Bodhisattva Manjusri

Bodhisattva Manjusri Buddhist god worshipped by Buddhist communities of different denominations, such as, Manuvajra, Manjuvar, Manjughose, Dharmadhatu, Vagishvar, Dharmachakramanjushri, Namsangiti Manjushri, etc. Manjusri has three faces in three colours, yellow, green and white, and he has three pairs of arms. In two of his three right hands he holds a sword and an arrow. The third hand is raised in benediction. In his three left hands he holds the prajnaparamita, a blue lotus and a bow, symbolising his destruction of ignorance.

Bodhisattva Manjusri

In Mahayani or Vajrayani temples, Manjusri's position is just below that of Avalokiteshvar. During the 4th-5th centuries AD, Manjusri occupied a very important position among Buddhist Vikkhus as the god of metaphysical knowledge. Mahayana Buddhists believe that Manjusri is one of the leading bodhisattvas and that those who worship him receive knowledge, superior memory, intelligence, ready wit and oratorial powers. They also believe that only by worshipping and devoting oneself to him can full knowledge be attained. He is credited with simplifying the mysteries of knowledge and is the patron of astrology.

The earliest mentions of Manjusri are found in Aryamanjushrimulakalpa and Guhyasamajtantra (3rd century AD). Various information about him is also found in Buddhist books written later. Manjusri is mentioned in the travelogues of Fa-hsien, Hsuan Tsang, I-tsing. In Saddharmapundarik, Manjusri is described as being closely related to Shakyamuni Buddha, and in Namsangiti he is referred to as adi buddha.

According to a Chinese Buddhist legend, Gautam Buddha directed Manjusri to liberate the common people of China. In Svayambhupurana, Manjusri is considered as the founder of Nepalese culture. Some people believe that, as a Buddhist monk, Manjusri spread buddhism in Nepal. He is also regarded as the god of agriculture, architect of the spiritual world and the god of science. In Nepal, the first day of the year is dedicated to Manjusri and is celebrated in grand style.

Various kinds of statues of Manjusri have been found, both tantric and non-tantric. Non-trantric statues usually show him with one head and two hands. He is shown sitting cross-legged or on a lion, and sometimes meditating. [Bhikkhu Sunithananda]