Japanese wood carving from the Heian period,10th century

In Vajrayana Buddhism and in the esoteric Tiantai and Vajrayana of Chinese Buddhism, Tendai and Shingon sects of Japanese Buddhism, Rāgarāja (Àirǎn Míngwáng, Aizen Myō-ō, 愛染明王) is the deity which transforms worldly lust into spiritual awakening. Originally a Hindu deity, Rāgarāja, the deity was adapted into Chinese Buddhism as Àirǎn Míngwáng, and then as Aizen Myō-ō when the founder of Shingon, Kobo Daishi returned from China to Japan.

Rāgarāja is considered a Vidyaraja or "Great Wisdom King", in keeping with others like Acala and Gozanze. There are four different mandalas associated with Rāgarāja. The first posits him with thirty-seven assistant devas, the second with seventeen. The other two are special arrangements, one made by Chisho Daishi, fourth patriarch of the Tendai sect, the other a Shiki mandala which represents deities using their mantra seed syllables drawn in bonji.

He is portrayed as a red-skinned, frowning man, his appearance representing suppressed lust and passion. He variously has two, four or six arms; in the latter form, his hands bear a bell, a stick, a thunderbolt, a lotus, a bow and an arrow. Similarly, he sometimes has two heads, with a lion's head in his wild hair. According to the Yogin Sutra (Ch: Jingangfeng louge yiqie yujia yuqi jing) attributed to Vajrabodhi, he represents the state at which sexual excitement or agitation becomes enlightenment and passionate love becomes compassion for all living things.

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Rāgarāja. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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