. Buddhist Student A, goes to the temple every afternoon and cleans the temple for 3 hours. Buddhist Student B, goes to the temple every afternoon and helps do chores for 30 minutes. But Buddhist Student A is a rich person who doesn’t do anything and Buddhist Student B is a poor peasant who has to work for 10 hours a day. So off hand, you’ll see that Buddhist Student B has so much more ‘quality’ in his/her service offering. Of course, Buddhist monks and nuns takes into consideration a lot more factors, but off hand as an example, I hope what I illustrated is clear.

So it doesn’t mean that when a person donated 10 gold coins, he will get the amulet. He may have only donated 1 silver coin, but taking into consideration all the other factors he might be so much worth it.

Sometimes, the process is done through a divination. This is especially true if there is only a single or limited amulet and several people have expressed interest to invite the amulet, and after an assessment several people were proven to be worthy. I remember, several years back, I was still a young boy then, there’s a special amulet that is to be given to a member of the Sangha. The temple has pre – selected possible recipient, and my mom was one of them. They were asked to go to the temple at a certain date and time, and there was a ritual that was made to whom should the amulet be given. My mom got it.

I have to repeat, when I said quality it doesn’t mean also which one has given nicer things, but what is being assessed is sincerity and capability of the person.

Surangama Mantra Amulet N

Pure Land Buddhists believes that when you wear a Surangama Mantra Amulet, heavenly beings that has an affinity with you will hover over you.

As time goes – by, and the world has become more urbanized, this kind of process slowly changed, because the norm now is that every adult goes to work. The world has been interconnected and it has also become extremely competitive. We are all so busy earning a living. And so, acquiring an amulet has change also. Now, especially, in the last 15 to 20 years, inviting an amulet by way of paying for it has become acceptable provided there is some guideline.

The money is used as a donation for the consumerable materials used. Not the materials that are holy. For example, in the case of the Vajrapani Ruel (1) or Surangama Mantra Amulet (1), what were factored in the ‘price’ are the materials that can be paid for and not the holy materials like relics, etc.

The amount reflects the cost of transportation. A stipulated amount to be used for donation either to a temple or monastery, like in the case of the Surangama Mantra Amulet (2), the amount is used to build a temple. Or as an offering of an image of a Buddha, which is the case for the Vajrapani Ruel (2) and now the Illness Suppression Amulet. People are having easier access now to these amulets, but because they no longer serve the Sangha or community of Buddhist students or followers, they are requested to give a stipulated amount in return.

Illness Suppression Amulet3

The Illness Suppression Amulet or Illness Protection Amulet is a special highly consecrated amulet made by my Guru Lama as a cure for the Illness Star a star that also causes accidents. It has the energies of the Medicine Buddha, Namgyalma Buddha, Amitayus Buddha and White Umbrella Goddess. Furthermore, the small black thing you see at the bottom of the glass amulet holder is a Dharma Pill, which is made from a second – class relic of a confirmed holy lama. It also has a small amount of ash from the last Medicine Buddha holy initiation conducted by my Guru Lama, and aside from individual special consecration, the whole amulet was further consecrated under the Tooth Relic of Shakyamuni Buddha.

In some cases, some of these amulets are still distributed the old way and that would largely depend on the decision of the Buddhist monk in charge of the said amulet. For example, the Vajrapani Ruel (3) is not available thru a donation in Tibet and Nepal, no matter how much money you have you won’t be able to acquire it. You will have to be an active member of the Sangha and has made contribution either of food or service before you are even considered to possibly have it. The first few months when I wrote about the Vajrapani Ruel (4), I was not allowed by my Guru Lama to invite the Vajrapani Ruel (5) even if I was willing to give the stipulated amount for the cost of inviting it. It was only after several months that he decided to give one to me for free, as part of my service, but I still opted to give the stipulated amount for the cost of inviting the Vajrapani Ruel (6).

The Illness Suppression Amulet, which was specially made by my Guru Lama for the ruling Illness Star this year, is the same, the amount stipulated for its invitation will be partially donated to feeding of some monks, and making an image of a small Buddha or part of a bigger Buddha.

But a lot of the Buddhist monks still prioritized those who have sincerely contributed to the Buddhist community over those who can just simply pay for it. My Guru Lama although forced to accept the stipulated amount of donation for the invitation of some amulets like the Vajrapani Ruel (7) and Illness Suppression Amulet, he still follows the age – old tradition of distributing amulets, especially when said amulets are extremely limited.

For questions, comments, and suggestions, please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

 

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