Email Site Author Mark Schumacher Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter on Buddhist Statuary spacer
Follow on Social Media
My Wordpress Buddha Statues Blog Follow Me on Facebook Follow Me on Twitter Follow Me on Google + Follow Me on LinkedIn Follow Me on Youtube Free RSS Buddha News Feed 

Japanese Buddhism, Photo Dictionary of Japan's Shinto and Buddhist DivinitiesRETURN TO TOP PAGE of Japanese Buddhist Statuary A to Z Photo Library & Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Shinto Kami, Creatures, and DemonsCopyright and Usage PoliciesJump to Our Online Store Selling Handcrafted Statues
top line
spacer


QUICK START
Home: What's New
Buddha's Teachings
History & Timeline
Historical Buddha
Student's Guide
Teacher's Guide

DEITY GUIDES
Who's Who
Buddha
Bodhisattva
Myo-o
Shinto Kami
Shugendo
Stars & Planets
Tenbu (Deva)

OTHER GUIDES
About Site Author
Bibliography
Buddhism in Japan
Busshi Glossary
Carving Techniques
Cycle of Suffering
Drapery/Robe Guide
Mandala Guide
Mudra Guide
Objects Guide
Pilgrimage Guide
Shinto Guide
Statues by Artist
Statues by Era
Symbols Guide
Terminology

Buddhist-Artwork.com, our sister site, offers online sales of hand-carved wood Buddha statues.
Buddhist-Artwork.com, our sister site, offers online sales of hand-carved wood Buddha statues.

A TO Z INDEX
3 Element Stele
3 Monkeys
4 Bosatsu
4 Celestial Emblems
4 Heavenly Kings
5 (Number Five)
5 Elements
5 Tathagata
5 Tier Pagoda
5 Wisdom Kings
6 Jizo
6 Kannon
6 Realms
6 Nara Schools
7 Lucky Gods
7 Nara Temples
8 Legions
8 Zodiac Patrons
10 Kings of Hell
12 Devas
12 Generals
12 Zodiac Animals
13 Butsu (Funerals)
28 Legions
28 Constellations
30 Buddha of Month
30 Kami of Month
33 Kannon
About the Author
Agyo
Aizen
Amano Jyaku
Amida Nyorai
Apsaras
Arakan (Rakan)
Arhat (Rakan)
Ashuku Nyorai
Asuka Era Art Tour
Asura (Ashura)
Baku (Eats Dreams)
Bamboo
Benzaiten (Benten)
Bibliography
Big Buddha
Birushana Nyorai
Bishamon-ten
Bodhisattva
Bonbori Artwork
Bosatsu Group
Bosatsu of Mercy
Bosatsu on Clouds
Buddha (Historical)
Buddha Group
Buddha Statues
Busshi (Sculptors)
Calligraphy
Celestial Emblems
Celestial Maidens
Children Patrons
Classifying
Color Red
Confucius
Contact Us
Daibutsu
Daijizaiten
Daikokuten
Dainichi Nyorai
Daruma (Zen)
Datsueba (Hell Hag)
Deva (Tenbu)
Donations
Dosojin
Dragon
Drapery (Robes)
Early Buddhism Japan
Ebisu
Eight Legions
En no Gyoja
Estores
Family Tree
Footprints of Buddha
Fox (Inari)
Fudo (Fudou) Myoo
Fugen Bosatsu
Fujin (Wind God)
Fukurokuju
Gakko & Nikko
Gardens
Gigeiten
Godai Nyorai
Goddess of Mercy
Goddesses
Gongen
Gravestones
Hachi Bushu
Hachiman
Hands (Mudra)
Hell (10 Judges)
Hell Hag (Datsueba)
Hell Scrolls
Henge
Hikyu (Lion Beast)
Holy Mountains
Ho-o (Phoenix)
Hotei
Idaten
Inari (Fox)
Ishanaten
Ishidoro (Ishidourou)
Jikokuten
Jizo Bosatsu
Jocho Busshi
Juni Shi
Juni Shinsho
Juni Ten
Junrei (Pilgrimage)
Jurojin
Juuzenji
Jyaki or Tentoki
Kaikei Busshi
Kamakura Buddhism
Kankiten
Kannon Bosatsu
Kappa
Kariteimo (Kishibojin)
Karura
Karyoubinga
Kendatsuba
Kichijouten
Kitchen Gods
Kishibojin (Kariteimo)
Kitsune (Oinari)
Kokuzo Bosatsu
Koujin (Kojin)
Komokuten
Korean Buddhism
Koushin
Lanterns (Stone)
Links
Magatama
Making Statues
Mandara (Mandala)
Maneki Neko
Marishiten (Marici)
Miroku Bosatsu
Monju Bosatsu
Monkeys
Moon Lodges
Mother Goddess
Mudra (Hands)
Myoken (Pole Star)
Myo-o
Nara Era Art Tour
Newsletter Sign Up
Nijuhachi Bushu
Nikko & Gakko
Ninpinin
Nio Protectors
Nyorai Group
Objects & Symbols
Onigawara
Phoenix (Ho-o)
Pilgrimage Guide
Pottery
Protective Stones
Raigo Triad
Raijin (Thunder God)
Rakan (Arhat)
Red Clothing
Reincarnation
Robes (Drapery)
Rock Gardens
Sanbo Kojin
Sanno Gongen
Sarutahiko
Sculptors (Busshi)
Seishi Bosatsu
Sendan Kendatsuba
Seven Lucky Gods
Shachi, Shachihoko
Shaka Nyorai
Shape Shifters
Shichifukujin
Shijin (Shishin)
Shinra Myoujin
Shinto Clergy
Shinto Concepts
Shinto Kami
Shinto Main Menu
Shinto Sects
Shinto Shrines
Shishi (Lion)
Shitenno
Shoki
Shomen Kongo
Shotoku Taishi
Shrines
Shugendo
Siddhartha
Six States
Star Deities
Stone Gardens
Stone Graves
Stone Lanterns
Stones (Top Menu)
Suijin (Water Kami)
Symbols & Objects
Tamonten
Taishakuten
Tanuki
Temples
Temple Lodging
Tenbu Group
Tengu
Tennin & Tennyo
Tentoki or Jyaki
Terminology
Tiantai Art Tour
Tibetan Carpets
Tibet Photos
Tibetan Tanka
Transmigration
Ungyo
Unkei Busshi
Videos on Buddhism
Water Basin
Weapons
Wheel of Life
Yakushi Nyorai
Yasha (Yaksha)
Zao Gongen
Zen (Daruma)
Zen Art Tour
Zodiac Calendar
Zochoten

 



 
spacer

Karura - Japanese spelling
Karura 迦楼羅, Karura-Ō 迦楼羅王 (Skt. = Garuda)
Bird of Life, Celestial Eagle, Half Bird Half Man


ORIGIN = HINDU MYTHOLOGY
Member of the TENBU. One of EIGHT LEGIONS Guarding Buddhism.
One of 28 LEGIONS Guarding the 1000-ARMED KANNON BODHISATTVA.
One of KANNON’S 33 BASIC MANIFESTATIONS.

Karura - at Sanjusangendo in Kyoto, Kamakura Period Karura - NOH Mask -- courtesty http://nohmask21.com/eu/karura.html Karura - NOH Mask -- courtesty http://nohmask21.com/karurasp.html
(L) Karura at Sanjūsangendō 三十三間堂 in Kyoto (see full image below)
 (M) Modern NOH Mask. Found on J-web. (R) Modern NOH Mask. Found on J-web.
See Learn More section below for links to these J-web estores.

Karura - at Sanjusangendo in Kyoto, Kamakura Period, Wood; photo courtesy of Handbook by Ishii Ayako
Karura, Sanjūsangendō 三十三間堂 (Kyoto)
Kamakura Era, Wood, Photo this J-book

spacerKarura 迦楼羅
Sanskrit = Garuḍa (the Devourer), Chinese = Jiālóuluó
Japanese = Karura, Korean = 가루라, Tibet = Khyung
A mythical bird-man creature of Hindu lore who was later adopted into the Buddhist pantheon as a protector deity. The gold-colored Garuda (Skt.) has a human body but the wings, face, and beak of an eagle-like bird. In early Hindu literature, Garuda is granted immortality by Lord Vishnu and serves as Vishnu’s mount (avatar). In Tibetan tradition, Garuda is a mythical bird, similar to an eagle, but of gigantic proportions, able to block the sunlight with its size. In Japan, Garuda is an enormous fire-breathing eagle-man with golden feathers and magic gems crowning its head. Garuda’s various attributes are: 
  • Personifies the blazing rays of sun, the wind, and the esoteric teachings of the Vedas (Indian texts of sacred knowledge).
  • Fierce bird of prey, variously described as an eagle, hawk, or kite. Can spew fire from mouth; flapping of wings sounds like clap of thunder.
  • Mortal Enemy of the naga, a Hindu group including serpents & dragons. Karura feeds on the naga.
  • Only naga who possess a Buddhist talisman, or naga who have converted to Buddhism, can escape from the naga-eating Karura. <Source: Flammarion>
  • Karura’s hatred of the naga stems from an ancient feud between Karura’s mother (Skt. Vinata) and her sister (the mother of the naga).
  • First to teach mankind how to cure snake poison.
  • In Vedic and Hindu mythology, Karura steals the nectar of immortality from Indra in order to gain the release of his enslaved mother. The pot of nectar is eventually returned to Indra, on condition that Indra grant Karura permission to feed on naga.
  • In the Purana (religious texts of ancient Hindu myths), Karura accidentally drops the bile of a slain Ashura; the bile falls to earth where it solidifies into veins of emerald. This story sparked the belief that touching emeralds neutralizes any poison.
  • In Southeast Asia the walls of temples are often decorated with Karura, as at Angkor and Java 
  • Carries the sacred Nyoi Hōju 如意宝珠 (Chn. = Rúyì 如意) jewel on its neck. This pearl is said to grant every wish and remove every suffering. According to legend, this jewel emerged from the head of the dragon king 竜王. <Sources: JAANUS and Digital Dictionary of Chinese Buddhism>
  • Garuda is sometimes translated into English as griffin. <Source: Digital Dictionary of Chinese Buddhism; sign in with user name “guest”>
  • In Japanese art, Karura is depicted as an ornate bird with human head; sometimes shown treading on serpents or holding serpents. Karura does not appear often in Japanese Buddhist sculpture, and is rarely the object of central devotion.
  • In Japanese art, Karura is one of the 33 Manifestations of Kannon Bodhisattva. See photo below.
  • Like the Phoenix, Garuḍa is associated with fire and serves as a symbol of flame (said to represent the purification of the mind by the burning away of all material desires). In Japan, the term Karura-en 迦楼羅焔 refers to the flames spewed from Karura’s mouth, while the term Karura Enkō 迦楼羅焔光 refers to the feiry halo (kaen kōhai 火焔光背) often attached to statues of Fudō Myō-ō. Some say Fudō’s customary flame halo originated from the vomit of Karura, while others say the halo resembles Karura’s outstretched wings. Karura’s head is sometimes depicted on Fudō’s halo as well. <Source: JAANUS>
  • There is a great deal of confusion about Karura and the mythical Phoenix. Many web sites refer to the Karura as Phoenix, and vice versa, but this is wrong. The two are different mythical creatures.
  • Garuda is the national symbol of both Thailand and Indonesia. The national airline of Indonesian, moreover, is named Garuda Indonesia.

Top of Page

Karura, Wood, Hase Dera, Kamakura, 15th Century
Karura. Painted Wood. One of Kannon’s 33 Forms
Hase Dera (Hase Kannon Temple) in Kamakura
From a set of 33 presented to Hase Dera
by Shogun Yoshimasa (1449-1471 AD)


The 25th chapter of the Lotus Sutra (Hokke-kyō 法華経) is popularly known as the Kannon Sutra (Jp. Kannonkyō 觀音経). It lists thirty-three forms that Kannon assumes when aiding sentient beings, including that of a Karura, dragon, monk, nun, official, child, general, king, & Buddha.

Karura, Hollow Dry Lacquer, Kofukuji Temple, Nara
Karura, Kōfukuji Temple, Nara
Hollow dry lacquer (dakkatsu kanshitsu 脱活乾漆)
H = 149 cm, Nara Period, National Treasure


Head of Garuda with body of Lion
The Eight-Legged Lion - Son of Union between Garuda and Lion.
One of the Three Symbols of Victory in the Fight against Disharmony.
From Buddhist Symbols in Tibetan Culture, by Loden Sherap Dagyab Rinpoche
Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-047-9.
Click here to buy book at Amazon

Top of Page

Karura image by Ida Made Tlaga of Sanur (Bali); dated around 1880.
Image made by Ida Made Tlaga in Sanur (Bali) around 1880.
 The original is kept at the library of Leiden University. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


Top of Page

BELOW FROM THIS J-SITE

Karura is the name of a legendary bird
Karura flys in the four heavens over Mt. Shumisen
Eating dragons
Its wings shine with a golden color
Magical gems are at its head
Blazes from its mouth
Over 1,200 km. in size

迦楼羅(かるら)は伝説上の鳥の名前。
須弥山(しゅみせん)の四天を翔り(かけり)
龍を獲って食とする
翼は金色(こんじき)
頭に如意珠(にょいじゅ)
常に口から火炎を吐く
その大きさ三百余里

 

Karura - Phoenix God, Protector of the South Quandrant
Photo courtesy of www.mediawars.ne.jp

Top of Page

Engraving of Karyoubinga on Octogonal Pedestal, Chusonji Temple
Karura is sometimes associated / confused with Karyōbinga.
Karyōbinga Engraving on Octogonal Pedestal, Chūsonji Temple 中尊寺, 12th Century
(Length) 193.9 cm  (Height) 52.5cm., Photo courtesy 日本の美をめぐる, No. 35


Karyōbinga (Skt. = Kalavinka) 迦陵頻伽
Celestial beings who play music, dance, and fly through the air. They appear in many forms,
often with bird’s body and angelic head, and are sometimes associated with Amida Nyorai.
They appear often in Buddhist paintings, ritual robes, murals, and temple decorations.

Top of Page

LEARN MORE

Karura, Modern Gigaku Masks
Japanese GIGAKU Masks of Karura
At the Tokyo National Museum
Gigaku 伎楽 = Masked theatrical performances.

In Japan, Karura 迦楼羅 also refers to a gigakumen 伎楽面 (gigaku mask) representing the mythical bird and used in a gigaku bird dance that was performed during the 8th to 12th century.

Karura, Gyodo mask, Heian Era 12th Century, Houryuu-ji Temple
Karura, Gyōdōmen 行道面 Mask, Heian Era
12th Century, Hōryūji Temple 法隆寺, Nara
Gyōdōmen = Parade masks to teach the
commoner about gaining good karma

 

Top of Page

spacer
bottom bar

Copyright 1995 - 2014. Mark Schumacher. Email Mark.
All stories and photos, unless specified otherwise, by Schumacher.
www.onmarkproductions.com     |     make a donation

Please do not copy these pages or photos into Wikipedia or elsewhere without proper citation !