Wei-To is an important Deva or God in the Chinese Pantheon as
his image is always present in all temples as the `Entry Guardian'.
He is the General-in-Chief of the thirty-two heavenly generals
who come under the Four Heavenly Kings and has earned such
titles as the `Protector of the Buddhist Faith', the `Protector of
Monasteries' and the `Protector of Dharma Books'. In all temples
where his image is found, he is always placed with his back to
the statue of Maitreya Buddha (Mi-Lo Fwo) so that he faces the
Main or Grand Hall known as the `Tai Hung Pao Tien' where
the main images of the temple are instal ed.
According to the teaching, Wei-To was a son of a heavenly king
who was so virtuous that when Sakyamuni Buddha was entering
Nirvana, he instructed the prince to guard the Buddhadharma.
us it became his duty to protect the members of the Sangha
whenever they are disturbed in their cultivation by the retinue
of Mara, the Tempter. And whenever a conflict arises among
religious Orders, General Wei-to wil discharge his duty to help
bring about a peaceful set lement. His Sanskrit name is Skanda.
Quite often his images are also found in small shrines located
at turning points of roads so as to afford protection against evil.
It is very easy for people to be impressed with his looks which
has a military bearing. He is always portrayed as a young and
good looking man clad in full armour and headgear of a gen-
eral, standing and leaning upon an impressive looking sword or
gnarled staff with both hands, or he could be holding a sceptre-
shaped defensive weapon.
Just as Maitreya, who as a Bodhisattva, has earned the mark of
respect of a Buddha, Wei-To, though only a Deva or God, is
very often addressed as a Bodhisattva or `Wei-To P'usa'. is is
attributed to the prediction
that he wil in the future
become the Buddha Rucika
or `Lou-Chi Fwo', the last
of the thousand Buddhas
in our world period.
Since Vajrapani, a very
popular Tibetan Buddhist
Bodhisattva who is the
God of Rain, and also
known as the underbolt-
Bearer, also shares this
prediction, one thus finds
Wei-To being referred to as
him. However he has not
gained sufficient fol owers
to become a major Deity
in Buddhism. His birthday
fal s on the 3rd day of the
6th month which is hardly
celebrated in a grand scale.
AN IMAGE OF WEI-TO
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