2 GUARDIAN STONE LIONS & 4 GREAT HEAVENLY DEVAS
TASMANIAN CHINESE CULTURAL PARK OF AUSTRALIA
With the inclusion of the pedestal base, each of the two Guardian Lions are 5.2 metres high, weigh over twenty tons, and are made of Chinese white marble. This pair of stone lions is identical in style to the Imperial Ritual Bronze Lions of The Forbidden City in Beijing; hence their forms are very calming and majestic.
2 Guardian Stone Lions
Stone lions usually sit upon a Sumeru Pedestal Throne, which is covered on top by a brocade mat (this mat covers the Sumeru Pedestal Throne top, with its four corners hanging from the four sides of the Pedestal). In terms of the characteristics of stone lions, they are different in different time periods. Moreover, there are also distinct features that vary according to different geographical regions. The styling of the lions has been modified through embellishment, such that their basic shapes all have a full head of curly mane, and are either sitting or crouching majestically in grandeur.
According to Chinese traditional culture, there are strict protocols for the placement of stone lions. These conventions conform to the rules of the unrevealed world of the universe. In general, stone lions come in a pair, and are placed in accordance to the Chinese traditional Yin-Yang philosophy, where the male is on the left and female is on the right. The male lion usually holds an embroidered ball in his right front paw, while the female lion gently strokes a cub with her left front paw.
4 Great Heavenly Devas
Origins of the 4 Great Heavenly Devas
The Four Great Heavenly Devas, Sanskrit: Caturmaharajakayikas. According to the cosmic view of Buddhism, on the mountainside of Mount Sumeru, there is a mountain called Mount Gandhara with four deva peaks, and upon each dwelled a heavenly deva protecting one of four continents (the four continents are the eastern continent, southern continent (the Earth is in this continent), the western continent and the northern continent). Thus they are also called the Four Revered World Guardian Deva Lords.
The Four Great Heavenly Devas are Dharma-protecting deva deities of Buddhism. They are positioned in the First Level Deva within the thirty- three devas of Buddhism’s cosmic view. Therefore, the First Level Deva is also called the Deva of the Four Deva Lords.
Dhritarastra Holy Statue
The “Land Upholding” Eastern Heavenly Deva; Sanskrit: Dhritarastra.
The meaning of “Land Upholding” refers to the heart/mind of kindness and compassion, the protection of sentient beings and the guarding of the nation or land, hence named “Land Upholding Heavenly Deva”.
His body is white and armour-clad, and He holds a Chinese lute in His hands.
The Chinese lute held in His hands also signifies that the strings of stringed instruments must be strung with a moderate degree of tightness; a string in tune is neither too tight nor too loose.
This demonstrates that with all matters, one must practice the Dharma of the Middle Way.
He is the foremost deity of music, using Dharma music to teach sentient beings.
Virudhaka Holy Statue
The “Growth” Southern Heavenly Deva; Sanskrit: Virudhaka.
The meaning of “Growth” refers to educating and guiding sentient beings so as to sever their confusion and terminate their doubt, thus enabling the growth of their virtuous roots, hence named “Growth Heavenly Deva”.
His body is blue and armour-clad, and He wields a treasure sword signifying the sword of wisdom.
This demonstrates using the wisdom of Buddhist Dharma to sever the afflictions of sentient beings’ current and eternal lives, thus allowing sentient beings to transform the Five Poisons into the Five Wisdoms and attain current life benefit.
Virupaksa Holy Statue
The “Broad Vision” Western Heavenly Deva; Sanskrit: Virupaksa.
The meaning of “Broad Vision” refers to using pure Heavenly Eyes to observe the entire world in order to protect its citizens, hence named “Broad Vision Heavenly Deva”.
His body is red and armour-clad, and as He is the leader of all dragons, a red dragon wraps around His right hand while His left hand grasps a treasure pearl.
The dragon represents change and transformation, and the treasure pearl represents purity and brilliance.
Together, they demonstrate the use of the pure miraculous transformations of Buddhist Dharma to protect the nation, bring good fortune to the populace, and extensively save sentient beings.
Vaisramana Holy Statue
The “Well-Informed” Northern Heavenly Deva; Sanskrit: Vaisramana, also known as Bishamon.
This Heavenly Deva incessantly protects the Dharma Hall of the Tathagata and frequently listens to Dharma preaching, hence is named “Well-Informed Heavenly Deva”.
His body is green and armour-clad, His right hand wields a treasure parasol (also known as a treasure flag), and His left hand holds a deity squirrel – a squirrel that seeks treasure.
The treasure parasol represents the protection of sentient beings from the attack of the negative energies of the Universe, as well as the bestowment of great auspiciousness and immense joy to sentient beings.
The deity mouse represents treasure and wealth; this signifies the protection of citizens’ treasure and wealth, especially the protection of sentient beings’ most precious pure spiritual treasure – the pure Dharma nature of their inner hearts.