2014 FoGuangShan Lantern Festival
FoGuangShan Global Service
One of the Foguangshan executives saw the lanterns I designed for the Fengtian Temple, immediately he invited our studio to design another image for their Lantern Festival. I choose the famous four bodhisattvas' figure to create a visual that is appealing to children. The four represent different meanings and their images change from culture to culture, so I used three elements to separate them: different colors, the crown on their head, and the mounts they ride.
In the traditional religion, the four do not have their own specific color, but being colorful would help children to identify who is whom so I assigned yellow to Ksitigarbha, green to Samantabhadra, pink to Avalokitesvara and blue to Manjushri.
Enlighten the sentient beings
Ksitigarbha is known for his vow to take responsibility for the instruction of all beings in the six worlds between the death of Gautama Buddha and the rise of Maitreya, as well as his vow not to achieve Buddhahood until all hells are emptied. He is therefore often regarded as the bodhisattva of hell-beings, as well as the guardian of children and patron deity of deceased children and aborted fetuses.
Usually depicted as a monk with a halo around his shaved head, he carries a staff to force open the gates of hell and a wish-fulfilling jewel to light up the darkness.
Samantabhadra is a bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism associated with practice and meditation. In China, Samantabhadra is associated with action, whereas Mañjuśrī is associated with prajñā.
In Japan, this bodhisattva is often venerated by the Tendai and in Shingon Buddhism, and as the protector of the Lotus Sutra by Nichiren Buddhism. In the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, Samantabhadra is also the name of the Adi-Buddha - in indivisible Yab-Yum with his consort, Samantabhadrī.
Avalokiteśvara is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. This bodhisattva is variably depicted and described and is portrayed in different cultures as either female or male. In India, Avalokitesvara was usually portrayed as a handsome young prince with the Buddha nestled in his crown, or sometimes as an ascetic, iconographically very similar to the Hindu god Siva.
In Chinese Buddhism, Avalokiteśvara has become the somewhat different female figure Guanyin. His mount is a fairy horse with one horn on its forehead - Hou, also known as "overturned roar" ; the son of the Dragon King.
Mañjuśrī is a meditational deity and considered a fully enlightened Buddha. The Lotus Sutra assigns him a pure land called Vimala, which according to the Avatamsaka Sutra is located in the East.
His pure land is predicted to be one of the two best pure lands in all of existence in all the past, present, and future. When he attains Buddhahood, his name will be Universal Sight.
After I did all my research about Buddhism, I realized that Chinese culture is all about symbolic meaning. Everything existing must represent a lucky meaning, yet I never understood it before. How interesting!