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Bodhisattva Painting Set: Konchog Pende of E

December 19, 2009 ·

A re-construction of a nine painting set depicting the Eight Great Bodhisattvas. All of these paintings are based on an earlier set said to have been painted by Konchog Pende of E (Central Tibet) in the mid to late 16th century. In 1732 Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne asked an artist to trace a copy of the earlier works and then had a set painted based on the tracings. It is likely that all of the partial sets listed here are derived either from the set originating from Konchog Pende or from the copy made by Situ Panchen in the 18th century.

In the Tibetan artistic traditions this style of painting is called 'gya-lug' or Chinese style. The individual depictions of the bodhisattvas are non-iconic and likely based on the narrative stories of the bodhisattvas as found in the Mahayana Sutra literature along with the imagination and artistic tradition of the original artist that created the works.

The central painting of the set has not yet been identified and the specific central subject is unknown, however it is likely to be Amitabha or Shakyamuni Buddha. It is even possible that there was no central painting. In Tibetan art the Eight Bodhisattvas are more often depicted surrounding Amitabha Buddha placed in the setting of the Sukhavati Paradise. The collating of the various sets is only tentative, not definitive.

Tags: art · Bodhisattvas · Sets

New Book: A Garland of Jewels

December 23, 2008 ·

A GARLAND OF JEWELS: The Eight Great Bodhisattvas by Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche (Jamyang Namgyal, 1846รข??1912), translated by Yeshe Gyamtso.

It is very difficult to find information on the descriptions, iconography and history of the group of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas. This book is for those of you out there who are interested in the Bodhisattvas and what is actually written in the Sutras about them without having to read all of the Sutras yourself. A small number of interesting and useful Tantric quotes have also been included. Mipham was especially interested in Manjushri and it is not surprising to see that nearly half of the book is devoted to him. Mipham's text is based on the work of Zhuchen Tsultrim Rinchen (1697-1774) of Dege Gonchen Monastery. Zhuchen was the chief editor of the Dege Tangyur and one of the most important Lamas of Eastern Tibet in the 18th century.

"The great sutras of the Mahayana are repositories of extraordinary accounts of miracles and great deeds performed buddhas and bodhisattvas. Mipham's purpose in writing this book was to inspire us to emulate these great beings and to give us confidence in the effectiveness of the Mahayana path." (Publisher).

Tags: Bodhisattvas · New Books