Gilt-bronze Vairocana Buddha at the Bulguksa Temple and a National Treasure of South Korea.
Gilt-bronze Vairocana Buddha at the Bulguksa Temple and a National Treasure of South Korea.
Sanskrit:  वैरोचन Vairocana
Chinese:  大日如來 (Dàrì Rúlái)
毘盧遮那佛 (Pílúzhēnàfó)
Japanese:  大日如来 (Dainichi Nyorai)
毘盧遮那仏 (Birushana-butsu)
Korean:  비로자나불 毘盧遮那佛 (Birojanabul)
대일여래 大日如來 (Daeil Yeorae)
Mongolian:  ᠮᠠᠰᠢᠳᠠ ᠋᠋ᠭᠡᠢᠢᠭᠦᠯᠦᠨ ᠵᠣᠬᠢᠶᠠᠭᠴᠢ Машид гийгүүлэн зохиогч
Masida geyigülün zohiyaghci
Tibetan:  རྣམ་པར་སྣང་མཛད། rNam-par-snang mdzad
Vietnamese:  Đại Nhật Như Lai
Venerated by:  Vajrayana
Attributes:  Emptiness


Vairocana (also Vairochana or Mahāvairocana) is a celestial Buddha who is often (e.g. in the Flower Garland Sutra) interpreted as the Bliss Body of the historical Gautama Buddha; he can also be referred to as the dharmakaya Buddha and the great solar Buddha. In Sino-Japanese Buddhism, Vairocana is also seen as the embodiment of the Buddhist concept of shunyata or emptiness. In the conception of the Five Wisdom Buddhas of Vajrayana Buddhism, Vairocana is at the center. His consort in Tibetan Buddhism is White Tara (for every dhyani Buddha there is an affiliated female Buddha in the Tibetan Tradition).

Vairocana is not to be confused with Virocana, who appears in the eighth chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad as the king of the Asuras.


History of devotion

Vairocana Buddha is first introduced in the Brahma Net Sutra:[1]

Now, I, Vairocana Buddha am sitting atop a lotus pedestal; On a thousand flowers surrounding me are a thousand Sakyamuni Buddhas. Each flower supports a hundred million worlds; in each world a Sakyamuni Buddha appears. All are seated beneath a Bodhi-tree, all simultaneously attain Buddhahood. All these innumerable Buddhas have Vairocana as their original body.

He is also mentioned in the Flower Garland Sutra; however, the doctrine of Vairocana Buddha is based largely on the teachings of the Mahavairocana Sutra (also known as the Mahāvairocana-abhisaṃbodhi-tantra) and to a lesser degree the Vajrasekhara Sutra (also known as the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha Tantra).

He is also mentioned as an epithet of the Buddha Śakyamuni in the Sutra of Meditation on the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue, who dwells in a place called "Always Tranquil Light".[2]

Vairocana features prominently in the Chinese school of Hua-Yen Buddhism, and also later schools including Japanese Kegon Buddhism, and Japanese esoteric, or Shingon Buddhism. In the case of Shingon Buddhism, Vairocana is the central figure.

In Sino-Japanese Buddhism, Vairocana was gradually superseded as an object of reverence by Amitabha Buddha, due in large part to the increasing popularity of Pure Land Buddhism, but Vairocana's legacy still remains in the Tōdai-ji temple with its massive bronze statue and in Shingon Buddhism, which holds a sizeable minority among Japanese Buddhists.

During the initial stages of his mission in Japan, the Catholic missionary Francis Xavier was welcomed by the Shingon monks since he used Dainichi, the Japanese name for Vairocana, to designate the Christian God. As Xavier learned more about the religious nuances of the word, he substituted the term Deusu, which he derived from the Latin and Portuguese Deus.

The Shingon Buddhist monk, Dohan, regarded the two great Buddhas, Amida and Vairocana, as one and the same Dharmakaya Buddha and as the true nature at the core of all beings and phenomena. There are several realisations that can accrue to the Shingon practitioner of which Dohan speaks in this connection, as Dr. James Sanford points out: there is the realisation that Amida is the Dharmakaya Buddha, Vairocana; then there is the realisation that Amida as Vairocana is eternally manifest within this universe of time and space; and finally there is the innermost realisation that Amida is the true nature, material and spiritual, of all beings, that he is 'the omnivalent wisdom-body, that he is the unborn, unmanifest, unchanging reality that rests quietly at the core of all phenomena'.[3]


With regard to Emptiness, the massive size and brilliance of Vairocana statues serve as a reminder that all conditioned existence is empty and without a permanent identity.

The Vairocana statue in Nara's Tōdai-ji in Japan is the largest bronze image of Vairocana Buddha in the world. The larger of the monumental statues that were destroyed at Bamyan in Afghanistan was also a depiction of Vairocana. In Java, Indonesia, the 9th-century Mendut temple near Borobudur in Magelang was dedicated to Dhyani Buddha Vairocana. Built by the Sailendra dynasty, the temple featured a three-meter tall stone statue of Dhyani Buddha Vairocana, seated and performing the Dharmachakra mudra. The statue is flanked with statues of Boddhisatva Avalokitesvara and Boddhisatva Vajrapani.

The Spring Temple Buddha of Lushan County, Henan, China, with a height of 126 meters, is now the tallest Vairocana Buddha statue, as well as the tallest statue in the world (see List of statues by height).



  1. ^ "YMBA's translation of Brahma Net Sutra" (in English). Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  2. ^ Reeves 2008, pp. 416, 452
  3. ^ Dr. James H. Sanford, 'Breath of Life: The Esoteric Nembutsu' in Tantric Buddhism in East Asia, ed. by Dr. Richard K. Payne, Wisdom Publications, Boston, 2006, p. 176
  • Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra (Pennsylvania State University Press, December 1977) by Francis H. Cook
  • Meeting The Buddhas by Vessantara. Birmingham : Windhorse Publications 2003. ISBN 0904766535.
  • Reeves, Gene (2008). The Lotus Sutra: A Contemporary Translation of a Buddhist Classic. Somerville: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-571-3. 

See also

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • VAIROCANA — ou DAINICHI NYORAI Un des cinq jina, Vairocana (celui qui répand la lumière en tous sens) est, dans le système des Dy nibuddha, placé au centre et au zénith. Il a pour correspondant dans l’ordre humain le buddha Krakucchanda; sa couleur est le… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Vairocana — ist der Name: eines der fünf Adibuddhas des Mahayana Buddhismus. eines buddhistischen Übersetzers, der im 8. Jahrhundert in Tibet wirkte, siehe Vairocana (Übersetzer) eines buddhistischen Geistlichers (nach 1159), der in Tibet wirkte, siehe… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vairocana — Pour le nom honorifique donné au traducteur tibétain, voir Vairotsana. Vairocana ou Mahā Vairocana Grand soleil ou Grande lumière (sanskrit), Dari Rulai et Rulaifo (Dàrì Rúlái ou Rúláifó 大日如來 或 如來佛) en chinois, Dainichi Nyorai (大日如來, Dainichi… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Vairocana — In Mahayana and tantric Buddhism, the supreme buddha who is the cosmic counterpart of Sakyamuni in his teaching mode. He is the most prominent of the five self born buddhas, those who were born as humans to propagate the dharma. Though without… …   Universalium

  • Vairocana — En el budismomahayana y tántrico, el buda supremo y contraparte cósmica de Sakyamuni en su faceta pedagógica. Es el más eminente de los cinco budas autonacidos, es decir, aquellos que nacieron como humanos para difundir el dharma. Si bien carece… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • vairocana — वैरोचन …   Indonesian dictionary

  • Vairocana (Buddhistischer Meister) — Vairocana (Nampar Nangdze Lotsawa; tib.: rnam par snang mdzad lo tsa ba) war ein bedeutender Übersetzer buddhistischer Lehren zur Zeit der ersten Übersetzungsphase buddhistischer Schriften aus dem indischen Sanskrit ins Tibetische im 8.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vairocana (Übersetzer) — Vairocana (Nampar Nangdze Lotsawa; tib.: rnam par snang mdzad lo tsa ba) war ein bedeutender Übersetzer buddhistischer Lehren zur Zeit der ersten Übersetzungsphase buddhistischer Schriften aus dem indischen Sanskrit ins Tibetische im 8.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • vairocana-bhadra — वैरोचनभद्र …   Indonesian dictionary

  • vairocana-muhūrta — वैरोचनमुहूर्त …   Indonesian dictionary

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