Three sets of Trinity( sanson seki ) stones

yama(7b Ga)October 16, 2004

Hi All

Final I could find name of all Buddh's name of trinity.

The first two set of Buddhs was very easy to find. Mr Katsuo Saito's book, Dr keiji Uehahara's book, and many Japananese garden books tell us those trity's name except

Dainich nyorai ( sanskrit/ vairocana buddha) is also called Birushana butus. Korian name is pirojana-bul , English name is Buddha of cosmic Energy.

I have asked two Japanese monks in the past, But they did not know it. with help of David,and Korean Buddhism book,

I finaly find it !

1) shaka san(3)zon :

shakyamuni is center , right is Yakushi nyorai, left is Amida nyorai. Amida nyorai is center of west jodo/ Heven of west. Yakushi nryorai is main Buddha of Heaven of East .

when we see Shakya muni and two Buhhas , We are faceing south, there for Amida nyorai is standing west side , Yakushi nyorai is standing east side.

2) Amida san(3)zon.

Amida nyurai is center, (Amitabha). Right is Kannon Botastu ( Kr= kwanseum posal) English = compassion Budhisattva

Left is Seishi Bosatus, Bosatsu mean Buddhisttva, I have to find name of Seishi Boasatsu in sanskrit and English for you . ( Name of Kannon Bosatsu have two names. one is kannon Botasu, other is kanzeon Bosatsu. both are very old tanslation of sutra. about 1300yr old and 1600yr )

3) Danichi Nyorai san(3) zon

Dainichi nyorai is center . on right, Monju Bosatsu (SansKrit= Manjuri Bodhisattva English= Bodhisattva of wisdom )

on left Fugen bosatus ( sanskrit= Samanbhadhadra, Korean= pohyun posal ) Fugen bostau have few other names

Shinnyo-Kongo, Issai bydokennyo Nyorai, Nyoi Kongo.( by Shingo shu sect )

To find name of trinity of Dainich Nyorai took me more than year and half . past two years , I picked and purchesed

nearly 100 Buddhism books randomly.( most are Japanese book some English)

and could not find it.

I borrowed a book from Korean temple " What is korean buddhism ? " finaly I found answer I have been looking for in that book. I am leraning many things from this book.

There are many of other Buddha's name , gurdian gods . dragon god's names show in Japanese garden stone setting instraction.

some day I can find all of those Buddhs name in English, Sanskrit and Chinese. I do not have "right Book and/or dictionaly yet, so that take me a for a while to find those Buddha's name in different language.

If you know any good book about it Please inform me .


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edzard(3b Canada)

long research... congratulations - sogai!
anything more that you would add to the Shnnyo-Kongo / Nyoi Kongo, perhaps by explaining Kongo? why important?
or why east placement or west placement is important?
thanks.............. .............edzard

    Bookmark   October 16, 2004 at 3:18PM
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Mike: isn't the notion of 'trinity' a christian concept leading to duality of the self, the very thing a Buddhist strives to work with? Having three stones in a garden as representation of a "trinity" means what?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2004 at 6:18PM
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Gorfram(7b W Oregon)

Uh, Inky, I don't think Christianity has a lock on the number "three" :)

And Christianity has plenty of other significant numbers:
twelve apostles, seven deadly sins, four gospels, two testaments, etc. (... ad infinitum? ;)

Three is the number of points that define a plane, and it makes for makes aesthically pleasing groups that are easy to envision comparisons among. There may be a philosophy or religion that does not tend to group things into threes, but I can't think of one at the moment.

:) Evelyn

    Bookmark   October 16, 2004 at 7:57PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Inky
It is tricky part of translation. Meaning of the trinity in English is God, his son and holly ghost. while Buddhsim has many Buddhas, Bodhi sattva, gods. Trinty is not in Buddhism term.

similer to term of Trinity of Christianty, I can find in Japanese garden term.
It was not exact translation. Japanese culture is base on Buddhism in many way. as you know, not base on Christianity. It is easer to explain to those who do not know much of Buddhism or Japanese garden general as trinity.

Japanese did not have word/ meaning of trinity until christiany brought to Japan mid 1800's .

Meaning of Sanzon seki (three stones which represent three buddhas in Japanese garden) is similer to trinity but not exact translation.
mid 6th century when King of Korean kingdom of paekjie, send gift and few sutras and statue of Buddha to Japanese emporor . Shakymuni statue first and later Amida nyorai, Yakishi nyorai. later Price shotoku send students and monks to China brought back more sutras , pur land buddism concept as well . when pur land Buddhim is imported to Japan, Amida nryorai, kannon Bosatsu and Seishi bosatsu was very important Buddhs for purland Buddhism. later Kukai/Kobo daishi went to China and brought back Shingon shu / Esoteric buddhism which Dainich nyorai is center of Shingon shu/esoteric Buddhism.
as shingon shu sect Main Buddha is Dainich nyorai, right side is Kobo daishi, left side is Fudo myo o . shingon shu sect Buddhism did not have heavy influence to Japanese garden or many Japanese art.

many of Japanese garden of Heian Piriod and after are Garden of jodo/pur land buddhism , later zen had heavy influence to Japanese Garden.

word of Trinity/Sanzon seki in Japanese garden is not same meaning as trinity in western culture as you noticed .
Inky :
I am lay person of Buddhism. I do not qualify to speak about Buddhism. I do know myself very well about it.
how ever no other Japanese and or Japanese gardener posting answering to your question . I have a feeling of guilt of both , not answer your question, not helping you and feeling guilt speaking buddhsim while I do not have enough knowlege about it......
I know I did not answer all of your question. if you have more question I will try my best later. ......... mike

    Bookmark   October 16, 2004 at 8:32PM
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Gorfram(7b W Oregon)

Inky, I think I misunderstood your question.

While I'd have no trouble taking you to task for the right reasons, I hate to think I jumped all over you for the wrong reasons.

Sorry about that, Chief.

:) Evelyn

    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 1:55AM
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kobold(Vancouver BC)

Hi All ! I joined just now, but read the messages for weeks , learned a lot from you all. Mike, what you said here confirms my believe about creating a Japanese Garden : westerners can put many lanterns, rocks, maples, ponds, kois etc., it is still just a Japanese style garden.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 2:51AM
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yama(7b Ga)

Inside of main temple building , usualy there are three buddhas statue. main statue is called "Honzon" two of buddhs's statue are called "wakiji" literally side Buddha.
Chinese temple, Korian temple, Japnese temple, have similarity how altar is made . Be course all altar are build by baseed on Sutras.
setting stone as Buddh's statute in Garden is much cheaper than building evevn small Buddha's statute.
when small temple building new building and statues without help of Royal family's wealth and power, it is very hard to build a new temple financialy. If monks set stone as three Buddhs , it was cheaper and easy. kakymuni
tought that every things have a buddh's nature include stone drift wood etc. worshiping stone as Buddh inthe garden. ..................
I am very sleepy . I will write again........ mike

    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 2:59AM
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Thank you Mike. Perhaps my tone seemed argumentative but this explanation is what I was after, as I never did understand the Buddha stone thing. The next round is on me.

Evelyn, we shall lock horns at some time in the future no doubt.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 7:57AM
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yama(7b Ga)

I did not see any agumentative in your posting. I took it you had simple question.

now you have to save your best whisky for me, Make it sure when I visit you or you visit me, you still have yor best whisky


    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 11:33AM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Edzard

anything more that you would add to the Shnnyo-Kongo / Nyoi Kongo, perhaps by explaining Kongo? why important?

or why east placement or west placement is important?

1) Shigon shu did not contribute much to art and Japanese Garden. In Heian piriod, Muromchi piriod some of Shingon shu monk also study concept of Jodo doctrine of Buddhism .
Muso Kokushi was Shingon shu monk when he was early 20's.
Shingon shu monks also build J gardens but not much as Jodo shu/ pur land Buddhism monks .
Jodo line of Buddhism can go back to 4~5 century .
how ever as sect of Jodo shu was started by Honen shonin/Saint Honen who study Buddism at Tendai shu temple of Mt Hihei. Honen shonin started as JOdo shu( shu means sect> honen Shonin's deciple Shinran shonin staretd Jodo shin shu. Ji shu is another line of jodo shu ,but doctrin is much deffrent that two main stream of Jodo shu.

maine line of Jodo shu sect such as Jodo shu, Jodo shinshu, I can not find much of physical work of relationship to Japanese gardens except Ji shu.
many garden build in Kamakura ,Muraomach piriod and early Edo priod showing many name of Ji shu monks. Tei Ami, SoAmi, Rin Ami, Sho Ami etc Ami is short of Amitabha= Amida nyorai, center of Amida sanzon seki also those Jisho monk was "Kawaramono" some have Ami name are not necesery he is ji sho monk. non jishu monk also called him self XX Ami.

Jodo shu monks and Jodoshinshu monks do not use xx Ami names.

To explain Ji shu monks to you, I did have reserched , but my poor English abilty makeing me very diefficut to write on garen web about it . I have to have Cady's help to check spellings correct English grammer, befor I write In English I may have to Wtite in Japanese first...

  1. Kongo or Esoteric Buddhism of Shingo shu do not have much of influence to Jpapnese garden design , I think> if I study more Shingon shu, I may be find deffernt opinions, histroical facts later.
    other Esoteric Buddhism of Tendaishu/sect had heavy
    influence to Japaese art. But I am not for sure that Esoteric Buddhism had any impact to Japanese garden design.
    Both Tendai shu monk and Shingon shu monk studied Jodo concept/ doctrine also at the time and design gardens.

Edzard .I have to go now if you have more questions I have to answer later............... mike

    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 12:44PM
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kobold(Vancouver BC)

Hi Mike!

re: your English. It is for people with ESL or third or forth..... (I learned philosophy from my father and he told me this)

When you start to learn English, you find it very easy (compare to other languages)

After 5 years you say,that the English is not an easy language

After 10 years you say that the English is a very difficoult language to learn.

After 25 years you know that you never will learn the proper English.

I will see, I am not there yet! Andrea

    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 3:05PM
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ScottReil_GD(z5 CT)

Hi Mike,

Until I do the amount of reaearch you've done on Buddhism (NOT bloody likely!), I will defer to your knowledge of the subject.

That said, Muso Soseki (Kokushi) is attributed with creating the karesansui style and some of the first uses of borrowed scenery and "hide and reveal" designs, so it would be hard to find a single person with more influence on the style, no matter what sect he was...


    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 8:36AM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Scott
It is perfectly ok to have defferent opinion and we don't have to pull gun each other :):):)

Quote #1 :no matter what sect he was.............
I think "sect" has lot's to do with Japanese garden history and gardens. for example Nichiren shu has nothing to do with garden, Jodo shu, jodo shin shu as sect it's self, do not have deep relation associte to Japnese garden . Doctrin or sutra of Jodo has deep conection to Japanese Garden however.
jodo shu line of "Ji shu" has lot's to do with Muromachi era of Japanese garden design and constraction /building.

It is historical fact. not my imagination nor guessing.
I have studied life of Nichren shonin of Nichiren shu, Honen shonin of Jodo shu, Shinran shonin of Jodoshin shu.

It is possible that I did not read enough books/ or did not serched enough informations. I may have to change my story later

Name of Muso soseki : he has few names. one is Muso Kokushi. Title of "Kokushi: is only given from Emporo.It means " Teacher of the country "
Azana is "Muso" Azana meaens other name of birth name /true name of man (men) . (woman canot have Azana) also name of Muso is literally " Dream window"
one other name of his" Go " is Chiei

his "imina " is Sosheki " imina is dead person's real name" imina is is use only after a person's death. while he is live "Na " or miyo is uesd .
mening of kanji of "So" is , not familer with. do not know well, less relation . "seki" is stone, stone can be samll, or boulder in Japanese language.

Information source:
"Zoen dijiten" by Dr Keiji Uehara, Kashima shoten/ publisher
" Shin Jigen " , . Kadokawa shoten /publisher. "Kadokawa kokugo jiten"
"Kokugo jiten " Kadokawa shoten/ publisher .

when temple 's location is serched, location of temples are a way form civilzation most time . most time temple as monastery it located in midle of no where, in midle of moutain. at time of Muso kokushi, there were no loging company nor chain saw . also temples are given large piece of land, surunding temples...
when garden of temple was build, I don't think garden desgner of temple garden , He did not have shakukei concept.
it was there.
Ippen shonin (1238~ 1289) Muso kokushi (1275~1351 )

I have to think time of jishu monks activity and Moso kokushi's time. similer to Sen no rikyu, Sen no rikryo was not originated tea seceremony. He had his master Murano shoo, Murano shoo had his master Murata Juko, Murata Juko also had his master. when Muso kokushi designed garden of karesansui , there should be incubation time of karesansui concept. There is word of karesansui in Sakuteiki , oldest book of Japanese garden we know now, the book is written 200~ 300 years earlyer
than Muso kokushi's era .....

leaning and reaing sutra of Jodo doctrine , I am beging to think that karesansui have something to do with precept of "not kill all being" if garden has many trees, shurbs, plant it will attract insects which feed on tees shurbs, plants of the garden. if fewer trees shurbs ,plants monk don't have to kill insects. There are many trees, shubs, plants are out side of garens insect can feed on.
I am not trying to "beat you" or correct informations you have . In the past , we had some inacurate information of sen no rikyu and other topics. I saw some garden writer went to Japan for short time and writ about Zen garden of Jodo shu temples, or saying "Buddhism is nothing to do with Japanese garden" and writeing on big news paper.
Those wrong informations are telling our culture incorrectly to others/westners. It is bother me geat deal.
when you write/posting your differed oinion from mine, I am not writeing to you but also to many others.
I am a gardener. not resercher nor scholar . I have never intended to write here as resercher or scholar.
since I have many Japanse garden related books on my hand,
if I can find information from collection of my book, I want to share with you . what I write is not my knowlege.It is
informations of past, information of reserchers or scholars

I am just good at to find inforamtions I need to study my self or to share information with others.
Right after world war two, one of low ranking Japanese solder was senteced die by hanging in the name of military court. He is punished to fed tree roots to prisoners of war. he fed budock to prisoner of war. not tree roots, many prisoners never ate budock before . if any of military court Judges knew differnce between budock as vegetable or tree roots, his life may be spaired. Any thing could happen if we do not know each other's culture correctly.

I could write only to you sending by e mail. It took me hours to write this posting. I only have 3 th or 4 th grade Engilish ability. if any of Japanese who can write better English and respond to your question or any one's questions correctly , I am happy to retire from garden web and just read it and enjoy it.

Please understand my intention of responding to your posting. It is same to Edzard, Herb, evelyn, Inky or any one else.
I am more than happy to send you copy of any of information source I have, if you are intrested.
I may not able to translate, but you can send it to your bother. :) :) :)

I know myself some time my writeing is blunt. while I have English/Japanese , Japanese/Engish dictionary, this time I have 4 dictionaries be side me to write this posting. useing fewer English vocaburly ,some time I can not find enough proper words to write correctly.

Being your freind, I can gain something , Being enemy I loose many things . .......mike

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 7:58PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

too serious... did not mean that way, and you write faster now than I do... :)
Karesansui attributed to the introduction of Bonkei, bonseki.

Mike, were you writing Shakkei or Shakukei ?
compressed scenery or borrowed scenery?
compressed scenery would have been there, agreed. Shakkei, is how brought in, no?

another FAQ?

I think you've crossed the line from gardener to researcher some time ago, when you first shaved your head..... :))) It gets harder to let your hair down when it is so short...

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 8:47PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi edzard
I even miss spelled Japanese ? ;) ;) ;)
I have a reason why I am relaxing a little today and I can not say it here.
you made me laugh . I needed it one .... I guess I can make a bad bear joke now ?

Shakukei= borrowed sceneary. word of Shukukei apply to garden of Daimyo and bonkei . after I study Buddsim I see things much differently........... I may have to shave my head once again. Korean momks have to give up haveing sex , Japanese monks can have a wife and don't have to give up sex. They chant same sutras. hard to decide it.....

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 9:54PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Edzard
I can not makeing liveing as resercher . gardener is my occupation . once I can go back to normal life. I am going to open a Japanese garden class again. Hard time of past and present is incubation time for it .

Once I organize informations of kozama, I will talk with you about it . I have few more thing to check, Kegon kyo, Bonmo kyo
one of book I have said makeing of Buddha's statue are based on Bonmo kyo .. I have to read it my self. if I have to read Di Nehan kyo , it has 30 plus volum of books and each book 2~ 3 inch thick, it contain over million of word . it may take me to read more than a year.
we are getting close to finding an answer.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 10:46PM
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yukio(PDX, OR)

Mike et al.,
Wow.So much information. great stuff. Edzard, Kongo definition: has been translated as adamintine or diamond. Frequently used as a metaphor for wisdom or truth. in that, diamonds are clear, hard and unchangable as is truth or true wisdom.
Fugen bosatsu has many names which include, Issai byodo konnyu nyorai (The Tathagata who sets up all equally), Shinnyo kongo ( diamond of suchness), Nyoi kongo ( wish granting diamond)
Hope this helps. David

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 11:54PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi David
Thank you for your help.
In Jodo doctrine, name of Fudo myoo do not apper much.
since Fudo myoo have a weapon, Fudo myo is low ranking of Buddhsim . ( one of book I have is wrote it that way) .In shingon shu, Fudo myoo is important gurdian god.

we should invite Buddhist monks in this forum , so that we can learn more about Japnaese garden and related topics. Of course Buddhism it's self . :):):)
when I see name of "Fudo" in old gardening book, who ever draw diagram of stone setting , some how shingon shu doctrine is in it ( in Japanese garden design).

David ,squeeze your time and write more in this forum ...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 8:53PM
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