Dainichi Nyorai (“Great Sun Buddha”) by Unkei, lacquered wood sculpture, 1175; in the …—Asuka-en, Japan

In Mahayana and tantric Buddhism, the supreme buddha who is the cosmic counterpart of Sakyamuni in his teaching mode. He is the most prominent of the five self-born buddhas, those who were born as humans to propagate the dharma. Though without canonical basis, Vairocana holds a special place in Tibetan Buddhism and has a special role in the Avatamsaka-sutra, in which he is the solar buddha who is both the ultimate reality of the cosmos and the one who pervades its component parts.

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