Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sarasvati in Japan

In Hinduism, Sarasvati is the goddess of all arts.
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Goddess Saraswati is often depicted as a beautiful fair woman dressed in white and is generally shown to have four arms.
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Besides her role in Hinduism, she was also absorbed into the buddhist set of gods (Biancaitian in Chinese) and still worshipped in Japan under the name Benzaiten. In Japan, she became a protector-deity and also one of the seven gods of good fortune.
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Benzaiten (or sometimes she is called Benten) is associated with dragons and snakes, especially white snakes.
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These white snakes are often her messengers.
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Two buckets. The bigger one is filled with water and the other empty. I was curious. I asked. There is actually a hole in the bottom of the smaller bucket (duh).
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A huge sacred tree that stands in front of the Demachi Myoondo Shrine (出町妙音堂), the Benten's shrine which i visited this evening.
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Most of the Benten's shrines are either on islands or located near rivers. Japan's three most important Benten shrines are located in Eno-shima Island, Itsuku-shima Island and Chikubu-shima Island.

10 comments:

Acrix said...

The last photo is interesting. IS the left hand side figure a standing donkey? Typhoon 11 will hit kanto region by tomoroe morning rite? Do take care!

Anonymous said...

Pat.How r you doing? Hope u r doing all right. I am fine and about to be back at the end of this month. So sad. Talk to you later.

Patrick Leong said...

acrix : yes. i like the last photo as well. not sure if it is a donkey or not. looks like one though. i did hear some friends saying that a powerful typhoon will bring some strong winds and heavy rain to the main island (tokyo and kanto area). but i live in kyoto (kansai region). we were expecting some fairly strong winds but the wind direction shifted. you have a good weekend.

eaow : i am doing ok. ups and downs. the past two months, looks like i have achieved nothing. no results for my research. yes. you should come back soon. you have been staying too long in thailand, enjoying yourself. have you bought a new digital camera ? do call me when you are back.

zbjernak said...

huh?
chinese got this goddess meh?
never hear and never see before woh...

Elisa said...

waaaaaaaaaa....buenísimos los dibujos :)

bookaholic said...

I learn something new everyday.

emotionalistic said...

I like the last painting too. I find it very unique. By the way, is there any real snakes inside the Hindu Temple like the one in Penang?

Patrick Leong said...

zbjernak : according to what i've read from the internet, biancaitian was mentioned in the Golden Light Sutra and Lotus Sutra as well. maybe her role in buddhism has been long forgotten by the people. the chinese believes in many gods - and there are so many gods and goddesses that make up the chinese pantheon.

elisa : thanks. glad you like the pictures.

ailing : glad. i am under alot of stress lately. am i having early alzheimer's disease ?!? recently i sort of having memory problems. sigh. and have difficulty concentrating which also leads to forgetfulness.

emotionalistic : and i don't think there are snakes roaming freely in shrines or temples here. deer roaming freely through the streets ... yes ! snakes snapping and hissing to shrine visitors ?!? and it is quite interesting to see snakes appear in and around the snake temple in malaysia. and actually for good measure, these snakes have been devenomed. have you been there since you are living in penang island ?

Desmond Goh said...

Hi Patrick, I realised that some of the forms in which Buddhism and Taoism are practised today by the Chinese are actually imported from India.

emotionalistic said...

Actually i went there many years ago when i was young. But i have not been there since then. Heard that most of the snakes are no longer there...probably died. Hehe...by the way, the snakes do not roam freely around the temple....they were locked in glass containers.