Dhrtarastra Chi Guo Tianwang Cloud Platform Picture

Dhrtarastra Chi Guo Tianwang Cloud Platform Juyongguan Great Wall Beijing China

Dhṛtarāṣṭra (Sanskrit: धृतराष्ट्र, Japanese: 持国天 "Jikoku", Vietnamese: 持國天王 Trì Quốc Thiên Vương) refers to an important figure in Buddhist mythology.

In Buddhism, Dhṛtarāṣṭra is one of the Four Heavenly Kings[1] and an important figure in Buddhist mythology. He is part of the Buddhist Pantheon of Esoteric Buddhism.

His name means "He who maintains the state" or “Watcher of the Lands”, and he his the guardian of the east. [link]

持國天王(梵文:धृतराष्ट्र,轉寫:Dhrita-rastra,提頭賴吒),是佛教的護法神,『四大天王』之一、『二十諸天』中的第四天王。「持國」意為慈悲為懷,保護眾生,護持國土,故名持國天王。住須彌山白銀埵,身為白色,穿甲胄,負責守護東勝神洲。以乾闥婆、畢舍遮、緊那羅等為持國天王的部眾。在中國民間信仰中,手持琵琶,是主樂神,表明他要用音樂來使眾生皈依佛教。在日本,是手持刀。 [link]


In the middle of the Juyongguan (pass) and Guangou Valley, there is the Cloud Platform gate, also known as the "Crossing Street Tower". It was built in 1342 during the Yuan Dynasty, and made of white marble with a height of 9.5 metres (31 ft). There were originally three white pagodas atop the platform, giving it the name of "Crossing Street Tower". They were each destroyed in the transitional period between the late Yuan and early Ming Dynasties. In the early Ming Dynasty, a Buddhist Tai'an Temple hall was built on the platform. It was destroyed in 1702 during the Qing Dynasty.

The Yuan era Cloud Platform remains. Around the top of the platform are elements such as stone balustrades and a watch post. They are remain in the original Yuan style. On the platform are carvings of Buddhist figures and symbols, as well as Buddhist texts written in six languages and six scripts:

Chinese language in Chinese characters
Sanskrit in Lanydza script
Sanskrit in 'Phags-pa script
Mongolian language in 'Phags-pa script
Tangut language in Tangut script
Tibetan language in Tibetan script
Uyghur language in Old Uyghur script


In the middle of the platform's base there is an arched portal - where people, carts, horsemen, and palanquins could pass through. Many images of people and animals were carved inside the arched gate tunnel and around the portal. [link]


为通往塞北的门户。关城始建于明洪武元年(1368),经宣德三年(1428)、景泰六年(1455)等多次修葺,是明代边墙上的一处重要关口。云台坐落在关城之内,是元代过街塔的基座。过街塔始建于元至正二年(1342),至正五年(1345)落成。塔北有寺,名永明寺。现塔已不存,仅存基座。基座部分(即云台)用大理石砌筑而成,保存有精美的元代石雕。1961年中华人民共和国国务院公布为全国重点文物保护单位。 [link]

Photography by David McBride
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