An Emanation of Avalokiteshvara: Bodhisattva Ganesha
Ganesha is one of the prominent gods in Hinduism. He is referred as Ganapati, Ekadanta, Vinayaka, Pillaiyar and Heramba. He is also highly revered in Buddhism as Lord Ganesha. In Buddhism, he is represented as Vinayaka, a Buddhist deity. Buddhist literature from the Gupta era contains numerous images of him. The dancing posture, sometimes referred to as Nritya Ganapati, is the standard presentation of Vinayaka in his Buddhist form. He is the only Hindu God regarded as a Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be).
In Buddhism, Ganesha is revered as a guardian and defender. A statue of Lord Ganesha is placed next to the main entrance of the Gelugpa monastery in Tabo, Himachal Pradesh, to protect the complex. The deity in a Mahayana Buddhist temple in Tabo is likewise positioned over a wooden arch.
Gautama Buddha is one of the names of Lord Ganesha, according to the Ganesha Sahasranama of the Ganesha Purana. Ganesha Sahasranama begins with a mention of the name of Buddha. This shows that the writers, who belonged to the Ganapatya Sect, thought highly of this name. Lord Buddha is mentioned as an incarnation of Lord Ganesh in Bhaskararaya's interpretation of the Ganesha Sahasranama. However, the main parts of the Mudgala Purana and the Ganesha Purana do not list Lord Buddha as one of the many incarnations of the Lord. In addition, according to Bhaskararaya, Ganesh is a manifestation of Nityabuddah, or perpetual enlightenment, which is why the god is also known as Buddha.
The first Chakra, or energy wheel, which supports all the other Chakras and stands for survival, materialism, and conservation, is also connected to him. He is a patron of the humanities, social sciences, and literature. He is worshipped, according to devotees, to receive success, prosperity, and protection from harm.
Portrayal of Lord Ganesha in Buddhism
Sadhanamala, a Buddhist scripture, indicates that Lord Ganesha is revered among other Buddhist deities. The elephant-faced deity is shown as having matted hair and a crimson complexion. He has a single elephant head, twelve hands, and a pot belly adorned with precious ornaments.
It's also crucial to understand that the Shaiva Ganesha, son of Parvati and leader of Shiva's legions of devotees, is not the same individual or deity as the Buddhist Ganapati Lord Ganesh. Most frequently, the Tantric Buddhist Ganapati is the Avalokiteshvara, an emanation of Avalokiteshvara. According to the Maharakta story, Avalokiteshvara killed the Shaiva Hindu god Ganesh before chopping off the elephant's head and placing it on his own. This gave him the look of the victorious "evil" Ganesha.
The elephant-headed Lord is portrayed in numerous ways in Tibetan Buddhism. Ganesha is seen in one of the forms being trampled by the Buddhist deity Mahakala. Another representation shows him as the Destroyer of Obstacles. Tantric Buddhism's version of this deity is Maha Rakta Ganapati, or The Great Red Lord of Ganas. It is related to the Tantric Chakrasamvara Cycle. Maha Rakta Ganapati is regarded as the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara's emanation.
Iconic images of Ganesha vary widely, his appearance evolving from that of a straightforward elephant in the first representations to the Ganesha we are familiar with today, who often has the head of an elephant and a massive rotund belly. Usually, he is depicted with four arms; however, there are times when he has two to sixteen. He typically holds his broken tusk in his lower-right hand while in the four-armed position and a laddoo sweet in his lower-left hand, which he consumes with his trunk. The right upper hand holds an ax or goad, and the left upper hand holds a noose.
In a later form, the lower-right hand is directed toward the beholder as a sign of protection and bravery rather than holding the broken tusk (the Abhaya mudra). Depending on the precise symbolism meant by the artist, each object—along with the number of limbs employed to carry them—may differ to include a water lily, mace, discus, rosary, a bowl of sweets, musical instrument, spear, or staff.
Attributes of Lord Ganesha in Statues
View our Gold Plated Statue Collection
Small Eyes: The small eyes signify one's concentration. Lord Ganesha encourages us to focus as only someone with control over their thoughts can succeed in life.
Elephant Head: This represents him as the deity of wisdom. His elephant head denotes discernment and intellect.
Big Ears: This symbolizes that every individual should 'listen more to gain more knowledge.
Small Mouth: Indicates that we should cherish our words and talk less.
Big Belly: By absorbing both the good and the terrible in life, you can develop the virtue of tranquility. Infinite worlds can be found in Lord Ganesh's belly, representing his capacity to absorb the sorrows of the cosmos and save humanity.
Four Arms: Signifies his control over the physical realm and the four cardinal directions
Ax: This symbolizes the breaking of all ties, attachments, and desires, and hence the end of pain and suffering.
Modaka (sweets) – The fourth hand contains modaka, representing sadhana's benefit (devotion).
Broken Tusk: This represents the sacrifice one must make for learning and the pursuit of wisdom.
Conch Shell: Symbolizes the invitation to come and pray
Mouse: The mouse represents both desire and the ability of Lord Ganesh to reach into every nook and cranny of the mind.
Mantra of Lord Ganesha
‘Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha’
OM – The origin of sound or the Vibration of the Universe
GAM – The bija sound of Lord Ganesh or the seed sound
GANAPATAYE - Another name for Lord Ganesh
NAMAHA- I salute you and bow before you.
When someone is prepared to start again or engage in something new, they will recite this phrase. This might be anything, such as starting a new day, a new job, or a new beginning in life. This is a powerful mantra for overcoming challenges, negativity, and anxieties.
With this mantra, practitioners invoke the mighty force of Lord Ganesha, who is popularly regarded as the Lord of Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles. This phrase is essential since it conveys the determination to overcome any challenges in our life and is also simple and catchy. Chanting this mantra causes us to identify ourselves with the intended outcome and proceed firmly in that direction.
He detaches his devotees from the barriers of ignorance, illusion, attachments, and egoism—his devotion results in self-purification. The fundamental roadblocks obstruct our vision and keep us from recognizing truth or reality. He aids in revealing the truth that lies inside all things. The greatest challenge we face in life is fear. The mantra of Ganesh helps us overcome our fears while boosting our confidence and commitment.
The 8 Manifestations of Lord Ganesha: The Ashtavinayaka
Dhumravarna : Form that defeated the demon of self-infatuation, pride and attachment, Abhimanasura
Ekadanta: The one that conquered the demon of arrogance, Madasura
Gajanana (Gajavaktra): The one that defeated the demon of greed, Lobhasure
Lambodara: Form that overcome the demon of anger, Krodhasure
Mahodara: The one that defeated the demon of confusion and delusion, Mohasura
Vighnaraja: Form that conquered the demon of ego and possiveness, Mamasure
Vikata: Form that defeated the demon of lust, Kamasura
Vakratunda: The one that overcome the demon of jealousy and envy, Matsaryasura
Click here to view our Lord Ganesha Statues
Em Ah Ho!! Thank you for this wonderful and elaborate explanation of the Buddhist inclusion of Lord Ganesha! I’ve learned many new things in this brief study. I’m interested to discover more on how Lord Ganesha isn’t the same son of Shiva and Paravati? Again, thank you!