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Weituo

--of Beijing Lama Temple

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Behind the shrine of Maitreya stands the statue of Weituo facing backwards to large courtyard. Because he made great contributions towards guarding the graveyard of Sakyanuni, he was appointed protector of Buddhism and ranked first among the 32 guardian generals. He holds in his hand a Monster-surrender Stick, named Vajra (a symbol of might), used for defeating and conquering evil spirits or devils.

At first, Weituo, together with the two generals Heng and Ha, and the four Heavenly Kings, were all supernatural generals who protected Buddhist doctrines. All of them took on the responsibility of guarding the Buddhist temples. However, each had his own work to do. Weituo, also known as Weituotian, or weituoBuddhisattava, is one of the eight generals under the leadership of the "Southern World Heavenly King" named Zengzhang. Each of the Four Heavenly Kings had eight generals totaling 32 generals in all and Weituo ranked first among all the guarding generals. According to Buddhism, Buddha issued decrees that Weituo be responsible to protect monks and nuns and to shield and sustain Buddhist doctrines.

Weituo was regarded as Shen Xing Tai Bao and was good at flying over the ground. Buddhism says that after Tathagata (Buddha) was cremated, suddenly a fast-moving ghost stole Buddha's two teeth and escaped with them. After Weituo discovered this he was enraged and ran through the air after it. Although the ghost was moving fast and was very agile, he was no match for the fleet-footed Weituo and finally it was caught. Weituo took back the Buddha's teeth and thereafter, he was assigned the special job of guarding the graveyard of Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism.

After Buddhism was introduced to China about 2,000 years ago, Weituo with an Indian origin thoroughly changed his appearance and became an ancient Chinese military general. His statue is armed with a golden suit of amour. The statue shows him to be young, majestically-looking with martial bearing.


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