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SOTOZEN.COM > Archivio > Glossario (Inglese) > Monju Bodhisattva

Glossario (Inglese)


Monju Bodhisattva (Monju Bosatsu 文殊菩薩, Monju Daishi 文殊大師)

Monju is an abbreviation of Monjushiri 文殊師利, the Sino-Japanese transliteration of the Sanskrit Mañjuśrī, "shining elegance." A bodhisattva who is often paired with Fugen Bodhisattva as one of two attendant figures who flank an image of Shakamuni Buddha. In this arrangement, Monju is said to represent the Buddha's wisdom (chie 智慧), which is his insight into the emptiness ( 空) of dharmas, whereas Fugen represents the Buddha's compassion (jihi 慈悲), those being the two complementary virtues that all bodhisattvas should cultivate. In the Shakamuni triptych, Monju rides a lion and attends the Buddha on his left side; Fugen rides a white elephant with six tusks and attends the Buddha on his right side. In Chinese monasteries of the Song and Yuan dynasties and the medieval Japanese Zen monasteries that were modeled after them, Monju Bodhisattva also became identified as the Sacred Monk (shōsō 聖僧): the tutelary deity of the sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂). A statue of him, which depicts him as an ordinary monk seated in meditation, was enshrined in an altar in the center of the hall. →"Fugen Bodhisattva," "Sacred Monk."