nyorai 如来
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
Lit. the thus-come one. Sk: tathagata. One who has realized true enlightenment. In order to reach this state of mind one must master the six practices which lead a bodhisattva to buddhahood which are called ropparamitsu 六波羅密 (Sk: paramitas, six paramitas). The six are: almsgiving (Sk: dana), keeping the precepts of the faith (Sk: shila), forbearance (Sk: kshanti), assiduousness (Sk: virya), meditation (Sk: dhyana) and the acquisition of wisdom (Sk: prajna). Nyorai is the most common of the ten honorific epithets of a Buddha and although originally, nyorai referred solely to *Shaka 釈迦, the founding Buddha, it later came to be applied to other Buddhas as well. Nyorai is one of the four categories of Buddhist images *butsuzou 仏像 being followed by *bosatsu 菩薩, *myouou 明王, and *ten 天. The list of nyorai mentioned in the sutras is long, but among the most important commonly depicted are *Amida 阿弥陀, *Yakushi 薬師 and *Dainichi 大日. Except for Dainichi, who is depicted as a bodhisattva, nyorai images, nyoraizou 如来像 are usually portrayed wearing the unornamented robes of one who has left the secular world shukke 出家 in order to seek enlightenment.


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