in Honour of Johannes Nobel

Johannes Nobel (1887-1960)

Tekst over het leven van deze professor, aan wie alle versies en vertalingen van "The Golden Light Sutra", ook de Tibetaanse en Chinese vertalingen, veel te danken hebben.


n 1951 werd hij door de 1e Minister van India, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, en in 1954 door de President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, uitgenodigd
in New Delhi.

Voor zijn bibliografie zie ‘Jnanamuktavali’ (Claus Vogel), Sarasvati Vihara Series no. 38, edited by prof. dr. Raghuvira.
Commemoration Volume; in Honour of Johannes Nobel, on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday offered by Pupils and Colleagues.

Ik hoop hier binnenkort evt. wat interessante en hele oude teksten van te kunnen plaatsen, die Nobel heeft getraceerd en hersteld uit het oude en mysterieuze verleden, sommigen zowel uit het Pali als Sanskriet.

Hieronder volgt vast wat waardevolle informatie over o.a “de Vier Grote Koningen” uit Hoofdstuk 6 die “de Vijandelijke Buitenlandse Legers” terugdringen en over “de Grote Godin Shri” in het engels.

Marc van Druten


The Suvarṇaprabhāsa-sūtra (Ch: 金光明經; pinyin: jīn guāng míng jīng; JP: Konkōmyō Kyō), is a Buddhist text of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. The title can be translated as the Golden Light Sutra or Sutra of the Sublime Golden Light. The sutra was originally written in India in Sanskrit and was translated several times into Chinese, by Dharmakṣema among others. The sutra is an important Mahayana sutra. It has been translated into Khotanese, Old Turkic, Tangut, Tibetan, Mongolian and Manchu.[1] The name of the sutra derives from chapter 3 where the bodhisattva Ruchiraketu dreams of a great drum that radiates a sublime golden light, symbolizing the Dharma, or teachings of the Buddha.


Now almost forgotten in China, and no Buddhism in central Asia, it became one of the most important sutras in Japan because of its fundamental message, which teaches that the Four Guardian Gods (四天王) protect the ruler who governs his country in the proper manner. The sutra also expounds the vows of the Hindu goddesses Sarasvati, Lakshmi (Shri) and Drdha, the Earth Goddess, to protect any bhikkhu, or monk, who will uphold and teach the sutra.


Taken at face value one might take the main theme of the sutra literally, which is the importance for leaders to be good moral examples for the kingdom. In Chapter Twelve, the sutra speaks in verse form about the disasters that befall a kingdom when its ruler does not uphold justice, and the benefits of kings who lead an exemplary life. In the Chapter on the Guardian Kings, the Four Heavenly Guardian Kings have a dialogue with the Buddha, explaining in vivid detail all the benefits a kingdom will have if its ruler enshrines the sutra and offers daily praise. The sutra contains some elements of early tantra, in that in chapter two, the sutra describes four Buddhas who dwell in the four cardinal directions. These same four comprise later Buddhist mandalas in the same positions, such as the Matrix Mandala.

Hence, historically the sutra won great esteem as a sutra for protecting the country, based on the text of the first chapter, and often was read publicly to ward off threats. Its first reading as a court ceremony was around 660 AD, when the Tang Dynasty of China and Silla of Korea had defeated Baekche of Korea and were threatening Japan.


In 741 Emperor Shōmu (聖武天皇) founded provincial monasteries (国分寺) and nunneries (国分尼寺) in each province. The official name of the monasteries was the Temple for Protection of the State by the Four Heavenly Kings Golden Light Sutra (金光明經四天王護国之寺). The 20 monks who lived there recited the Sovereign Kings Golden Light Sutra on a fixed schedule to protect the country. As Buddhism evolved in Japan, the practice gradually fell out of use, and is no longer continued today.

[The Four Great Kings make an appearance in the Golden Light Sutra where they promise to protect anyone who recites the sutra. They are the rulers of the chthonic forces of nature. In this context they are known as the Lokapālas: "They belong to the heavens, but they are in touch with the earth, and they are therefore able to keep the powerful energies of the earth under control, and prevent them from having a disruptive effect on the human world." (Sangharakshita 1995: 134)]


In some languages the sutra is preceded by a confession[2] taught Zhang Judao (張居道) and a wife of an official, make an confession to the domestic animals they have killed and write the sutra and make a vow to these lives to early reincarnate into human realms. A Ming dynasty monk also collect some sutra effect.[3]


Sanskrit Name Vaiśravaṇa (Kubera) Virūḍhaka Dhṛtarāṣṭra Virūpākṣa
Devanagari spelling वैस्रवण (कुबेर) विरूधक धृतराष्ट्र विरूपाक्ष
Pāli Name Vessavaṇa (Kuvera) Virūḷhaka Dhataraṭṭha Virūpakkha
Devanagari spelling कुवॆर विरूल्हक धतराथ्थ विरूपाख्ख
Meaning “He who hears everything” “He who enlarges”
or “Patron of Growth” “He who maintains the state”
or “Watcher of the Lands” “He who sees all”
Traditional Chinese 多聞天 or 毗沙門天 增長天 or 留博叉天 持國天 or 多羅吒天 廣目天 or 毗琉璃天
Simplified Chinese 多闻天 or 毗沙门天 增长天 or 留博叉天 持国天 or 多罗吒天 广目天 or 毗琉璃天
Hanyu Pinyin Duō Wén Tiān Zēng Zhǎng Tiān Chí Guó Tiān Guăng Mù Tiān
Korean Name (hangul) 다문천왕 증장천왕 지국천왕 광목천왕
Korean Name (romanized) Damun-cheonwang Jeungjang-cheonwang Jiguk-cheonwang Gwangmok-cheonwang
Japanese (kanji) 多聞天
(毘沙門天) 増長天 持国天 広目天
Japanese (romanized) Tamon-ten
(Bishamon-ten) Zōchō-ten
Zōjō-ten Jikoku-ten Kōmoku-ten
Tibetan Name rnam.thos.sras
(Namthöse) ‘phags.skyes.po
(Phakyepo) yul.’khor.srung
(Yülkhorsung) spyan.mi.bzang
Thai name ท้าวกุเวร or เวสสัณ ท้าววิรุฬหก ท้าวธตรฐ ท้าววิรูปักษ์
Thai Name (romanized) Thao Kuwen or Vessavan Thao Virunhok Thao Thatarot Thao Virupak
Color Yellow Blue White Red
Symbol Umbrella, Mongoose Sword Pipa Serpent, Small stupa or pearl
Followers Yakṣas Kumbhāṇḍas Gandharvas Nāgas
Direction North South East West

Further associations between the four directions and elements, seasons, planets, animals, internal organs, etc. can be found at Five elements (Chinese philosophy). Note, however, that the colors assigned to the Four Heavenly Kings represent an independent tradition and do not correspond to the traditional Chinese association of colors and directions.

All four serve Śakra (Japanese: 帝釈天 (Taishakuten)), the lord of the devas of Trāyastriṃśa. On the 8th, 14th and 15th days of each lunar month, the Four Heavenly Kings either send out messengers or go themselves to see how virtue and morality are faring in the world of men. Then they report upon the state of affairs to the assembly of the Trāyastriṃśa devas.

On the orders of Śakra, the four kings and their retinues stand guard to protect Trāyastriṃśa from another attack by the Asuras, which once threatened to destroy the kingdom of the devas. They are also vowed to protect the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Buddha’s followers from danger.

In the Buddhist faith, the Four Heavenly Kings are four guardian gods, each of whom watches over one cardinal direction of the world. They are collectively named as follows:

* Sanskrit: caturmahārāja (चतुर्महाराज) “Four Kings” or Lokapāla “guardian of the world”
* Chinese: Tiānwáng (天王) “Heavenly kings” or Sì Tiānwáng (四天王) “Four heavenly kings”
* Korean: Cheonwang (천왕) “Heavenly kings” or Sacheonwang (사천왕) “Four heavenly kings”
* Japanese: Shitennō (四天王) “Four heavenly kings”
* Tibetan: rgyal chen bzhi “Four great kings”
* Thai: chatumaharaja (จาตุมหาราชา) “Four great kings” or chatulokkaban (จาตุโลกบาล) “guardian of the world”

They reside in the Cāturmahārājika heaven (Pāli Cātummahārājika, “Of the Four Great Kings”) on the lower slopes of Mount Sumeru, which is the lowest of the six worlds of the devas of the Kāmadhātu. They are the protectors of the world and fighters of evil, each able to command a legion of supernatural creatures to protect the Dharma.

According to Vasubandhu, devas born in the Cāturmahārājika heaven are 1/4 of a krośa in height (about 750 feet tall). They also have a five-hundred year lifespan, of which each day is equivalent to 50 years in our world; thus their total lifespan amounts to about nine million years (other sources say 90,000 years).
Painting of Kōmokuten (Virūpākṣa), the Guardian of the West (one of the Four Guardian Kings). 13th century.

In Chinese they are known collectively as “Fēng Tiáo Yǔ Shùn” (風調雨