Three Hundred & Sixty Buddhist Deities contains an important collection of line drawing of Tibetan Buddhist deities. Since the collection contains the figure of about three hundred & Sixty Buddhist deities, it has been called "Three Hundred And Sixty Buddhist Deities." The original title of the collection is in Chinese: Chu Fo Pu –sa Sheng Hsiang Tsan (The Eulogy of Sacred Images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas). Obviously, the collection of Tibetan Buddhist deities was compiled in China.
The Tibeto –Chinese collection of the line drawing reproduced in the second volume of our series was published by E. Clark in his Two Lamaistic Pantheons (Harved University, 1937), although each of the drawing has been printed in a rather small size (5X8 cm). In the Present volume the size of each drawing is enlarged (10.5X 16cm) so that one can see the details of the figure of each deity. The collection originally consists of two parts: the line drawing of each deity and the eulogy written in Chinese dedicated to each deity. Clark's book contains only the former part of the collection. In our volume, however, the eulogy part is also included.
Musahi Tachikawa (Ph.D., Harvard University ; D. Litt., Nagoya University  formerly taught at Nagoya University (1970-92) and is now professor at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan. His publications include the Structure of the World of Udayana's Realism (Reidel,1980.)
Masahide Meri (Ph.D., London university ) is Associate Professor in Buddhist Studies at the University of Koyasan, Japan. His publications includes The Devimahatmya Paintings Preserved at the National Archieve, Kathmandu (The Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies for Unesco, 1995).
Shinobu Yamaguchi (Ph.D., Nagoya University ) is Associate Professor at Chukyo Women University, Aichi. Her publications include "khiri –brtan nor –bu-rste Bon monastery in Kathmandu, " new Horizons in Bon Studies, Senri Ethnological Reports 15 (National Museum of Ethnology).
This book is the second volume of Asian Iconography Series, which started in order to furnish materials for iconographic studies of Hinduism and Buddhism in the spring of 2000. The first volume of the series, which is entitled "Five Hundred Buddhist Deities," has presented a collection of the black and while wooden prints of about five hundred deities of Tibetan Buddhism.
This second volume also contains an important collection of line drawings of Tibetan Buddhist deities. Since the collections contains the line drawings of about three hundred sixty buddhist deities, it has been called "Three Hundred Sixty Buddhist Deities."The original title of the collection is given in Chinese: Chu Fo P'u –sa Sheng Hsiang Tsan (The Eulogy of Sacred Images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas). Obviously, the collection of Tibetan Buddhist deities was compiled in China.
The Tibeto –Chinese collection of the line drawings reproduced in the second volume of our series has been published by E. Clark in his Two Lamaistic Pantheons (Harvard University, 1937, pp. 225-314), although each of the drawings has been printed in a rather small size (5 X 8 cm). In the present volume the size of each drawing is enlarged (10.5 X 16cm) so that one could see the details of each line drawing. The collection originally consists of two parts: The line drawing of each deity and the eulogy written in Chinese dedicated to each deity. Clark's book contains only the former part of the collection. In our volume, however, the eulogy part has also been included.
In the summer of 1997, I could have a chance to meet him in New Delhi. Immediately after we had discussed about iconographical studies of Buddhist Tantrism, he presented to me a complete set of the films of the Chu Fo P'u-sa Sheng Hsiang Tsan i.e., the Three Hundred Sixty Buddhist Deities. In this volume I could thus have the previlege of using the film which he presented to me. Here I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Lokesh Chandra, who gave me the film together with the permission of publishing it. I am also much obliged to Prof. Yasuhiko Nagano, a collegue of mine at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan, who enabled me to meet Dr. Lokesh Chandra at New Delhi in 1997. In Japan Prof. Nagano encouraged me to publish the Three Hundred Sixty Buddhist Deities.
This is a part of the research project of the National Museum of Ethnology entitled "Ethnological Studies of Healing and Salvation "(headed by M. Tachikawa, 1999-2000). This volume ha sbeen prepared by three of us: Dr. Masahide Mori (Associate Professor, Koyasan University, Wakayama), Dr. Shinobu Yamaguchi (Associate Professor, Chukyo Women's University, Aichi), and Dr. M. Tachikawa. However, the part of the index has been prepared by Dr. Mori.
Modern scholars have called Chu Fo P'u –sa Sheng Hsiang Tsan as Collection of Three Hundred Sixty Deities (Baiei Chugoku Ramakya Bijuisu Taikan (Survey of Tibetan Buddhist Iconography, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, Vol.1, 1987, p. 6). Stael –hostein believes that the 360 Icone is to be ascribed to the same Lalitavajra who composed the 300 Icons (E. Clark, Two Lamasistic Puntheons, 1937, Harvard University, p.x: Sushama Lohia, Lalitavajra's Manual of Buddhist Iconography, International Academy of Indian Culture and Adity a Prakasham, New Delhi, 1994). However, the pantheon of the 360 Icons is similar to that of the 300 Icons, but the former is not made merely adding sixty deities to the latter.
The members of the 360 deities are classified into twenty –three groups:
1. Great Masters of Prajnaparamita –yana.
2. Great Masters of Mantra –yana in India.
3. Great Masters of Mantra –yana in Tibet.
4. Great Deities of Mantra –yana.
5. Mantra –yana Deities.
6. Panca –Tathgata.
7. Thirty –five Buddhas.
8. Buddhas of Ten Directions.
9. Six Buddhas of the Past.
14. Sixteen Bodhisattvas in Vajradhatumandala.
18. Female Deities.
19. Eighteen Arhats.
We had no chance to examine the original manuscript of the 360 Icons , i.e., Chu Fo P'u-sa Sheng Hsiang Tsan. Accordingly, the size or the quality of the manuscript is unknown to us. The below is the first photograph of the 360 Icons which Lokesh Chandra gave us.
As in the same manner as the first photograph, each of the other photograph shows an icon or figure and its eulogy. Judging from the size of Chinese or Tibetan letters found in each page of the manuscript, the size of the paper is rather small.
In order to include the 360 Icons or Three Hundred Sixty Buddhist Deities in Asian Iconography Series, we put the figure of a deity on the above of each page, and the eulogy of the deity at the bottom of the same page.
As for the Sanskrit name of each deity, we have basically followed Clark's Two Lamaistic Pantheon. Further examination of Clark's identifications, and a comparative study of the pantheon of the 300 Icons with that of the 360 Icons should be carried out in the near future.
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