Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mandala of Akshobhya Buddha

མི་འཁྲུགས་པ། 不动如来
(item no. 467)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Buddhist
Size 48.26x38.10cm (19x15in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.31.11
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Akshobhya, Vajra (Tibetan: dor je mi drug pa'i kyi khor): the Nine Deity Vajra Akshobhya Mandala in sambhogakaya form according to the tradition of Lord Atisha (982-1054).

At the center of the mandala, dark blue in colour, is buddha Akshobhya. The right hand is extended across the knee in the mudra of earth touching. The left placed in the lap in the mudra of meditation supports a gold upright vajra - the sign of the family. Adorned with a gold crown decorated with red ribbons, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, he wears a green scarf about the shoulders and a lower garment of red silk. With the legs folded in vajra posture above a moon disc and pink lotus seat, he is surrounded by a nimbus of yellow light and a dark green areola.

The Goddesses of the 8 Auspicious Emblems occupy the surrounding circle. Each with one face and two hands, in various colours, adorned with jewels and silks, they sit in relaxed postures. Starting from the top and circling to the right they hold a parasol, vase, conch shell, fish, endless knot, wheel, lotus and victory banner.

The floor of the palace mandala is white below - east, red at the top - west, yellow at the left - south, and green to the right - north. The square shape of the enclosure marks the extent of the palace walls and the 'T' shaped structures are the four doors topped with four lintels, red, blue, green and yellow, each crowned with a Dharma wheel. Surrounding those can be seen the tips of the large double vajra on which the entire palace stands. Outside of that is a ring of variously coloured lotus petals, a ring of gold vajras on a black background and the ring of the five-coloured flames of pristine awareness.

At the top left against a sky of green and blue billowing clouds is the buddha Shakyamuni, golden in colour, with the right hand in the earth touching mudra and the left placed in the lap. Seated on a pink lotus he is surrounded by blue and green light. At the right side is the bodhisattva Maitreya, gold, with the two hands at the heart performing the mudra of teaching while holding the stem of a single lotus blossoming at the side.

On a foreground of green hills and blue water, at the left is Lord Atisha with the two hands in the Dharma teaching mudra at the heart. Attired in the orange and red robes of a monk, he wears the red pandita hat on the head, and seated on a cushion. A golden stupa and colourful travelling bag stand at the side. At the right is a lama performing the mudra of generosity with the right hand and the mudra of blessing with the left. Attired in the garb of a monk he wears a pandita hat folded across the crown of the head; seated on a blue cushion.

This form of buddha Akshobhya belongs to the Kriya classification. Kriya tantra is divided into 3 Buddha Families - Tathagata, Vajra and Padma. Akshobhya is the head of the Vajra Family.

Jeff Watt 9-99

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Mandala: Mandala Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Buddhist Deity: Akshobhya Buddha Main Page (阿閦佛)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Mandala