Ganesh enthroned on a Phurba.
Buddhist protection Tantric Vajrayana.
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Ganesh in the vajrayana. The one who removes obstacles.
Legend has it that a fight took place between the two ganesh, which the Buddhist won and tore off the Head of the Hindu in replacement of his own.
More seriously, Ganesh was incorporated into Buddhism by its tantric form which originated in India in Odisha and then traveled first to Nepal by Indian traders, and to China, then to Japan which we will talk about a little below, the divinity having taken an interesting place in the Shingon and tendai forms of Buddhism of the Archipelago.
The Elephant God Ganesh (or Ganesha/Ganapati, also sometimes called siddhi data)
is one of the most popular gods of Hinduism and is also widely represented both in the Temples of Theravada Buddhism (India, Thailand, Indonesia...) than in those of Vajrayana (Tibet, Nepal ...).
It plays an important role in Tantrism and is present in the Tibetan pantheon where it is recognized mainly as a deity of wealth.
but is also part of the attributes of certain angry deities, somewhat frightening, terrible, secret and fear, removing obstacles.
Apart from Tibet, the deity has left few traces in China, probably engulfed with the Chinese esoteric current Tangmi, centered on the Vairocana Buddha, disappeared from 845, when the full rise of Buddhism, its golden age between the period between the Sui and Tang dynasties extending from the beginning of the VII century to 845 came to an abrupt end.
Emperor Tang Wuzong, of the Taoist faith, issued an edict against Manicheans, Buddhists and Nestorians, religions of foreign origin.
After the persecution, only the Chan and Pure Land currents remain visibly.
The typical chinese esoteric Buddhism will still leave some traces, blending into the two surviving schools.
Then, Tibetan Lamaism took the vacant place becoming imperial religion under the Yuan Dynasty, as well as the last dynasty, the Manchu Qing Dynasty. In short, Tangmi or "the secret art of the Tang" disappeared completely in China.
The Japanese name of Ganesh is Shōten (聖天) or Kangiten (歓喜天), Japanese Buddhism considers it a manifestation of Shō Kannon Bosatsu (聖観音菩薩). In Japanese, the kanji 天 is used as the equivalent of the Hindu Deva.
The cult of Kangiten began in Japan around the eighth century - ninth century. Import due to Kukai (July 31, 774 - April 22, 835) scholar and official at the Japanese imperial court (very early Heian period), founding saint of the esoteric Shingon Buddhist school, during his trip to China in 804, with the aim of learning the tantric form of Buddhism.
There he met the eminent Buddhist scholar Pranja from the Gandhara region, the cradle of the Mahayana or great vehicle, a region located in the northwest of present-day Pakistan.
Pranja, a former student of Nalanda, a prestigious center of Buddhist studies in northern India, was an important importer of Buddhist texts in China.
After a decade-long trip to China, Kukai returned to Japan and introduced tantric Buddhism with his return and introduced several Hindu deities including Ganesh, thus founding the Shingon current, ensuring somewhere the survival of the Chinese Tangmi.
Then it is necessary to go 3 decades after the death of Kukai better known under the name of Kōbō-Daishi, to find the first texts concerning the cult of Ganesh / Kangiten in Japan. The "Sho Kangiten Shikiho" or "Sho Kangiten ritual" composed around 861 detailing the various tantric rituals.
In Japanese statuary and iconography, Kangiten is mainly depicted in union with his parèdre, a female Kangiten, commonly called "Shakti" or "feminine energy". These representations, erotic embrace, symbolizing the unions of masculine and feminine energies, widely used in tantric forms are called "Yab Yum".
Just like the story of the Indian Ganesh, Kangiten began as a malevolent god who could create obstacles and therefore had to be worshipped in order to avoid trouble. But over time, he became a Japanese god of joy and happiness.
Ganesh is the God of wisdom, intelligence and prudence,
among other patron saint of schools and teachers.
In Japan, as in Thailand, he is mainly invoked for wealth and finacier success, prayed to by merchants but is also the God of artists and all "creatives".
Kangiten is considered to be endowed with great power, considered a protector of temples and generally worshipped by players, actors, geishas and people of the so-called floating world. Due to Kangiten's esoteric sexual nature, his image is often masked. Mantras are often prescribed in ritual texts to appease the deity and even to drive out this obstacle-maker. Rice wine (sake), radishes (daikon) and "bliss-buns" (kangi-dan), a fried confectionery filled with red bean paste that is based on the modak offered to Ganesha, are offered to the god.
The divine role of wealth is reminiscent of the Taoizing form of the tenth century Chinese monk Milofo, who no doubt took the place in this function in Ganesh.
It is the god who removes both material and spiritual obstacles for his worshippers.
He is the son of Shiva and Pârvatî, the husband of Siddhî, success and Riddhî, wealth.
The Buddhist Ganesh has its two defenses intact.
The Hindu ganesh has only one defense, having broken one to write the vedas.
Nowadays, 250 Japanese temples practice the cult of Kangiten, the most active center is the Hozanji Temple, located on the eastern slope of the Eastern Mount of Mount Ikoma outside the city of Osaka, founded by the charismatic Japanese monk in the 17th century Tankai known as Hozan (1629-1716).
A legend surrounds the origin of the foundation of the temple.
Hozan in search of supernatural powers or "siddhis" failed because of the insurmountable obstacles posed by Kangiten.
Around 1678 the master of Tankai revealed to him the existence of Mount Ikoma, a miraculous place that is neither dream nor reality." On these revelations, Hozan, in order to appease the elephant god, made an idol of Kangiten to make him the guardian of the place, imploring him that in return the deity would protect him and help him reach the siddhis.
the construction of this temple dates back to 1680
Often made of stones, bones, or iron, Phurba daggers from Tibetan Buddhist temples are easily recognizable by their triple-sided blade. Used in rituals to drive away unwanted spirits, Phurba acts spiritually to immobilize demonic spirits and sometimes kill them in the hope that they will reincarnate in better places.
Each component of Phurba has its own meaning. The blade of the dagger represents the method, with each of the three sides representing the three-spirited worlds. The tip reconciling all three to form a harmonious global axis. The triple-blade design is also intended to simultaneously transform the world's three poisons into positive energies. These poisons are ignorance, greed and aggression. Enemies of Buddhism who may require a lifetime to overcome in the quest for enlightenment. The blade is often seen as indestructible and lit with a fire to burn above the hate.
The Handle of the Phurba represents wisdom and is often modeled as an eight-sided bulb with symmetrical nodes at each end. There are various interpretations to the presence of these nodes. From the belief that Nirvana is locked inside, to the belief that the different sections of the knots contain the paradises of several gods. By going as far as the desire for a formless form, representing the fact of being shapeless in the kingdom of the Buddhas.
The top of the handle often displays the three wrathful deities of Yamantaka, Amrita Kundalini, and Hayagriva. Yamantaka, the white face, symbolizes the body and the destruction of hatred. Amrita, her face colored blue, symbolizes the spirit and the destruction of illusion. Hayagriva, the face of red color, symbol of speech and the destruction of greed.
In many illustrations, the Phurba dagger is depicted in a simple form, due to its small size. However, in its three-dimensional form, this tiny blade is most often depicted with many Buddhist symbols and demonstrates its focus on purging evil.
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