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    Modern version of the Eternal Knot by Charles Huttner
A View on Buddhism
Teksty w jezyku polskim     Deutsche Seiten

Symbolism of the five Dhyani Buddhas

The five Dhyani Buddhas are mentioned in most of the tantric systems and represent various physical and mental aspects. Here are given only some of the most common explanations and representations of these so-called 'Heads of the five Buddha-families'.

It should be noted though that many different forms of each deity exist, and different tantras can have slightly different explanations (for example, in the Kalachakra tantra, six Dhyani-Buddhas are mentioned, and most have different colors and shapes).

The five Dhyani-Buddhas are also often found on the crown on the head of tantric Buddhas, like this:

Dhyani-Buddha crown

Mental symbolism of the five Dhyani Buddhas
Deity Delusion Enlightened Mind
Vairochana ignorance, delusion All-encompassing Dharmadatu Wisdom
Akshobhya anger, hatred Mirror-like Wisdom
Ratnasambhava pride, miserliness Wisdom of Equality
Amitabha desire, lust Discriminating Wisdom
Amogasiddhi jealousy, fear All-accomplishing Wisdom

 

Physical symbolism of the five Dhyani Buddhas
Deity Element Sense Medical/physical Organ
Vairochana space sight energy channels heart
Akshobhya water sound blood flow kidneys
Ratnasambhava earth smell flesh spleen
Amitabha fire taste body heat liver
Amogasiddhi air touch inner winds lungs

 

Names and relation to other Buddhas & Bodhisattvas
Deity (Sanskrit) English name Consort
Bodhisattva Wheel-turning
Buddhas
Vairochana Illuminating

White Tara
(Vajradhatvisvari)

Samantabhadra Krakucchanda
Akshobhya Unshakable

Locana

Vajrapani Kanakamuni
Ratnasambhava Jewel-born

Mamaki

Ratnapani Kashyapa
Amitabha Infinite Light

Pandara

Avalokiteshvara Shakyamuni
Amogasiddhi Conqueror

Green Tara

Vishvapani Maitreya

 

Imagery symbolism of the five Dhyani Buddhas
Deity Color Direction Gesture (mudra)  
Vairochana white Center Dharmachakra
Turning the
Dharma-wheel
(teaching)
Vairochana
Akshobhya blue East Bhumisparsa
Earth-touching
Akshobhya
Ratnasambhava yellow South Varada
Bestowing, giving
Ratnasambhava
Amitabha red West Dhyana
Meditation
Amitabha
Amogasiddhi green North Abhaya
Fearlessness
Amoghasiddhi

More symbolism of the five Dhyani Buddhas
Deity Family symbol
and family
Syllable Vehicle Aggregate
Vairochana
Wheel
Dharma-wheel
Tathagata
OM dragon form
(Skt. rupa)
Akshobhya
Vajra
Vajra
vajra
HUM elephant consciousness
(Skt. vijnana)
Ratnasambhava
Jewel
Jewel
ratna
TRAM horse or lion sensation
(Skt. vendana)
Amitabha
Lotus
Lotus
padma
HRIH peacock perception
(Skt. sanjna)
Amogasiddhi
Double
vajra

karma
AH Garuda impulses
(Skt. Samskara)

 

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See also:

http://www.buddhanature.com/
http://www.kheper.net/topics/Buddhism/dhyanibuddhas.html
http://www.exoticindiaart.com/article/dhyanibuddhas

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Last updated: October 1, 2011