Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Padmasambhava - Totreng Tsal

པད་མ་འབྱུང་གནས། 莲花生大士
(item no. 599)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma, Sakya and Jonang (Sakya)
Size 64.77x86.36cm (25.50x34in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.3.8
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Padmasambhava (Pema Jungne) as Secret Guru Zilnon Tsal (gu ru gsang ba zil gnon rtsal).

Dark blue in colour with the right hand upraised. Padmasambhava holds a gold vajra, the left placed at the heart supports a white skullcup with a katvanga staff in the bend of the elbow. Wearing a lotus hat and a tiger skin skirt, he stands in a threatening posture above a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus blossom. Retinue figures sit and stand in the foreground forming a half circle.

Immediately below the central blue form of Padmasambhava are eight seated figures in a semi-circle, dark blue in colour, each with the right hand raised and a skullcup in the left. These are the Eight Vidyadhara according to the Nyingma system of Tibetan Buddhism. Beginning at the left side and moving to the right are: Manjushrimitra, Humkara, Nagarjuna, Prabhahasti, Vimalamitra, Rambuguhya, Dhanasamskrita, and Shantigarbha.

Outside of that semi-circle are eight white figures in a dancing posture embracing a consort. These figures are the Eight Principal students of Padmasambhava. Beginng at the left side and moving to the right are: Trisong Detsen, Namkha'i Nyingpo, Sanggye Yeshe, Gyalwa Chogying, Yeshe Tsogyal, Palgyi Yeshe, Lhangchen Palgi Sengge, and Vairochana. Each of these eight are associated with the Eight Heruka transmitted by the Eight Vidyadhara.

Lineage teachers are arranged above with meditational deities to the sides and protectors below. Descending from the top center of the composition is Samantabhadra Buddha, Vajradhara Buddha, Vajrasattva, Garab Dorje and Shri Simha with the right arm upraised.

At the upper left there are six teachers. Only two of the inscription are legible, Tangtong Gyalpo and Gampopa. At the upper right are six figures with four identifiable, Dolpopa, Songtsen Gampo, Jigme Lingpa and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. The selection of teachers is very eclectic with representatives from the Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Jonang.

At the left side of the large central Padmasambhava are Amitayus with consort, White Tara and Kurukulla. On the right side is Vajrasattva and consort, Green Tara and White Jambhala.

Directly below the central figure is Dorje Drolo standing atop a pregnant tigress. At the left side is Shadbhuja Mahakala and on the right is Shri Devi Dudsolma. Along the bottom of the composition beginning at the left side is Maning Mahakala, Ekajati, Panjarnata Mahakala, Dorje Legpa and Rahula.

Stylistically the painting appears to be more in keeping with painting examples from the Amdo Ngaba region and possibly from the Dzamtang area where there are a number of large Jonang monasteries.

Jeff Watt 11-2000 [updated 11-2021]

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of RMA: Iconographically Rare Works
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 3
Tradition: Terma, Revealed Treasure (Main Page)
Subject: Guruyoga Iconography Page
Padmasambhava: Terma Representations & Meditational Deities
Teacher: Jamyang Khyentse (Minor Figure)