Wénshūshīlì Pusa / Manjusri
Manjushri is the eldest of the great Bodhisattvas and is foremost in wisdom.
“Manjushri, a Sanskrit word, is interpreted as ‘wonderful virtue’ or ‘wonderfully auspicious.’ Of the Bodhisattvas, Manjushri has the greatest wisdom, and so he is known as ‘The Greatly Wise Bodhisattva Manjushri.’ Among the Bodhisattvas he holds the highest rank, and so he is listed first, before the Bodhisattva Who Observes the Sounds of the World. There are four great Bodhisattvas: Bodhisattva Manjushri, Bodhisattva Who Observes the Sounds of the World, Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, and Bodhisattva Earth Store.
“Bodhisattva Manjushri dwells in China on Wu-tai Mountain, where his bodhimanda is located. His efficacious responses are marvelous beyond all reckoning. He became a Buddha long ago and was called Buddha of the Race of Honored Dragon Kings. After becoming a Buddha, he ‘hid away the great and manifested the small’, in order to practice the Bodhisattva way, teach and transform living beings, and help the Buddha [Shakyamuni] propagate the Dharma. His spiritual penetrations and miraculous functions are inconceivable.” (DFS II 144-145)
“Bodhisattva Manjushri . . . is a very special Bodhisattva. When he was born, ten kinds of extraordinary events occurred, which show that he was different from other Bodhisattvas. Manjushri is known for his great wisdom.
“‘But the Venerable Shariputra is also known for his wisdom,’ you may ask. ‘What is the difference between the two types of wisdom?’
“The wisdom of Shariputra is provisional wisdom, and the wisdom of Manjushri is real wisdom. The wisdom of Shariputra is the Hinayana wisdom; the wisdom of Manjushri is the Mahayana wisdom.
“What were the ten auspicious signs which manifested at Manjushri’s birth?
1) The room was filled with bright light, brighter than the light which could be made by any number of light bulbs. The bright light represented the Bodhisattva’s great wisdom.
2) The vessels were filled with sweet dew. Sweet dew is miraculous; drinking it will cure all the sicknesses in the world. Then, instead of having to undergo birth, old age, sickness, and death, you’ll only have birth, old age, and death to deal with.
3) The seven jewels came forth from the earth. The seven jewels are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother of pearl, red pearls, and carnelian.
“‘Why did the jewels appear?’
“Manjushri had cultivated the Six Perfections and the Ten Thousand Conducts to such a high degree of perfection that in response, wherever he goes, precious gems appear.
4) The gods opened the treasuries. Manjushri Bodhisattva’s great spiritual powers caused the earth to open up and expose the many treasuries it contains. This differs from the third, in which the seven jewels well up out of the earth. Here the treasuries were exposed when the earth opened up.
5) Chickens gave birth to phoenixes. Even more unusual than the gods opening the treasuries was the fact that chickens gave birth to phoenixes. Basically, of course, chickens only give birth to chickens. But because Manjushri’s birth was such a special occasion, they gave birth to phoenixes.
6) Pigs gave birth to dragons. This is even more unusual than chickens giving birth to phoenixes. . . .
7) Horses gave birth to unicorns. . . .
8) Cows gave birth to white tsai. The white tsai is an extremely rare and auspicious animal. . . . It looks like a horse but it has the hooves of an ox. It is in a special category all of its own.
9) The grain in the granaries turned to gold. Do you think that is strange? Some of you probably think it is so strange that you don’t even believe it. If you don’t believe it, it’s because you don’t understand it. If you don’t understand it, its no doubt because you’ve never encountered such a thing before. And so how could you possibly believe it?
“However, the world is a very big place and what we have seen and heard is extremely limited. Therefore, it is not strange that there are unusual phenomena which we have not seen or heard. When the grain turned to gold, it could no longer be used as food, but then just a few grains could be exchanged for a lot of food. . . .
10) Elephants with six tusks appeared. As we know, elephants usually only have two tusks. At the time of Manjushri’s birth, however, they appeared with six. Is that strange or not?
“Those ten special signs appeared at the time of Manjushri’s birth and represent Manjushri’s rare eloquence in speaking all Dharmas. . . .
“When he speaks the Dharma, Manjushri does not discriminate among the dharmas. Although he does not discriminate among the dharmas, he, nevertheless, does not not distinguish all dharmas. The wonder lies right at this point, and that is why he is known as ‘wonderful virtue’–Manjushri.