Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Samantabhadra Buddha

ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་པོ། སངས་རྒྱས། 普贤佛
(item no. 36)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Nyingma and Kagyu
Size 85.09x71.12cm (33.50x28in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1994.4.4
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Samanatabhadra (Tibetan: kun tu zang po) with consort. The primordial Buddha of the Nyingma School.

Sanskrit: Samantabhadra Tibetan: Kun tu zang po

Blue in colour with one face and two hands, placed in the lap in the gesture of meditation, with the two legs folded together in vajra posture, Samantabhadra is embraced by the consort Samantabhadri, peaceful in appearance with a pale complexion. Surrounded by a yellow nimbus and green aureola they are seated atop a moon disc and multi-coloured lotus blossom cushion above a decorative snow lion supported throne.

"Primordial Lord of unchanging light,
Central origin of all mandalas,
Possessing the ocean of knowledge and pristine awareness;
Homage to Samantabhadra Father-Mother!" (Nyingma liturgical verse).

The central couple is surrounded by various peaceful deities and standing along the sides are the six buddhas of the six realms of existence: god, demi-god, human, animal, ghost and hell realms.

At the top center is Padamasambhava with wrathful Guru Dragpo, red in colour, at the left and lion-faced Simhamukha on the right. In the left corner is Vajravarahi surrounded by four retinue attendants identical to herself. Directly below Padmasambhava sits a lay practitioner with long black hair tied up on the crown of the head. Lower down and to the right is the great Tibetan poet yogi Milarepa wearing white garments, a red meditation belt, and cupping the right hand to his ear.

At the bottom center is the meditational deity of purification, Vajrasattva, embracing the consort Vajragarvi. Functioning as a protector the wrathful deity Vajrakilaya stands at the left surrounded by orange and yellow flames and on the right is the peaceful wealth deity Yellow Jambhala holding a bijapuraka fruit and a mongoose. Four more wrathful deities stand at the sides.

Jeff Watt 5-2000

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