Manjusri


Manjusri

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Manjusri, basalt figure from Java, 1343; formerly in the Museum für Indische Kunst, Staatliche …—Courtesy of the Museum fur Indische Kunst, Staatliche Museen, Berlin

In Mahayana Buddhism, the bodhisattva personifying supreme wisdom. He is usually considered a celestial being, though some traditions give him a human history. Sutras were composed in his honor by AD 250, and he appears in Buddhist art by AD 400. He is often shown wearing princely ornaments and holding aloft the sword of wisdom, and he is sometimes seated on a lion or a blue lotus. His cult spread widely in China in the 8th century, and Mount Wutai in Shanxi province, which is dedicated to him, is covered with his temples.

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