Dhrtarastra Guardian of the East Wanshou Temple Picture

铜镀金东方持国天王像
Gilded Bronze Dhrtarastra

Qing Dynasty

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.

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 Buddhist faith, the Four Heavenly Kings are four gods, each of whom watches over one cardinal direction of the world. [link]

四大天王(梵文:चतुर्महाराज,Caturmaharajakayikas),又稱護世四天王或稱四大金剛,是佛教著名護法神,二十諸天中的四位天神,位於第一重天,第一重天又叫四天王天,根据佛教经典,須彌山腹有一山,名犍陀羅山,山有四山頭,各住一山各護一天下(四大部洲,即東勝神州,南瞻部洲(中國在此洲),西牛賀洲,北俱蘆洲)故又稱護世四天王 ,是六欲天之第一。他們的神像通常分列在淨土宗禪宗佛寺的第一重殿兩側,因此又稱天王殿。[link]


The Wanshou Temple (simplified Chinese: 万寿寺; traditional Chinese: 萬壽寺; pinyin: Wànshòu Sì) is a temple located at the Suzhou Jie (Suzhou street) in Beijing. In addition to being a Buddhist temple, the Wanshou Temple also houses the Beijing Art Museum (北京艺术博物馆/北京藝術博物館).

It was built in 1577 during the Wanli era of the Ming Dynasty to store Chinese Buddhist scriptures; it also later became a permanent celebration place for the imperial families of the Ming and Qing dynasties.[1]

The Wanshou Temple was known as one of Beijing's most important temples, and it was declared as one of Beijing's "Key Cultural Heritage of Preservation" in August 1979.[1] The Beijing Art Museum housed in the Wanshou Temple has also collected and preserved precious historical relics such as bronze and jade articles of Shang and Zhou Dynasties (17th - 3rd centuries B.C), and ancient art treasures such as porcelains, earthenwares, enamels, carved lacquer ware, ivory carving, wood carving, and many relics from past dynasties;[1] it has a permanent collection of 70,000 items.[2]

Among the most important items displayed in the museum includes Chinese paintings and calligraphies from the Ming and Qing Dynasties since 1368 A.D, Chinese weavings and embroideries of Ming and Qing Dynasties, and ancient coins of China and foreign countries.[1] Modern Chinese, Japanese and other Asian arts and crafts and paintings are also displayed in the museum.[1][link] [link]

 万寿寺始建于明朝,称聚瑟寺。明万历五年(1577年),万历皇帝之母慈圣李太后出资,司礼监冯保督建而成,改名万寿寺,成为皇家寺庙。主要用做藏经卷,后经板、经卷移至番经厂和汉经厂,万寿寺便成为明代帝后游西湖(昆明湖)途中用膳和小憩的行宫。清朝时又经几次重修扩建,西路于乾隆朝时改为行宫,遂成为规模宏大的皇家重寺。清乾隆十六年和二十六年,清高宗弘历曾两次在这里为其母祝寿。清光绪二十年(1894年),慈禧太后重修万寿寺行宫,在西跨院增修了千佛阁和梳妆楼,形成最后格局。当年,慈禧往来于颐和园与紫禁城之间,都要在万寿寺拈香礼佛,在西跨院行宫吃茶点,故有小宁寿宫之称。1934年前后,万寿寺的前部曾辟为东北难民子弟学校。1985年,中路辟为北京艺术博物馆。 [link]

David McBride Photography
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