Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Hayagriva (Buddhist Deity) - Red (3 faces, 6 hands. Secret Accomplishment)

རྟ་མགྲིན། ནང་ལྷ། 马头明王(佛教本尊)
(item no. 23381)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
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.

"King of the Wrathful, Hayagriva, with a body red in colour, three faces and six hands. The main face is red, right green, left white. Each face has three eyes, radiant, with bared fangs. The hair, mustache and beard are blazing. At the crest of the three faces are three green horse heads with mouths sounding with the neighing of horses. ... With six hands, the first right holds a vajra, second a katvanga, third a sword. The first left a wrathful gesture, second a spear, third a lasso of intestine. Having a crown of five dry human skulls and a necklace of fifty fresh, wearing an upper garment of human skin and an elephant hide, and a lower garment of tiger skin; with a Brahman cord of human hair. Adorned with drops of blood, clots of mold, bunches of charnel ashes and coils of snakes. The eight legs trample upon the eight great nagas in the aspect of snakes; standing in the vast blazing fire of pristine awareness." (Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje (1646-1714) and Min-ling Lochen Dharmashri 1654-1718. Tibetan source text 'dod 'jo bum bzang, Part I, page 247-248).

"...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).

Jeff Watt 6-2014

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Buddhist Deity: Hayagriva (Secret Accomplishment)
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