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Harada Roshi

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Dear Roshi In Buddhism also in Zen there are deities such as Kanzeon Manjushri and others. What are they actually? Should we worship them? What is the benefit of such deity worship? Thank you.

Buddhism is neither Pantheism nor does it worship idols. It is a path of awareness, that is why there is no need but to revere the awakened Buddha. These different deities and Bodhisattvas are an expression of various abilities of the Buddha´s awakened mind expressed in action.

For example, Manjusri Bodhisattva is the expression of the wisdom of equality. Kannon Bodhisattva enters society and expresses the awakened mind that soothes the suffering beings. Miroku Bodhisattva is giving us hope for a difficult seeming future, being an expression of faith. Jizo Bodhisattva also enters society and takes care of those beings that were cast out of society. Amira Nyorai is saving all human beings, expressing the deep wish of the Buddha. Yakushi Nyorai is curing those suffering through sicknesses, and a doctor is being an expression of this. There are many more, they are taking on different forms and abilities according to their belief. In that way it is fine to see all deities as Buddhas. And Buddha is showing us the path to awakening. 

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