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Five Dhyani Buddhas

By Gaurav Manandhar at
dhyani buddhas

Five Dhyani Buddhas are representations of the five qualities of the Buddha. It is also called Five Wisdom Tathagatas, The Great Buddhas, and the Five Jinas. Based on East Asian Yogacara, Five Dhyani Buddhas were created by Adi-Buddha, highest being. Therefore, these Dhyani Buddhas are celestial Buddhas who symbolize universal divine principles.

Initially, there was two Buddhas- Akshobhya and Amitabha- representing wisdom and compassion but later on aspects of power, and spiritual riches were also included. These were symbolized by Dundubishvara and Ratnaketu as mentioned in Mahayana text, Golden Light Sutra. But as time passed by it was changed to Amoghasiddhi and Ratnasambhava. The last Buddha, Vairocana, has its place in the middle of the other four Buddha.

The Dhyani Buddhas represent various aspects of enlightened consciousness. Each Dhyani Buddha is associated with one of the five wisdoms. These wisdom are believed to be an antidote to the five deadly poisons and at the same time have distinct complexion, mudra (hand gesture), a symbolic animal that supports his throne, sacred symbol and bija (seed syllable).

The Tibetan Book of the Dead suggests that if a person meditates following Dhyani Buddha, their learned wisdom will replace the negative forces. The meditation follows a path of symbols inscribed in the mandala and also serves as the map of the progressive steps to the self-transformation.

Five Dhyani Buddha

Akshobhya

The location of Akshobhya is in the east and the Buddha statue in the Chaitya generally faces eastern direction. Akshobhya represents consciousness and is located on the eastern side of the Diamond Realm. He is the lord of Abhirati Pure Land. He is blue-black in complexion and has several attributes like vajra, three robes, lotus, prayer wheel, and sword. His consort is Lochana and his Bija starts with Hum. In Vajrayana Buddhism, it is believed that he helps to overcome anger and hatred.

Amitabha

The location of Amitabha is in the west and the Buddha statue in the Chaitya generally faces western direction. Amitabha Buddha represents compassion and is best known Buddha among other Dhyani Buddha. He is lord of Sukhavati Pure Land. He is reddish in complexion and His consort is Pandara and his Bija states with Hrih. In Buddha statues and images, Amitabha's hands are in meditation murdra- fingers barely touching and gently folded over the lap with palms facing upward. In Vajrayana Buddhism, it is believed that he helps to overcome desire or selfishness.

Amoghasiddhi

The location of Amoghasiddhi is in the north and the Buddha statue in the Chaitya generally faces northern direction. Amoghasiddhi represents accomplishment of all action. He is lord of Prakuta Pure Land. He is greenish in complexion and his consort is Green Tara. His Bija starts with Ah. In Buddha statues and images, Amoghasiddhi's hand gesture is of mudra of fearlessness. His right hand in front of his chest and palm facing outward. In Vajrayana Buddhism, it is believed that he helps to overcome envy.

Ratnasambhava

The location of Ratnasambhava is in the south and the Buddha statue in the Chaitya generally faces southern direction. Ratnasambhava represents richness. He is lord of Shrimat Pure Land. He is Yellowish in complexion and his consort is Mamaki. His Birja starts with Tram. In Buddha statues and images, Ratnasambhava holds his hands in the wish-fulfilling mudra. His right hand facing down and the palm outward and his left in the mudra of meditation. In Vajrayana Buddhism, it is believed that he helps to overcome pride and greed.

Vairocana

The location of Vairocana is in the center. Vairocana represents the wisdom of shunyata. He is also regarded as primordial Buddha. He is lord of Akanistha Ghanavyuha Pure Land. He is white in complexion representing all colors of light. His consort is White Tara and his Bija starts with om. In Buddha statues and images, Vairocana holds hand gesture in such a way that the thumbs and index fingers touch at the tips to form a wheel. This gesture is also known as Dharmachakra mudra and it represents the turning of the wheel. In Vajrayana Buddhism, it is believed that he helps to overcome ignorance and delusion.