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The Five Wisdom Buddhas

Symbolically, the Five Wisdom Buddhas represent the five aspects of spiritual wisdom of the Buddha.

Commonly found in Vajrayana mandalas, the Five Wisdom Buddhas are also the main objects of worship in Shingon Buddhism, a variety of esoteric Japanese Buddhism that arose in Japanese before Vajrayana Buddhism became known.

Vairocana is considered the Adi-Buddha of the Five Wisdom Buddhas, with the other four Buddhas assigned to cardinal directions.

Based on the Yogācāra elaboration of concepts concerning the jñāna (spiritual knowledge) of the Buddhas of the Trikaya, the Five Wisdom Buddhas are a later development used to symbolize the aspects of the Dharmakaya (truth-body), which embodies the principle of enlightenment.

First, two Buddhas appeared in Yogacara sutras which represented wisdom and compassion - they were, respectively, Akṣobhya and Amitābha. To embody the aspects of power, or activity, and the aspect of beauty, or spiritual riches, two more Buddhas were added, Amoghasiddhi, and Ratnasaṃbhava. Finally, the central figure became Vairocana.

Thus power represents spiritual activity, while beauty represents spiritual riches.

Traditionally, Aksobhya is the eastern Buddha of consciousness as an aspect of reality, working for the joy of all beings, while Amitabha is the western Buddha of comprehensive love, working for the enlightenment of all sentient beings.

Amoghasiddhi is the northern Buddha of the conceptual mind that conquers all evils, while Ratnasambhava is the southern Buddha of the mind developing equanimity and equality to destroy greed and pride.

Meanwhile, Vairocana is the celestial Buddha (Adi Buddha) who is the embodiment of Emptiness.

Five Wisdom Buddhas:

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