Is Buddhism idol worship?

Looking from monotheism followers, maybe you will look like they do so.

However, Buddhism is not idol worship. And there is no God in Buddhism.
Strictly speaking, Buddhism accept the polytheistic gods and the goddess.
But they are just superior to human being a little. They are not getting a Buddhahood, too.

The goal of Buddhism is to get spiritual enlightenment. Buddhists believe the teachings only.
Buddhism teaches that to live comfortably and peacefully with getting rid of many sufferings.
They don’t see Buddha as the God, and they don’t do idol worship.

Well, why have Buddhist statues or pictures?
Buddhism teachings is called “the truth”. This truth is very difficult for us to understand.
I mean, beyond the words. (The teaching is like a philosophy of life partially.)

The truth can’t let us understand with words only.
That’s why statues and pictures have been appeared.
The statues and pictures are symbol of Buddhism teachings (the truth).
So, it’s wrong that they look statues and pictures as sacred one.

And also we have other explanation.
There is “Shitsuu Bussho” in Buddhism teachings.
Anyone have possibility to be Buddha. Because Buddha is “people who have Buddhahood (knowing the truth)”.

If you join your hands in prayer in front of mirror, what scene do you watch to the mirror?
You must see yourself who join your hands in prayer.

If you join your hands in prayer in front of Buddhism statue, you could see statue doing the same.
I mean, Buddhism statue is the teachings (potential Buddha) in your mind.
You never see statue, you see yourself.

So, Buddhism is not idol worship.

We want you to know exactly about swastika

This mark is called “MANJI”. It’s Buddhist lucky charm.
It’s NOT Hakenkreuz (Nazi Germany’s swastika symbol mark).

Please look it carefully.
You will find that its directions are difference.
Nazi’s swastika is left-turning.
Buddhism’s one is right-turning.

Originally, both mark was used as lucky charm among Hinduism.
Buddhists are using right-turnig swastika only as lucky charm and symbol of vitality

At Zenko-ji temple. You can see the Buddhist Manji.

Buddhism have the code “Hendan Uken”.
When Buddhism monks put on uniform for the rites, they conceal left arm and open right arm (shoulder).
This style stands for respect, non-aggressive attitude and the energy of vitality.

H.H. 14th Dalai Lama’s wear(tibetan style) & Japanese style.

So, right-turning swastika is lucky mark as Buddhist.

However, many Europeans and Americans are confusing Buddhism Manji with Nazi’s swastika since Nazi adopted left-turning swastika.
For that reason, Buddhist and Hindu are difficult to use swastika in Europe.

Frankly speaking, Buddhists are annoyed by European’s simplism on swastika.
Though I’m in favor of denying Nazi, please distinguish between right-turning from left-turning.

Main Buddhism events

Originally, Buddhism events used to be held on lunar calendar.
But now the rites hold on solar calender in Japan.

Feb. 15th. — NIRVANA DAY.
It’s Parinirvana Day (the anniversary of Buddha’s death).
Talking of Nirvana, the picture of Nirvana.

It seems that it’s not so popular in Europe and America, but it’s very important picture in Asian Buddhism area.
There are meaning and rules against composition of a painting.

The vernal equinox and The autumnal equinox. — OHIGAN.
Every around the vernal equinox (and the autumnal equinox) is called OHIGAN in Buddhism.
HI means (over)there, far or beyond. GAN means shore.
I mean, OHIGAN means opposite side shore. Therefore it’s the world of after death.

In the Jodo faith of Buddhism, AMIDA NYORAI who meets dead person was believed that he lives at the far west among people.
And the sun sets to due west on the vernal and the autumnal equinox.
That’s why ancient people decided to carry out the Buddhism rites. So-called it’s Ohigan.

Many Japanese Buddhists are in the habit of going to their family grave.
And we eat Botamochi or Ohagi (Japanese traditional sweets)

In Buddhism temples, they open the sculpture (below) to the public, and do the rites. Believers pour Amacha (sweet tea) on this sculpture, and get sweets from Buddhism priest.

According to Sutra, he was born and walked seven steps right away.
And he rose his right arm up and let his left arm down. Then he said “Tenjoh Tenge Yuiga Dokuson”. This code is his “declaration of human being”.

[misreading] “I am a only one you must respect in this world”
[correct] “I was born with having only one respectable thing (= life) in this world”

Mid of Aug. — OBON
August is the month that ancestors come back. It’s called OBON.
It have tendency to decrease religious character in these days, but it’s traditional event.

On Aug. 12th, Japanese Buddhists go to family’s grave, and burn Manchurian Wild Rice. This action is called MUKAEBI which means invitation fire. Ancestors come back to descendants with the help of smoke.

Around August 15th, BON ODORI hold. BON ODORI is one of dance festival as memorial service.

On Aug. 16th, descendants burn Manchurian Wild Rice again beside grave. It’s called OKURIBI which means escort fire. Ancestors go to dead person’s wolrd again.
GOZAN OKURIBI at Kyoto is very famous.

In OBON, descendants make horse and cow with eight sticks, eggplant and cucumber.
Descendants want to let ancestors come back fast by horse, and go back slowly by cow.

For that reason, road and train are jammed because many families go back to their hometown. Conversely, Tokyo is to silent city.

Generally, OBON is August event except Tokyo (hold it on July).
Almost businesses are stopped because many people go back to their hometown.

As BON ODORI, Owara is the most famous at Toyama.

As OKURI-BI, GOZAN OKURIBI is the most famous at Kyoto. It’s describing character with fire on mountain.

Dec. 8th. — JODO-E (Bohdi Day)
I mean, it’s the day that Gautama Siddhartha was spiritually awakened under the Bohdi tree. He became a priest at age, 29. And he reached to spiritual awakening at age, 35.
In Japan, many temples are holding the Buddhism rites.

Are Buddhists vegetarian?

Answer is NO.
It seems that many Europeans and Americans are convinced that Buddhist are vegetarian. But it’s wrong.

There is no “ban the meat-eating” in any Sutra and religious precepts.
Actually, Gautama Siddhartha ate it. We can find the record about it.

Buddhism allow that eating meat which have been given as an offering (taking life indirect).
Buddhism prohibited just a wanton destruction of life (taking life direct).

Well, what if you’re hunter or fisherman, what’s it gonna be ?
You can be saved (see also).

About Buddhism (briefing)

The Birth of Buddhism.
Buddhism is regarded as a major world religion and a philosophy; it is based on the teachings of the Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha , a prince of the Shakyas, who lived in or around the fifth century BC. The teachings spread from their roots in India to most of Asia.

Buddhism have two factions.
Buddhism have two factions.
One is Southern route Buddhism (mainly Thailand, Sri Lanka), another one is Northern route Buddhism(Tibet, China, Korea and Japan. Active Northern route Buddhism are believed mainly in Tibet and Japan at present).

In southern route Buddhism, people have seeking for goal individually as getting an advice from priest. That’s why their important sculpture is Budda only. It’s called Sthaviravada (Theravaada, Jozabu).

On the other hand, in northern route Buddhism, people got together and established a religious body. everybody helped each other.

For that reason, Buddha had been given many role at people’s request. People believed that Buddha can transform to many figures to save people. There are many kinds of sculptures in northern route Buddhism. It’s called Mahayana
and Vajrayana (Daijo and Mikkyo).

The goal of Buddhism
The goal is understanding, awaking, and realizing to truth.
Buddha said that ‘being alive’ is same to ‘suffering’. To get rid of suffering, we have to abandon our desires. Desires are cause of sufferings.

Buddhism sculptures and items are an object of faith as a believer. But these items are the work of art for everyone simultaneously. We are expected to increase numbers of item. We will introduce genuine items in this web site.

We provide Japanese Buddhism item basically. So, we write Buddha’s names at Japanese pronunciation.
This table is the list of Japanese – English pronunciations.
These names are representative Buddha only.

Nyorai (tathagata) is Buddha who had spiritually awakened.
Southern route Buddhism have Shaka Nyorai (Gautama Siddhartha) only.
Northern route Buddism have some Nyorai. They have tendency to be the principal image.

Japanese nameEnglish name
Shaka NyoraiGautama Siddhartha
Amida NyoraiAmitabha
Dainichi NyoraiVairocana
Yakushi NyoraiBhaisajyaguru

*…Other many Nyorai also exist in Buddhim Sutra

Bosatsu (bodhisattva) are trainee.
They are leading us to truth as doing ascetic practices.
In Northern route Buddhism, they are an object of belief.

Japanese nameEnglish name
Kokuzo BosatsuAkasagarbha
Seishi BosatsuMahasthamaprapta
Fugen BosatsuSamantabhadra
Monju BosatsuManjusri
Jizou BosatsuKsitigarbha
Miroku BosatsuMaitreya

Kanzeon Bosatsu (Avalokitesvara) has 33 incarnations. So, Kanzeon has many names. For example,
Japanese nameEnglish name
Sho KannonAvalokitesvara
Senju KannonMultiarmed (1000 arms)
Juhichimen KannonEkadasamukha (11 faces)
Batou KannonHayagriva
Nyoirin KannonChintamanicakra

*…Kannon is clipped form of Kanzeon

Myo-oh (vidya-raja) is incarnation of Nyorai in vajrayana Buddhism.
They lead a obstinate person who don’t understand Buddha’s teaching to truth by force. So, their faces are getting angry. But it’s mercy from Buddha.

Japanese nameEnglish name
Fudoh Myo-OhAcala
Dai-itoku Myo-OhYamaantaka
Gozanze Myo-OhTrailokya vijaya
Kongoyasha Myo-OhVajrayaksa
Gundari Myo-OhKundali
Aizen Myo-OhRagaraja
Ususama Myo-OhUcchusma

4. Ten
Ten (deva) are old Hinduism deities originally.
Buddhism took in them to Buddhism, they became the deities that protect Buddhism.

Japanese nameEnglish name
Jikoku TenDhrtarastra
Zouchou TenViruudhaka
Koumoku TenViruupaakSa
Tamon Ten (Bishamon Ten)Vaisravana
Taishaku TenSakra
Bon TenBrahma
Benzai TenSaraswati
Marishi TenMarici
Kongo RikishiNio (Narayana)
Kangi TenGanapati (Ganesha)
Dakini TenDakini
Kissho TenSrii-mahadeii (Sri-mahadevi)
Kishimo JinHariti
Enma DaiohYama

5. Gongen
Gongen is quite Japan origin Buddhism image. Gon means temporarily. Gen means appearance.
I mean, Gongen is Buddhism figure who appeared as Japanese Gods and goddesses temporarily (incarnation of Japanese God). That’s ancient Japanese sapience to avoid religious conflict between Shinto and Buddhism (called Honji-Suijaku thought).
This idea itself is not Japan origin. It appeared in China and India also before Japan.
These Buddhism deities who brought from other religions are called “Goho-Zenjin (Dharmapala)”.
About details, please read here.

Japanese nameNo English name, because these images are Japan origin.
Akiba Gongen
Iizuna Gongen
Konpira Gongen
Zaou Gongen
Kumano Gongen
Hie (Hiyoshi)

These are representative example.