Devaraja Hall (Hall of Heavenly Kings)

发布日期:2010-05-21   字体大小:   

Devaraja Hall, or Hall of Heavenly Kings, was originally the Mountain Gate. It was built in the Yuan Dynasty and renovated many times in the dynasties of Ming and Qing. Inside the hall was the statue of Welcoming Buddha Maitreya, behind which was the statue of Skanda facing the north direction. When Shaolin Temple was renovated in the 13th year of Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty (1735), another Mountain Gate was built before the hall. As a result, the original one was renamed as Hall of Heavenly Kings, and the statues of Maitreya and Skanda inside were shifted into the Mountain Gate. The hall has the giant statues of Kongorikishi in front and the statues of Four Heavenly kings in back.


The Four Heavenly Kings
The Four Heavenly Kings are four guardian gods, each of whom watches over one cardinal direction of the world. They reside on the lower slopes of Mount Sumeru, which is the lowest of the six worlds of the devas of the Kamadhatu. In Chinese temples, statues of the four are often placed symmetrically on both sides before the Hall of Heavenly Kings, hence its name.


Heavenly King of the East (Dhrtarastra)
Dhrtarastra (Chi Guo Tian, literally "He who maintains the state" or "Watcher of the Lands), sculptured in white color, is the King of Gandharvas (one of the lowest-ranking devas). He is often depicted playing a pipa, a 4-stringed Chinese lute suggesting that he will convert sentient beings to Buddhism with music. He is the Guardian of the East, thus resides in the Golden Palace on the east of the Four Heavens.

 Heavenly King of the South (Virudhaka)
Viruḷhaka (Zeng Zhang Tian, literally "He who enlarges" or "Patron of Growth"), blue-colored, is lord of the South and the King of Kumbhandas (demons shaped like gourds, and who drain the vitality of men). With a sword in his hand, he is to protect dharma and sentient beings. Viruḷhaka resides in the Glass Palace on the south of the Four Heavens and safeguards the South.


Heavenly King of the West (Virupaksa)
Virupakkha is named Guang Mu Tian in Chinese, which means "He who sees all". He is lord of the West, therefore resides in the Silver Palace on the west of the Four Heavens. As the King of the Nagas (Serpents or Dragons), he is often depicted in red color with a serpent coiling round his right arm and a jewel in his left hand.

 Heavenly King of the North (Vaisravana)
Vaisravana (Duo Wen Tian, literally "He who hears everything") also called Kuvera, the "God of Wealth", is green skinned and wrathful in appearance. He holds an umbrella on his right hand and a mongoose on his left to suppress demons and protect people's wealth. He resides in the Crystal Palace on the north of the Four Heavens and guards the North.


Generals "Heng" and "Ha"
Generals "Heng" and "Ha" refer to Kongorikishi or Niō, the two wrath-filled and muscular guardians of the Buddha with a vajra in hands.