Gatekeeper gods; Skanda in Buddhism

Nobumi Iyanaga n-iyanag at PPP.BEKKOAME.NE.JP
Sat Jul 17 08:35:27 UTC 1999

Dear list members,

I am doing some research on the figure of Skand in far eastern Buddhism.
Related to this, I have some questions:

1.  I read in W. Doniger O'Flaherty, "The Myths Depicted at Elephanta", in
_Elephanta. The Cave of Shiva_, Photographs by Carmel Berkson, Essays by W.
Doniger O'Flaherty, G. Michell and Carmel Berkson, Princeton Univ. Press,
Princeton, 1983, p. 30, that"sa and Karttikeya are door-keepers at the
east wing shrine of Elephanta.  Do these two gods often serve as gatekeepers
in Hindu (or probably "Saiva) temples?  Is it possible to say that they form
a couple in the function of gatekeeper?  -- And more generally, is there any
good study on the gatekeeper gods in Hindu temples that you would recommend?

2.  I read in Phyllis Granoff, "Tobatsu Bishamon : Three Japanese Statues in
the United States and an Outline of the Rise of this Cult in East Asia",
East and West, New Series, vol. 20, 1-2, Roma, mars-juin 1970, p. 149 (and
n. 17) and fig. 10, that there is a Gandharian statue from Kaafir Ko.t which
represents "probably" Skanda (a statue which is now in the British Museum: a
standing male god, clad in the long skirted Central Asian armour, with two
crossed swords at the waist and a long spear at the right hand, holding a
bird [?] in the left hand).  The author refers to A. Foucher, L'Art
greco-bouddhique du Gandhaara, II, Paris, 1918, p. 123 and fig. 373, in
which this statue is "incorrectly identified as Paa~ncika".  Can I say that
the identification of this statue as Skanda is assured?  Is there any other
Gandharian representation(s) of Skanda in similar clothes -- which may be
very close to the representation of Paa~ncika or Vai"

3.  More generally, is there any reference to Skanda in Indian (Sanskrit)
Buddhist texts?  -- I know that in the Chinese translation(s) of the suutra, there are some references to a god named Weituo;
scholars generally consider this name as an incorrect transliteration of
Skanda (it should have been something like "Jiantuo").  But it seems that
the Sanskrit text at this passage is lacking (I learned this just some days
ago from Mr. Robert M Gimello in another mailing list).  The name "Weituo"
(or rather "Jiantuo") may be a transliteration of "Skandha" as well (there
seems to be a reference to a named "Kharaskandha" in the suutra).  There are also some dhaara.nii suutra, in which
Skanda is named among a group of demons who make children ill; but this
Skanda is a bad demon, not the good protector of the Law like the Chinese

Thank you in advance for any thought.

Best regards,

Nobumi Iyanaga

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