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Thread: Question About Manjushri Statue

  1. #1

    Question About Manjushri Statue

    I have a question about the style of Manjushri statue used by Soto Zen practitioners. On the Shotoshu website there is a page about how to do Zen and on that page it states.

    If possible, a statue of Manjushri Bodhisattva should be enshrined in the room.

    https://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng...wto/index.html

    I am thinking about getting one for my home alter but I don't know what style to look for. The two most common types I see are:

    manjusri1.jpg

    and

    manjusri2.jpg

    Are either of these correct? Or does it matter.

    I kind of like him on the lion.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  2. #2
    Hi Shinshi

    Manjushri #1 is typically Tibetan.
    Manjushri #2, also known as Monju, is the Chinese/Japanese iconography.

    I have type one on my shrine but type two is what you would typically find on a Zen altar.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  3. #3
    Hi Shinshi,

    Well, we netcast about the Manjushri statues last year when one was found for Tsukuba Zendo ... Here are some photos and information about who is Manjushri ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post232460

    and I speak about it at the start of the video ...



    Basically, what is shown in the photos I just linked is closer to the Japanese-Chinese style of Manjushri on the Lion. The Manjushri statue is typical of the Sodo (Monk's hall, or Zazen hall, Zendo), not the room for ceremonies which has a statue usually of Shakyamuni. In Tsukuba, we have both on the Altar, as we have our Ceremonies and Zazen in the same room.

    Of the two photos you posted, the bottom of Manjushri on the Lion is in Chinese style, and the top is Tibetan. Of course, Chinese and Japanese styles would be more typical in a Zen group, although many western Zen groups do not much care what statue they have. They will not care if they are using a Tibetan or Thai style statue, nor whether it is Amida or Shakyamuni on the altar (you can generally tell by the Mudra, with Shakyamuni having our Zazen Mudra, and Amida having the thumbs pressed together, instead of palm to palm like our Zazen mudra. If you have a statue like the following at home, it is Amida Buddha of Pure Land Buddhism.).



    Finally ... it does not really matter. As you know my feeling on "statues," they are basically works of art, symbols and reminders made of wood, clay or metal. One can also substitute an empty space, a stone, a flower or anything in the universe.

    Let me know if you have another question.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-05-2019 at 04:36 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Hi Shinshi,

    I debated a lot when I was looking at statues for the altar. Love the one on the lion so much! But finally I went with the one with the sword, because it reminds me of Jundo.

    Gassho
    Byokan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  5. #5
    Just to recount my general iconoclastic attitude about statues ... I do not believe that there has to be orthodoxy so long as the place is sincere and respectful. An altar, a statue or stick of incense can be a good reminder that this moment and place is sacred. The "statue" can be a Buddha or Bodhisattva, or a stone, a flower ... and empty space. Really, if the heart was sincere and wise, it could be a coca-cola bottle or a plastic panda, because ... what is not Buddha?? I take a Buddha statue as primarily a reMINDer, a symbol, like a Crucifix or Star of David (for the other folks), which reminds us of a "greater reality". At heart, it is just wood or stone. However, all wood and stones are sacred.

    Sometimes I like to put something to shake folks a bit: That is why I have sometimes replaced the "Buddha Statue" on our Altar in Tsukuba with a coke bottle, flower, empty space or a bag of dirty diapers. All beautiful, sacred, manifestations of Buddha when the heart is open.

    This day was an Enso, a Benz and Peace ...



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    I googled Monju a few weeks back when Kakunen posted the lovely painting/calligraphy he made with his teacher. I was rather taken with the idea of putting him (Monju, not Kakunen) on the wall in my kitchen when I read this:

    "During the Heian period in Japan, a popular custom witnessed the installation of an effigy of Manjusri clothed as a monk in the kitchens of places of residence, in order to symbolize the wisdom and discipline which should be observed for the maintenance of the home..." (chinabuddhismencyclopedia.com)

    I thought it might help me view cooking as a slightly more noble undertaking than it feels like when I'm racking my brains in irritation over what to feed the family. Then I thought it probably wouldn't if nothing else ever had, so I didn't bother

    Gassho,
    Libby
    ST

  7. #7
    A challenging decision to make for sure! I think both styles are great and inspire the mind to reflect on Manjusri's good qualities. I suppose it's a matter of personal taste, really.

    Jundo-sensei put it well: What matters most is the mind with which you approach having the image of Manjusri in your home. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are of the same mind, the same essence whether they manifest to us in tranquil or wrathful forms, if they come to us as Manjusri or Samantabhadra. They manifest according to our understanding and need, so the important thing is how we meet them

    Gassho,
    Sen
    SatToday

  8. #8
    Hello,

    the one over here is closer to #2

    manjushri.jpg

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  9. #9
    Thanks everyone. Jundo I had forgotten about the video, thanks for reposting - and for the link to the other images.

    And I will add this little story here as well. When I was looking for a Buddha I wanted a Shakyamuni statue, and I had one of Jundo's posts about the difference between the Amida and Shakyamuni. Turns out the Amida aren't to hard to find around here. When I searched for Shakyamuni I could find a lot where s/he is shown touching the Earth. But it took me some time to find one with his hands in the cosmic mudra.

    So I bought it and set it on my alter. And I looked at the statue every day for months and months. Close to a year after I bought I finished sitting and then bowed to the Buddha - and noticed something I hadn't seen before. I looked and thought, wait a minute, his hands are wrong side on top. The Right hand was on the top not the Left!

    Oh well, not that big a thing. I still like the statue but I hadn't noticed before.

    But then, just for yucks I searched for Buddha statues and invariably they have the right hand on top. I didn't spend a lot of time on it but I never found one with the left hand on top. I have no idea why that is.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  10. #10
    Maybe Buddha was a southpaw. The instructions that I have Researched say to place the dominant hand first and support the non-dominant. Therefore if you are right handed , you piut it first and support the left. Just as long as the two thumbs toych lightly.

    gassho, Shokai
    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  11. #11
    At Treeleaf Zendo in Tsukuba, here is a close-up of our "Beat-Up Buddha" ... a fellow who has seen the hard knocks of life, for sure ...


    I like this scarred and beaten up Buddha because many of us are a bit banged up by life. It is so scarred, that I really don't know if it was Shakyamuni or Amida (I suspect the latter). However, it is not important at all, and he or she is both and neither. At a certain point in life, it no longer matters so much how one looks, as what is inside.

    ut then, just for yucks I searched for Buddha statues and invariably they have the right hand on top. I didn't spend a lot of time on it but I never found one with the left hand on top. I have no idea why that is.
    In Fukanzazengi, Master Dogen writes ...

    Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left hand on your right palm, thumb-tips lightly touching.

    A respected Buddhist art historian says:

    Zenjō-in 禅定印 [meaning “Meditation Mudra”] ... Made by placing both hands in the lap, right on top of left, with palms turned upward and thumbs touching to form a circle. It symbolizes the Buddha in a state of meditation. ... In addition, Zen artwork frequently portrays Shaka (the Historical Buddha) with the ordinary meditation mudra, but the position of both hands is often reversed (left on top of right, not right on top of left). This is called Zenshūyō-no-Shaka (Shaka in the Style of the Zen Sect).
    But does it matter? In some areas of traditional Chinese medicine, some people make a big deal of this (the same prejudice found in the west for the "sinister" left). I would not make a big deal of this. I have heard some other Zen teachers of many years experience commenting on it. Let me briefly quote from the article by the current abbot of Antaiji, Muho Noelke, for those who don't know ...

    In the "introduction to Zazen"... Sawaki Roshi [ states that] " ... . First you should know the difference between two ways of sitting: G˘maza, the "posture that subdues demons", and kichij˘za, the "auspicious posture". Even in old texts, there is quite some confusion about the two postures. In short, the right side represents the ascending, active (yang) aspect. The left side represents the descending, passive (yin) aspect. When the right foot rests on the left thigh, that represents the ascending activity that subdues the demons (g˘maza). When the left foot rests on the right thigh, that is a descending, passive activity which is auspicious (kichij˘za).
    You might think that this is only true for the half lotus. But that is not the case: In full lotus as well, if you first place your right foot on top of the left thigh, that is called g˘maza. G˘maza also means to place the right hand first on the left foot. When the right hand is covered next with the left hand, that settles down the mind. In kichij˘za on the other hand, the left foot is placed first on the right thigh (and then the right foot on the left thight) and the left hand is placed on top of the right foot, then the right hand on top of the left hand. That means that we speak of kichij˘za in the case of half lotus as Dogen Zenji describes it - left foot placed on right thigh - while we speak of g˘maza in the case of the full lotus (with right foot placed on left thigh first, then left foot placed on right thigh)."

    Although Sawaki Roshi tries to clear up the confusion with these words, I have doubts that he is successful. It seems strange that Dogen Zenji should recommend kichij˘za for half lotus and g˘maza for full lotus. Sawaki Roshi does not tell us why we should sit one way in half lotus and the other way in full lotus. It is interesting but even more confusing that Sawaki also speaks about the hands. In the case of the hands, we should have them in the g˘maza-posture regardless of half or full lotus - according to Dogen read in the way Sawaki does. I am afraid that Sawaki's way of reading Dogen though is not only confusing, but probably wrong altogether.
    Personally, I think the who thing is a bunch of hogwash, based upon bits of ancient Chinese medicine and ideas of Ki, Yin Yang, traditional "left side/right side" ideas and superstitions, and the prejudice of of "right" handed folks against the "sinister" left. It is a quaint idea, nothing more.

    Several respected older Western Zen teachers were discussing the article recently, and don't see the difference between left and right. I usually favor the right, as I am right handed. It feels strange for to place the hands, for example, with the left hand on the bottom. However, I do not see any magic property in sitting one way or the other. If something feels strange about one side or the other, it is the same strangeness of a left hander trying to play tennis with a right handed grip and visa versa.



    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH


    Attachment 4378
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Rural Queensland, Australia
    My Buddha statue is a head of the Buddha made from the finest plastic known to humans and was sought long and hard for via the shelves of a reputable company known as the Reject Shop (no bullshit that's it's name). I believe it was delicately produced by artisans in a Chinese factory along with very few million others haha. I am in the process of making a home altar which will have on it my exclusive plastic Buddha head, a stone my father carried on him daily that he would rub when he felt anxious. It will also have his watch that was given to me when he fell off the perch, a photo of my partner's brother and his family, a photo of my partner and I, and a heart shaped stone that my partner found in the paddock and gave me yesterday. I've no doubt that my altar will not last long with 2 of our 4 cats who see destruction as great play therapy haha but hey...

    Gassho
    Anna

    Sat today/lent a hand
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  13. #13
    Have here a couple of "Calling the Earth to Witness" fellas -- one watches over the hut, the other travels and also keeps an eye on the stitching. _()_

    Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 8.48.23 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 8.49.23 PM.png

    Manjusri has not shown up yet; have thought of just sending something to the printer and tacking it up. _()_

    gassho
    doyu sat/lah
    特別な人ではない

  14. #14
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Doyū View Post
    Have here a couple of "Calling the Earth to Witness" fellas -- one watches over the hut, the other travels and also keeps an eye on the stitching. _()_

    Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 8.48.23 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 8.49.23 PM.png

    Manjusri has not shown up yet; have thought of just sending something to the printer and tacking it up. _()_

    gassho
    doyu sat/lah
    The "Calling the Earth to Witness" statues are my favourite ones too. Those are lovely Doyu, it was nice to be able to sit 'live' with you today.

    Gassho
    Anna

    Sat today/lent a hand
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Doyū View Post
    Have here a couple of "Calling the Earth to Witness" fellas -- one watches over the hut, the other travels and also keeps an eye on the stitching. _()_

    Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 8.48.23 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 8.49.23 PM.png

    Manjusri has not shown up yet; have thought of just sending something to the printer and tacking it up. _()_

    gassho
    doyu sat/lah
    I just printed and put up a small image of manjusri yesterday.

    Gassho

    Nanrin

    Sat today

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Anna View Post
    My Buddha statue is a head of the Buddha made from the finest plastic known to humans and was sought long and hard for via the shelves of a reputable company known as the Reject Shop (no bullshit that's it's name). I believe it was delicately produced by artisans in a Chinese factory along with very few million others haha. I am in the process of making a home altar which will have on it my exclusive plastic Buddha head, a stone my father carried on him daily that he would rub when he felt anxious. It will also have his watch that was given to me when he fell off the perch, a photo of my partner's brother and his family, a photo of my partner and I, and a heart shaped stone that my partner found in the paddock and gave me yesterday. I've no doubt that my altar will not last long with 2 of our 4 cats who see destruction as great play therapy haha but hey...

    Gassho
    Anna

    Sat today/lent a hand
    LOL Anna! Yes my Buddha is the finest mass-produced Walmart Glazed Ceramic out there. But my daughter bought it for me so it's absolutely perfect.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  17. #17
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post
    Close to a year after I bought I finished sitting and then bowed to the Buddha - and noticed something I hadn't seen before. I looked and thought, wait a minute, his hands are wrong side on top. The Right hand was on the top not the Left!
    Well whadda know. Like you Shinshi I looked high and low for a Shakyamuni statue with hands in the cosmic mudra and its been sitting on my altar for around 18 months. Reading you post, I turned to see its is also a southpaw !

    Sat / lah


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    Well whadda know. Like you Shinshi I looked high and low for a Shakyamuni statue with hands in the cosmic mudra and its been sitting on my altar for around 18 months. Reading you post, I turned to see its is also a southpaw !

    Sat / lah
    Buddha is that which transcends "left" and "right." Left and right are relative positions to the self. Dropping the self, in Wholness, just drop left and right. Then the "wrong" hands are just Right!

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
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    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Buddha is that which transcends "left" and "right." Left and right are relative positions to the self. Dropping the self, in Wholness, just drop left and right. Then the "wrong" hands are just Right!

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Deep bows. East is east and west is west. While west is east and east is west. Such is north and south and south and north. What is right is left and left is right. All is one bright pearl that is reflected in a single dew drop and the whole universe is manifest.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

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