Asura is the name of god. Asura is god of war in Buddhism doctrine. He can be equivalent to Mars in Roman gods and goddess. Buddhism doctrine shows some gods of war, despite its base principle of love and mercy. They are “Tai Shaku Ten”, “Ma Ri Shi Ten”, “Ji Koku Ten”, “Zou Cho Ten”, “Kou Moku Ten” “Bi Sha Mon Ten”, and “Asura”. All the gods of war are for defense of Buddha and Buddhism doctrine against all monsters. Ancient paintings and sculptures describe them as masculine features of human generals and worriers. They look dreadful, tough, and powerful as their statues. Asura is different.
Typical feature of Asura for Japanese is from the statue in Ko Fuku-ji Temple in Nara prefecture. This statue is approximately 5 feet tall. It has 3 faces and 6 arms. There is nothing masculine about the body. Its body is rather slim. 6 arms are thin, too. The most notable is Asura’s face and appearance. Despite that, any other gods of war have masculine, fierce and angry appearance, Asura’s face looks relatively calm. It appears almost sad. His face looks almost like one of a young woman. According to historians, it is one of Japanese historical mysteries that the ancient sculptor made Asura this way.
Asura in Buddhism doctrine was a monster that fought against “Tai Shaku Ten”. After several violent conflicts, Asura realized that he never wins against the defense of Buddha. Asura became spiritually awaken how foolish he was to fight against Buddha. He realized that he was fighting against justice. He could never win against justice. Asura repented his sinful fights. Asura became a god of defense for Buddhism doctrine.
In some folklore, people respected Asura as a god of yield. He is a protective god for Mother Nature’s production and reproduction. This story reminds me Hindu’s Ruling God Siva. Siva is famous to be a god of destruction. One can call Siva to be the only God who has right of destruction. Siva destroys human society when human world becomes corrupted. He will, then, produces, nurtures, grows, and leads new world. Siva is the highest god for demolition and reproduction as Asura is a god for fighting and breeding.
People may find another similarity of these 2 gods in their statues. They both do not at all appear violent in their pictures and statues. Dancing Siva is one of this god’s typical figures. He is rather slim and dancing cheerfully. His face looks like a woman’s, as the one of Asura’s. Asura is like as described above. He has a face of sad girl. In accordance with his myth, he may be trying to teach people sadness, vanity, and meaninglessness of fighting. Asura keeps attracting people. The name Asura had been used for cartoon stories’ heroes and heroines several times. This year was a celebration for 1300 years history of Ko-Fuku Ji Temple. Ko-Fuku Ji brought Asura’s statue Tokyo for the exhibition. The exhibition marked world record of 15,000 visitors a day, total 946,172 visitors.