|Date Range||1100 - 1199|
|Catalogue #||Tibet Museum, Lhasa|
Summary: This form of Mahakala can be either a protector deity (dharmapala) or a meditational deity (ishtadevata).
Chaturbhuja, Mahakala (Tibetan: gon po, chag shi pa. English: the Great Black One with Four Hands). The principal protector of the Chakrasamvara class of Tantras.
"From a red-black mandala of fire, above a lotus, sun, moon and corpse, with one face and four hands, seated in a relaxed posture: homage to the Great Black One." (Nyingma liturgical verse).
As a wrathful form of enlightenment, a wisdom deity and buddha, he appears as a protector for Vajrayana Buddhism. There are many forms of this particular Mahakala in both Nyingma and Sarma traditions. The pandita and mahasiddha Nagarjuna originally popularized the practice. In the Sarma Schools Chaturbhuja is strongly related to the Chakrasamvara cycle of Tantras.
Jeff Watt 9-2000