The article then went on to be featured on Kotaku.
This has been very life affirming for me, so thanks for reading! Now on with the tour! Lets talk about Weapons!
Buddhist Weapons The characters in Asura’s Wrath wage war using a mix of ancient and modern weapons. You could say the characters are quite … well armed (haha that was terrible!). Many of the weapons depicted in the game have special significance in Buddhism.
Shakujo (錫杖) – The Bishop’s Staff
The debut video for Asura’s Wrath opens with Asura being struck by a rain of spears:
The shape at the head of these projectiles indicates that they’re shakujos.
Shakujos, also known as bishop’s staffs, monk sticks, xīzhàng (Mandarin) and khakkharas (Sanskrit) were originally walking sticks used by travelling monks originating in India. The sticks were sometimes adorned with jangling rings that were used in prayer and telegraphed the approach of a holy man. The sound of the rings could also be used to ward of dangerous animals and the stick could be used in self defense. Over time the shakujo was incorporated into various religious rituals with the number of rings corresponding to the rank of the wielder.
In the hands of Shaolin monks, the Shakujo was developed into a ritual weapon.
In China, the Shakujo has long been romanticized as the weapon of choice of warrior monks through hundreds of years of Wuxia novels and more recently movies, tv shows, comics and games. This practice lives on in Japan (Zen Buddhism is the Japanese form of Chan Buddhism, the sect of Buddhism practiced in Shaolin) where people still train in fighting with Shakujos to this day.
Hello. My name is Richmond Lee Chaisiri. I am a professional game artist who grew up in a Buddhist household in Thailand, the most Buddhist nation on earth. I will be your tour guide through the wild, wonderful and very very well researched world of Asura’s Wrath. So what’s Buddhist about Asura’s Wrath?
The Characters, the environments, the ultra violence, the cosmic scope, the super powers, the anime hair … All of it! Let’s begin the tour!
Exhibit 1 – The Story Asura’s Wrath tells the tale of a bellicose god who is betrayed by his fellow deities, stripped of his powers and cast down from the heaven and swears bloody revenge. Does this sound like the plot of God of War 2? Sure! But it’s also the age old story of the Asura (also commonly spelled “Ashura”). According to Buddhist tradition, Asuras once lived alongside the Devas (their more benevolent cousins) in a city called Trayastrimsa on the peak of Sumeru, a holy mountain at the center of the universe where the earth joins with the heavens.
The Asuras were quarrelsome beings who loved to pick fights. They finally crossed the line when they went on a drunken rampage after drinking a forbidden supernatural liquor called gandapāna, which Sakra (known in Hinduism as Indra), leader of the heavens, warned them not to imbibe. Continue reading “A Buddhist’s Guide to Asura’s Wrath Part 1”