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The Buddhas of the Five Directions (Gochi Nyorai)

(as seen on September 21st, 2001, on the Old Tokaido stage of the Aki Meguri)

Note: The Gochi Nyorai are between Okabe and Fujieda in Shizuoka Prefecture.  These are Stations #21 and 22 respectively (from Tokyo) on the Old Tokaido Highway.  You can read about my visit to the Gochi Nyorai in my Logbook.  You may also choose to start reading about my Tokaido journey at the beginning, or start at the top of my Aki Meguri pages.

First, I want to prove that these guys really are in a parking lot.
Here's a group shot, head on.  Read on to hear about a mystery.

Below I have shown the boys from left to right (according to name plates hanging above them), along with some information about each one. 


Japanese Name: Kaifuke-o (Houshou) Nyorai

Sanskrit Name: Ratnasambhava

Meaning of Name: The Jewel-born One, Origin of Jewels

Direction: The Buddha of the South


Japanese Name: Hodo (Ashuku) Nyorai

Sanskrit Name: Akshobhya

Meaning of Name: Immovable, Unshakable

Direction: The Buddha of the East


Japanese Name: Dainichi Nyorai

Sanskrit Name: Vairochana

Meaning of Name: He Who Is Like the Sun, The Radiating One

Direction: The Buddha of the Center


Japanese Name: Fukujoju (Shaka) Nyorai

Sanskrit Name: Amoghasiddhi

Meaning of Name: Almighty Conqueror, He Who Unerringly Achieves His Goal

Direction: The Buddha of the North

Note: This is the historical Buddha


Japanese Name: Amida Nyorai

Sanskrit Name: Amitabha

Meaning of Name: Infinite Light

Direction: The Buddha of the West


Now, here's the mystery: behind each figure sits another figure.  The hand-gestures (mudras) are identical, leading me to believe this is a second set of the same Buddhas.  But why?  Why are they seated behind?  Is there an esoteric meaning?  Or is it just storage?  Your ideas would be appreciated.

[Note: One of my professors has suggested that these represent emanations of the Buddhas, like ripples in a pond.]

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