Fascinating and well-documented article on the iconic deities of Hinduism like Ganesha, Shiva, Brahma, Lakshmi, Durga, Saraswati, Kubera, Indra and others who have been depicted in ancient Japanese literature and paintings.
(Note: If you are only interested in pictures, skip past this and hit “Continue Reading”)
This is a historical phenomenon, which entertains and fascinates me to no end. Buddhism had a huge impact on all East Asian cultures, especially on their pantheons of deities. On first glance it might seem odd that a reform movement, which rejected many of the core tenants of Vedic religion would transmit a belief in Vedic deities. This apparent oddity is a misunderstanding of Buddhism’s “atheism,” and a misunderstanding of what a “Deva” actually is. Most forms of Buddhism, while rejecting the concept of all-powerful gods or creator deities, openly accept the existence of powerful supernatural beings. This includes yakshas (nature spirits) rakshasas (demons) gandharvas (celestial musicians) nagas (supernatural snakes) and many other beings, including Devas (deities.) In Hindu and Buddhist cosmology, Devas are created beings that roam around the universe seeking the divine, albeit…
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