Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Hayagriva (Buddhist Deity) - Secret Accomplishment

རྟ་མགྲིན། ནང་ལྷ། 马头明王(佛教本尊)
(item no. 12985)
Origin Location China
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Hayagriva 'Secret Accomplishment' (Tibetan: tam drin sang drup. English: Horse Neck): terrific deity of the Padma (Lotus) Family, manifestation of the wrathful activity of Buddha Amitabha, from the Treasure (Terma) Tradition of Kyergangpa, 12th century and Nyemowa Sanggye Wangchen.

The 'Secret Accomplishment' Hayagriva, practiced in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, is a Treasure Teaching of the Nyingma Tradition, discovered by Nyemowa Sanggye Wangchen. The Shangpa Kagyu master Kyergangpa acquired the teaching directly from Padmasambhava in a dream and was further instructed to receive the teaching of the 'Terma' from Nyemowa. The practice was then made famous throughout Tibet by the Shangpa Kagyu Lama Kyergangpa.

"...the King of Wrath, Shri Hayagriva with a body red in colour, three faces, six hands, the main face red, right green, left white. Each face possesses three glaring eyes, bared fangs and a curled tongue, mustache, eyebrows and hair - brownish-yellow, flowing upward. Set atop the faces are three green horse heads with mouths gaping and neighing loudly; from the gaps in the mane sparks issue filling the three thousand-fold world. For the six hands, in the first right a vajra is held, second a katvanga, third a sword. The first left is in a wrathful gesture, second a lance, third a lasso of intestines. Wearing an upper garment of a fresh elephant hide and a human skin, a lower garment of tiger skin, five dry human skulls as a crown and a necklace of fifty fresh, a brahmin cord of human hair, adorned with drops of blood and clumps of charnel ashes. The four right legs are bent and the four left extended - treading on the forms of the eight great nagas; standing in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness." (Tsarchen Losal Gyatso).

At the top center is Padmasambhava with two Gelug monastic figures seated to the far left and right wearing yellow pandita hats.

At the bottom center is Begtse Chen the special protector for the Hayagriva cycle of teachings and ritual practices. At the left side is the son 'Lord of Life' and on the left is the consort 'Mistress of Life.'

Jeff Watt 9-2015

Secondary Images
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Buddhist Deity: Hayagriva (Secret Accomplishment)
Collection of Parrish Art Museum
Collection: Sotheby's New York (Painting. September, 2015)
Buddhist Deity: Hayagriva (Secret Accomplishment Masterworks)