|KEY WORD :@art history / iconography|
Butchouson §ΈΈ. Sk: Usnisa. Lit. Buddha-Crown. A class of Esoteric Buddhist
deities generally believed to be personifications of the protuberance on the crown of the Buddha's head, one of the 32 distinguishing
marks of a Buddha *sanjuunisou O\ρ. Strictly speaking, these deities are personifications
of dharanis (Jp: darani Ι
ς) or mystic formulae believed to embody
the power of the light rays emitted from the crown of the Buddha's head,
and because these dharanis were considered to be especially efficacious
for purifying evil karma and liberating people from hell, the cult of the
Butchou is associated especially with rites for the dead. The Butchou
usually assume the form of bodhisattvas *bosatsu
μF, and there are both male and female Butchou. A number of different
Butchou are mentioned in Buddhist texts, often in groups.
1) Three Butchou, sanbutchou O§Έ, which are: Koudai Butchou Lε§Έ (Sk:Mahodgatosnisa), Gokukoudai Butchou ΙLε§Έ (Sk: Abhyudgatosnisa), and Muhen-onjou Butchou ³ΣΉΊ§Έ (Sk: Anantasvaraghosa).
2) Five Butchou, gobutchou ά§Έ, which are: Byakusangai Butchou PW§Έ (Sk: Sitatapatrosnisa), Shoubutchou §Έ (Sk: Jayosnisa), Saishou Butchou Ε§Έ (Sk: Vijayosnisa), Kouju Butchou υγΪ§Έ (Sk: Tejorasyusnisa), and Shajo Butchou Μ§Έ (Sk: Vikiranosnisa).
3) Eight Butchou, hachibutchou ͺ§Έ, which are: Three Butchou and Five Butchou which together appear, for example, in the Shaka-in ίή@ of the *Taizoukai mandara Ω EΦδΆ and in the *Sonshou mandara ΈΦδΆ .
4) Nine Butchou, kubutchou γ§Έ, which are: Eight Butchou encircling Daibutchou ε§Έ or Shouissai Butchou ΫκΨ§Έ, as in the Daibutchou mandara ε§ΈΦδΆ .
5) Ten Butchou, juubutchou \§Έ, which are: Nine Butchou and Futsuu Butchou Κ§Έ.
The same Butchou may, however, be known by various names, and different enumerations of Eight, Nine, and Ten Butchou are also mentioned. Another important Butchou is Shijoukou Butchou ΰ·υ§Έ, and some Butchou became the object of popular individual cults, e.g., Butchou Sonshou §ΈΈ (Sk: Vijayosnisa) and Byakusangai PW (Sk: Sitatapatra), both popular goddesses in Indo-Tibetan Tantrism, and *Ichijikinrin κΰΦ.
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