Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Begtse Chen (Buddhist Protector)

བེག་ཚེ་ལྕམ་སྲིང། སྲུང་མ། 大红司命 (又名战神)护法
(item no. 65414)
Origin Location Mongolia
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Begtse Chen, (English: the Great Coat of Mail. Sanskrit name: Prana Atma), the main protector for the Hayagriva cycle of practice.

Tibetan: Begtse Chen

With one face and two hands, in the appearance of a red 'tsen' daemon, dressed like a Tibetan warrior, he is covered in protective armour. In the right hand he holds a sword with a black scorpion shaped handle. The left hand typically clutches to the breast a fresh heart with a bow and arrow held in the bend of the elbow and a long lance and banner leaning against the shoulder. Aside from the armour, he usually wears all the wrathful vestments such as the crown of five skulls, a necklace of fifty freshly severed heads, and the like. Typically he stands atop a sun disc with the right foot on the corpse of a horse and the left on the corpse of a man and he is completely surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness fire.

Within the New (Sarma) Schools of Sakya and Kagyu the practice of Begtse Chen was popularized by Marpa Lotsawa and Sachen Kunga Nyingpo.

Lineage from India: Vajradhara, Mahadeva, Nyi Od Dragpa, Dawa Nagpo, Shridhara Krashu, Nyen Lotsawa Dharma Drag, Kha'u Chokyi Gyaltsen, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158), etc.

Jeff Watt 5-98

The History of Deity Begtse.

Begtse Deity is also known as Tricpa Chamsin. One is one of the main protectors of the Sakya school, he is also a Dharma protector of the Gelugpa school as well. He is also known as a father of Noo-jin Tseu Marpo. Here is a history of Begtse Deity according to the Sakya Lama Tsarchen Losal Gyatso. Many kalpas ago two sons were born in the family of king Sergyi Shugchan and queen Upale Ke. The older brother's name was Trakden and the younger brother's name was Trakgye. They had different religious beliefs and they could not agree with each other. They had many debates. In these debates whoever lost had to follow the winner's religion. The older brother won but the younger one refused to follow him and ran away. The older brother caught him and tried to punish him, but the younger brother said: "Even if you will try to kill me I will not accept your religion, please let me go and I promise in the future when you will reach Enlightenment, I will protect your teachings". The older brother released him and gave him a set of copper armour, a coral stick, an arrow and a bow; and he gave him the name Sogtag Yamshi Marpo. Then they split. In another lifetime when the older brother became Buddha (Shakyamuni), the younger brother was born in the North West Marutse cemetery. His father's name was Nujin Zangkiralpachen and his mother's name was Sinmo Thrakiralbachin. The parents laid two eggs, one of them was coral, another one was "se" (name of material). Those eggs flew in the sky, conquering many gods, then they flew into the earth, conquering many nagas. They even threatened their own parents. The parents asked Akachati, Mahakala's mother, for protection and Akachati threw her katamka ( a ritual stick) at the eggs and broke them. From the coral egg a coral man with yellow hair bound on the top of his head came out. He was wearing copper armour, carrying a copper sword, an arrow and a bow and a coral stick. He said:" My name is Sogdag Yamshu Marpo". From another egg the blue female came out. She had shell teeth and turquoise eyebrows, her hair was made out of fire. She was wearing an agate and lapis lazuli necklace. She was carrying a copper knife and a purba and she was riding a man-eating bear. Akachati subdued them. Thus they became the Dharma Protectors. The lineage of this Deity was carried by Marpa Losawa and Ne Lotsawa. Ne Lotsawa gave it to Nakaupa. Nakaupa gave it to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. Thus Begtse Chamsin (brother and sister) became protectors of the Sakyapa.

L. Kunga Rinpoche 7-98

Secondary Images
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Publication: Selection of Works - Sculpture (RMA)

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Sculpture: Zanabazar Style (Wrathful Appearance)
Region: Mongolia [Medium & Type]
Buddhist Protector: Begtse Chen Art History
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