文/蓮生活佛盧勝彥

金剛神,即手執金剛法器,守護佛法的神祗。金剛神是教令輪,表示教令很堅固,能摧破一切的怨敵,故稱教令輪。
在顯教,守護佛法的神祗,常見的是伽藍護法及韋陀護法。
在密教,忿怒的金剛神,非常顯眼,甚至忿怒金剛神,亦是諸佛菩薩的化身,佛教不是要人勿瞋,忍辱嗎?為什麼又現忿怒相?
佛教有一句話,所謂:
菩薩低眉,慈悲六道。
金剛怒目,降伏四魔。
亦即是佛菩薩為了降伏度化魔天、惡神、邪鬼、夜叉及一些毫不講理的惡人,只有內具慈悲心,外顯忿怒相,而使其歸順我佛。
在西藏密教,其忿怒金剛很特別,另有特殊的因由:
早期藏地盛行黑教,崇拜大自然,見山拜山,見火拜火,見牛拜牛,見馬拜馬,見豬拜豬,見蛇拜蛇。……
於是文殊菩薩入三昧地,出生大威德金剛,教化藏人。(牛頭)
觀世音菩薩入三昧地,出生馬頭金剛,教化藏人。(馬頭)
毘盧遮那入三昧地,出生金剛亥母,教化藏人。(豬頭)
祖師入三昧地,出生拉呼拉尊者,教化藏人。(蛇身)
其他。
西藏密宗,忿怒金剛特別多,都是佛菩薩及祖師們的慈悲,全是為了權宜度化。
密教行者,修持五大金剛法相應,也就是接近成佛了,密教金剛法,幽微在其中。

The Wrathful Guardian Deities

Written by Lian-shen Linving Buddha Sheng-yen Lu
Translated by Cheng Yew Chung edited by Victor Hazen
True Buddha Foundation Translation Team

Guardian deities are divine beings that hold vajra implements in their hands and protect the Buddhadharma. These guardians function as the instructional wheel, which symbolizes the great strength of the instruction, which can destroy all forms of enemies.
In the Sutric tradition, the common deities that protect the Buddhadharma are the guardian protectors and the Protector Skanda. In Tantric Buddhism, the wrathful guardian deities are very distinctive in their appearance, and they are the emanation bodies of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Isn’t it true that Buddhism teaches one to avoid anger and to practice patience? Then why such ferocious display?
There is a saying in Buddhism, which states:
The Bodhisattva lowers her eyebrows, showering compassion on the six realms.
The Guardian Deity stares with angry eyes, subjugating the four Mara demons.
While remaining compassionate within, the buddhas and bodhisattvas, in their efforts to subjugate and deliver the Mara devas, vicious deities, evil ghosts, yaksas, and villains who are extremely unreasonable, manifest an external aspect of wrathfulness to subdue these beings so that they may take refuge in the Buddha.
The wrathful guardians in Tibetan Buddhism are unique, and exist for very special reasons. In the early days, the Black Sect, or Bon religion, was widespread, and the worship of nature prevailed. People worshiped the mountains, fire, the cow, the horse, the pig, the snake, etc...
Then, Manjusri Bodhisattva entered Samadhi and manifested Yamantaka (appearing with the head of a cow) to instruct the Tibetans.
Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva entered into Samadhi and manifested Hayagriva (appearing with the head of a horse) to instruct the Tibetans.
Vairocana entered Samadhi and manifested Vajrayogini (appearing with the head of a pig) to instruct the Tibetans.
Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) entered Samadhi and manifested Rahula (appearing with the body of a snake) to instruct the Tibetans. And there were others.
Many of these wrathful guardians are found in Tibetan Buddhism. They are the compassionate emanations of the buddhas, bodhisattvas and gurus to liberate sentient beings utilizing an expedient approach.
When a Tantric practitioner cultivates the five wrathful guardian practices and achieves union, he or she is near the level of buddhahood. The wrathful practices of Tantrayana are indeed wonderful and profound.

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