📍 🇯🇵 Bishamonten (毘沙門天)
Of the seven guardians of Buddhism, Bishamonten (or Tamonten) is a celebrated form, who is believed to be the “listener”. Bishamonten is placed as the guardian within Buddhist shrines in Japan. Bishamonten listens to Buddha’s teachings and aids the devotees on their path of enlightenment.
The rendition of Bishamonten at Nara depicts Chinese influences in its metalwork. Larger than life, this Bishamonten statue is armored, and holds a trident in one hand and a miniature shrine in the other. Scholars trace similarities between Bishamonten and the Jain and Hindu deity Kubera.
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>> Ingram, Evan. Rebuilding Nara’s Tōdaiji on the Foundations of the Chinese Pure Land: A Campaign for Buddhist Social Development. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, 2016