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Title: Ākāśagarbha  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Shingon Buddhism, Kshitigarbha, Mahāsattva, List of bodhisattvas, Mahasthamaprapta
Collection: Bodhisattvas, Buddhist Mantras, Buddhist Tantras
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Ākāśagarbha statue in Jingo-ji, 9th century

Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva (Sanskrit: Chinese: 虛空藏菩薩; pinyin: Xūkōngzàng Púsà; Japanese pronunciation: Kokūzō Bosatsu; Korean: 허공장보살; romaja: Heogongjang Bosal, Standard Tibetan Namkha'i Nyingpo, Tibetan: ནམ་མཁའི་སྙིང་པོ།) is a bodhisattva who is associated with the great element (mahābhūta) of space (ākāśa).


  • Overview 1
  • Sutras 2
  • Mantras 3
  • Literature 4
  • References 5
    • Bibliography 5.1
  • External links 6


Painting of Ākāśagarbha, Japan, 13th century

Ākāśagarbha is regarded as one of the eight great bodhisattvas. His name can be translated as "boundless space treasury" or "void store" as his wisdom is said to be boundless as space itself. He is sometimes known as the twin brother of the "earth store" bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha, and is even briefly mentioned in the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva Pūrvapraṇidhāna Sūtra.

Kūkai, the founder of Shingon Buddhism, met a famous monk who is said to have repeatedly chanted a mantra of Ākāśagarbha as a young Buddhist acolyte. Kūkai took a tutorial with him on Kokuzou-Gumonji (a secret doctorine method, 虚空蔵求聞持法).[1] As he chanted the mantra, he experienced a vision whereby Ākāśagarbha told him to go to China to seek understanding of the Mahāvairocana Abhisaṃbodhi Sūtra.[2] Later he would go to China to learn Tangmi from Huiguo, and then go on to found the Shingon in Japan.


Two Mahayana sutras are known to survive in which Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva is a central figure:

  • 《虛空藏菩薩經》 (Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva Sūtra)
  • 《虛空藏菩薩神咒經》 (Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva Dhāraṇī Sūtra)

Additionally, he appears briefly in the final chapter of the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva Pūrvapraṇidhāna Sūtra, requesting the Buddha preach on the benefits of praising that sutra and of Kṣitigarbha.[3]


The mantra of Ākāśagarbha is popularly used by Shingon Buddhists, practitioners of Tangmi, and by artists. It is believed to give rise to wisdom and creativity, and dispel ignorance.

  • Chinese: Namo Xukongzang Pusa
  • Korean: Namu Heogongjang Bosal
  • Vietnamese: Nam Mo Hu Khong Tang Bo Tat
  • Translation: Homage to Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva

Another mantra also exists for Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva:

  • Sanskrit: namo ākāśagarbhāya oṃ ārya kamari mauli svāhā
  • Chinese: 南牟,阿迦捨,揭婆耶,唵,阿唎,迦麼唎,慕唎,莎訶!
  • Japanese pronunciation: nōbō akyasha kyarabaya on arikya mari bori sowaka
  • Translation: In the name of ākāśa-garbhāya Om Flower-Garland Lotus-Crown may it be accomplished


Visser, M. W. de. The Bodhisattva Akasagarbha (Kokuzo) in China and Japan, Amsterdam: The Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, 1931.


  1. ^ Koya-san Fudoin 高野山不動院
  2. ^ Abe 2013, p. 74.
  3. ^ Śikṣānanda 2003, pp. 89-93.


  • French, Frank G.; Shih, Tao-tsi; Śikṣānanda (2003). The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's Fundamental Vows. Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation. 

External links

  • Gumonji : A possible cure for memory loss The Japan Times
  • Japanese Buddhist Statuary: Kokuzo
  • The Koyasan Shingon-shu Lay Practitioner's Daily Service
  • Headquarters of The Chinese (Hanmi) Esoteric School: Prajna Akasagarbha Teachings available to the general public
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