Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Vaishravana (Buddhist Protector) - Riding a Lion

རྣམ་ཐོས་སྲས། བྱང་ཕྱོགས་སྐྱོང་། 北方多闻天王
(item no. 30941)
Origin Location China
Date Range 1300 - 1399
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: King

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Vaishravana Riding a Lion (Tibetan: nam to se tag shon. English: the Son of Nam To): the Guardian King of the Northern Direction, Lord of Yakshas.

With vajra armour, a garland of jewel ornaments and the beautiful heavenly banner - fluttering, illuminated in the middle of a hundred thousand Wealth Bestowers; homage to Vaishravana, chief among the protectors of the Teaching." (Nyingma liturgical verse).

Vaishravana, leader of the Yaksha race, is a worldly guardian worshipped as both a protector and benefactor. He, with his wife - a naga princess, lives on the north side of the lower slopes of mount Meru in the Heaven of the Four Great Kings in a sumptuous palace bathed in green emerald light. As the leader of the Four Direction Guardians, he at the head of the others, swore an oath of protection before the Buddha Shakyamuni. The stories and iconography of the Four Guardians arise primarily from the Mahayana sutras and are common to all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Zangskar Lotsawa, Lord Atisha, and others, popularised the meditation practice of Vaishravana Riding a Lion in the 11th century.

Lineage of Teachers: Vajradhara, Vajrapani, Chodze Chokyi Dorje, Kuntu Zangpo, Drozang Nyingpo, Rinchen Dorje, Khache Gonpa, Zangskhar Lotsawa, Yorpo Joton, Sonam Rinchen, Jepupa, Lhaje Dorzang, Jampa Lotsawa, Sonam Wangchug, Sonam Sengge, Sengge Tsenchen.

Alternate Lineage of Teachers: Vajrapani, Kamarupa, Karnapa, Drozang Rinchen Dorje, Brahmin Sajnyena, Zijilha, Pagpa Sherab, Shuton Kyab, Dragpa Sengge, Gyaton Drubpapo, Drubchog Dorje Pal, Rinpoche, Lama Sengge Shab, etc.

(For additional information see Demonic Divine: Himalayan Art and Beyond, Robert N. Linrothe and Jeff J. Watt. Rubin Museum of Art, 2004).

Jeff Watt 8-2014

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