Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Manjusri Mean?

Manjusri is an enlightened being known as a bodhisattva (“buddha to be”) in the Buddhist traditions of Mahayana and Vajrayana. Manjusri is believed to be the embodiment of enlightened wisdom and is associated with awareness and doctrine. The name comes from the Sanskrit, manju, meaning “pleasant,” “charming” and “sweet”; and sri, meaning “radiant,” “splendid” and “auspicious.” It is typically translated as “gentle glory.”

Manjusri is believed by some to have been a disciple of the Buddha. He is so-described in Mahayana scriptures, but is not mentioned in Pali texts.


Yogapedia Explains Manjusri

This bodhisattva is also known by the longer name, Manjusri-kumara-bhuta, and as Manjughosa (sweet voice) and Vagisvara (lord of speech). He is one of three protectors of the Tathagata family, which includes the Buddha. The other protectors are Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani.

Manjusri is typically thought to be a celestial bodhisattva, but some believe he manifested on Earth. Stories say he was an incarnation of Vairocana, the monk who introduced Buddhism to the ancient kingdom of Khotan. He was also thought to have manifested as Atisa Dipankara, the 11th-century Tibetan religious reformer.

Manjusri is typically depicted on a lotus flower holding a flaming sword aloft, symbolizing his mind’s ability to cut the shackles of suffering and delusion.

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