Shakanyorai (釈迦如来)

Shakanyorai (Shikyajirai or Shakamuni-butsu) is a title of respect for Shaka (Kudonshittaruta, Gautama Siddhaartha in Sanskrit, Gotama Siddhatthaa in Pali), a founder of Buddhism, as Buddha.

Shakamuni-butsu in Theravada Buddhism

In Theravada Buddhism (so-called Hinayana), Shakamuni-butsu is regarded as the sole Buddha in this world. The disciple who achieved supreme enlightenment was called Arakan, and he was positioned as a saint who was delivered from earthly bondage by the sermons of Shaka as Buddha.

Shakamuni-butsu as one of the Buddhas

According to Mahayana Buddhism, Shakamuni-butsu (Shakanyorai) is one of the immeasurable Buddhas at the ten directions (east, south, west and north, each midpoint, up and down) and three worlds (past, future and present) as well as a Buddha in this corrupt world. Moreover, Trikaya, the three bodies of Buddha, considers Buddha a figure in front of the people of the present world.

Shakamuni-butsu as the original Buddha

Among the Mahayana Buddhism sects, there is a dispute over who is the main image in Nichiren and Hokke sects; additionally, there is a conflict between a thesis that considers Shaka to be the original Buddha and another that considers it to be Nichiren. Among these, the main image of the former is Shakamuni-butsu as the original Buddha. This was argued in the Tendai sect before, but today it is often discussed among the Nichiren and Hokke sects. This means Shakamuni-seson, who has an immeasurably long life (無量長寿) in Nyorai Juryo Hon No. 16 of the Hoke-kyo sutra. This does not mean the historical Gautama Siddhartha (Shaka), who flourished in ancient India on the Eurasian Continent, but instead it means the religious Shakamuni-seson, who has existed from ancient times before he was born in India and continues to exist in the future after his nirvana. According to that thesis, other immeasurable Buddhas are the Trace Buddha, who is only a copy of the original Buddha Shakuson, so that if you see him as the moon the other Buddha will be 1,000 moons reflected in a rice terrace. It is an object of faith for the groups that consider Shaka to be the original Buddha. It is also called Kuon Honbutsu, which is reflected in the temple's name as the Nichiren Sect of Buddhism grand head temple Minobusan Kuon-ji Temple (Minamikoma-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture).

Moreover, in the Hoke-kyo Sutra it is stated that Shakanyorai did not become Buddha under the line tree for the first time but had already awakened in an immeasurable past time; in Nehan-gyo sutra there are more descriptions about the future, which states that Nyorai exists forever without any change and ultimately denies Mappo (Age of the Final Dharma) as an expediency. Therefore, it is said that Hoke-kyo Sutra teaches Kuonjitsujo (久遠実成) and Nehan-gyo Sutra teaches Kuonshochu (久遠常住).

Shakanyorai shaped into an image

Statues of Shakanyorai were shaped over wide-ranging areas, where Buddhism had spread from India. Most of them were designed to describe the real Shaka's biography as a picture or to shape a particular scene separately.

In Japan, statue of birth, statue of training, statue of struggling against the devil, statue of a sermon being given and statue of nirvana were shaped. Among them, the "sermon" statue is the most popular; it expresses the figure of Shaka, who preaches Dharma as indicated by seppo-in, his gesture for a sermon.

For example, the bronze statues at Horyu-ji Temple Kondo in Nara and at Kaniman-ji Temple in Kyoto are famous, as are the wooden figures of Muroo-ji Temple Kondo in Nara and Daihoon-ji Temple in Kyoto. Additionally, the style of the Seiryoji-type Shakanyorai, which was modeled on Zuizo of Seiryo-ji Temple in Kyoto, is also widespread.

It is often placed on the altars of the Shaka triad. The two attendants are often Monju Bosatsu and Fugen Bosatsu. In the Hokke and Nichiren sects, the style of Sanposon (三宝尊) (Ittoryozon, 一塔両尊) is often adopted. In this style the Taho Pagoda (pagoda), in which the Nichiren chant is written, is placed at the center, with Shakanyorai on the left side and Tahonyorai on the right side as seen by the person who enshrines, and a statue of Nichiren as a monk is placed under them.

Mantora, Shingon

Noumaku Sanmanda Bodanan Baku

Shakanyorai in fictional works

"Journey to the West" remonstrates with Goku SON (Sun Wu Kong), and leads Sanzohoshi to Tenjiku, India.

The role of "Oshakasama" in "Journey to the West" (a TV drama from Fuji Television Network, Inc.) was played by Masaaki SAKAI.

[Original Japanese]