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(Skt.). ‘Illuminator’, one of the five Jinas. Normally depicted iconographically as a white saṃbhoga-kāya Buddha associated with the centre or sometimes the eastern quarter. He is also viewed as the embodiment of the ‘Awareness of the Continuum of Reality’, one of the five awarenesses, and as the lord of the Tathāgata Family. In the Hua-yen school in China (Kegon in Japanese) and esoteric Buddhism in east Asia, Vairocana is the Buddha who occupies the central position in almost all maṇḍalas.or sacred diagrams of the cosmos. Several prominent Buddhist scriptures, such as the Avataṃsaka Sūtra (Chin., Hua-yen ching) and the Mahāvairocana Sūtra depict him not only as one enlightened being among many, but as the central figure from whom all other Buddhas emanate as a skilful means (see upāya-kauśalya) to reach all suffering beings. In certain later forms of Buddhism, both in Tibet and China, Vairocana came to be viewed as the personification of the dharma-kāya and, as such, as the primordial Buddha, in which case he is often called Mahāvairocana. As esoteric thought developed, he came to be known not only for projecting all other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from his own being, but also for emanating all of reality and in this way he became a kind of urgrund or ground of being, and this fact endowed nature itself with a kind of intelligence and ability to communicate as an expression of Vairocana's teaching. The Japanese Shingon master Kūkai (774–635) referred to Vairocana to explain how the world itself preaches the Dharma. His primary symbol was the sun, which is above everything in the world while at the same time is intimately involved with everything in the world as its rays reach everywhere and stimulate growth.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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