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Goddesses of Buddhism

December 02, 2012  by: Paulose  Points: 15   Category: Inspirational Stories    Views: 375

India is a land of pantheism. Buddhism which came from Hinduism also worships many goddesses. A fascinating and diverse array of female deities such as Mayadevi, Prthvi, and Sri Lakshmi can be found in Buddhism. The concept of goddesses in Buddhism yields an insight to the religions of Asia.

         

Buddhism was born in India as an alternative for the Vedic Hinduism dominated by rituals and caste system. It has been thought to be a religion of freedom and reasoning. Buddhism has three phases: early, Mahayana and Tantric. Mahayana movement which became popular in the first and second centuries (C.E.), gave importance to the worship of female goddesses. Hence we find Buddhism abundant with goddesses such as tree spirits, maternal nurturers, powerful healers and protectors, cosmic mothers, and dancing female Buddhas. The Tantric period of Buddhism which was developed after seventh century promoted worship of goddesses of Buddhism. Buddhist goddesses are personification of female deities. They are supernatural beings who offer various forms of assistance to faithful followers.

Five important goddesses of Buddhism

1) Prthvi
Prthvi is the mother earth goddess who takes primary place in almost all pantheist religions. She is the Bhumidevi in Hinduism, called by various names such as Lakshmi. She is given supreme honor since Buddhism belongs to Prthvi the “Vast One” or “the source of all enlightenment”. It was this goddess who protected and enlightened Shakyamuni Buddha when he was challenged by the demon king Mara.

2) Mayadevi
Mayadevi is the mother of Shakyamuni Buddha. She gave birth to the wondrous child who was destined to enlighten the world. She is worshipped for the gift of childbirth and for the health of children. Her name Mayadevi means “Goddess of Magical creation” and “Goddess of Mother Love”. She is honored as the mother of Buddhism.

3) Sri Lakshmi
Although Sri Lakshmi is rarely found in Buddhism, her presence is found frequently in the earliest monuments of Buddhism. She is the glorious patron goddess of wealth and fortunes. She is worshipped for wealth, fertility, beauty, happiness and success in everything. She is the personification of abundance in nature.

4) Yaksinis
Yaksinis are deified female spirits of Buddhism. They play important roles in Buddhist rituals and liturgies. They are supernatural beings of strength and beauty. Yaksas and Yaksinis are found in Hindu Vedas as supernatural beings called “devas and devatas”.

5) Hariti
Hariti, goddess of motherly love, was the first object of an independent goddess cult in Buddhism. Personification of motherly love stands for the abundance of motherly love that is extended to the whole humanity.

http://relijournal.com/buddhism/goddesses-of-buddhism/




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