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Ma˝juśrī (文殊 Ch. Wen Shu, Jp. Monju, Tibetan Jampelyang (Wylie "'jam dpal dbyangs")), also written Manjushri, is a bodhisattva. A disciple of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, he represents wisdom, intelligence and realization, and after Avalokitesvara (Ch. Guan Yin) is probably the most popular bodhisattva.
Together with Shakyamuni and fellow disciple Samantabhadra he forms the Shakyamuni trinity. Manjusri is one of the Eight Wisdom Bodhisattvas and one of the Japanese Thirteen Buddhas. In Tibetan Buddhism he sometimes is depicted in a trinity with Avelokiteshvara and Vajrapani.
Manjusri is mentioned in many Mahayana sutras, particularly the Prajnaparamita Sutras. The Lotus Sutra assigns him a paradise called Vimala, which according to the Avatamsaka Sutra is located in the east. His consort is Saraswati.
Manjusri is originally male, but is often depicted with feminine features in Japan, possibly due to cross-fertilization with Benzaiten. In Japan, he (or she) is typically presented riding a lion, holding a raised sword in his right hand and holding a scroll in his left hand (see image). In the trinity with Shakyamuni and Samantabhadra, he is usually depicted sitting on Shakyamuni's left side.
A flaming sword, held in his left, represents his realisation of wisdom, that cuts through all wrong views. The Scripture in his hand represents the Prajnaparamita Sutras, which explain the wisdom that he has realized.
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