Wake no Kiyomaro (733–799) A court official in Japan. He thwarted the attempts of the priest Dōkyō, Empress Shōtoku’s favorite, to ascend the throne. As a result, he incurred the wrath of Dōkyō and was condemned to exile. After Dōkyō was stripped of power, Kiyomaro was recalled to service at court. He contributed to the transfer of the capital to Kyoto in 794.
Wang Chao-chün (n.d.) A court lady in China at the time of the tenth ruler, Emperor Yüan, of the Former Han dynasty, who reigned from 49 to 33 b.c.e. Emperor Yüan had so many ladies in his palace that he could not become familiar with them all, and so he had his court painter make portraits of them in order that he could summon the ones that pleased him on the basis of their image. All the other ladies bribed the court painter to depict them in a favorable manner, but Lady Wang, evidently confident of her beauty, failed to do so. As a result, she was depicted in an unflattering manner and was never summoned into the emperor’s presence. When the emperor came to select a bride for a barbarian chief in the north, he chose Lady Wang. But when he caught a glimpse of her as she was taking her departure, he discovered how beautiful she was and, after investigating the matter, had the court painter put to death in punishment.
Wei (1) A state in China that existed from the late eleventh century b.c.e. through 209 b.c.e. It was destroyed by the Ch’in dynasty. (2) A state in China that existed from 403 b.c.e. through 225 b.c.e. It was also destroyed by the Ch’in dynasty. (3) A kingdom in the period of the Three Kingdoms in China that existed from 220 through 265. The capital city was Lo-yang. (4) The Northern Wei dynasty in China, which existed from 386 through 435. In 534, it split into the Eastern Wei and the Western Wei, which perished in 550 and in 556, respectively.
Wei Yüan-sung (n.d.) A Buddhist priest in sixth-century China. Out of a desire for fame and profit, he began to associate with a group of Taoists and eventually returned to lay life. His memorial to the throne was instrumental in influencing Emperor Wu of the Northern Chou dynasty to enact the abolition of Buddhism.
Wen The ruler who laid the basis for the founding and long prosperity of the Chou dynasty (c.1100–256 b.c.e.), paving the way for the conquest of the Yin (Shang) dynasty by his son King Wu. King Wen governed with benevolence and was revered as a man of outstanding virtue.
wheel-turning kings Also known as wheel-turning sage kings. Ideal rulers in Indian mythology. In Buddhism, they are kings who rule by justice rather than by force. They were said to possess the thirty-two features and rule the four continents by turning the wheels they were given by heaven. These wheels are of four kinds: gold, silver, copper, and iron—one for each of the four wheel-turning kings.
wisdom mudra The mudra, or sign made with the hands and fingers, of the Thus Come One Mahāvairochana of the Diamond Realm. The wisdom mudra is a form in which the upward straightened first finger of the left hand is grasped with the closed right hand. This mudra is believed to enable one to eradicate illusions and gain the Buddha wisdom.
Wisdom sutras Higher provisional Mahayana sutras belonging to the fourth of the five periods into which T’ien-t’ai classified Shakyamuni’s teachings. These sutras deal with the teaching of the perfection of wisdom and expound the concept of non-substantiality.
Wise Kalpa The present major kalpa in which a thousand Buddhas of great wisdom, including Shakyamuni, appear in order to save the people.
wish-granting jewel A jewel said to possess the power to produce whatever one desires. It symbolizes the greatness and virtue of the Buddha and the sutras.
Womb Realm mandala Also expressed as the Womb World mandala. One of the two mandalas of the esoteric True Word school, the other being the Diamond Realm mandala. Based on the Mahāvairochana Sutra, it represents the fundamental principle of the universe, that is, the Dharma body of Mahāvairochana Buddha. In contrast, the Diamond Realm mandala, based on the Diamond Crown Sutra, depicts the Diamond Realm, which represents Mahāvairochana Buddha’s wisdom.
Wonderful Adornment A king who appears in the “King Wonderful Adornment” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Though originally a believer in Brahmanism, he went at the urging of his wife Pure Virtue and his two sons Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye to see the Buddha, and finally joined the Buddhist Order together with his wife, two sons, and many followers.
wonderful Law (1) The teachings of the Lotus Sutra. (2) The essence of the Lotus Sutra, or the Mystic Law which is the ultimate Law of life and the universe.
Wonderful Sound A bodhisattva described in the “Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, who is said to assume thirty-four different forms in order to save people.
Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra, The One of T’ien-t’ai’s three major works. In it he divides the Lotus Sutra into two parts, the theoretical teaching and the essential teaching, and explains passages from each chapter of the sutra. Thus he elucidates such profound doctrines of the sutra as the replacement of the three vehicles with the one vehicle and the revelation of the Buddha’s original enlightenment.
World-Honored One (Skt bhagavat) One of the ten honorable titles of a Buddha. The Sanskrit bhagavat is usually translated as “blessed one.” In Chinese Buddhist scriptures, bhagavat was translated as World-Honored One. A Buddha is so called because he is widely revered in the world.
World-Honored One of Great Enlightenment An honorific title of Buddhas, particularly Shakyamuni Buddha. “Great Enlightenment” indicates the enlightenment of the Buddha. “World-Honored One” is one of the Buddha’s ten honorable titles, meaning one who is revered by the people of the world.
world of desire The first division of the threefold world. It is called the world of desire because its inhabitants are ruled by various desires, such as sexual desire and the desire for food. The world of desire comprises the four evil paths of existence (the realms of hell, hungry spirits, animals, and asuras), the four continents (the realm of human beings) surrounding Mount Sumeru, and the six heavens (the realm of heavenly beings) of the world of desire. In the sixth, or highest, of these six heavens dwells the devil king of the sixth heaven, who is said to have a strong desire to control others and prevent them from attaining enlightenment.
world of form The second division of the threefold world, located above the world of desire. Beings in this realm have physical bodies and are subject to certain material restrictions, but they have no desire and feed on light. The world of form consists of the four meditation heavens and is further subdivided into eighteen heavens (sixteen or seventeen according to other explanations).
world of formlessness The third division of the threefold world. The world of formlessness is the realm beyond form or matter, in other words, a purely spiritual and nonmaterial realm. This world comprises four realms, which are, in an ascending order of quality: the realm of boundless empty space; the realm of boundless consciousness; the realm of nothingness; and the realm of neither thought nor no thought. With regard to the life span of beings in these four realms, it is 20,000 kalpas in the first realm, 40,000 kalpas in the second realm, 60,000 kalpas in the third realm, and 80,000 kalpas in the fourth realm. Nevertheless, beings in these realms are not free from the sufferings of birth and death.
Wu, Empress (624–705) Also known as Empress Wu Tse-t’ien. First the concubine of T’ai-tsung, second emperor of the T’ang dynasty, and later consort of the third emperor, Kao-tsung. Finally she ascended the throne in 690, but she had long before been in virtual control of the government.
Wu, King Son of King Wen of the Chou dynasty (c.1100–256 b.c.e.) in China. He is regarded as the founder of the dynasty along with King Wen. Carrying out the will of his father King Wen, he defeated Chou, the ruler of the Yin (Shang) dynasty, who flagrantly misgoverned the country.