Note the letter D in both hundredth and thousandth. If spelling creates something awkward, rewrite. Do this when the number is used alone and when used in combination with other numbers.
The water goddess Benzaiten Benten for short is one of Japan's most complex syncretic deities, having long ago been conflated and associated with other divinities from the Hindu, Buddhist, and Japanese pantheons.
Dragons and serpents are her messengers and avatars.
Like Benzaiten, each creature is closely associated with water and the sacred wish-granting jewel. Today Benzaiten is one of Japan's most popular deities. She continues to serve as the preeminent muse of Japanese artists, an unrivaled agricultural deity invoked for ample rain and bountiful harvests, and the sole female among Japan's wealth-bringing Seven Gods of Good Fortune.
Until only recently, scholars of Japanese religions have generally ignored this phenomenon and instead focused on the "Buddhazation" of Japan's myriad kami. See Honji Suijaku popup note. Honji Suijaku or Honji Suijaku Setsu: Theory of original reality and manifested traces.
A theory of Buddhist-Shinto syncretism. Originally a Buddhist term used to explain the Buddha's nature as a metaphysical being honji and the Historical Buddha i.
Sakyamuni as a trace manifestation suijaku. This theory was used in Japan to explain the relationship between the various Buddhist deities vis-a-vis the Shinto kami; the many Buddha were regarded as the honji original manifestationand the Shinto kami as their incarnations or suijaku traces.
Theoretically, honji and suijaku are an indivisible unity and there is no question of valuing one more highly than the other; but in the early Nara period, the honji were regarded as more important than the suijaku. Gradually they both came to be regarded as one; but in the Kamakura period, Shintoists also proposed the opposite theory, that the Shinto kami were the honji and the Buddha were the suijaku.
This latter theory is called han-honji-suijaku setsu or shinpon-butsuju setsu. This illustrated guide traces the evolution of Benzaiten iconography in Japanese artwork and explores her role as a beacon of Japan's combinatory Deva-Buddha-Kami religious matrix. A special side page presents presents mini case studies of Benzaiten's main sanctuaries in both old and modern Japan.
The Benzaiten page is presented in approximate chronological order and can be read as a whole or sectionally. To improve readability, information is sometimes repeated. It aims to augment the efforts of students, teachers, art historians, and scholars of Benzaiten lore and art by exploring iconographic dictionaries, sculptures, mandalas, paintings, talismans, and other religious art, both old and new.
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