Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Garuda - Multi-coloured (Shabala)

ཁྱུང་། བོན་ལྷ། 大鹏(苯教本尊)
(item no. 33568)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Animal-Feature

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Garuda, Shabala (Multi-coloured), from the Kalachakra Tantra System.

At the top center is Padmasambhava wearing monastic robes, a pandita hat, and seated in a relaxed posture. At the four corners are Garudas in the colours of the different Buddha Families: Yellow Ratna Garuda, Red Padma Garuda, Green Karma Garuda and White Buddha Garuda.

The Shabala Garuda originates with the Kalachakra cycle of teachings and is an ancillary practice separate from the principal mandalas of secondary deities.

This form of Garuda is also included in the group of deity practices known as the Thirteen Golden Dharmas of Sakya. The Jonang and Gelug traditions also follow and maintain and the Shabhala tradition.

It is unusual to have a depiction of Padmasambhava at the top of the composition as he was not a practitioner, nor was he in the Indian lineage of teachers.

There is a difference between the Kalachakra tradition and the Sakya tradition Shabala Garudas. The Kalachakra depicts Garuda as biting down on a naga serpent which is held in both hands. The special Sakya tradition of the Thirteen Golden Dharmas depicts Shabala as holding up with the right hand a wish-fulfilling jewel and the left hand in a wrathful gesture at the heart. It is not historically clear when this variation developed or which version is the original.

Lineage of Teachers: Vajradhara, Chogyal Dawa Zangpo, Jampal Dragpa, Padma Karpo, Kalachakrapada Senior and Junior, Tilopa, Naropa, the Pamting Brothers, Mal Lotsawa Lodro Dragpa, Jetsun Tsewa Chenpo (Sachen Kunga Nyingpo), etc. (Drub Tab Kun Tu. Volume 8, folio 155).

Jeff Watt 1-2017

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Buddhist Deity: Garuda, Multi-coloured