The Five Buddhas: Pancha Buddha

Festival Issue 57 Jul, 2010
Text by Roshan Gurung

“Pancha Buddhas” are so popular in Nepal that before you enter many houses belonging to Buddhist people, you will notice paintings of five Buddhas above the entrance. These Buddhas are also known as “Dhyani Buddhas” as they are in the meditative posture. It is said they emanate from the Adibuddha, the first Buddha. They are also called Tathagata, and they are also a familiar sight along the roadsides in Kathmandu and Patan as they are found carved on the numerous stone chaityas. We normally see four Dhyani Buddhas represented on four sides of the chaitya. Pancha Buddhas are also depicted on mandalas. The five Buddhas are Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi. They may not be placed haphazardly as each has a fixed place. Vairochana is placed at the center, Akshobhya facing east, Ratnasambhava-south, Amitabha-west and Amoghasiddhi- north.

Each is also seen in the various postures (mudras) of the Buddha: Vairochana- Dharmachakra (Teaching the law or turning the wheel of law), Akshobhya-

Bhumisparsha (Touching the earth with one hand), Ratnasambhava-Varada (Boon-giving), Amitabha- Dhyana (Meditation) and Amoghasiddh- Abhaya (Protection).