Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Hevajra (Buddhist Deity) - Heruka

ཀྱེ་རྡོ་རྗེ། ནང་ལྷ། 喜金刚(佛教本尊)
(item no. 68408)
Origin Location India
Date Range 1100 - 1199
Lineages Buddhist
Material Metal
Collection Nyingjei Lam
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P25326

Interpretation / Description

Shri Hevajra Heruka. (See the various meanings of Heruka).

Shri Hevajra is a principal meditational deity of the Anuttarayoga classification in Buddhist Tantra. According to the Sakya system Hevajra belongs to the sub-class of 'non-dual' tantra. The Kagyu system classifies Hevajra as 'Wisdom-mother' tantra. From the numerous texts within the cycle of Hevajra the root Tantra of 'Two Sections' is the most important.

This particular sculpture is unusual because the known textual descriptions have the deity standing on the right leg - not the left. Other sculpture of Hevajra are known to have this so far unexplained leg reversal.

On the crown of the head in front of the pile of hair bristling upwards is the small form of the seated buddha Akshobhya.

"...Shri Heruka, with a body blue-black in colour, one face, two arms, three eyes, bared fangs. The right hand holds a vajra upraised [and] the left a blood filled skullcup held to the heart. The bend of the elbow supports a katvanga staff. With yellow hair bristling upwards, a necklace of fifty fresh heads, a crown of five dry human skulls, and six bone ornaments. Standing with the right leg extended and the left drawn up in a dancing posture atop lotus, sun and corpse in the middle of fiercely blazing mountain of fire." (Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. sgrub thabs kun btus, volume 4, folio 5 & 6).

Lineage Teachers from India to Tibet: Vajradhara, Lalita Vajra, Vajrasana, Bari Lotsawa, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, Lobpon Rinpoche, Jetsun Dragpa, Choje Sakya Pandita, Lungpupa, Semcherwa Shonnu Drub, Dragpugpa, Lama Dampa, Gyalse Togme, Nyenpo Palden Rinchen, Manipa Leg Gyal, Pagchog Dragpa Sonam, Je Kunga Chogdrub, Jetsun Kunga Drolchog, Khedrub Sanggye Yeshe, Je Champa Lhundrub, Jetsun Kunga Nyingpo, Je Rinchen Gyatso, etc. (Volume 11, folio 493-494).

Jeff Watt 1-2012

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Hevajra Sculpture (Masterworks)
Buddhist Deity: Hevajra Main Page
Collection of Nyingjei Lam
Buddhist Deity: Heruka
Subject: Heruka Meaning & Forms
Collection of Nyingjei Lam (Deities)
Buddhist Deity: Hevajra, Heruka Page
Buddhist Deity: Hevajra (Early Sculpture)
Collection: Bonhams, Hong Kong (December, 2021)