Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Padmasambhava - Wealth Deity

པད་མ་འབྱུང་གནས། 莲花生大士
(item no. 74)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Nyingma
Size 33.02x25.40cm (13x10in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1994.9.7
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Padmasambhava, Vaishravana (Tibetan: pe ma jung ne. English: the Lotus Born) the bestower of wealth surrounded by a host of wealth deities. From the mngar pan yon tan g.ter mdzod.

Gazing on all beings, with one face adorned with a moustache, the right hand holds to the heart the staff of a victory banner made of various coloured silks fluttering above. The left hand placed in the lap holds a brown mongoose - bestower of jewels. Adorned with gold earrings, necklace and various ornaments, the head is covered with a lotus hat of silk brocade topped with a half-vajra and feathers. Attired in various robes of different colours reflecting the disciplines of the Vinaya, Bodhisattva and Mantra Vehicles, in a relaxed manner, he sits on a sun and moon disc above a multi-coloured lotus blossom surrounded by a radiating nimbus of light spheres and a rain shower of variously coloured wishing jewels.

At the top center is the buddha Shakyamuni and below that is the bodhisattva of long-life, White Tara. At the upper left is the buddha of medicine, Bhaishajaya Guru, blue in colour. Seated below is the goddess Vina Sarasvati, white, with one face and two hands, holding a stringed instrument in a crouching posture. At the left side is a green goddess with the right hand performing the mudra of generosity while holding the stem of a flower blossoming at the right side. The left is held at the heart in blessing. Seated in a relaxed fashion her right foot rests upon a gold treasure vase.

At the upper right is the buddha of long life Amitayus, red, holding a long-life vase in the lap. At the lower left is red Tara, deity of power, holding a hook in the right hand and the stem of a lotus blossom to the heart with the left. To the right is the goddess of wealth Vasudhara, yellow in colour, the right hand in the mudra of generosity and the left holding a stalk of grain to the heart. Both are seated in a relaxed posture.

Along the bottom are various forms of the two wealth deities Jambhala and Vaishravana. At the lower left is Red Jambhala of the Terma tradition, with three faces and six hands. At the right is Black Jambhala, popularized by Shakyasribhadra, holding a skullcup and mongoose, naked and wrathful in a standing posture. In the middle is White Jambhala of the Jowo Atisha lineage, with one face and two hands holding a stick and mongoose, riding a green dragon.

At the bottom middle is Yellow Vaishravana holding a long staff in the right hand and a mongoose in the left, without the usual body armour; riding on a lion. To the right is Yellow Jambhala holding a bijapuraka fruit in the right hand and a mongoose held in the lap. To the left is Green Jambhala of the Kalachakra system, holding a fruit and mongoose, embraced by the consort green Vasudhara. At the right and left corners are two forms of Vaishravana, each with one face and two hands holding a mongoose in the left. Wearing body armour, helmets and flowing garments they ride atop sleek horses.

Principal among the many teachers to bring Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche had eight main manifestations and numerous other forms representing outer, inner and secret aspects. This form, a Revealed Treasure teaching (Terma), represents Guru Rinpoche as a wealth deity manifesting the attributes of Vaishravana. Within the Kama (Oral) Tradition of the Nyingmapa School, Padmasambhava was born in Northern India, possibly the Swat Valley, as the son of a king or minister. In the Terma (visionary treasure) Tradition he was born on a lotus in the middle of Dhanakosha Lake as an emanation of the Buddha Amitabha.

Numbered List:
1. Padmasambhava as Vaishravana
2. Shakyamuni Buddha
3. Medicine Buddha
4. Amitayus Buddha
5. White Tara
6. Green Tara
7. Vina Sarasvati
8. Red Tara according to the Shakyashri Bhadra Tradition
9. Yellow Vasudhara
10. Red Jambhala according to the Traba Ngonshe Tradition
11. White Jambhala according to the Atisha Tradition
12. Black Jambhala according to the Shakyashri Bhadra Tradition
13. Yellow Jambhala
14. Yellow Vaishravana Riding a Lion
15. Green Jambhala with consort according to the Kalachakra Tradition
16. Drala Worldly Protector
17. Drala Worldly Protector

Jeff Watt 10-98

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 6
Tradition: Terma, Revealed Treasure (Main Page)
Padmasambhava: 'Revealed Treasure'
Padmasambhava: Specialty Iconographic Forms
Buddhist Deity: Vaishravana (Treasure Tradition)
Padmasambhava: Vaishravana Form
Padmasambhava: Ngari Panchen Yontan Terdzo
Buddhist Worldly Protector: Vaishravana Main Page
Subject: Mongoose Symbolism