Wen-Shu-Shih-Li P'usa  


Manjusri, the personification of Transcendental Wisdom, is the
first Bodhisat va mentioned in Buddhist scriptures, and one of
the two most prominent and important Bodhisat vas of Maha-
yana Buddhism. His wisdom is perfect and is symbolised by the
sword, he holds in his right hand signifying his intel ect which
pierces the deepest recesses of Buddhist thought and cut ing
doubts which cannot otherwise be solved. His name frequently
appears in various sutras and in the Lotus Sutra, or e Lotus of
the Good Law, it was mentioned that he had trained and disci-
plined many bodhisat vas.
In the Mahayana, Wisdom and Compassion are regarded as
equal y important, but with greater emphasis on Wisdom. Man-
jusri, the Lord of Wisdom and Knowledge, is therefore con-
sidered as the foremost Bodhisat va in early Mahayana. Later
Mahayana laid greater stress on the practise of Compassion so
that Avalokitesvara, the Lord of Compassion (Karuna), who is
known to the Chinese as Kuan Shih Yin P'usa, soon emerged as
the supreme Bodhisat va.
Manjusri, meaning `Gentle Glory' or `Sweet Splendour', is often
regarded as the `prince royal' of the Buddha's realm. He is also

addressed as `Manjugosha' with `Manju' meaning `soft' indicat-
ing that his continuum has become softened by his wisdom
which cuts through distress-causing hindrances to liberation
from cyclic liberation (Samsara), and the non-afflictive obstruc-
tions to infinite knowledge or Omniscience. `Gosha' means
`chanting' or `intonation' referring to his possessing a Buddha's
perfect vocalisation abilities.
According to Chinese Buddhism, he was informed by Sakya-
muni Buddha that it was his duty and responsibility to seek the
instruction and salvation of the Chinese people by making his
abode at the Wu-tai Shan in the Shansi province, and there to
cause the Wheel of Dharma to turn incessantly.
Manjusri's popularity in the northern Buddhist countries
stretches from Nepal, Sikkim, Tibet, China, Mongolia, Korea
to Japan. Mil ions of Chinese Buddhists daily recite "Namo
Wen-shu-Shih-Li P'usa" to seek his blessings. He is the most
popular Bodhisat va among the Buddhists of Tibet and Nepal
where even young children constantly repeat his mantra, `Om-
ara-pa-chana-dhih' which is a prayer for developing wisdom.
Holy books compiled by lamas often begin with the mantra
`Namo Guru Manjugoshaya' as a mark of respect to Manjusri for
he is indeed `the lamp of wisdom and supernatural power' who
is the destroyer of falsehood and ignorance from the minds of all
e il ustration of Manjusri is an useful aid to those who would
like to visualise him during their prayers or meditational prac-

tices. ey should first of all conjure in their minds a shining
blue sky. From it a youthful prince of about sixteen years old
with flowing hair, appears and is seen seated on a pale blue lotus
with a body made of golden light. He is smiling gently and on
his forehead is a wreath of blue lotuses surrounded by a crown
of five jewels. Aksobya, a meditational Buddha, is seen seated
on top of his head. His right hand brandishes a double-edged
sword with a vajra-handle, the point of which is wreathed in
flames. His left hand has a book, his second symbol, which he
presses close to his heart. is is the Treatise on the Perfection
of Wisdom known to all as the Prajnaparamita. He wears silk of
five colours of a great being and the six ornaments of the Bodhi-
sat va. Surrounding him is a great aura of light which is radiated
from his great pure body, a very special kind of light that can
purify the minds of those who are seeking wisdom....
us is Manjugosha seen, the `Gentle Voiced Lord' who is relat-
ed to creative communication. His wisdom is nothing less than
Prajna, perfect wisdom, which is symbolised by the volume of
the Prajnaparamita.
Legends of Manjusri abound, each with its own beautiful
significance so that only those who have great faith and affin-
ity with him wil be able to realise their inner revelations. A
popular legend has it that Manjusri once left Mount Panca-
sirsha (Wu-tai Mountain in China) to visit the shrine of the
Primordial Buddha which was located on a high mountain and
accessible only by way of Lake Kalihrada. However, the lake
was infested with al kinds of watermonsters and spirits so that