Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Padmasambhava - 8 Forms: Dorje Drolo

པད་མ་འབྱུང་གནས། 莲花生大士
(item no. 261)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Size 81.28x50.80cm (32x20in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1996.12.4
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Dorje Drolo: wrathful emanation Padmasambhava from the group of Eight Main Manifestations - a nine painting set. (See other images of Dorje Drolo).

Fearsome in form, dark brown in colour (maroon), he has one face, three round staring eyes and curly dark yellow hair with orange moustache, beard and eyebrows. The upper fangs bite down on the lower lip as he gazes downward to the left. The right hand holds upraised a gold vajra - ready to strike. The left hand thrusts with a blue kila (Tibetan: phur ba, English: peg) made of meteorite iron. Adorned with bone earrings and a necklace of freshly severed heads he wears various coloured robes in the style of both a layman and a monk along with ornate felt boots. With the right leg bent and the left extended he stands atop a fierce tigress - emanation of the consort Mandarava, while surrounded by the bright orange and red flames of pristine awareness.

At the top center is the 4th Dodrag Rigdzin Pema Trinle (1641-1717 [P657]) of Dorje Drag Monastery, seated, wearing monastic robes and holding the right hand in the gesture of blessing at the heart while supporting a Dharma book in the lap with the left hand. The TBRC source lists Rigdzin Pema Trinle as both the 4th and 2nd Dodrag Rigdzin. (Read a short biography of Pema Trinle).

At the left side is Acharya Shantigarbha in monastic robes and a pandita hat, holding the right hand up in a wrathful gesture and a curved knife extended out to the left, seated in a relaxed posture. At the right is Acharya Vairochana wearing a pandita hat and performing the gesture of blessing, holding a book in the lap with the left hand. (The names of the figures are inscribed in gold lettering beneath each).

At the bottom center is a wrathful protector Lhamo Remati, female, red, with one face and two hands holding a sword and skullcup, standing, surrounded by flames. At the left is Shaza Khamoche, a protector, female and red, holding a hook and eating a heart, riding on a large green snake surrounded by smoke. At the right is the wealth deity Green Jambhala, with one face and two hands, holding a wishing jewel and a brown mongoose, embraced by the consort Vasudhara, blue, holding a gold vase.

"In the experience of great bliss fiercely blazing with wrathful power, maroon in colour, holding a vajra and kila, the two feet dancing expressively atop a tigress; homage to Dorje Drolo." (Nyingma Liturgical verse).

For the purpose of subduing daemons and spirits of Tibet and the surrounding Himalayan regions Padmasambhava, at the thirteen mountain retreats each known as the Tiger's Den, appeared as the wrathful Dorje Drolo. At many of these locations Guru Rinpoche left impressions of his feet in the rocks which is indicated by the black footprints on four of the rock outcroppings surrounding Dorje Drolo. The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava belong to the tradition of the Revealed Treasures of the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism (Tib.: ter ma).

Jeff Watt 1-99

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 7
Padmasambhava: Eight Forms Main Page
Padmasambhava: Dorje Drolo Main Page
Padmasambhava: Dorje Drolo (Eight Forms Sets)
Padmasambhava: Dorje Drolo (Masterworks)
Tradition: Dorje Drag (Nyingma)
Glossary: Padmasambhava Names & Terminology
Subject: Tiger Imagery