The Bodhi tree behind
the Mahabodhi temple
in Bodhgaya

THE TWO MUDRA OF
VAIRÓCANA BUDDHA



In Chinese Mahāyāna Buddhism
   



One particular Dutch language blog, belonging to this series of webpages brought online by the Institute White Jade River, basically says that images of Vairócana Buddha characteristically have no halo behind his head. Instead in non-esoteric Mahāyāna Buddhism he is generally depicted with the audience in the background that attends his teachings. They form the halo and are as such part of this Buddha of perfection.

As a stand-alone statue we generally recognize Vairócana Buddha in his mudra of perfection, the úttara-bodhi mudra, picture left.
All Chinese Mahāyāna temple-communities, though generally confessing the Pure Land Teachings, start the morning recitations with a praise of the Avatámsaka Sūtra, the Hua Yen Jing in Chinese, the largest collections of teachings over which Vairócana Buddha presides. And all Chinese Mahāyāna temple-communities, when in the course of ceremonies making the full and half bow, perform the úttara-bodhi mudra, as a reminder of the wish to attain to Buddhahood, utter perfection.

The second mudra that is characteristic for Vairócana Buddha is the vajra mudra, the wisdom mudra (right picture). It basically says that wisdom, here shown as the hidden index, is inherently present, and that the beings, at their own time, when they are ready and prepared, are able to reveal this wisdom and let it shine.

Be very conscious of this; religions generally maintain that only their supreme deity has full wisdom and that mankind can never attain to this level. Buddhism, whether centred around Vairócana or any other concept representing enlightenment and full wisdom contradicts this bleak vision. Mankind has the inherent ability to attain to full wisdom, perfection and enlightenment; it is concealed in each and every individual whether this individual chooses to display his inclination to evil or whether s/he tries to rise above the vile and lowly.


 

Part of a Dutch language site on Sutras and Shastras.

Use with care and respect
May 2018