Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Padmasambhava - 8 Forms: Orgyen Dorje Chang

པད་མ་འབྱུང་གནས། 莲花生大士
(item no. 403)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Nyingma
Size 71.12x50.80cm (28x20in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.31.6
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Vajradhara, Padmasambhava (Tibetan: dorje chang, pe ma jung ne. English: the Vajra Holder, Lotus Born) with the consort Yeshe Tsogyal, surrounded by various emanations and Nyingma lineage gurus.

Dark blue in colour, peaceful, with one face and two hands holding a vajra and bell crossed at the heart, embracing the white consort, the great Vajradhara is seated in vajra posture. Lavishly adorned with gold and jewel ornaments of crowns, necklaces, bracelets and various coloured silks and scarves, the Lord and consort sit atop a moon and multi-coloured lotus seat within a rainbow sphere in the sky.

At the top center is Samantabhadra, dark blue, the primordial buddha, attended on each side by two bodhisattvas. Below that is the buddha Amitayus, red, with consort. Vajrasattva and Avalokiteshvara sit to the left and right, both white with one face and two hands. Below those, to the left and right are the great Indian pandits Nagarjuna and Asanga.

To the right and left along both sides are various deities and gurus, emanations of Guru Rinpoche. At the bottom center seated in a rainbow sphere is Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava, performing the teaching gesture (mudra), with the King, ministers, people and daemons of Tibet seated in front and to the sides, and a large bowl of offerings. Surrounding that, also in rainbow spheres are the main students of Guru Rinpoche.

At the bottom left are two lama figures seated on cushions and wearing monastic robes. The lama with the yellow pandita hat performs the gestures characteristic of the Fifth Dalai Lama.

"Immutable, omnipresent, Lord of Pristine Awareness. Unshakable reality of great bliss. Supreme treasure of wishing jewels; to the great Vajradhara I bow." (Nyingma liturgical text).

In the Nyingma tradition Vajradhara is the activity emanation of the primordial buddha Samantabhadra. The subject of the painting is a Terma (Treasure) form of peaceful Guru Rinpoche appearing as Vajradhara embracing the consort Yeshe Tsogyal. The arrangement of the painting with rainbow spheres, stylized bars and small circles of light indicate that it is based on a visionary experience.

(Some Tibetan lettering is visible along the borders at the bottom of the painting).

Jeff Watt 9-98

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Padmasambhava: Twenty-five Disciples (Single Painting)
Padmasambhava: Eight Forms Main Page
Padmasambhava: Orgyen Dorje Chang
Subject: Rainbow Imagery