Vairocana Buddha History, Facts and Folklore

In Sino-Japanese Buddhism, Vairocana is the embodiment of Buddhism chanting Dharma or emptiness. It is center in the concept of 5 wise Buddha’s in Vajrayana Buddhism. His spouse is White Tara. Each meditation Buddha has an attached Dakini.

Vairocana is one of the 5 Zen Buddhas created by Adhi Buddha. In Sanskrit, the name means “shining” or “embodiment of light”. It is the main iconic figure in the Mahayana Buddhism, especially in Vajrayana and other esoteric traditions.

Who is Vairocana Buddha?

In Mahayana Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism, it is considered the original Buddha and is located in the center.

The Vairocana statue at Todaiji Temple in Nara, Japan is the world’s largest bronze statue of Vairocana Buddha. The larger memorial statue destroyed by Bamyan in Afghanistan is also portrayed by Vairocana.

Who is Vairocana Buddha
Who is Vairocana Buddha?

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He is also known as “the great illuminator”, “illuminates the vitality of the universe”, and the important thing is “the all-encompassing Buddha”, so it is mentioned in different Buddhist scriptures.

It has played various roles, but in general, he is regarded as the incarnation of the universal bodhisattva, Bodhi dharma, and the lighting of wisdom.

What is the History of the Vairocana Buddha?

Scholars tell us that Vairocana first appeared in the Buddhist scriptures of Brahma Net. It is believed that Brahmajala was formed in early 5th century AD (probably in China).

Vairocana in Sanskrit, “man from the sun” sits on the throne of a lion and emits radiant light as he speaks to the Buddha.

What is the History of the Vairocana Buddha
What is the History of the Vairocana Buddha?

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It also occupies an important position in Avatamsaka (garland) Buddhist Sutra. Avatamsaka is a large text and is considered to be the work of multiple authors. The earliest area was completed in the 5th century, but other areas of Avatamsaka may not be added until the 8th century.

All the phenomena presented by Avatamsaka penetrate each other perfectly. It is considered to be the basis of existence itself & the basis from which all phenomena emerge. The long-established Buddha is also interpreted as the origin of Vairocana.

The essence and function of the Vairocana are also explained in detail in the Mahavairocana. The large iconostasis formed around the seventh century is considered to be the earliest comprehensive handbook of Buddhist Tantra.

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In the Mahavairocana, it is established as the source of ten thousand Buddhas, and all Buddhas come from here. He is hailed as an enlightened source, he has no cause and effect.


In Hindu Rigveda, the term “Vairocana” means a bright and bright sun. Vairocana in Tibetan is called “Namnang”, meaning “illuminator”, and Japanese (Dainichi) is translated as “big sun”.


In the Great Buddhist Sutra, it teaches Dharma to Vajrayana Bodhisattva, but this is completely incomprehensible.

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Therefore, Vairocana provides esoteric techniques and rituals to help the concept goes beyond speech form. It is this scripture that prompted the Japanese monk Kukai to travel to China to learn more about Tantric Buddhism.

It often shows Dharmacakramudrā. The Dharma in Sanskrit Means Dharma Wheel. This handprint symbolizes one of the most important moments in Buddha’s historical life.

After the Buddha’s enlightenment in Sarnath’s Deer Garden, he preached to his companions for the first time. Therefore, it means placing the teachings of the Dharma in the movement of the wheel.

Vairocana Buddha is the idealization of this core function of Buddha as a teacher. Without it, there would be no Buddhism and no path of enlightenment.

Although Amitabha is regarded as the embodiment of sympathy, it is regarded as the embodiment of wisdom.

How is Vairocana Buddha identified in Sino-Japanese Buddhism?

With the development of Chinese Buddhism, Vairocana is particularly important for geniuses and Huyan factions. In the Longmen Grottoes, its prominence reflects his importance in China.

How is Vairocana identified in Sino-Japanese Buddhism
How is Vairocana identified in Sino-Japanese Buddhism?

The Longmen Grottoes are limestone rock layers carved into exquisite statues during the Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties.

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To date, the large Vairocana (17.14 meters) is considered to be one of the most beautiful representatives of Chinese art. Over time, the importance of Vairocana to Chinese Buddhism was overshadowed by the public’s dedication to another Zen Buddha, Amitabha.

However, it is still prominent among some Chinese Buddhist schools that have spread to Japan. The Great Buddha of Nara, dedicated in 752, is the Buddha of Vairocana.

The founder of the Mystery School in the Mantra World of Japan, Kukai (774-835), teaches that Vairocana not only releases his own Buddha, but he also exudes all reality from himself. Kukai teaches that this means that nature itself is an expression of its teaching in the world.

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How is Vairocana Buddha identified in Tibetan Buddhism?

In Bardo Thodol, the appearance of Vairocana is said to be terrible for those restricted by evil karma. He is boundless and omnipresent. He is Bodhi dharma. He is sunyata, beyond dualism.

How is Vairocana identified in Tibetan Buddhism
How is Vairocana Buddha identified in Tibetan Buddhism?

Sometimes he appeared on a blue land with his companion Baitala, sometimes he appeared in the form of a demon, and those wise people were enough to recognize this demon, because it was liberated into the 3 treasures of Gaya Buddha.

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In Tibetan tantra, Vairocana represents a feeling of being omnipresent and omnipresent. The late Chang Geng Truba Rinpoche mentioned in his book The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Freemantle and Trungpa translation that :

It is described as a Buddha without front and back; he is a panoramic vision, omnipresent, and omnipresent. Therefore, it is usually personified as a meditation figure with four faces while perceiving all directions.

The entire symbol of Vairocana is a decentralized concept of panoramic vision; the center and the edges are everywhere. It is the complete opening of consciousness, beyond the flood of consciousness.

As a Dani or Wisdom Buddha, Vairocana is associated with white (all colors of light mixed), space, and form. His symbol is the Dharma Wheel.

He is often cited in the Dharma handprint. When the mandala took a picture of the Thousand Buddhas, it was in the center. It is often depicted as larger than other Buddha statues around him.

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Symbolism of Vairocana Buddha

Vairocana is usually depicted as sitting on a lotus petal supported by a pair of two large lions. Symbolically, when the lion roars, all other lions remain silent and listen to him.

Symbolism of Vairocana
Symbolism of Vairocana Buddha

Similarly, when one spreads the teachings of the Buddha, almost everyone else remains silent and listens to the precious teachings of the Buddha.

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When Vairocana Buddha is portrayed as meditation, it is believed that the image of Vairocana Buddha helps to transform ignorant fantasy into wisdom taught by the Dharma.

Similarly, when Buddha Shakyamuni turns the wheel of Dharma, it illuminates the hearts of people who are dark because of ignorance.

When the Vairocana Buddha is depicted in the Buddha, he will also appear in the Dharma chakra handprint. This fingerprint is formed when the thumb and index finger of both hands touch their tips to form a circle.

The left hand is inward, covering the right hand, the right hand is outward, and both hands are close to the chest. The remaining fingers of both hands remain extended. He is considered to be a collection of all Dhyani Buddha statues. Therefore, he has a pure white skin tone, because when all colors are fused, it will produce white.

His symbol is the Dharma Wheel. When all five meditation Buddha statues are depicted as a mandala, Vairocana is placed in the center. People often show that he is bigger than other Buddha statues around him. He is the lord of Akanistha Ghanavyuha Pure land that exists in the center.

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His partner is White Tara, and his Bija starts with Om. In Vajrayana Buddhism, people believe that Brahma Bodhisattva can help overcome people’s ignorance and delusions.

Regarding emptiness, the huge size and brilliance of the Vairocana statue are intended to remind people that all existence is empty and has no permanent identity. The unique symbol of Vairocana is gold or sun wheel.


Position in mandalaCenter
FamilyTathāgata or Buddha
WisdomWisdom of the Dharmadhatu

What is the mantra of Vairocana Buddha for praying?

Vairocana is located in the center of the 5 jinas Mandala. He played a very critical role in Mantra Buddhism, where he was called Mahayana Buddhism. It has many spells.

What is the mantra of Vairocana Buddha for praying
What is the mantra of Vairocana Buddha for praying

Basic Mantra

oṃ vairocana hūṃ

Avira Mantra

In Shingon, there is another important mantra that associates the Holy Grail with 6 elements-the five letters here represent material elements, while Great Grail himself represents the element of consciousness.

a vi ra hūṃ kha

The idea is that the entire universe is a manifestation of the Mahavairocana; all sounds are the voices of the Holy Grail, and all spiritual activities are thoughts of the Holy Grail.

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Mantra of Light

The Shingon mantra spell related to Vairocana is called the mantra of light, and in Japanese it is called kōmyōshingon or the light mantra.

It appears in Amoghapāśakalparāja-sūtra, usually written as a circle.

oṃ amogha vairocana mahāmudra maṇipadma jvāla pravarttaya hūṃ

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How many statues of Vairocana Buddha are there in World?

The Taliban destroyed the 175-foot-tall Vairocana Buddha statue and the 120 foot-tall Shakyamuni Buddha statue in Bali, Afghanistan in 2001. They are one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.

The 9th-century Mendut Temple in Magelang, Indonesia is dedicated to Dhyani Buddha Vairocana. It was built by the Sailendra dynasty.

This temple consists of a three-meter-high Vairocana Buddha stone statue located in the handprint of Dharmachakra.

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On the side of the statue are statues of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara & Bodhisattva Vajrapani.

The 502-foot-tall Vairocana Buddha Statue was completed in 2002 and is the tallest statue of the Buddha in the Spring Palace in Lushun County, Henan, China.


In Vajrayana Buddhism, the five cosmic Buddhas are identified by specific gestures (hand prints) and preside over a spatial direction. It is the guardian of the center, identified by teaching gestures or “dharma-chakra mudra”.

It is a Buddha, also known as the embodiment of dharma kaya, so it can be seen as a universal aspect of historical Gautam Buddha.

This image is similar to many Buddhist bronzes in eastern India. Buddhists travel between monasteries in eastern India and Southeast Asian countries.

Many bronzes made in eastern India were brought to Indonesia, but this image was made locally.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What is Vairocana Buddha?

It is a celestial buddha who is often interpreted, in texts like the Avatamsaka Sutra, as the dharmakāya of the historical Gautama Buddha. Vairocana is not to be confused with Vairocana Mahabali, son of Virochana.

What is esoteric Buddhism?

Esoteric Buddhism is also known by the terms Mantrayana and Tantra. These teachings are secret and not available to just anyone, whereas Exoteric teachings learned from books are accessible to everyone. Esoteric teachings have a mystical element, and exoteric teachings are philosophical.

Who is Amida Buddha?

Amitābha, also known as Amida or Amitāyus, is a celestial buddha according to the scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. Amitābha means “Infinite Light”, and Amitāyus means “Infinite Life” so Amitābha is also called “The Buddha of Immeasurable Light and Life”.

Is Zen Buddhism a religion?

Zen Buddhism is a mixture of Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. It began in China, spread to Korea and Japan, and became very popular in the West from the mid-20th century. The essence of Zen is attempting to understand the meaning of life directly, without being misled by logical thought or language.

What does Tantra mean in Buddhism?

The fundamental, defining practice of Buddhist Tantra is “deity yoga” (devatayoga), a meditation on a chosen deity or “cherished divinity”.According to Tsongkhapa, deity yoga is what separates Tantra from sutra practice.