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Bonji (Sanskrit characters) of the eight Buddhist guardian deities
|8 guardian deities, 12 zodiac signs & associated Bonji |
When Buddhism arrived in Japan in the mid-6th century AD, the Japanese eagerly imported both the Buddhist teachings and the Zodiac calendar -- the calendar was officially adopted in 604 AD. In Japan, the Zodiac calendar is known as Kanshi 干支 (also read Eto), and the 12 animals of the Zodiac are known as the Jūni Shi (Juni Shi) 十二支. The Zodiac's popularity in Japan peaked during the Edo Era (1600-1868 AD), by which time each of the 12 animals were commonly associated with one of eight Buddhist patron protector deities (four guarding the four cardinal directions and four guarding the four semi-directions; the latter four are each associated with two animals, thus covering all 12 animals).
Read more about the Chinese zodiac and buddhism on this website.
|List of Bonji and related 8 guardian deities|
of Universal Goodness)
Fugen is known as the "Great Conduct" Bodhisattva, for Fugen
teaches that action and conduct (behavior) are equally important as thought and
meditation. Fugen encourages people to diligently practice the Buddhist
precepts of charity, moral conduct, patience, and devotion. Fugen made ten vows
for practicing Buddhism, and is the protector of all those who teach the Dharma
of Luminescent Wisdom)
Fudō Myō-ō is the central deity in all Myō-ō groupings, and in artwork is
positioned in the center. Fudō converts anger into salvation; has furious,
glaring face, as Fudō seeks to frighten people into accepting the teachings of
Dainichi Buddha; carries “kurikara” or devil-subduing sword in right hand
(representing wisdom cutting through ignorance); holds rope in left hand (to
catch and bind up demons); often has third eye in forehead (all-seeing); often
seated or standing on rock (because Fudō is “immovable” in his faith). Fudō is
also worshipped as a deity who can bring monetary fortune.
(Buddha of Infinite Light and Life)
Amida is one of the loftiest savior figures in Japanese Buddhism, and
Amida faith is concerned primarily with the life to come, the life in the
beyond. Amida is described in the Amitābha Sūtra, the Sutra of Infinite Life,
and many other Mahayana texts. Amida is the central deity of Japan's popular Pure Land (Jōdo) sects
and the ruler of the Western Paradise of Ultimate
Bliss (Gokuraku; Skt. = Sukhāvatī).
Thousand-Armed Kannon, or Kannon with a Thousand Arms and a Thousand
Eyes. One of Japan's most beloved esoteric forms of Kannon. From the 8th
century onward in Japan, Senju Kannon was worshipped independently as a central
object of devotion, often prayed to for avoiding illness, eye problems, and
blindness. Senju is also one of Six
Kannon who protect people in the six realms of karmic rebirth. As one of the
six, Senju Kannon watches over the realm of hungry ghosts (gakidō).
Seishi appears in early Mahayana sutras, including the Immeasurable Life
Sutra, the Meditation Sutra, and the Lotus Sutra. Seishi did not gain great
popularity in India, but in China and Japan, Seishi's
importance grew with the spread of the Pure Land sects
devoted to Amida Buddha, for Seishi is one of the two main attendants (kyōji)
of Amida Buddha. The other is Kannon. In Japan, the three
appear in a popular grouping known as the Amida Sanzon (lit. = Amida Triad),
with Amida in the center, Seishi to the right (representing wisdom), and Kannon
to the left (representing compassion).
Kokuzo Bosatsu (Bothisattva of Wisdom and Memory)
Kokūzō is especially important to Japan's Shingon
sect of Esoteric Buddhism (Mikkyō). Kokūzō symbolizes the "vast and
boundless" Buddha wisdom that permeates the universe. In Japan, believers
pray to Kokūzō to grant them wisdom on their quest toward enlightenment. They
also pray to Kokūzō to improve their memory, technical skills, and artistic
Great, All-Encompassing Buddha)
Dainichi Buddha (Sanskrit = Vairocana or Maha Vairocana) represents the
center (zenith) among Japan's esoteric
sects. Esoteric Buddhism (Jp. = Mikkyō) is another term for Vajrayana (Tantric)
Buddhism, one of the three main schools of Buddhism in Asia, most widely
practiced today in Tibet. The other
two forms are Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana is the mainstream in Japan, but the
country's Shingon and Tendai sects are still strongholds of esoteric
traditions, especially the Shingon sect.
of the law)
Monju was a disciple of the Historical Buddha, and represents wisdom,
intelligence and willpower. In Mahayana traditions throughout Asia, Monju is
the personification of the Buddha's teachings, and hence Monju symbolizes
wisdom and the enlightened mind. Monju is considered the wisest of the
Bodhisattva, and thus acts as the Voice (Expounder) of Buddhist Law. Monju
enjoyed vast popularity in Asia for many centuries. But
today in China and Japan, Monju's
popularity has diminished somewhat among the common folk. Nonetheless, Monju is
still counted as one of the most popular of all Mahayana divinities.
|Check which is your guardian deity based on year of birth|
Based on your year of birth, check in the table below what your sign in the Chinese zodiac is. Then, refer to the above bonji list and find out which one is your guardian deity.
| Rat|| Ox||Tiger || Rabbit||Dragon ||Snake ||Horse ||Sheep ||Monkey ||Rooster ||Dog ||Pig |
| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|1900||1901||1902 ||1903 ||1904 ||1905 ||1906 ||1907 ||1908 ||1909 ||1910 ||1911 |
|1912 ||1913 ||1914 ||1915||1916 ||1917 ||1918 ||1919 ||1920 ||1921 ||1922 ||1923 |
|1924 ||1925 ||1926 ||1927 ||1928 ||1929 ||1930 ||1931 ||1932 ||1933 ||1934 ||1935 |
|1936 ||1937 ||1938 ||1939 ||1940 ||1941 ||1942 ||1943 ||1944 ||1945 ||1946 ||1947 |
|1948 ||1949 ||1950 ||1951 ||1952 ||1953 ||1954 ||1955 ||1956 ||1957 ||1958 ||1959 |
|1960 ||1961 ||1962 ||1963 ||1964 ||1965 ||1966 ||1967 ||1968 ||1969 ||1970 ||1971 |
|1972 ||1973 ||1974 ||1975 ||1976 ||1977 ||1978 ||1979 ||1980 ||1981 ||1982 ||1983 |
|1984 ||1985 ||1986 ||1987 ||1988 ||1989 ||1990 ||1991 ||1992 ||1993 ||1994 ||1995 |
|1996 ||1997 ||1998 ||1999 ||2000 ||2001 ||2002 ||2003 ||2004 ||2005 ||2006 ||2007 |
|2008 ||2009 ||2010 ||2011 ||2012 ||2013 ||2014 ||2015 ||2016 ||2017 ||2018 ||2019 |