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          Title:   G. Wei Tuo and Guan Gong, The Guardians of Dharma    download_trans.gif Download
 
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In Chinese Buddhism, Guan Gong and Wei Tuo are revered by most practicing Buddhists as Sangharama Bodhisattvas, the guardians of the Buddhist dharma, the Great Gods Who Subdue Demons of the Three Worlds and Whose Awe Spreads Far and Moves Heaven.  The sangharama refer to a group of devas and spirits who guard Buddhist monasteries, the dharma, and the faith itself. Over time, both of them were seen as a representative sangharama guardian of the temple and the garden in which it stands. Guan Gong's statue is usually located on the far left of the main shrine, opposite his counterpart, Wei Tuo Pu Sa.
 
Worship of Wei Tuo Pu Sa
 
Skanda , Wei Tuo, and sometimes called Veda, or Idaten in Japan, is regarded in Chinese Buddhism as a devoted guardian and an honored bodhisattva of Buddhist monasteries who guards the Dharma and the objects of the Dharma. He is also sometimes called "Wei Tuo Zun Tian Pu Sa" (meaning Honored Bodhisattva Wei Tuo) because he is one of the twenty-four celestial guardian deities. He is the General-in-Chief of the thirty-two heavenly generals who serve under the Four Heavenly Kings.

According to the teaching, Wei Tuo was a son of a heavenly king who was so virtuous that when Sakyamuni Buddha was entering Nirvana, he instructed the prince to guard the Buddha Dharma. Thus it became his duty to protect the members of the Sangha whenever they are disturbed in their cultivation by the retinue of Mara, the Tempter. And whenever a conflict arises among religious Orders, General Wei Tuo will discharge his duty to help bring about a peaceful settlement.

A few days after the Buddha's passing and cremation, evil demons robbed his relics. Skanda's vow of protecting the faith and Dharma was proven when he managed to defeat the evil demons and returned the relics.

Wei Tuo Pu Sa is regarded as a devoted guardian of Buddhist monasteries who guards faithfully the Buddhist treasures and the objects of the Dharma.
 
Skanda is described as a young man fully clad in the armor and headgear of a Chinese general, and is usually leaning on a vajra staff. Skanda can also be seen as Vajrapani, who bears some relation to him. Just as Maitreya, who as a Bodhisattva has earned the mark of respect of a Buddha, Wei Tuo, though only a Deva or God, is very often addressed as a Bodhisattva or 'Wei Tuo P'usa'. This is attributed to the prediction that he will in the future become the Buddha Rucika or 'Lou-Chi Fwo' ' the last of the thousand Buddhas in our world period. Since Vajrapani, a very popular Tibetan Buddhist Bodhisattva who is the God of Rain, and also known as the Thunderbolt-Bearer, also shares this prediction, one thus finds Wei Tuo being referred to as him.
 
Worship of Guan Gong Pu Sa
 
Guan Yu has been deified as early as the Sui Dynasty and is still popularly worshipped today among the Chinese people variedly as an indigenous Chinese deity, a bodhisattva in Buddhism and a guardian deity in Taoism. He is also held in high esteem in Confucianism.

In the Western world, Guan Yu is sometimes called the Taoist God of War, probably because he is one of the most well-known military generals in Chinese history. This is misconceived as, unlike Mars or Tyr, Guan Yu as a god does not necessarily bless those who go to battle but rather people who observe the code of brotherhood and righteousness.

Guan Yu is traditionally portrayed as a red-faced warrior with a long lush beard. While his beard was indeed mentioned in the Records of Three Kingdoms, the idea of his red face may have derived from a later description of him in Chapter One of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, where the following passage appears:

“     Xuande took a look at the man, who stood at a height of nine chi,  and had a two chi long beard; his face was the color of a Zao, with red lips; his eyes were like that of a phoenix, and his eyebrows resembled silkworms. He had a dignified air, and looked quite majestic. Guan Yu's weapon was a guandao named Green Dragon Crescent Blade, which resembled a halberd and was said to weigh 82 catties. During the Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms eras, one catty was approximately 220 grams, so 82 catties would have been approximately 18.04 kilograms (39.8 pounds). A wooden replica can be found today in the Emperor Guan Temple in Xiezhou County, China. He traditionally dons a green robe over his body armour, as depicted in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
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