Fudo Myoo (不動明王)
Fudo Myoo (acala naatha in Sanskrit) is a subject of worship in Buddhism and one of the Myoo, a venerable status (尊格) that is specific to Mikkyo, Esoteric Buddhism. It is also the Myoo that is the center of Godai Myoo (the five great myoo).
It is regarded as an incarnation of Dainichinyorai, which is the essential Buddha of Mikkyo, or an expression that shows its inner determination. It has become popular as the name of 'Ofudo-san' and is called Dainichi Daisho Fudo Myoo, Mudo Myoo, Mudo-son, Fudo-son and so on. Among Buddhist countries in Asia, it is believed with particular fervor in Japan, as exemplified by the numerous statues.
Moreover, Fudo Myoo is depicted on the Nichiren sect's main image (which is called Jikkai Mandala), and has been drawn by Shushi (Shuji, Bija) historically since Nichiren because it's a venerable status of Mikkyo, which was transmitted by Kukai, as well as Aizen Myoo (Ragaraja). Moreover, it is said that Fudo Myoo in Nichiren's mandala shows that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana, while Aizen Myoo shows that the idea that earthly desires are a pure aspiration to enlightenment.
The symbol of Sanmayagyo is a sharp sword and kenjaku (kensaku, kenzaku) with a rope made from five different colored strands (blue, yellow, red, black and white). Shushi (Mikkyo) (Shuji) is haaM or hmmaaM. Mantra, Shingon, is used 'Noumaku Sanmanda Bazaradan Kan (namaH samanta vajraaNaaM haaM),' which is generally called Shoshu (小咒) or Ichiji-shu (一字咒).
Additionally, the Mantra 'Noumaku Sarabatatagyateibyaku Sarababokkeibyaku Sarabatatarata Sendamakaroshada Kengyakigyaki Sarababiginan Untarata Kanman (namaH sarvatathaagatebhyaH sarvamukhebhyaH, sarvathaa traT caNDamahaaroSaNa khaM khaahi khaahi sarvavighanaM huuM traT haaM maaM),' which is called Taichu (大咒) or Kakaishu (火界咒), and 'Noumaku Sanmanda Basaradan Sendanmakaroshadaya Sohatara Untarata Kanman (namaH samanta vajraaNaaM, caNDamahaaroSaNa sphoTaya huuM traT haaM maaM),' which is called Chushu (中咒) or Jiku-shu (慈救咒), are known.
Acala' in Sanskrit means 'unshakable' and 'naatha' means 'guardian,' so that as a whole it means 'unshakable guardian.'
In Tibetan Buddhism it is known more as Chanda Maharosha (caNDamahaaroSaNa), which is a fierce prickly god (暴悪忿怒尊), in comparison to this name. However, this is shown as a figure having three eyes with wearing a fur coat and having its hair stand on end, so that it is to some extent different from the Fudo Myoo transmitted to Japan in the context of iconography.
It is said that the iconography of Fudo Myoo was introduced to Japan when Kobo-daishi Kukai transmitted Mikkyo from China. The sacred name of 'Fudo' was seen for the first time as 'Fudo messenger' in 'Fukukenjaku Jimpen Shingonkyo Sutra,' which was translated by Bodairushi, Bodhiruci, in the early part of the eighth century. Messenger' means a messenger of Dainichinyorai.
In Mikkyo one 'Buddha' is considered to appear in the three figures of 'jishorinjin (the embodiment of the wheel of own-nature),' 'shoborinjin (shohorinjin, the embodiment of the wheel of the true Dharma)' and 'kyoryorinjin (the embodiment of the wheel of injunction).'
Jishorinjin (Nyorai)' means the figure that embodies the universal truth and the state of enlightenment itself, while 'Shoborinjin (Bosatsu)' means the figure that preaches the universal truth and the state of enlightenment in an easily understood manner. As opposed to these, 'kyoryorinjin' is the figure that implements intervention very aggressively as it admonishes a person who doesn't follow Buddhism even with the threat of an awful appearance, and compels the cessation of hostility toward Buddhism.
Fudo Myoo is said to be the kyoryorinjin of Dainichinyorai. It is shown as a figure of anger in order to relieve the living things who suffer earthly desires and for whom relief is more difficult to find.
Besides, it is said that when Shaka determined that 'I won't stand up from here until I reach enlightenment' after other ascetic training for enlightenment and was seated under a lime tree, devils from all over the world poured in so as to defeat Shaka, but Shaka showed a gesture of Koma (降魔) using the fingers quietly, and by keeping a soft expression, and made the devils surrender immediately before its superior power. Fudo Myoo is also said to be a figure that expresses Shaka's inner determination at that time. It means that even in the calm and benevolent Shaka's mind there was the hardest heart that belied the determination to guard Buddhism. It is also said that its expression of anger shows benevolent affection as a father who watches over his children, being a figure of paternal love that is tender in mind while on the outside it appears to be strict.
In 'Chirisanmaya-kyo Sutra' there is a story that Fudo Myoo defeated (調伏) Daijizaiten, Mahesvara, (Shiva, the supreme god in Hinduism).
According to the story, when Dainichinyorai reached enlightenment and became Buddha, all creatures in the three worlds came to a meeting, but Daijizaiten, who was conceited and considered himself to be the master of 3,000 worlds, did not accept the call.
Daijizaiten said, 'Jimyo-sya (持明者) (the spirit that uses magic in India, Yasha Myoo in this story) will come as a messenger, but its magic will become useless if I create dirty things with my magic, place them all around and stay inside,' and put up a barrier (結界) in order so as not to be approached.
When Fudo Myoo called for Daijizaiten, he was surrounded by a dirty barrier so that Fudo Myoo called back Fujo-kongo, a dirty water kongo (Ususama Myoo), and made him eat up the dirty barrier. Then, Fudo Myoo captured Daijizaiten immediately and took him away to Buddha.
However, Daijizaiten said, 'You are only Yasha, a class of semidivinity usually considered to be of a benevolent and inoffensive disposition but sometimes also classified with malignant spirits, but I am a king of gods,' and was able to escape repeatedly. Buddha ordered that 'he should be condemned to death,' so that Fudo Myoo stamped Daijizaiten and his wife (Uma) to death.
(Gozanze Yasha Myoo)
When Fudo Myoo asked Buddha how to deal with Daijizaiten, Buddha said, 'Revive him,' so Fudo Myoo revived him by reciting the Hokkaisei Shingon mantra (法界生真言).
When Daijizaiten was pleased and wondered, 'Who is this Yasha?' Buddha replied that he was 'the master of Buddhas.'
Daijizaiten was deeply moved, since he knew that there existed the master of Buddhas over respectable Buddhas in all things, and he obtained a certification (授記) to become a Buddha in the future, thanks to 'Daio (the great king)' of Fudo Myoo.
In this story it is characteristic that Fudo Myoo is called Yasha, Daio and the master of Buddha.
Features of statues
Although the statues of Myoo in Mikkyo are often shown as mysterious figures with many faces and many upper arms, Fudo Myoo is basically shown as a figure with one face and two upper arms (in the iconic collection of Mikkyo and others, Fudo Myoo with many bodies is also drawn, but it is rarely configured as a statue).
Additionally, many bodies of the statue are basically expressed in ugly, lurid colors. It is said that this is a muddy color and shows the relief of the living things in the mud of earthly desires. However, in Chiri-kyo Sutra and others its body color is described as blue-black or red-yellow and it is generally shaped as a figure with seven topknots or hachiyorenge (八葉蓮華) on the head with the right canine tooth bared upward and the left canine tooth bared outside, wearing clothing the color of red soil.
After it was imported to Japan, variations were created, but it remained a figure with one face and two arms. Particularly since Fudo-ho, there was the popularization of the prayer for the aid of Fudo Myoo to end calamity and cause prosperity, by Kukai and Enchin, and many variations of the statue were produced. Namikiri Fudo (Koyasan Nan-in Temple) associated with the historical event in which Kukai went to Tang, and Fudo Myoo, which is shown in yellow, red and blue colors based on Enchin's feelings, were created. Goshiki Fudo, the Fudo statues shown with black, white, red, blue and yellow eyes, were also created, having been said to originate from the place names of Meguro and Mejiro (metropolitan Tokyo) (however, there are contrary opinions).
The features of statues are mostly those of fat youths (according to "Dainichi-kyo Sutra") who have turbulent hair by anger to bempatsu, a long rope of hair hanging down the left side of the face and the left shoulder of a sculpted figure in order to avoid being an obstacle to movement, are lightly dressed without hogu (the utensils used during ritual incantation and prayer) as much as possible, and have their clothing tied with a ripped sleeve. It is said that its costume was based on a figure of slave or follower in ancient India so that it shows that it is a person who follows a disciplinant and guards him. It is generally shown as a figure having a sankoken (three-pronged sword) in the right hand, of koma (which drives off Satan and cuts away people's earthly desires at the same time), kenjaku (a kind of lariat to tie evil and relieve people bound with earthly desires) in the left hand, shoulders the karuraen (a flame like the shape of 'Karura,' a firebird of legend that eats up three poisons), and determines, 'I shall not move from here until I relieve all people,' sitting on the rough rock (large rock) with an angry face (in Japan many standing statues are seen other than seated statues).
Fudo Myoo was created in India and transmitted to Japan through China, but there are very few works of statues in India and China. In Japan, it was shaped actively in accordance with the prevalence of Mikkyo. Among the existing statues of Fudo Myoo in Japan, the old statues such as the statue in the To-ji Temple Lecture Hall and the statue in To-ji Temple Mie-do, which were shaped at the first part of the Heian period, were produced by realistic expressions (with normal eyes) as it opened both eyes at the front, chewed the bottom lip with a front tooth and had both canine teeth bared downward. However, in more recent years the statues with asymmetrical shapes such as heaven-and-earth eyes (天地眼) (open right eye and narrowed left eye, or staring up toward heaven with the right eye and staring down toward earth with the left eye), and having the right canine tooth bared upward and the left canine tooth bared downward (牙上下出). This is influenced by 'Fudo Juku-kan (Nineteen Characteristic Signs of Fudo Myoo'), which was preached by Annnen, a priest of the Tendai sect, and others of the tenth century in order to image Fudo Myoo.
In more recent times the expression of Fudo Myoo statues with heaven-and-earth eyes had become almost completely mainstream, but even after that the statues with normal eyes in the old style, with eyes that were open and had both canine teeth biting the bottom lip, were seen somewhat, such as the standing statue of Fudo Myoo with two youths in Ganjoju-in Temple, Shizuoka, made by Unkei.
Because the standing statue of Fudo Myoo in Joraku-ji Temple in Kanagawa Prefecture, which was made by Unkei at nearly the same time of the Fudo Myoo statue in Ganjoju-in Temple, was shaped with heaven-and-earth eyes although its body was virtually identical to that of the statue in Ganjoju-in Temple, it seems that Unkei distinguished facial expressions. Therefore, it could be said that whether the figure had normal eyes or heaven-and-earth eyes wasn't due to the difference in the times but instead depended on the client's intention, aims and so on. It is known that this parquet statue made of Japanese cypress was shaped by Unkei with 10 artists specializing in Buddhist statues as his disciples (小仏師）at the request of Yoshimori WADA.
Fudo sanzon (the Fudo triad) and Fudo hachidai-doji (eight great youths)
In some cases Fudo Myoo was shaped as a figure that brought followers (called hachidai-doji). However, it is often shown on pictures and statues by the triad style which brought two youths of Kongara-doji (the youth Kongara) and Seitaka-doji (the youth Seitaka) among hachidai-doji (it is called the statue of Fudo Myoo with two youths or the Fudo triad). In the triad style, it is common that Seitaka-doji is placed on the right of Fudo Myoo (on the observers' left) and Kongara-doji is placed on the left (on the observers' right). Many kongara-doji are shown as baby-faced figures that stare toward Fudo Myoo intently with hands clasped in prayer, while on the contrary many Seitaka-doji are shown as naughty boys with kongosho (vajra club) and kongo-bo (both are weapons) in their hands.
The remaining six hachidai-doji are Eko-doji, Eki-doji, Anokuta-doji, Shitoku-doji, Ugubaga-doji and Shojo-biku. As the works of these hachidai-doji, the statue in Koyasan Kongobu-ji Temple Fudo-do (a national treasure) is well known. At Setagayasan Kannon-ji Temple in the Setagaya Ward of Tokyo there are the statue of Fudo Myoo and the statue of hachidai-doji made by Koen (a grandson of Unkei), an artist of Buddhism statue in the Kamakura period, which were moved from the abolished Uchiyama Eikyu-ji Temple in Tenri City, Nara Prefecture.
Moreover, there is no work of Fudo Myoo with hachidai-doji as followers in Sanskrit sutras, so it is said to have been invented in China. Additionally, there are the statues called the 36 youths or the 48 messengers.
They are often placed in the center of the main Myoo (which is called Godai Myoo), as are those of To-ji Temple.
Many sutras, including the Dainichi-kyo sutra, are preferred for reading, especially in Shugen-do.
Representative examples are as follows:
Shomudoson Daiinuo Himitsudarani-kyo Sutra
The story is that Fugen Bosatsu preached Fudo Myoo, which he felt, to the living things with Monju Bosatsu at the great Buddhist mass of Dainichinyorai, and that Dainichinyorai gave a favorable blessing.
Moreover, in the story of revenge by Kumawakamaru, a son of Suketomo HINO in Taiheiki, the scene whereby the practitioner escapes from the pursuer by boat while praying for Myoo is an homage of the part, 'It brings to the opposite share over sea by the boat of Buddhism (大法).'
Bussetsu Shofudo-kyo Sutra
It abstracts the essence of the above sutra's teaching, and was established in Japan. It is written in the style that Fudo Myoo itself preaches. It describes that Fudo Myoo lives in the disciplinant's mind (Fudo Myoo is indeed a disciplinant) because the ways of the living things' minds aren't the same (the way of reaching enlightenment is different individually) so that Fudo Myoo makes their wishes come true by changing its figure in accordance with each person).
Keishu Shomudoson Himitsudarani-kyo Sutra
It bears the strong influence of Mikkyo, such as the addition of a symbolic gesture with the fingers (印を結ぶ).
The following four are similar to Santan-kyo sutra (讃嘆経), which considers that Fudo Myoo is an existence that represents other venerable states and Japanese gods as well. In those sutras Fudo Myoo is not described as a transcendental absolutist that is superior to other gods and Buddhas but is described on the basis of the above thought, that the way to reach enlightenment is different individually because the ways of living things' minds aren't the same).
Fudo-son Tsurugi-no-mon (不動尊劔の文)
Fudo-son Inori-kyo Sutra
Namu-sanjuroku-doji (36 great youths)
Namu-hachidai-doji (eight great youths)
Major temples that enshrine Fudo Myoo in Japan
Matsushima Zuigan-ji Temple Godai-do in Miyagi (a Buddhist image not usually shown to the public): The wooden seated statue of Fudo Myoo (among the five myoo) (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple in Chiba: The wooden statue of Fudo Myoo two youths (Kamakura period, an important cultural property)
Ryusen-ji Temple in Tokyo (Meguro Fudo)
Kongo-ji Temple in Hino City, Tokyo (Takahata Fudo): The wooden statue of Fudo Myoo with two youths (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Oyama-dera Temple in Kanagawa prefecture: The steel statue of Fudo Myoo with two youths (Kamakura period, an important cultural property)
Nisseki-ji Temple in Toyama: The seated statue of Fudo Myoo (carved into a tough face) (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Enryaku-ji Temple in Shiga: The standing statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (Kamakura period, an important cultural property)
Ishiyama-dera Temple in Shiga: The seated statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Saimei-ji Temple in Kora-cho, Shiga: The standing statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (Heian period, an important cultural property)
The To-ji Lecture Hall in Kyoto: The seated statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (among the five Myoo) (Heian period, national treasure)
To-ji Temple Mie-do in Kyoto: The seated statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (Heian period, national treasure)
Rokuon-ji Temple (Kinkaku-ji Temple) in Kyoto: The stone statue of Fudo Myoo
Doju-in (Tofuku-ji Temple Tacchu, A simple building containing a pagoda that enshrined the ashes of a founder or head priest of a Zen temple) in Kyoto: The seated statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Todai-ji Temple Hokke-do in Nara: The wooden statue of Fudo Myoo with two youths (the period of the Northern and Southern Courts, an important cultural property)
Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple in Nara: The wooden statue of Fudo Myoo with two youths (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Toshodai-ji Temple in Nara: The wooden statue of Fudo Myoo (Edo period, an important cultural property)
Hase-dera Temple in Nara: The seated statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Kanshin-ji Temple in Osaka: The seated statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (the period of the Northern and Southern Courts, an important cultural property)
Takidani Fudomyoo-ji Temple in Osaka: The wooden statue of Fudo Myoo with two youths (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Kongobu-ji Temple in Wakayama: The standing statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Kongobu-ji Temple (Goma-do, small buildings at Buddhist temples of Shingon and Tendai sects, Shingonshu and Tendaishu, used especially for esoteric practices, Mikkyo and for the performances of the burnt-offering goma ceremonies) in Wakayama: The seated statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Koyasan Nan-in Temple in Wakayama: The standing statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (Namikiri Fudo) (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Kanno-ji Temple in Hyogo: The seated statue of wooden Fudo Myoo (Heian period, an important cultural property)
Three statues of Fudo Myoo
Yellow Fudo: Shiga, Onjo-ji Temple (Mii-dera Temple), kempon-colored statue of Fudo Myoo (national treasure)
Blue Fudo: Kyoto, Shorenin, kempon-colored statue of Fudo Myoo with two youths (a national treasure)