Fudō Myōō : symbolism and origins

In the realm of Japanese spirituality, Fudō Myōō (“The Unmoving King”, in China, known as Bùdòng Míngwáng, in Sanskrit Acala) assumes a position of reverence as the patron deity for ascetics and warriors. His unwavering commitment to guide and safeguard individuals on their arduous journey towards spiritual awakening finds materialization through his formidable weapon, the transcendent Kurikara sword. The Kurikara sword, a conduit for eliminating delusions and attachments that impede progress along the path of spiritual enlightenment, shares a sagacious relationship with a mythical dragon king by the same name. Originating from the sutra Kurikara Dharani Kyo, this enthralling tale narrates of Fudō Myōō’s battle with a demon. Once the adversary assumes the guise of a sword, embodying both malevolence and prowess, so does Fudō, transforming himself into the same powerful weapon. As the battle unfolds, the two are evenly matched and the struggle remains unresolved. In a breathtaking turn of events, Fudō harnesses his divine power and transcends his prior manifestation. The once-incarnate sword undergoes a profound metamorphosis, emerging as a magnificent dragon. Symbolizing the victory of wisdom, strength, and indomitable spirit over the forces of darkness and ignorance, the vengeful dragon engulfs the demonic sword with its fiery flames.

In Japan, the portrayal of Fudō adheres to the descriptions found in the Amoghapāśakalparāja Sūtra and the Mahāvairocana Tantra. Typically, Fudō is depicted holding a lasso and a sword (sometimes engulfed in flames, as mentioned above), either while sitting or standing on a rock or a stack of crafted stones. His hair is braided and falls to the left side of his head, and he may also have a lotus flower, symbolizing enlightenment, adorning his head. Unlike the South Asian Acala, who is depicted striding, the Japanese Fudō conveys a sense of stillness and rigidity in his upright stance. The radiant halo behind Acala, known in Japanese as the “Garudaflame,” mirrors the mythical fire-breathing bird from Indian mythology.


There are two main variations in the way Fudō is portrayed in Japan.

The first type, observed in the oldest surviving Japanese images of the deity, depicts him with wide, piercing eyes, hair braided tightly in rows, and two fangs pointing in the same direction. A lotus flower rests above his head. The second type, which emerged in the late 9th century and became more prevalent during the late Heian and Kamakura periods, portrays Fudō with curly hair.

One eye may be wide open and looking upward, while the other is narrowed and looking downward, a characteristic known as the tenchigan or “heaven-and-earth eyes.”

Similarly, one of his fangs points upward, while the other points downward. Instead of a lotus flower, these images may show Fudō with seven topknots.

The different appearances of Fudō’s eyes and fangs carry allegorical significance, representing both the duality and nonduality of his nature and the nature of reality. The upward-pointing fang symbolizes the process of elevating towards enlightenment, while the downward-pointing fang represents the descent of enlightened beings into the world to guide sentient beings. The two fangs also symbolize the realms of buddhas and sentient beings, yin and yang, and male and female, all expressed through Fudō’s tightly closed lips.

Fudō is commonly depicted with either black or blue skin, with the Sādhanamālā describing his color as resembling the atasī (flax) flower, which can be either yellow or blue. However, there are instances where Fudō may be depicted in other hues. In Tibet, for example, a different representation of the kneeling deity shows him with a white complexion, akin to the sunrise on a snow-covered mountain, reflecting numerous rays of light. In Japan, some images of Fudō may exhibit a red complexion known as Aka-Fudō or a yellow complexion referred to as Ki-Fudō.



New solutions for overseas traveling

Have you had headaches in the past with roaming charges, internet availability and overall phone not working while traveling overseas?

Just the other day a friend told me about this thing which I’m soon about to try: e-sim services.

Basically you download an app, choose the package you need (based on how many GB you need and how long you’re staying), top up and install the virtual sim card (takes a second via settings on the phone). Here you go, you’ve got a new virtual number to be used right off the plane.

I suggest doing a little research to see which companies are the best for your needs, I have chosen Airalo but I recommend articles like this one to help you shine some light on the matter.


A great tool for drawing

How many times have you searched for that perfect reference picture, the right angle, the right shape?

Indeed we should work towards perfecting our drawing skills to be more free from references (we tackle that also as part of the Mentorship Program). That being said, references are a vital part of the creative process, the greatest artists use them, and like with everything else we want to optimize our process, reducing waste of time and increasing efficiency.


I came across this free platform, which is also an app, and I think it could be a great resource for all you artists out there.

It’s called Sketchfab and is a free 3d models database. You just type in the search what it is that you want to find images of and it gives you a picture that you can rotate in different angles. Pretty brilliant.


You can check it out here

I wish you a wonderful day and, for those of you in Los Angeles next week, come check out my new exhibition ‘INFERNO’ opening the 12th of August at Raking Light Gallery

I’ll be there 😉