In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Five Dhyani Buddhas (Vairocana, Aksobhya, Amitabha, Ratnasambhava, Amoghasiddhi) are representations of the five qualities of the Buddha. These five Buddhas are a common subject of Vajrayana mandalas.
The Five Wisdom Buddhas are a later development, based on the Yogacara elaboration of concepts concerning the jnana of Buddhas, of the Trikaya (Skt. Tri is "three", kaya is "body") theory, which posits three "bodies" of the Buddha.
The Wisdom Buddhas are all aspects of the dharmakaya or "reality body", which embodies the principle of enlightenment. Initially two Buddhas appeared which represented wisdom and compassion - they were, respectively, Aksobhya and Amitabha. A further distinction embodied the aspects of power, or activity, and the aspect of beauty, or spiritual riches. In the Sutra of Golden Light (an early Mahayana Sutra) the figures are named Dundubishvara, and Ratnaketu, but over time their names changed to become Amoghasiddhi, and Ratnasambhava. The central figure came to be called Vairocana.
- Vairocana (principal deity/ meditator).
- Amoghasiddhi (north).
- Aksobhya (east).
- Ratnasambhava (south).
- Amitabha (west).
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