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Acalanatha (अचलनाथ)

Sanskrit. ‘Immovable protector’. Name of a Hindu deity that in the late 7th century was incorporated into esoteric Buddhism as a servant of the Buddha. During the Tang Dynasty he became known in China as Budong, i.e. the ‘Immovable [one]’, and was later imported into Japan as Fudo. Acalanatha is described to be a powerful deity, who protects all the living by burning away all obstacles, thus aiding them towards Enlightenment. He is typically portrayed with a blue complexion, holding a vajra sword in one hand and a rope in the other, and seated in the lotus position, often in front of a flaming nimbus (fig.) and sometimes on a rock, i.e. a symbol of his steadfastness. In Tibetan Buddhism, he is sometimes described as an emanation of Akshobhya (fig.), who also has a blue complexion and whose name equally means the ‘Immovable One’. However, he is also named as one of the Five Kings of Light or Five Kings of Mystical Knowledge, i.e. wrathful deities who represent the power of the jinas, i.e. the five dhyani buddhas or transcendental buddhas, and in that role Acalanatha is described to correspondent to Vairochana (fig.). In China, he is deemed the protector of those born in the Year of the Rooster.