Wei-To P’usa, Protector of the Dharma


Wei-To P'usa

Wei-To P'usa, Protector of the Dharma

Wei-To is an important Deva or God in the Chinese Pantheon as his image is always present in all temples as the 'Entry Guardian'. He is the General-in-Chief of the thirty-two heavenly generals who come under the Four Heavenly Kings and has earned such titles as the 'Protector of the Buddhist Faith', the 'Protector of Monasteries' and the 'Protector of Dharma Books'. In all temples where his image is found, he is always placed with his back to the statue of Maitreya Buddha (Mi-Lo Fwo) so that he faces the Main or Grand Hall known as the 'Tai Hung Pao Tien' where the main images of the temple are installed.

According to the teaching, Wei-To was a son of a heavenly king who was so virtuous that when Sakyamuni Buddha was entering Nirvana, he instructed the prince to guard the Buddha Dharma. Thus it became his duty to protect the members of the Sangha whenever they are disturbed in their cultivation by the retinue of Mara, the Tempter. And whenever a conflict arises among religious Orders, General Wei-to will discharge his duty to help bring about a peaceful settlement. His Sanskrit name is Skanda.

Quite often his images are also found in small shrines located at turning points of roads so as to afford protection against evil. It is very easy for people to be impressed with his looks, which has a military bearing. He is always portrayed as a young and good-looking man clad in full armour and headgear of a general, standing and leaning upon an impressive looking sword or gnarled staff with both hands, or he could be holding a sceptre-shaped defensive weapon.

Just as Maitreya, who as a Bodhisattva has earned the mark of respect of a Buddha, Wei-To, though only a Deva or God, is very often addressed as a Bodhisattva or 'Wei-To P'usa'. This is attributed to the prediction that he will in the future become the Buddha Rucika or 'Lou-Chi Fwo' ' the last of the thousand Buddhas in our world period. Since Vajrapani, a very popular Tibetan Buddhist Bodhisattva who is the God of Rain, and also known as the Thunderbolt-Bearer, also shares this prediction, one thus finds Wei-To being referred to as him. However he has not gained sufficient followers to become a major Deity in Buddhism. His birthday falls on the 3rd day of the 6th month which is hardly celebrated in a grand scale.

Source: buddhanet.net

Wednesday August 10, 2022
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