Seishi Bodhisattva, along with Kannon Bodhisattva, is one of Amida Buddha's main attendants. Although mentioned in early Mahayana sutras, Seishi did not gain great popularity in India. However, in China and Japan, Seishi's importance grew with the spread of the Pure Land sects and their devotion to Amida Buddha. Even today, the Pure Land sects of Japan are the largest and most popular among the common people. Nevertheless, in both China and Japan, Seishi has always been eclipsed in popularity by Kannon, who represents compassion. Seishi symbolizes wisdom, a virtue that is perhaps religiously less significant than compassion, and this may explain why Seishi is not widely revered outside of Pure Land traditions.
Sanskrit Seed Syllable
for Seishi Bodhisattva
Sanskrit, Chinese, and Japanese Spellings
- Guardian of Buddha Wisdom
- One Whose Wisdom and Power Reach Everywhere
- One Who Has Obtained Great Strength
- Bodhisattva of Strength and Vigor
- Bodhisattva Who Attained Great Strength
- One Who Has Attained the Powers of Wisdom and Compassion
Seishi Bodhisattva in Japan. In artwork, Seishi Bodhisattva is frequently depicted with hands held together in prayer, or holding a lotus flower (as in the statues offered here). Sometimes there is a water jar in Seishi's crown. In Japan, Seishi appears mostly in paintings and sculptures of the Amida Raigo Triad, where Amida Buddha is seated in the center, attended by Seishi on the right and Kannon on the left. Belief in Amida Buddha and Amida's Pure Land became very popular among the Japanese court in the late Heian Period, and reached great prominence in ensuing centuries. Today, Japan's Pure Land sects are still the most popular among the various sects. The Raigo Triad (Raigo literally means "heavenly decent") typically depicts Amida, Seishi, and Kannon descending from the Pure Land (heaven) on clouds to welcome the faithful into Amida's Pure Land of Utmost Bliss (Jp. = Joudo, Jp. = Gokuraku; Skt. = Sukhavati). Seishi is counted, along with Kannon, as one of the 25 Bodhisattva (Jp. = Nijuugo Bosatsu) who are often depicted in Japanese paintings of Amida's decent. They join Amida in leading the faithful spirits of the departed back to Amida's Pure Land. Seishi is also one of the Thirteen Buddha (Juusanbutsu) of the Shingon Sect of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan. In this role, Seishi presides over the memorial service held on the first-year anniversary following one's death. Among Esoteric sects, Seishi is portrayed in the Womb World mandala. In most traditions in Asia and Japan, Seishi sows the seeds of the mind of wisdom.
Seishi appears in the Immeasurable Life Sutra, the Meditation Sutra, and the Lotus Sutra. In the Lotus Sutra, Seishi is listed among those who assembled on Eagle (Vulture) Peak to listen to the teachings of the Historical Buddha. Eagle Peak is located near the Indian city of Rajagrha, and is the spot where the Historical Buddha often preached.
Japanese Mantra for Seishi Bosatsu
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