In their depictions the Dhyani Buddhas are invariably seen as sitting on
full-blown lotuses in the meditative pose with legs crossed. Each of them has
a symbol which is displayed by his Sakti and Bodhisattva as well. The lotus
symbol, for instance, is common to the Dhyani Buddha Amitabha, his spouse
Pandara and his Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Each Dhyani Buddha has again
his distinctive mudra and colour. Tables I and II enlist the names of the
Dhyani Buddhas, their iconographic and other features as well as their
corresponding Bodhisattvas and spouses.
Buddhist Scriptures
The canon of Buddhist sacred literature may be divided into two great
classes: the Hinayana canon written chiefly in Pali, and hence spoken of as
the Pali canon; and the Mahayana canon written chiefly in Sanskrit and
widely translated into Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan and other Mongolian
Pali Canonical Texts
The Pali canonical books consist of three parts collectively known as the
Tipitaka which were reduced to writing between 350 BC and 90 BC.
The Vinaya Pitaka (350 BC) Comprising the Buddhist canonical law. It
contains the Patimokkha or rules of monastic discipline for bhikshus, along
with a commentary on the rules. Supplementing this, the Mahavagga, ‘Great
section’, lays down rules for admission to the monastic order, the mode of
life during the rainy season, regulations on dress, and personal hygiene, etc.
The Chullavagga, ‘Smaller section’, contains edifying Buddhist stories,
duties for monks and nuns, methods of settling disputes among monks,
expiation and penances.
The Sutta Pitaka (300 BC) It consists of Five nikaya or collections, of
aphorisms, precepts and discourses for the laity. They are (I) Digha-nikaya, a
collection of long serinons dealing with topics such as the origin of the
universe, rebirth, asceticism, miracles, nirvana, heresy, condemnation of
caste, and an account of Buddha’s last speeches and his death and the funeral
ceremonies; (2) the Majjhima-nikaya, a collection of medium-sized suttas
dealing with the relation of Buddha to the Jainas and other religious systems