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Arniko in Wutai Shan

Arniko in Wutai Shan

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Published by Milan Shakya
In this article it describes how Arniko built a white Pagoda in Wutaishan and observed the cult of Manjusri there.
In this article it describes how Arniko built a white Pagoda in Wutaishan and observed the cult of Manjusri there.

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Published by: Milan Shakya on Jul 25, 2010
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10/25/2012

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The Role of Arniko in the transmission of Manjusri cult from Wutai shan-China to-Nepal-
Min Bahadur shakyaDirectorNagarjuna Institute
1.Introduction: There are
 
four mountains of China which is famous for a well known Buddhistshrine in China dedicated to four celebrated Bodhisattvas. Among them isone of the most sacred Buddhist sites known as Wutai Shan (The Mountainsof the Five Terraces) in northern Shanxi province. For centuries Buddhists inChina and throughout the Buddhist world have treasured this remote andstarkly beautiful mountainous region —located at what was long the veryfrontier of northern China and very nearby the northernmost of the fivesacred peaks because it was held to be the terrestrial residence of Mañjuśrī (Wenshushili).The other three are Mt.Emei in Sichuan, Mt. Putuo inZhejiang and Mt. Jiuhua in Anhui.Wutai Mountain is located at northeast of Shanxi Province and formed by fivemain peaks with all flat land wide tops. It is such named because the 5 peaksstand out without forests on top like 5 platforms. The 5 platforms are withhigh elevation and high into the cloud. The peaks of Wu Tai and all the surrounding temples are sacred to Manjushri,the Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Virtue. Manjushri (called Wenshu Pusa inChinese) is believed to reside in the vicinity of Wu Tai Shan and numerouslegends speak of apparitions of the Bodhisattva riding on a blue lion in thehigh mountains above the monasteries.
 
II. Legendary Origin of Manjusri in Wutaishan
 There is a sutra entitled
'The Sutra on the Dhârani of Mañju'sri's PreciousTreasury of the Dharma'
, translated into Chinese by Bodhiruci in 710 CE.It contains a prophecy connecting him with the mountain Wu Tai Shan. "Inthis sutra the Bodhisattva Vajraguhyaka asks 'Sakyamuni to elaborate onwhat will happen when his Dharma has disappeared from Jambudvipa.'Sakyamuni answers,'After I have passed away, in this Jambudviipa, in the north-eastquarter there is a country named Maha China. In the centre of thiscountry there is a mountain named Five Peaks. The youth Mañju'sri willroam about and dwell there, expounding on the Dharma at the centreof the mountain for the sake of sentient beings. Countless devas,naagas, spirits, raak.sasas, ki.mnaras, mahoragas and other creatureshuman and not human encircle him, reverently making worshipofferings'.
 
It is not possible to ascertain whether this is an interpolation into anIndian original since no Sanskrit version survives and the work has noknown Tibetan translation. However, as with the corresponding materialin the Chinese translations of the Avatamsaka Sutra, the passageindicates that by the beginning of the eighth century some Chinese sawMañjusri as not only resident at Wu-t'ai shan, but as teaching and beingworshipped there.
 
Sutra passages such as these can also be seen as giving scripturalauthority for Mañju'srii's presence at Wu-t'ai shan. If, as is likely, they areinterpolations, they are a means of providing legitimacy for an existingheld
 
belief that Wu-t'ai shan was the residence of Mañju'sri, a belief thatthe anecdotes indicate as already having some considerable momentum"Paul Demiéville has drawn attention to the association of Mañju'sri withMt. Ch'ing-liang in Buddhist Master Buddhabhadra's translation of theAvatamsaka Sutra in the first quarter of the fifth century (418-420 CE). Itis described as his residence and is the north-easterly mountain in a list of eight mountains placed at the eight points of the compass.
 
Ch'ing-liang shan was an alternative name for Wu-t'ai shan. The sameidentification between Mañju'srii and Ch'ing-liang shan is found in thetranslation of the Avatamsaka Sutra made by 'Siksananda in the closingyears of the seventh century (695-699 CE).However, Lamotte has shown that the assertion is an interpolation of thetranslators and not in the original. He suggests that the interpolation wasthe work of 'Siksananda, made at a time when the Hua-yen school,centered on the Avatamsaka Sutra, had become popular, and that healtered the equivalent passage in the earlier translation of Buddhabhadra.Nevertheless, we could conclude that by the end of the seventh century,Wu-t'ai shan was firmly considered to be the residence of Mañju'sri. The lore of Wutai abounds particularly in accounts of the miracles thatoccurred there, miracles that were of course understood to have beenprecipitated by Mañjuśrī’s presence, but it is noteworthy, apropos of ourcommon subject today, that these miracle tales are almost always occasionsalso for expressions of admiration for, or of awe at, the stark andoverwhelming beauty of the place.III.Arniko builts White Pagoda at WutaishanAfter the death of Kublai Khan at 1294, Arniko constructed another WhiteStupa at Taihuai in the central part of the Wutai Mountain in 1301. Animperial order, issued jointly with the fifth Yuan imperialPreceptor Grags pa‘od zer (1246-1303) from the Wutai mountain, indicates that Temur and theImperial Preceptor were also in the Wutai Mountain in the fourth month of the same year. Their trip there must have been related to the construction of the stupa.It is said that auspicious clouds and lights appeared in the sky atthe beginning of the construction. To the general public, such a view not onlydemonstrated the sacred nature of the monument but also added to Arniko’srenown. At the beginning of the construction, auspicious clouds and glowappeared in the sky. It is especially popular among Nepalese, Tibetans andMongolians. Besides, he constructed many Monasteries such as Nangshan

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