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Kongokai Joshine Mandala

Kongokai Joshine Mandala

Sacred Mandalas Of Toji Temple To Be Exhibited

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Religious symbolism and meanings.

The Kuji-in were created from the gesture of both the hands. The left hand Taizokai represents a receptive valence, and the right hand Kongokai conveys an emitter valence. The Kuji Kiri performed with the right hand are to emphasize the cut of the ignorance of the Maya (illusion) (that is the deceptive sensory world) through the Sword of the Wisdom. In this way, according to the belief system of Shingon Mikkyo, one would come to create an opening in the daily world that would allow oneself to reach various states of consciousness. Derived from the Taoist dualism, Jaho could be seen as Yin, and Kobudera as Yang.
Hosak, Mark Lübeck, Walter Grimm, Christine M. (2006). The Big Book of Reiki Symbols: The Spiritual Transition of Symbols and Mantras of the Usui System of Natural Healing (1st ed.). Twin Lakes, Wis.: Lotus Press. ISBN 0914955640.

Antique Buddha Statues From Japan

Buddhism reached Japan by the sixth century at the latest, and although it was initially in conflict with the indigenous Shinto faith, it ultimately absorbed various Shinto deities (kami), who became minor divinities. This is just one example of how Buddhism's adaptability allowed diverse cultures to embrace the religion. While it was early supported by various aristocratic families, including the Soga, Buddhism achieved a firm foothold with the royal patronage of Price Shotoku (573-622). During the Nara period (710-784) it became a state religion, and in subsequent centuries royal patronage resulted in the establishment of numerous temples. (Japan today has approximately 80,000 Buddhist temples.)

In the early eighth century, Emperor Shomu (701-756) promoted the copying of tripitaka (Japanese:issaikyo), the entire Buddhist canon. He also supported temples and clerics, while his wife was among the many court women who gave extensive support to the sanghaand to the copying of sutras. Empress Shotoku (Empress Koken, 718-780) distributed the One Million Pagoda dharani (Japanese:Hyakumanto) to ten temples throughout the country. Buddhism was firmly established.

Prior to the Nara period, the Buddhism that was practiced was nonsectarian differences arose as the study of the texts deepened. Monks embraced particular texts not only as a focus but also as a basis of their faith, and six distinct philosophical positions developed during the Nara period. By the Heian period (794-1185), the monasteries had acquired a great deal of power in an attempt to maintain control, the royal family moved the capital from Nara to Kyoto, although this did little to weaken the monasteries' influence.

Numerous schools developed during the Heian period, in particular the Tendai and the Shingon schools. The Buddhist monk Saicho (767-822) founded the Tendai school after travelling through China and studying various traditions, including Tian tai and Chan. He synthesized these, along with elements of esoteric Buddhism and the vinaya, and like Zhiyi, Tiantai's Chinese founder, he used the Lotus Sutra as a framework for his teachings. Subsequent patriarchs of the Tendai school, such as Saicho's disciple Ennin (794-864), further refined the school's beliefs. While Tendai Buddhismincorporated the teachings of various schools, from an early period Tendai monks also engaged in the nembutsu, chanting the name of Amitabha (Japanese: Amida), a practice associated with Pure Land Buddhism.

The monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi, 774-835) brought the texts and practices that formed the basis of the esoteric Shingon school from China. He also carried with him the portraits of important patriarchs of esoteric Buddhism in China, such as Amoghavajra and Vajrabodhi-relevant because transmitted knowledge held primacy in Buddhist practice. Legend has it that Kukai threw a vajra (thunderbolt) into the air from the shores of China and subsequently set up his monastery at Mt. Koya, in Japan, where it landed.

The universal Buddha, Mahavairochana (Dainichi), is the preeminent Buddha in the Shingon school. He presides over the mandala of the two worlds (ryokai mandara), which is composed of two mandalas. One of these signifies the Womb Realm (Taizokai mandara), depicted as a series of concentric squares with an eight-petaled lotus in the center and Vairochana in the center of the lotus. The other mandala, the Diamod Realm (Kongokai mandara), consists of nine squares of equal size, which make a large square. The primary ritual objects of the Shingon school, the two mandalas are described in the Vajrashekhara sutra and the Mahavairochana sutra

During the Kamakura period (1185-1333), interest in Pure Land Buddhism and the hope afforded by Amitabha blossomed in existing schools such as the Tendai and the Shingon, particularly under the leadership of Honen (1133-1212) and subsequently Shinran (1173-1262). Honen believed that one could achieve salvation through absolute faith in Amitabha, thus offering a quick departure from this world of suffering. Hence images of Amitabha, both in his paradisiacal setting and as he descended to receive the devout into the Western Paradise (raigo), were popular topics for representation. The Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamapratpa, the first offering lotus upon which the believer would be reborn and the latter expressing his adoration of Buddha Amitabha, accompanied him. Two other schools, the Nichirenshu (founded by Nichire, 1222-1282) and the Zen (Chinese: Chan), also emerged as important forces in the Japanese Buddhist world.

Buddhism continued to thirve during the Muromachi (1336-1573) and Tokugawa (1600-1867) periods, with and increased emphasis on the role played by the kami, spirits or deities within the Shinto religion, and their relationship to Buddhism. These figures were incorporated into and identified with various Bodhisattvas. At the same time that the interplay between the indigenous religion and Buddhism increased, the Tokugawa shonunate regularized the structure of Buddhist temples and required households to affiliate with a particular temple. With the construction of more and more temples came the production of imagery to &ldquopeople&rdquo the temples.

While artists created paintings and sculptures of certain Bodhisattvas as attendants to Buddhas, other Bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteshvara (Japanese : Kannon), Kshitigarbha (Jizo), and Maitreya (Miroku), gained independent followings. Maitreya, the future Buddha, had acquired a dedicated following in Central Asia by the third and fourth centuries. He remained enormously popular into the seventh century in East Asia, and the promise of enlightenment (or at least learning the details of one's future enlightenment) if one was born after he descended from Tushita to become a Buddha, meant his continued popularity throughout Asia.

Buddhism, in Japan is still very active in Japan to this day. The regular restoration of many temples and antique Buddha statues prove that the religion is still active and the followers are more than keen to preserve their history.

If you are interested to get any of the antique Buddha statues imported from Japan, feel free to visit our online catalog.

Ryokai-mandala (Mandala of the two Realms) (両界曼荼羅)

Ryokai-mandala is a mandala which visually depicts the truth and the state of enlightenment that is advocated by Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana), principal Buddha in Esoteric Buddhism. Mandala is the one where many 'Buddha,' including Dainichi Nyorai, are arranged in accordance with a certain fixed order and two mandala, namely Garbha-mandala (also called Taizokai-mandala) and Vajradhatu-mandala, are collectively called Ryokai-mandala or Ryoubu mandala. Other than the ones which depict the individual image of Buddha in paintings, some depict one Buddha symbolically by one Sanskrit character (a kind of letter which was used for writing Sanskrit).

Origin of Ryokai-mandala and its Introduction into Japan

Garbha-mandala (Daihitaizosho mandala) is drawn based on Esoteric Buddhism scriptures called 'Daibirushana Jobutsu Jinbenkaji-kyo Sutra' (Mahavairocana Sutra) and Vajradhatumandala is drawn based on Esoteric Buddhism scriptures called 'Kongocho-kyo' (Vajrasekhara Sutra). Dainichi-kyo Sutra (Mahavairocana Sutra) is believed to have been established in India in the middle of the 7th century and it was translated into Kanji characters (translated into the then Chinese language) around 725 in the early 8th century by Zenmui (683 - 735), a native Indian monk, along with his disciple Ichigyo (683 - 727). On the other hand, Kongocho-kyo Sutra is believed to have been established in India during the period from the end of 7th century to early 8th century and was translated into Kanji characters around the same time with the translation of Dainichi-kyo Sutra by Kongochi (671 - 741), a native Indian monk, along with his disciple Fuku (705 - 774). Although the volume of Kongocho-kyo Sutra is so huge since it compiled all the teachings that Dainichi Nyorai advocated on 18 various occasions, collectively called Jyuhachi-e, the one which Kongochi and Fuku translated is the teachings advocated on the first occasion, called Sho-e, only. The teachings at Sho-e are called Shinjitu Sho-gyo Sutra (attva-samgraha).

At any rate, despite the fact that both 'Dainichi-kyo Sutra' and 'Kongocho-kyo Sutra' share Dainichi Nyorai as their common principal Buddha, these two are scriptures of different lineage which were established independently in different regions of India at different times and were introduced into China separately. It is presumed that Eka (746 - 805), a monk in the Tang dynasty period and who was Kukai's mentor, integrated the teachings of two scriptures into Ryokai-mandala. As Eka thought it impossible to orally transmit the in-depth teachings of Esoteric Buddhism, he made a Tang painter draw Ryokai-mandala and gave it to Kukai. Kukai took back such mandala when he returned to Japan in 806 after finishing his study in Tang.

Although the originals which Kukai took back were lost, a copy which is believed to be quite similar to the original is preserved at Jingo-ji Temple in Kyoto, known as national treasury Ryokai-mandala (commonly called Takao-mandala). Mandala at Jingo-ji Temple is not a colored one but one drawn with ground gold and silver on a woven purple material.

Composition of Garbha-mandala

Garbha-mandala is called Daihitaizosho mandala to be precise and although the term that indicates 'world' is not included in the original language, it has been called 'Taizokai mandala' from long ago in tune with Vajradhatumandala,.

The mandala is divided into 12 parts of 'in' (sections). What is located in the center is 'the central eight-Petal Court' and Taizokai Dainichi Nyorai (who is in a posture of 'Hokkai Join' (Dharma-realm meditation mudra) folding both hands in front of the belly) is sitting on the center of a lotus flower with 8 petals. Around Dainichi Nyorai, all 8 statues, namely 4 of Nyorai (Hodo (Ratnaketu Tathagata), Kaifukeo (Samkusumitaraja), Amida Nyorai (or Muryoju, Amitabha Tathagata) and Tenkuraion (Divyadundubhimeghanirghosa)) and 4 of Bosatsu (Fugen bosatsu (Samantabhadra Bodhisattva), Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri), Kannon Bosatsu (Kannon Buddhisattva) and Miroku Bosatsu (Buddha of the Future, Bodhisattva of the Present), are depicted.

As for the naming of mandala, both Taizokai-mandala and Garbha-mandala are used in Japan but Motohiro YORITOMI, a researcher of Esoteric Buddhism, wrote in his book titled "Architectures of mandala-centering on mandala at To-ji Temple" as 'the name of mandala were created in consideration of both Dainichi-kyo Sutra and Kongocho-kyo Sutra, collectively called Ryobu Sutra and both are the source of mandala, and Kukai used only this name (note: Ryobu-mandala),' 'because Kongocho-kyo Sutra clearly uses Vajradhatumandala, Dainichi-kyo Sutra does not use the name of Taizokai-mandala though it uses Daihitaizosho mandala or Garbha-mandala.'
Motohiro YORITOMI further asserts that with the development of Tendai Esoteric Buddhism (Daimitsu) thanks to Ennin, Enchin and Annen, the term of 'Taizokai' (the Womb Realm) was widely used in the text for prayer and austerities and as a result, the terms of Ryokai-mandala and Taizokai-mandala came into use.

The central eight-Petal Court is surrounded by Henchi-in, Jimyo-in, Shaka-in (Court of Shaka Nyorai), Kokuzo-in (Court of Kokuzo Bosatsu (Akasagarbha Bodhisattva), Monju-in (Court of Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri)), Soshituji-in, Rengebu-in, Jizo-in (Court of Jizo Bosatsu (Jizo Bodhisattva)), Kongoshu-in and Jogaisho-in in a concentric fashion and Gekongobu-in, also called Saige-in, is located at the outer circumference that encircles all of the above. This suggests the movement from the inner side to the outer side and represents the transformation of Dainichi Nyorai's abstract wisdom into practice in the real world.

Further, Garbha-mandala should be seen by dividing it into three blocks, namely center, right and left block.

The center block represents the world of Dainichi Nyorai's state of enlightment while Rengebu-in (Kannon-in), whose principal statue is Shokanjizai Bosatsu (Kannon Bosatsu), is located on the observers' left (south in terms of direction) and Kongoshu-in (Kongobu-in or Satta-in), whose principal statue is Kongosatta, is located on the observers' right (north in terms of direction). It is believed that Rengebu-in represents Nyorai's 'mercy' and Kongoshu-in represents Nyorai's 'wisdom' respectively.

Composition of Vajradhatu-mandala

While each block of Garbha-mandala is called 'in,' the term of 'E' is used in the case of Vajradhatu-mandala and it consists of Ku-e (nine e), namely Jojin-e, Samaya-e, Misai-e, Kuyo-e, Shiin-e, Ichiin-e, Rishu-e, Gozanze-e and Gozanze Samaya-e. This should be understood as the aggregate of 9 mandala rather than 9 blocks.

The principal statue of Jojin-e, which is located in the center, is Kongokai Danichi Nyorai (who is in a posture of 'Chiken-in' (the knowledge-fist mudra) with wrapping the forefinger of left hand by the fist of right hand). Ashuku Nyorai, Hosho Nyorai (Ratnasambhava, one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas), Amida Nyorai and Fukujoju Nyorai (Amoghasiddhi, one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas) are located at the east, south, west and north of Dainichi Nyorai respectively (Dainichi, Ashuku, Hosho, Amida and Fukujoju are collectively called Kongokai-gobutsu or Gochi-nyorai). At the east, south, west and north side of each Nyorai, Bosatsu that are closely related to each Nyorai, called Shishingon Bosatsu (Four Attendant Bodhisattva), are located.

Samaya-e, Misai-e and Kuyo-e have almost the same composition as that of Jojin-e located in the center and it is no mistake that Shiin-e is the simplified version of the above and Ichiin-e is the one which omits other Buddha than Dainichi Nyorai. The principal statues of Rishu-e, Gozanze-e and Gozanze Samaya-e, which are located at the right side of mandala, are not Dainichi Nyorai but Kongosatta for Rishu-e and Gozanze Myoo (Trailokya-vijaya) for the other two. Kongosatta, who is counted as one of the Bosatsu, and Gozanze Myoo, who has a fierce look, are believed to be the reincarnation of Dainichi Nyorai after attaining the state of enlightment and this depiction represents the belief that everything derives solely from Dainichi Nyorai.

It is perceived that while Garbha-mandala grasps the truth as matter of the real world from practical aspects, Vajradhatu-mandala grasps the truth as the matter of spiritual world from theoretical aspects.

Beyond 2 dimensions

A mandala expressed as a 2 dimensional shape is just the beginning. The 108 movements of Tai Chi are a yantra, and each practitioners practice thereof is a mandala. When a dancer performs learned steps to a tune she is manifesting “yantric” energy in the form of a mandala.

So the root is the yantra and the attempt at expressing the yantra into human life manifests as a mandala. But it doesn’t stop at spiritual esoteric concepts.

The Golden State Warriors driving towards the most successful record in the regular season is a mandala Tom Brady in the 4th quarter is a mandala. When you see a point in mundane life when a supernatural force seems to take hold of a situation to drive it towards a specific end, that’s a 4 dimensional mandala.

The Diamond and Womb World Mandalas

The best documented and most thoroughly studied examples of early Buddhist mandalas are the Diamond Matrix World and Womb Matrix World [Sanskrit: "Garbhadhatu", Japanese "Taizo-kai"] mandalas of the Shingon order in Japan. Both have structural parallels to variants of the mandala of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas: a buddha surrounded by eight bodhisattvas forms the core of the Womb World mandala, and a ninefold arrangement is repeated also in the structure of the Diamond World mandala.

Examples of both mandalas are said to have been brought to Japan from China in the early ninth century by Kukai [774-835 ce]. With the exception, however, of an eighth-century Diamond World mandala incised into the tops, sides, and back of a funerary casket, unearthed during the excavation of an underground chamber at the Famensi monastery near Xian in the early 1980s, no Chinese prototypes are extant

Also known as Kobo Daishi, Kukai is revered today as the founder of the Shingon order in Japan, and the practices and imagery of this school are well documented in contemporary scholarship. In this tradition, the Womb and Diamond World mandalas are shown as a pair and placed to the east and west of an altar in the inner precinct of a temple.

The Womb World symbolizes the possibility of buddhahood in the phenomenal world as it is perceived by a practitioner, while the Diamond World is a guide to the spiritual practice that leads to enlightenment. Each mandala is based [to some degree] on a different text: the Womb World derives from the version of the Mahavairochana Sutra translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Subhakarasimha [637 - 735 in the 8th century.

The Diamond World is based on the Sarvatathagatatattvasamgraha Sutra translated by Amoghavajra [705 - 774] during the same period. Together with Vajrabodhi [669 - 741], these monks are revered as the founders of Esoteric Buddhism in China. Their journeys throughout South, Southeast, and [[Wikipedia:Central Asia|Central Asia]] illustrate the international nature of Buddhist culture during the seventh through ninth centuries, and exemplify the transmission of Yoga tantra at that time.

The earliest extant Japanese versions of these mandalas, known as the Takao Mandaras,"8 are preserved in the Tingo-ji temple in Kyoto. Executed in gold and silver pigments on a purple- dyed damask, these two paintings are believed to have been made by Kukai at the request of Emperor Junna [reigned 823 - 834]. Two similar paintings from the second half of the ninth century in the To-ji temple in Kyoto, said to be copies of those made in China at the request of Emperor Montoku [reigned 850 - 858], provide further evidence for the longevity of this pair of mandalas in Japan.

Numerous later examples, such as a late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century pair in the Brooklyn Museum or a Muromachi-period pair in the Memor Gallery, as well as iconographic drawings detailing various images from the two mandalas, are also known.

The history and origin of Mandaraji

According to Engi, the founding of this temple is the oldest, fourth year of the Suiko period, (596) in Shikoku Sacred Sites. It was founded as a temple of the Sanuki lord and the Saeki family, and was initially called “Yosaka-dera”. Kobo Daishi visited this temple the year after returning from Tang Dynasty. It is also said that it was for praying for Buddha’s enlightenment for his mother. The temple was built in 3 years and modelled after Seiryu-ji Temple in China. He enshrined Dainichi Nyorai to the main temple as the principle deity, and enshrined the “Kongokai” mandala (Vajradathu Mandala of the Diamond Realm) and the “Taizoukai” (Garbhadhatu Mandala of the Womb Realm) which he brought back from the Tang Dynasty, and changed the name of the temple to “Mandaraji”.
In addition, the old guidebook of the Shikoku Sacred Sites introduces the existence of “The Immortal Pine”, a hand-planted pine of Kobo Daishi that is over 1200 years old. Although it is less than 4m in height, it has a diameter of 17 to 18m, and it was designated as a natural monument of the prefecture with an impressive appearance like two sedge hats lying down. However, it was badly damaged by pine worms and was cut down in 2002, the 14th year of the Heisei era.

There is a hill called “Mizuguki no Oka” near Mandaraji, but it was Priest Saigyou who built a hermitage here and lived here for more than 7 years. It seems that he used to go to this temple and often took a nap on the flat stone in front of the main hall, and this stone is called “Saigyou’s nap stone” and is still in the same place. Next to that is a cherry tree called “Kasakake Sakura”. When Saigyou returned to the city, he saw the a fellow traveler depart with a shaded cherry tree as a keepsake he sang a song that says, “What is the shade now and how will it be?”.

Freedom and Charges of Violence

Through a complex mix of domestic political maneuvering and international outrage, Nelson was freed in 1990, after 27 years of imprisonment. The years of separation and tremendous social turmoil had irrevocably damaged the Mandela marriage, however, and the two separated in 1992. Before that, Winnie was convicted of kidnapping and assaulting Moeketsi after an appeal, her six-year sentence was ultimately reduced to a fine.

Even with her conviction, Winnie was elected president of the ANC&aposs Women&aposs League. Then, in 1994, Nelson won the presidential election, becoming South Africa&aposs first Black president Winnie was subsequently named deputy minister of arts, culture, science and technology. However, due to affiliations and rhetoric seen as highly radical, she was ousted from her cabinet post by her husband in 1995. The couple divorced in 1996, having spent few years together out of almost four decades of marriage.

Winnie appeared before the nation&aposs Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997 and was found responsible for "gross violations of human rights" in connection to the killings and tortures implemented by her bodyguards. While ANC leaders kept their political distance, Winnie still retained a grassroots following. She was re-elected to Parliament in 1999, only to be convicted of economic fraud in 2003. She quickly resigned from her post, though her conviction was later overturned.

In a 2010 Evening Standard interview, Winnie sharply criticized Archbishop Desmond Tutu and her ex-husband, disparaging Nelson&aposs decision to accept the Nobel Peace Prize with former South African President F.W. de Klerk. Winnie later denied making the statements. 

In 2012, one year before her husband&aposs death, the British press published an email composed by Winnie, in which she criticized the ANC for its general treatment of the Mandela clan.

Kongokai Joshine Mandala - History

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