Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Worldly Protector (Buddhist) - Pehar

འཇིག་རྟེན་པའི་ལྷ། ནང་ལྷ། 世俗的神(佛教)
(item no. 213)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma and Gelug
Size 71.12x55.88cm (28x22in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1995.29.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Pehar Gyalpo: the Worldly Protector - King Daemon Pehar.

Within the central rainbow sphere resides Pehar, white in colour, with three faces, right white, left red, each with three large round eyes. In the first lower pair of hands is a sword and stick, the middle pair a bow and arrow and the upper pair hold a long handled hook and knife. Wearing a yellow hat with a multi-coloured brim he is adorned with variously coloured silks and garments, bone and jewel ornaments and a necklace of freshly severed heads. Riding on the back of a white snow lion with a green mane he is surrounded by the dark flames of wisdom fire.

At the top center is Lama Tsongkapa (1357-1419), founder of the Gelugpa School, wearing monastic robes and a yellow pandita hat. He performs the 'Dharma teaching' gesture with the two hands while holding the stems of two lotus blossoms supporting a sword and book. To the right and left in similar attire are the two foremost disciples Gyaltsap Dharma Rinchen (1364-1432) and Khedrup Gelek Palzangpo (1385-1438).

At the top left, inside a rainbow sphere, is the female worldly guardian Tseringma, white, with one face and two hands holding an upraised vajra and a long-life vase, riding a snow lion. To the right, inside a rainbow, is the Direction Guardian Vaishravana with one face and two hands holding a victory banner and mongoose, riding a snow lion. Slightly below at the left and right are the buddhas Shakyamuni supporting a begging bowl in the lap with the left hand. To the right is the dark blue buddha Akshobhya.

At the lower left is the buddha of purification Vajrasattva, white, holding a vajra and bell. On the right side is the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, white, with one face and four hands holding a wishing jewel with the first pair and a crystal mala and lotus with the second.

At the bottom center is the worldly protector Dorje Lekpa with one face and two hands holding a vajra and heart, wearing a round yellow hat, extensive garments and riding a snow lion surrounded by flames. To the left is Krishna Krodhini Vajra Varahi (Tibetan: tro mo nag ma), black, with two faces and two hands holding a curved knife and skullcup, surrounded by flames. At the right is Simhamukha, blue-black in colour holding a curved knife, skullcup and katvanga staff, surrounded by flames.

Pehar is a non-Tibetan protector, invited to Tibet by Guru Rinpoche and bound by an oath to protect all the Buddhist centres.

Jeff Watt 7-98

Deity King Pehar.

King Pehar in absolute sense is an emanation of the five Buddhas and in ordinary (common) sense appears as a Deity, Protector Pehar. Here is his history: Many eons, many kalpas ago he was born as the King Damaraja of Asura coutry. At the same time another boy was born as a minister's son. They became good friends. Then they became monks, ordained by abbot Dawe ("moon light"). Damaraja's religious name was Dawe Shinu, his friend's religious name was Tunten Nagpo. Dawe Shinu became a scholar, who enjoyed teaching Dharma, his friend enjoyed meditating. One day Dawe Shinu went to visit a Hindu Temple where he met a beautiful girl named Zitan Metog Ke. Extremely strong desire arose in him toward her. They made love in the Temple. Dawe Shinu broke his vows. They were making love in the Temple for 7 days. His friend, monk Tunten Nagpo came there trying to stop them, but he could not. Dawe Shinu got angry and turned himself into a wild lion and threatened his friend, trying to kill him. Vajrapani protected Tunten Nagpo with His Vajra. Later Dawe Shinu died and he was born in hell, where his name was the Buthcher's horse and where he had suffered a lot. Then he was reborn as a human being, but he was very poor and homeless and he was wandering around. One day he met again his former friend Tunten Nagpo and they did not like each other. Then Dawe Shinu was born in the family of king Muche Tsampo and queen Lumo Tongon. His name was Vajra Kuhe Samati. Again, Tunten Nagpo was meditating in the cave and Vajra Kuhe Samati turned himself into a rat, trying to disturb his former friend. Again, Vajprapani protected Tunten Nagpo. Then Vajra Kuhe Samati (Dawe Shinu) was born as a son of Dudje Tsempo, the king of ancient demons. His name in this rebirth was Mudu Tankhar. His father had five children and he was the third son. Present King Pehar is a reincarnation of Mudu Tankhar. King Pehar has three faces, six arms and he is riding a lion. He is known as a King of Trinle, King of Action. However, when Guru Rinpoche and the Tibetan King Trisum Detsen built the Samye monastery, Guru Rinpoche invited this Deity, King Pehar, from the place, called Petahor. Guru Rinpoche gave him a wife, Mentsun Karmo, and another girlfriend. They built a place for King Pehar in the Northen side of Samye monastery. Even today there is a room called Peharchok. Guru Rinpoche invited many other Deities as well and built many temples for them around Samye. Pehar's temple is called the Turquoise Palace. His wife is Mentsun Karmo. Thus is the history of King Pehar.

There are five aspects of Pehar: The Body, Mind, Speech, Knowledge and Activity aspects. The Mind aspect (Tuk ki Gyalpo) of Pehar is brown color with one face and two arms. His right hand is holding a red spear, his left hand is holding a double-edged sword and a lasso. He is wearing a bear skin chale and a black turban. He is riding an elephant, in the midst of fire. The Body aspect (Ku?i Gyalpo) of Pehar is dark blue, with one face and two arms. His right hand is holding a vajra and is left hand is holding a single cymbal. He wears a round hat (tipshu) shaped like a cymbal, gold color, and is riding a black bear. The Knowledge aspect (Yonten kyi Gyalpo) of Pehar is black, with one face and two arms. His right hand is holding an ax, his left a demon?s lasso. He is wearing a tiger skin chale and a black snake skin, and is riding a dragon. The Speech aspect (Sung gi Gyalpo) of Pehar is dark brown, with one face and two arms. His right hand is holding a stick, his left hand a sandal wood club. He wears a black robe and is riding an iron wolf. The Activity aspect (Thinley gyi Gyalpo) of Pehar is navy blue, with three faces and six arms. His first right hand holds a hook, the second an arrow and the third a sword. His first left hand is holding a razor sharp knife, the second a bow and the third a stick. He wears a cymbal-shaped hat, a white chale, tiger skin and leopard skin skirt and is riding a snow lion.

L. Kunga Rinpoche 7-98

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