Mahavira Hall

发布日期:2010-05-21   字体大小:   


Statue of Guanyin of the South Sea behind the  Mahavira Hall


Mahavira Hall, also called Hall of Buddha Trinity, is the principal hall of Buddhist activities in the temple. It was rebuilt on original site, to enshrine the three Buddhas (Trinity of Buddha): Sakyamuni Buddha of Saha World in the middle, Medicine Buddha of the Eastern Glazed World and Amitabha Buddha of the Western Paradise World sitting on both sides. Shakyamuni Buddha, together with Samantabhadra Bodhisattva and Manjusri Bodhisattva, forms a triad in Buddhism. Bhaisajyaguru Buddha is known as Medicine Buddha, usually attended to by two bodhisattvas symbolizing the sun and moon respectively: Suryaprabha (or Bodhisattva of the Sun) and Candraprabha (or Bodhisattva of the Moon). Amitabha Buddha and his two attendants, Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta are Three Great Buddhas of the Western Paradise World.


Trinity of Buddhas

The Trinity of Buddhas are Medicine Buddha, presiding in the Eastern Glazed World, Shakyamuni Buddha in Saha World and Amitabha Buddha in the Western Paradise World.


(1) Trinity of Buddhas


(2) Trinity of Shakyamuni, Manjusri and Samantabhadra

Shakyamuni Buddha, originally Siddhartha Guatama, is the founder of Buddhism.

According to traditional biography, Siddhartha was born in Lubini (now in Nepal) and raised in a small kingdom of northern Indian. His father was King Suddhodana, the leader of Shakya clan and mother Queen Maya. After beholding human illness, old age and death, he left the palace at 19. He spent 16 years searching for answers to questions in his mind and attained enlightenment, sitting under a fig tree at 35. Then he returned to society and taught until final Nirvana in Bodh Gaya at age 80. Guatama, from then on, was known as the Buddha (Pali/Sanskrit for "Awakened One"). He is also referred to as Shakyamuni Buddha or "The Awakened One of the Shakya Clan".


Manjusri is the Bodhisattva associated with wisdom, doctrine and awareness, who embodies enlightened wisdom. The Sanskrit term Manjusri can be translated as "Gentle Glory". So Manjusri is also called the Gentle Glory Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva of Great Wisdom. He is always holding a sword of wisdom and riding a lion, the symbols of erasing troubles and ftightening evils.



Samantabhadra, also called Bodhisattva of Universal Worthy, is a Bodhisattva associated with Buddhist practice and meditation. He represents "Great Conduct" and devotes to putting Buddhism wisdom into practice as it benefits all living beings. Together with Shakyamuni Buddha and Manjusri Bodhisattva he forms the trinity in Buddhism. 


(3) The Three Great Buddhas of the Western Paradise World

Amitabha is a compound of the Sanskrit words amit(“without bound”) and abha(“light, splendor”), and is interpreted as "he who possesses light without bound, he whose splendor is infinite", hence the names "The Buddha of Infinite Light" and "The Buddha of Infinite Life". Amitabha is the principal Buddha in the Western Paradise World and possesses infinite merits resulting from good deeds. Any being in the universe desiring to be born into Amitabha's Paradise World and calling upon his name will be guaranteed rebirth there. This openness and acceptance of all kinds of people has made the Western Paradise World belief one of the major influences in Mahayana Buddhism.



Avalokitesvara is a Bodhisattva who embodies great compassion. The original meaning of the name is "the lord who gazes down (at the world)" and is interpreted as "one who always looks upon all beings (with the eye of compassion) and reaches out to people in need of help". In China, he is known as Guan Yin or Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. According to Mahayana doctrine, Avalokitesvara has made vows to listen to the prayers of all sentient beings in times of difficulty and assist every being on earth in achieving Nirvana. In the Western Paradise World, Avalokitesvara is always standing on the left of Amitabha Buddha as one of the two attendants of Amitabha.



Mhasthamaprapta is a Bodhisattava that possesses great authority and power, and is often paired with Avalokitesvara flanking Amitabha in the form of a trinity.


(4) Bhaisajyaguru (Medicine Buddha)
Bhaisajyaguru resided in the Buddha of the Eastern Glazed World, focusing on healing both the bodies and minds of the devotees; thus he is also called the Medicine Buddha. He is known as one of the trinity of Buddhas, the others being Shakyamuni and Amitabha of the Western Paradise World. Bhaisajyaguru is attended to by two bodhisattvas symbolizing the sun and moon respectively: Suryaprabha and Candraprabha.


Suryaprabha Bodhisattva, also called Bodhisattva of the Sun, is one of the two main attendants of Bhaisajyaguru.



Candraprabbha Bodhisattva, also called Bodhisattva of the Moon, is one of the two main attendants of Bhaisajyaguru.


(5) Mahakasyapa
Mahakasyapa was one of the principal disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha, who convened and directed the first council. Mahakasyapa is one of the most revered of the Buddha's early disciples. He is often depicted in statuary together with Ananda, each standing to one side of the Buddha.


(6) Ananda
The word 'Ananda' means bliss in Sanskrit. Ananda was one of many principal disciples and a devout attendant of the Buddha. Amongst the Buddha's disciples, Ananda had the most retentive memory, and thus had contributed a lot to the collection of the Buddha’s teachings.




(7) Kinnara
According to historical records, Kinnara was once a fireman in the Shaolin Temple. On March 26, 1351(Yuan Dynasty), the red turbans of Yingzhou suddenly assaulted Shaolin Temple. It happened so suddenly that the monks at the temple were at a loss. At this critical moment, the burner, with a poker in hand, rushed out of the Mountain Gate and stood on the summit, growing into a man hundreds of feet high. "I am King Kinnara!" he shouted. Seeing this, the red turbans were scared and fled in disorder. Hence, the Shaolin Temple survived. It was then that the Shaolin monks found out the burner was an incarnation of a Bodhisattva.  Kinnara enjoys quite a high status in the Shaolin Temple, where there is a Kinnara Hall and his statue is honored as a Shaolin Protective God, and he is the God of Strength that Shaolin Kungfu advocates.


The Arhats


(8) Eighteen Arhats
Eighteen Arhats are a group of legendary Arhats in Buddhism, enlightened disciples of Buddhas. The first group of paintings of Arhats in China involved only sixteen Arhats. The number eighteen came from two additions of Arhats in some popular drawing of Tang Dynasty. However, in Tibetan Buddhism, a set of sixteen Arhats is commonly worshiped.

(9) Buddhist Activities in the Mahavira Hall
Morning Chanting (3-6 a.m.)
Every morning, all monks in the monastery gather in the Mahavira Hall to chant two sessions of mantras: Dharani of the Most Compassionate One
1. The Shurangama Mantra, which can suppress adversity, and
2. The Mantra of Sahasrabhujasahasranetra Avalokite'svara and Ten Short Mantras.
There are tranquil and pleasant songs of praise before and after each session.


Evening Chanting
After dinner, monks chant Amitabha Sutra, Great Repentance and perform Mount Meng Food Offering Rite. Reflection is an essential part of evening session. It involves evaluating one’s own performance and then changing or modifying your practice on the basis of one’s learning. Reflection is a powerful tool for bringing about positive change.


It is a Buddhist ritual of confessing one’s sins.