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Fudō-myōō

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Fudō-myōō

Price: $1,250

Fudō-myōō

Height - 12,2cm
Length - 6,15cm
Width - 3,9 cm

Information:

Fudō-myōō (不動明王) is the full Japanese name for Acala-vidyaraja, or Fudō (o-Fudō-sama etc.) for short. It is the literal translation of the Sanskrit term "immovable wisdom king".

Acala in Buddhist art since the Heian era has depicted him as angry-faced, holding a vajra sword and a lariat.In later representations, such as those used by the yamabushi monks, he may have one fang pointing up and another pointing down, and a braid on the one side of his head.

The sword he holds may or may not be flaming and sometimes described only generically as a hōken (宝剣 "treasure sword"?) or as kongō-ken (金剛杵 "vajra sword"?), which is descriptive of the fact that the pommel of the sword is in the shape of the talon-like kongō-sho (金剛杵 "vajra"?) of one type or another. It may also be referred to as sanko-ken (三鈷剣 "three-pronged vajra sword"?).However in some cases as in the Akafudo painting (show left), the divinity is seen holding the Kurikara-ken (ja), a sword with the dragon coiled around it.

The flaming nimbus or halo behind the statue is known as the "karura flame", after a mythical firebreathing birdlike creature, the garuda.

The two boy servants who is usually depicted in attendance to Acala are named Kongara (ja) (Kiṃkara) and Seitaka (ja)(Ceṭaka) though there are said to be eight such boy servants altoghether, and as many as forty-eight servants overall.

His seat, the banjakuza (盤石座 or "huge rock base"?) "..is considered an appropriate iconographic symbol to demonstrate the steadfastness of" the Fudō.

In Japan, Acala became an idol of worship in its own right, and became installed as the honzon (本尊) or main deity at temples and outdoor shrines. A famous example is the Narita Fudo, a Shingon subsect temple at Narita-san.

At Shingon Buddhist temples dedicated to Ācala, priests perform the Fudō-hō (不動法), or ritual service to enlist the deity's power of purification to benefit the faithful. This rite routinely involves the use of the ritual burning ceremony or goma (護摩) (Skr.: Homa) as a purification tool.

Lay persons or monks in yamabushi gear who go into rigorous training outdoors in the mountains also often pray to small Ācala statue or talisman they carry, which serve as his honzon. This praciticed path of yamabushi's training, known as Shugendō, predates the introduction of Ācala, so at first adored idols such as the Zaō Gongen (ja) who appeared before the sect's founder En no Ozunu or the Vairocana. But eventually Ācala was added to list of deities most typically enshrined by the yamabushi monks, either portable, or installed in outdoor shrines (hokora). These statues would be often placed near waterfalls (a common training ground) and deep in the mountains and in caves.

Ācala also tops the list of so-called Thirteen Buddhas (jūsan butsu (十三仏)). Thus Shingon sect mourners assign the Fudo the "First Seven Days" (Shonanoka (初七日)) of service. The first week is an important observance, but perhaps not as prominently important as the observance of "seven times seven days" (i.e. 49 days) signifying the end of "intermediate state" (bardo).

Literature on Shinto Buddhist ritual will explain that such and such Sanskrit "seed syllable", or mantra or mudra is attendant to each of the "buddhas" for each observance period. But the scholarly consensus seems to be that the invoking of the "Thirteen Buddhas" had evolved later around the 14th century and became widespread by the following century, so this could not have been part of the original teachings by priest Kukai, but rather a later adaptation.