As you climb up onto the roof from one of the four corner staircases, you will come upon one of the smaller pagodas, which houses one of the Four Buddhas of the Cardinal Points. When you look towards the center of the roof level, you will see a large, tall Ten Thousand Buddhas Pagoda housing the large Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel, in the center. You will also notice the other pagodas with their respective Buddhas of the Cardinal Points. The open space in between is filled with numerous Dendrobium Buddha Tooth orchid plants and other orchid plants named after eminent sangha.

Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel
Buddhist Prayer Wheel was originally a revocable book shelf for the sutras. This cylindrical book shelf had a central shaft for it to rotate, for easier searching for sutras; hence, called revolving scriptures. The revolving scriptures originated from ‘revolving pitaka’, which means turning to read the sutra; and is different from ‘reading pitaka’. ‘Reading pitaka’ requires one to read everyday and not to miss any words; whereas ‘turning pitaka’ is just to read the few lines at the start, middle and end portions.


Prayer Wheels originated from ‘The School of Shakyamuni sutra, volume 3 – pagoda and temple’ which states that, “those who set up the place for worship, use the knowledge to propagate the dharma to common people, should there be any man or woman who are illiterate and unable to read the sutra, they should then set up the prayer wheel to facilitate those illiterate to chant the sutra, and the effect is the same as reading the sutra”. Some temples build a hall to house the prayer wheel called ‘library of Buddhist scriptures’, whilst others housed them in a pagoda. The earliest prayer wheel in China was found near the Yangzi River, therefore they were popular with the southern temples first; and later spread to the northern part of China.

The five wisdom merits

The Five Dhyani-Buddhas is not the name of the Buddhas, but the incarnation of five wisdom merits of the Mahavairochana.

The five wisdom merits are the Dharmahdatu-prakriti-jnana or the ability to show the Truth, Adarshana-jnana or the ability to see the original nature of all living beings, Samata-jnana or the way to adopt an indifferent attitude, Pratyaveksana-jnana or the ability to see the special character of all living beings, and Krityanushthana-jnana or ability of all complete meritorious.

There is a Pavilion in each of the four corners of the top floor, in which the Four Buddhas of the Cardinal Points are enshrined and worshipped respectively. They are:

Aksobhya Buddha of the Eastern Realm of Fragrance;

Ratnaketu Buddha (or Buddha of Treasured Appearance) of the Southern Realm of Happiness;

Amitabha Buddha (or Buddha of Limitless Life) of the Western Realm of Tranquillity and Bliss;

Amoghasiddhi Buddha (or Buddha of Subtle Hearing), of the Northern August Realm of the Lotus.

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