News

Entries Tagged as Protectors

Jonang Protector Deities Page - Added

October 18, 2016 ·

A page for images of Jonang Protector Deities has been added.

Tags: additions · Protectors

Protector Deities in a Yonghegong Painting Style - Added

October 28, 2014 ·

A gallery of protector deities in a Yonghegong painting style.

Tags: additions · Protectors

Drogdze Wangmo - Updated

January 23, 2012 ·

Drogdze Wangmo, (English: the Powerful Friend): protector of the Nyingma Terma (Treasure) Tradition. This protector deity was popularized in the 18th and 19th centuries by the Mindrolling Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

"...One Mother, Mistress of the Three Realms, with a body maroon in colour, ferocious and frightful in appearance, with one face and two hands. In the right, eating the heart of an enemy, blood dripping and warm. Reflecting the Three Realms - the left holds a mirror. Wearing an upper garment of white silk, a tiger skin lower garment and a fresh human skin cloak. Dark brown hair hanging downward, earrings, a crown of five dry skulls and a necklace of fifty fresh, a garland of bones and a long necklace; standing haughtily with the left leg extended..." (Min-ling Lochen Dharmashri, 1654-1718. Tibetan source text TBRC W18, part II, pp.261-262).

Tags: Protectors · updates

Gesar Dorje Tsegyal - Added

December 05, 2011 ·

Gesar Dorje Tsegyal (rdo rje tshe rgyal), Gesar Vajra King of Life, is the second most common form of Gesar to appear in art. He is typically depicted in king appearance with a peaceful countenance and clothing. The head is topped with a tall white hat, he wears heavy layered clothes of multi-colours along with felt boots. The right hand holds to the heart a wish-fulfilling jewel and the left extended to the side holds a bow and arrow. He is seated in a relaxed posture on a throne decorated with three flayed human skins.

Dorje Tsegyal can be depicted in painting or sculpture in this single form described above, or he can be accompanied by seven other figures. The full retinue as described by Mipam Jamyang Namgyal Gyamtso (1846-1912) includes the youth Dorje Legpa standing at the proper right side of Gesar and in a similar appearance. On the left side stands the female figure Dorje Yudronma. In front is the army general Migmar Chenpo along with the Four Great Secret Mothers appearing as beautiful young girls. In total, there are eight figures described in the full group of the Gesar Dorje Tsegyal retinue.

The original description of the form of Dorje Tsegyal, and possibly with retinue, is attributed to Lelung Zhepa'i Dorje (1697-1740). This is known from authoritative Tibetan informants and from the lists of collected writings of Lelung. Most of the Lelung writings on the subject of Gesar are not currently available. It is hoped they will be located in the near future.

There are two sculptural representations known in museum and private collections. Only one example is shown here. Others will undoubtedly be found. The metal images can vary in posture and hand attributes but in general follow the Dorje Tsegyal depiction and descriptions.

Gesar is generally classified as a protector deity in Tibetan Buddhism. He can also be employed for the four Tantric activities of peaceful, increase, powerful and wrathful. Different iconographic forms of Gesar are used, visualized, imagined, when performing these different activities.

Tags: Protectors

Protector Rahula - Updated & New Outline Page Added

December 30, 2010 ·

The name Rahula belongs to three important figures in Buddhist iconography. The (1) first use is as the proper name for the biological son, Rahula, of Gautama - Shakyamuni Buddha. The (2) second use of the name is for the Indian cosmological deity Rahula, the deification of the phenomenon of an eclipse. The (3) third use of Rahula is for the horrific Nyingma protector deity, wrathful, with nine heads and a giant face on the belly. It is likely that this Buddhist protector is a Tibetan creation and not linked to any Sanskrit literature or Indian religious tradition. Aside from these three uses of the name there were also numerous Indian pandits and siddhas with the name Rahula, Rahula Bhadra, Rahula Gupta, etc.

Links:
Protector Rahula Main Page
Protector Rahula Outline Page

Tags: art · iconography · Protectors

Dorje Legpa - Updated & New Outline Page Added

December 30, 2010 ·

Indigenous to Tibet, it is said that the worldly spirit Dorje Legpa was subjugated in the 8th century by Guru Padmasambhava and oath bound as a protector of Buddhism. His primary function is to safeguard the Revealed Treasure texts (Terma) of the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Dorje Legpa belongs to the category of Tibetan Buddhist Worldly Protector. He is depicted in two principal forms primarily differentiated by the mount he rides atop. The more common form is atop a (1) lion - depicted as a Tibetan snow lion and the second form is atop a (2) brown goat.

Links:
Dorje Legpa Main Page
Dorje Legpa Outline Page

Tags: art · iconography · Protectors

Kshetrapala: The Protector Who Rides a Bear

December 28, 2010 ·

Kshetrapala is one of five retinue figures belonging to the practices of Shadbhuja Mahakala (one face, six hands) originating with the Shangpa Kagyu Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Kshetrapala, wrathful with one face and two hands, can typically be recognized by the brown or black bear that he sits or stands atop as a mount. For very wrathful rites and rituals Kshetrapala is practiced independently from the primary Shadbhuja Mahakala. In these fearsome situations Kshetrapala is often paired with a wrathful consort. (See Kshetrapala Outline Page).

Tags: art · outlines · Protectors

Rahula (Protector) - Updated

September 25, 2010 ·

The name Rahula belongs to three important figures in Buddhist iconography. The (1) first use is as the proper name for the biological son, Rahula, of Gautama Siddharta - Shakyamuni Buddha. The (2) second use of the name is for the Indian cosmological deity Rahula, the deification of the phenomenon of an eclipse. The (3) third use of Rahula is for the horrific Nyingma protector deity, wrathful, with nine heads and a giant face on the belly. It is likely that this Buddhist protector is a Tibetan creation and not linked to any Sanskrit literature or Indian religious tradition. Aside from these three uses of the name there were also numerous Indian pandits and siddhas with the name Rahula, Rahula Bhadra, Rahula Gupta, etc.

Rahula (Tibetan: kyab jug): wrathful protector of the Revealed Treasure Tradition of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. The Tibetan protector deity is based on the Indian deity Rahula, an ancient Indian god, a demi-god, of the cosmos, related to the eclipse of the sun, moon and other planets. In the ancient tradition of Tibetan Buddhism (Nyingma) Rahula became popular as a protector of the 'revealed treasure' teachings (terma). In Buddhist depictions he is portrayed with the lower body of a coiled serpent spirit (naga) and the upper body with four arms, nine heads, adorned with a thousand eyes. In the middle of the stomach is one large wrathful face. The face in the stomach, belly, is actually the face and head of Rahula. The nine stacked heads depicted above are the nine planets that Rahula has eclipsed, or rather literally swallowed, eaten and now symbolically appear on top of his own face and insatiable mouth. At the crown of the stack of all the heads is the head of a black raven.

"From a fierce E [syllable] in a realm equal to space, the Lord arises out of wrathful activity, smoky, with nine heads, four hands and a thousand blazing eyes; homage to the Great Rahula - Protector of the Teachings." (Nyingma liturgical verse).

There are numerous forms of the protector Rahula. Generally he will always have the nine heads and naga lower body. Sometimes the faces are all black in colour and at other times the faces can appear in different colours depending on the specific 'Revealed Treasure' literature describing a special form. There are also differences in the retinue figures again depending on the Terton (Revealer) and the descriptive literature.

Tags: art · iconography · Protectors

Sakya Protectors Outline Page

November 08, 2008 ·

A new outline page for Sakya Protectors has been added to the HAR site. There is a lot more explanation that needs to accompany each of these protectors, and or, their larger classifications, such as the classifications of Mahakala, Shri Devi, the Three Kings, etc. The image on the left is of the goddess Ekajati, the mother of Mahakala and Shri Devi, from the system of Panjarnata Mahakala according to the Vajrapanjara Tantra. She is included as one of the retinue figures in the Eight Deity Panjarnata practice. She is also included in the Three Deity Panjarnata practice of the Sakya Tradition.

There are many deities represented in the various, Buddhist, Bon and Hindu traditions of the Himalayas that have the same name and sometimes a similar appearance. These deities are not always the same in origin myth, form or function. Great care and sensitivity must be used when recognizing a specific deity along with explaining that deity from the side of the tradition it belongs in.

Tags: outlines · Protectors · Sakya