Bronze statuette, representation of Ganesh, Ganesha the elephant god.
Dimensions of 18/12cm
weight of 0.722kg
Legend has it that a fight took place between the two ganesh, that the Buddhist won and snatched the Hindu's head instead 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 then to Japan, which we will discuss later, the deity having taken an interesting place in the Shingon and Tendai forms of The Archipelago Buddhism.
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 in the Temples of Theravada Buddhism (India, Thailand, Indonesia...) and 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 also is part of the attributes of certain wrathful deities, somewhat frightening, terrible, secret and fear, discarding obstacles.
Apart from Tibet, the deity left little trace in China, probably engulfed with the Chinese esoteric current Tangmi, centered on the Buddha Vairocana, disappeared from 845, when the full boom of Buddhism, its golden age between the period between the Sui and Tang dynasties stretching from the early 7th century to 845 abruptly ended. Emperor Tang Wuzong, of Taoist faith, issued an edict against Manichaeans, Buddhists and Nestorians, religions of foreign origin. After persecution, only the Chan and Pure Earth currents remain visibly. The typical esoteric Chinese Buddhistism will still leave some traces, melting into the two surviving schools. Then, the Tibetan Lamaism took the vacant place becoming imperial religion under the Yuan dynasty, as well as the last dynasty, the Qing Manchu dynasty. In short, the Tangmi or "the secret art of Tang" disappeared completely in China.
The Japanese name of Ganesh is "Shoten" (聖) or Kangiten (歓喜), Japanese Buddhism considers it a manifestation of The Kannon Bosatsu (聖観音菩薩). In Japanese, the kanji is used as the equivalent of the Hindu Deva.
Kangiten's cult began in Japan around the 8th century- 9th century. Import due to Kukai (July 31, 774 - April 22, 835) scholar and official at the Japanese imperial court (early Heian era), holy founder of the esoteric Buddhist school Shingon, during his trip to China in 804, with the aim of initiating the tantric form of Buddhism. There he met the eminent Buddhist scholar Pranja from the Gandhara region, the birthplace of Mahayana or a large vehicle, a region in northwestern Pakistan.
Pranja, a former student of Nalanda, a prestigious centre for Buddhist studies in northern India, was a major 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, somehow ensuring the survival of the Chinese Tangmi.
Then it was not until three decades after the death of Kukai, better known as The Kob-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 represented in union with his parèdre, a female Kangiten, commonly called "Shakti" or "female energy". These representations, erotic embrace, symbolizing the unions of male and female energies, widely used in tantric forms are called "Yab Yum".
Like the history of the Indian Ganesh, Kangiten began as a malevolent god who could create obstacles and therefore had to be venerated 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, it is mainly invoked for wealth and financial success, prayed by merchants but is also the god of artists and all "creatives".
Kangiten is considered to have great power, considered to be a protector of temples and generally worshipped by players, actors, geishas and people of the so-called floating world. Because of Kangiten's esoteric sexual nature, his image is often obscured. 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 Taoist form of the 10th 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 Pervatî, the husband of Siddhî, success and Riddhî, wealth . The Buddhist Ganesh possesses its two intact defenses. The Hindu ganesh has only one defense, having broken one to write the vedas.
Today, 250 Japanese temples worship Kangiten, the most active center is the Hozanji Temple, located on the eastern side of the eastern mountain 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 was not a dream or 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
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