Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Bishamon

Bishamonten, or simply Bishamon, is the god of treasure, wealth, warriors and war. He is best known as the god of war and is a protector of Dharma. Due to being the god of wealth and treasure it shouldn’t be a surprise that Bishamon is one of Japan’s Seven Lucky Gods. Symbolically, black is the colour of Bishamon and his season is of winter. As such, he is known as the “Black Warrior”.

Bishamon is also the god dealing with defence against foreign invaders and of healing, whom is known to reward followers with riches, good fortune and even children. Bishamon can be identified as wearing armour and often depicted standing atop of a demon or two, although may be shown with a halberd, lance or baton. He often is depicted with a spear in his right hand and a pagoda in his left.

Bishamon is also considered a deva, with it being pronounced “ten” in Japanese and is at times referred to as Bishamon-ten. He is also the chief of a group known as the Four Heavenly Kings, and is Guardian of the North. At times, Bishamon is called Tamonten (meaning “listening to many teachings”) due to being viewed as a guardian of the places of where the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, preached.

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