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Entries for month: June 2013

Vajradhara with Three Eyes

June 27, 2013 ·

Generally the deities Vajradhara and Vajrasattva only have the standard two eyes. However, there are some examples of Vajradhara with three eyes. When the deity appears in a painting it is in most cases easy to identify and distinguish between Vajradhara and Vajrasattva by colour and context. With sculpture it is much more difficult since both deities can have the same iconographic form.

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Vajravidarana Masterworks - Added

June 21, 2013 ·

A selection of Vajravidarana works of art, painting and sculpture, has been added to the Masterworks Main Page.

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Vajravidarana Main Page - Updated

June 21, 2013 ·

The Vajravidarana Main Page has been updated.

Vajravidarana is a male meditational deity. He can appear as white and peaceful, green and semi-peaceful/semi-wrathful, or blue and wrathful. Four different mandala forms are found in the Kriya classification of Tantra and one wrathful form with a seventy-five deity mandala in the anuttarayoga classification of Tantra. There are also  several traditions of Vajravidarana as a solitary figure without any retinue.

Although a meditational deity, Vajravidarana is very much a deity of purification and belongs to the group known as the Five Cleansing Deities. The form with a Seventy-five Deity Mandala is also included as an important branch initiation and practice in the Margapala (Lamdre) teaching cycle of the Sakya Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

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Three Lords of the World - Updated

June 19, 2013 ·

The Three Lords of the World Page, with Manjushri, Lokeshvara and Vajrapani, has been updated with additional images and context.

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Vajrapani & Vajrasattva - Added

June 19, 2013 ·

Vajrapani and the Tantric meditational deity Vajrasattva can easily be confused because they can have the same identical appearance. The only possible way to distinguish between the two is through inscriptions written on the base of a sculpture, or if a painted composition, then through a study of the iconographic context and related deities in a composition, along with any inscriptions. Vajrapani is by far the earlier figure in Buddhist narrative and Vajrasattva only arises from the later Tantra literature as a meditational deity. It is very likely that Vajrasattva is modeled on the form and some of the function that was originated in the character of Vajrapani.

Tags: iconography · additions

Tara: Non-standard Sculpture - Added

June 18, 2013 ·

The sculptural examples in this gallery are believed by the museums and private collections in which they reside, based on iconography, to be the female Buddha Tara. The two most common forms of Tara are the Green and the White followed by the Eight Fears and Twenty-one Taras. Those forms are the general models used for identifying female sculptural figures as Tara. What is unusual about the forms in this gallery are their non-standard hand gestures or leg postures which do not conform to the well known iconography of the Green or White Tara. The examples are also not likely to be part of a larger set such as the Eight or Twenty-one. Is it even possible to positively identify each example as a form of Tara?

Tags: Sculpture · additions

Vajradhara Main Page - Updated

June 17, 2013 ·

The Vajradhara Main Page has been updated with additional images and links.

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Shadbhuja Mahakala & 75 Retinue Figures - Added

June 12, 2013 ·

The principal form of Shadbhuja Mahakala is accompanied by seventy-five (75) retinue figures. In the Tibetan language the retinue are referred to in general as 'gonpo' (mgon po. English: lords). This numbering of 75 and commonly using the word 'gonpo' a standard epithet also used in reference to Mahakala, has led to the mistaken Western academic notion that there are 75 forms of Mahakala in Tibetan Buddhism. Iconographically there are fewer forms but text references might allude to an infinite number.

The Seventy-five Lords of Pure Lineage:
- The Ten Guardians of the Directions, (Tibetan - chog yong chu)
- The Eight Great Gods, (Tib. - lha chenpo gye)
- The Eight Great Nagas, (Tib. - lhu chenpo gye)
- The Eight Great Planets, (Tib. - za chenpo gye)
- The Four Worldly Guardians, (Tib. - jig ten kyong wa shi)
- The Twenty-eight Constellations, (Tib. - gyu kar nyi shu tsa gye)
- The Nine Great Bhairavas, (Tib. - jig je chenpo gu)

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Tara in Standing Posture - Added

June 10, 2013 ·

A gallery of sculpture depicting Tara in a standing posture has been added to the Bodhisattva Main Page and the Tara Main Page.

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Dorje Drolo Initiation Cards - Added

June 10, 2013 ·

A gallery of Dorje Drolo Initiation Cards has been added to the Dorje Drolo Main Page.

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