Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Ushnishavijaya (Amitayus Sadhana)

Ushnishavijaya Religious Context

The unusual sadhana below describes a form of Amitayus Buddha in the same appearance as the female deity Ushnishavijaya as she is commonly known with three faces and eight arms. The description of Amitayus with three faces and eight arms is taught in The Incantation and Practice of Uṣṇīṣavijayā [Toh 594] and The Incantation and Practice of Uṣṇīṣavijayā [Toh 595] which were both spoken by Amitayus Buddha. There are currently no known examples of Amitayus depicted with three faces and eight arms in the modern iconography of Ushnishavijaya.

The Incantation and Practice of Uṣṇīṣavijayā [Toh 596] was spoken by Amitayus Buddha as was The Practice of the Incantation of Uṣṇīṣavijayā [Toh 598]. Neither of these texts describe any form of a deity (sadhana) practice.

The Incantation of Uṣṇīṣavijayā [Toh 597/984] narrates a story of the god Supratisthita and the god Shakra (Indra) after which Shakyamuni Buddha recites the dharani of Ushnishavijaya. There is no description of a deity (sadhana) practice.

The Tantra of the Play of the Goddess Uṣṇīṣavijayā [Toh 987] awaits translation into the English language.

Jeff Watt, 9-2023

84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha:

Toh 594. The Incantation and Practice of Uṣṇīṣavijayā. གཙུག་ཏོར་རྣམ་རྒྱལ་གྱི་གཟུངས་རྟོག་ · gtsug tor rnam rgyal gyi gzungs rtog. uṣṇīṣavijayādhāraṇī kalpasahitā. [16 pages].
Then the Blessed One Amitāyus taught the following sādhana:

“A skillful person who wishes beings to have limitless lifespans and to bring about their freedom from the pitiful state of saṃsāra should make a beautiful canvas that is the proper size out of threads that have been spun by a young maiden.71 Then, using a variety of colors of pigment, one should write the crown victory dhāraṇī inside a caitya that has been emanated from the letters of the dhāraṇī.

“Draw Amitāyus garlanded by thousands of light rays and seated upon a lotus and moon seat. He is luminous like the autumn moon and adorned with every ornament. He has three faces, each with three eyes, and he has eight arms. His right face is peaceful and radiant with golden light. His left face is fierce, with fangs biting down on his lower lip, and radiant with light the color of a blue utpala. His central face is charming [F.236.a] and white. His right hands hold a crossed vajra at his heart, Amitābha seated on a lotus, an arrow, and the gesture of supreme generosity. His left hands hold a lasso with the threatening gesture, a bow, the gesture granting freedom from fear, and a vase. On his head is the syllable oṁ in a caitya, at his throat is the syllable āḥ, and at his heart the syllable huṁ. At his forehead is hraṁ, at his navel hrīḥ, and at his two feet aṁ aḥ. Arrange these syllables on his body and include the phrase rakṣa svāhā with one’s own name inside it.

“On either side of him are Padmapāṇi and Vajradhara holding white tail whisks. Above, like a flow of nectar raining down, are a pair of gods from the pure abodes. In the four directions are wrathful Acala, Kāmarāja, Nīladaṇḍa, and Mahābala. They hold a sword, a hook, a club, and a vajra, respectively, and their left hands brandish the threatening gesture to72 frighten malevolent beings.

“When one has completed it with careful attention to those details,73 one should fast near a caitya that contains relics and worship it with a thousandfold great offering while reciting the dhāraṇī one hundred thousand times. Recite the dhāraṇī one thousand times each day from the first to the fifteenth day of the waxing moon. Then, in the early morning at dawn you will see the face of the Bhagavatī, and she will give you whatever accomplishments you desire.

“One can also install the painting in a location that has been anointed with delightfully scented water, perform extensive worship, and recite the dhāraṇī eight hundred times each day.

The Incantation and Practice of Uṣṇīṣavijayā [Toh 595].
[Added 9-2023]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).