Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mandala of Vajrapani (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - (Sarvadurgati Tantra, Four Kings)

ཕྱག་ན་རྡོ་རྗེ། 金刚手菩萨
(item no. 65593)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1500 - 1599
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Vajrapani and the mandala of the Four Great Kings of the Four Directions from the Parishodhana Tantra and mandala set. This painting belongs to a set of twelve compositions. Only one other from the set is currently known.

Within the center of the two dimensional circular diagram (mandala) representing the top view of a three dimensional celestial palace and surroundings is Vajrapani, white in colour, with one face and two hands, holding in the right a vajra to the heart and with the left a bell at the left hip; adorned with jeweled ornaments and garments of silk, with a green aureole and nimbus behind.

In the surrounding four main and intermediate directions on a large eight sectioned dais are the Four Great Kings of the Directions each with one face and two hands holding their own unique symbols; wearing flowing garments, adorned with jewel and gold ornaments.

The floor of the palace is divided into four colours; red, green, yellow and blue. The outer square enclosure composed of variously coloured lines are the four palace walls, with a red veranda outside, adorned with sixteen offering goddesses of various colours. Each of the four doors ('T' shaped) has a guardian. The outermost stylized square represents the ornate roof. The palace rests on a circle of decorative lotus patterns surrounded by the ring of five coloured flames of pristine awareness. Each corner is adorned with a vase and lotus motif enriched with green vines, white circular blossoms and auspicious emblems.

The mandala of Vajrapani and the Four Guardian Kings belongs to the set of twelve mandalas arising from the Sarvadurgati Parishodhana Tantra (Eliminating all Bad Rebirths) of the Yoga Tantra classification of the Sarma Schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

(See another painting of the same subject).

At the top left is the goddess who removes contagious disease, Parnashavari, yellow in colour with three faces and six hands, kneeling on one leg. At the top right is the goddess of long life, Ushnishavijaya, with three faces and eight hands in a seated posture. At the bottom left is Krodha Achala - the 'immovable one' - blue in colour, holding a sword upraised and in a kneeling posture. At the bottom right is Sita Achala, deity of wisdom, white in colour, holding a sword and also in a kneeling posture.

Jeff Watt 3-2002 [updated 11-2010]

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani Main Page (Peaceful & Wrathful)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani, Mind (Sarvadurgati Tantra)
Buddhist Deity: Sarvavid, Parishodhana Tantra
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani Mandalas
Painting Set: Vajravali (RMA, Tamashige)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani (peaceful, vajra & bell)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani, Peaceful, Main Page