Manjusri (Ch: 文殊 Wénshū or 文殊師利菩薩 Wénshūshili Púsà; Jp: Monju; Tib: Jampelyang; Nepalese: मंजुश्री Manjushree) is a bodhisattva (emanating enlightened being) in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions of Buddhism.
Manjusri is the bodhisattva associated with wisdom, doctrine and awareness and in Vajrayana Buddhism is the meditational deity (yidam), who embodies enlightened wisdom. Historically, the Mahayana Buddhist scriptures assert that Manjusri was a disciple of Gautama Buddha, although there is no mention of him in the early Pali scriptures.
The Sanskrit term Mañjuśrī can be translated as "Gentle Glory". Mañjuśrī is also known by the fuller Sanskrit name of Mañjuśrī-kumāra-bhūta.
In the Buddhist tradition Scholars have identified Manjusri as "the oldest and most significant mythic bodhisattva in the Mahayana tradition." Manjusri is first referred to in early Mahāyāna texts such as the Prajñā-pāramitā Sūtras and through this association very early in the tradition he came to symbolize the embodiment of prajñā (wisdom). Manjusri later figures extensively in many texts associated with Tantric Buddhism such as the Mañjuśrī-mūla-kalpa and the Mañjuśrīnāmasaṃgīti.
Together with the Buddha and fellow disciple Samantabhadra he forms the Shakyamuni trinity (Jp: Sanzon Shaka). In Tibetan Buddhism he sometimes is depicted in a trinity with Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani. Manjusri is mentioned in a number of Mahayana Buddhist sutras, particularly the Prajnaparamita Sutras. The Lotus Sutra assigns him a paradise called Vimala, which according to the Avatamsaka Sutra is located in the east. His consort in some Vajrayana traditions is Saraswati. He is also sometimes called Manjughosha.
Within Tibetan Buddhism, Manjusri is a tantric meditational deity or Yidam, and considered a fully enlightened Buddha. In the Shingon school of esoteric Buddhism, he is one of the thirteen deities to whom disciples devote themselves.
Manjusri leads the dragon king's daughter to enlightenment in the Lotus Sutra and he gives the second to last summation on emptiness in the Vimalakirti sutra. Je Tsongkhapa who founded the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism received his teachings from visions of Manjusri. He is one of the four great bodhisattvas of Chinese Buddhism, the four being: Kshitigarbha, Manjusri, Avalokiteshvara, and Samantabhadra. When he attains buddhahood his name will be Universal Sight. His pure land will be one of the two best pure lands in all of existence in all the past, present and future. Manjusri says in the "Manjusri Speaks on the Inconceivable State of Buddhahood" sutra that if Shakyamuni has attained buddhahood then he [Manjusri] has attained buddhahood. He is a dharmakaya bodhisattva, which means that unlike an ordinary 10th stage bodhisattva who still has a bit further to go before full enlightenment is attained, Manjusri has no further to go and can attain buddhahood at any time but has yet to achieve buddhahood because his Bodhisattva vows are not yet fulfilled.
It says in a sutra on Manjusri's attainment of Buddhahood that the benefits gained by keeping Manjusri's name in mind are superior to the benefits gained by keeping in mind the names of billions of Buddhas. This sutra can be found in "A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras".
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 21:15