A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z




Phap Van (Pháp Vân)

Vietnamese. Vietnamese-Buddhist goddess of the clouds, a feminine genie, whom –due to her association with the Buddha– is now also referred to as the buddha of the clouds. She is one of four feminine genies from the Vietnamese cult of the Four Dharma, who have been worshipped since the earliest times and have been integrated into Vietnamese pagodas, with many that are named after this goddess. The other three goddesses are Phap Vu, the goddess of the rain; Phap Loi, the goddess of thunder; and Phap Dien, the goddess of lightning. She is the main deity worshipped in the Dau Pagoda at Thuan Thanh (fig.), the oldest Buddhist temple of Vietnam, and is considered of higher importance than even the Amitabha Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha. Although the Dau Pagoda is considered to be the cradle of Vietnamese Buddhism, it also emphasizes the importance of local beliefs, that despite the widespread introduction of Buddhism, has continued the worship of this local early goddess. All the of the Four Dharma goddesses are typically depicted performing a varada mudra with the left hand, a hand pose somewhat similar to the Thai pahng kho fon pose, in which the Buddha calls for rain (fig.).