Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Ratnasambhava Buddha - (Sarvadurgati Tantra)

སངས་རྒྱས་རིན་ཆེན་འབྱུང་གནས། 宝生佛
(item no. 270)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1300 - 1399
Lineages Uncertain
Size 77.47x50.17cm (30.50x19.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Raised Gold on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1996.13.2
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Ratnasambhava, Buddha (Tibetan: rin chen jung den, sang gye): a principal buddha within Vajrayana Buddhism representing the qualities of enlightenment and residing in the southern quarter of a mandala.

"In the middle of a ground of lapis lazuli is a jewelled throne - bestowing numerous attainments. On top is a thousand petalled lotus - unstained by worldly faults. Wisdom and means appear as a sun and moon. Above this, as the essence of all qualities is Ratnasambhava. With a radiant body having the colour of blazing gold, one face, two hands, the right is in supreme generosity -- fulfilling the wishes of beings. Performing meditative stabilization, the left is in the mudra of meditation. Seated with the two feet in vajra posture - method and wisdom, and having the thirty-two marks and eighty examples of excellence. For the purpose of satisfying - well adorned with jewels and beautiful silk garments. Adorning the body are a million light rays issuing and returning; having a voice possessing sixty separate tones and a mind continuum of immeasurable pristine awareness." (Bhikshu Konchog Ozer, 15th century).

The backrest of the throne is decorated with two blue horses, two makaras and a Garuda above. Alongside the throne stand two bodhisattvas and above each three more seated at both sides. Adorned with jewels and silks, they hold various objects. Along the front of the throne between the green and blue horses are 3 of the 4 female Door Guardians. In the middle for the southern direction is Vajrapashi holding a lasso (with a small name inscription below). At the left, west, is Vajrasphota holding a flower garland and at the right, east, Vajrakushi also holding a flower garland. At the bottom center is a wrathful male figure with one face and six hands, yellow in colour. At the two sides and above are three wrathful attendants, yellow, each with one face and two hands standing in a wrathful gesture with the right leg bent and the left straight.

At the bottom left side is the Direction Guardian of the south, Yama, blue in colour, riding a brown buffalo. Seated alongside is the Guardian King of the South, Virudhaka, blue in colour, holding a long sword with the right hand and the scabbard in the left, wearing a helmet and the garments of a warrior. At the bottom right is the Direction Guardian of the southwest, Rakshasa, blue, riding on the back of a zombie.

Surrounding all of that are 132 Shakyamuni Buddha figures. Golden in colour, aligned in rows, each with one face and two hands, they perform the earth touching mudra with the right and the mudra of meditation with the left, wearing red robes and seated in vajra posture surrounded by circles of light. The structure of an alternating lion and horse supported throne extends along the length of the bottom. There are several name inscriptions, most illegible, and a long inscription running along the bottom. (See painting #15 for an almost identical composition and structure).

Occupying a central role in Vajrayana Buddhism, Ratnasambhava, is the Lord of the 4th of the Five Buddha Families of tantra and found throughout all 4 tantra classifications most notably in the anuttarayoga class.

Jeff Watt 9-99

Front of Painting
Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: gzi brjid, ... , ... zhag pa, 'phags skye po, .... .

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