Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Shadbhuja, Sita (White, Shangpa)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 83416)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shadbhuja Sita Mahakala, (Tibetan: pal gon po kar po yi shin nor bu chag drug pa. English: the Glorious Wish-fulfilling Jewel, White Lord with Six Hands): emanation of Avalokiteshvara and principal wealth deity of the Shangpa Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. White Mahakala in this form is a meditational deity and his special function or activity is to increase wealth and the material abundance of the practitioner and worshippers. (See the Wealth Deities Main Page).

White in colour, wrathful in appearance, Mahakala has one face with three round glaring eyes, a gaping mouth and yellow hair flowing upward. With six hands the first pair hold a wish-fulfilling jewel and a skullcup containing a vase filled with jewels, the second pair a curved knife and trident held upraised and the third pair a damaru drum and hook extended to the sides. Adorned with a crown of jewels and gold, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, he wears a green scarf across the shoulders and blue, red and orange silks as a skirt. Atop the two prone figures of the elephant headed Ganesh, orange sun disc and multi-coloured lotus flower, he stands surrounded by a wreath of orange pristine awareness fire emblazoned with green, red and blue wish-fulfilling jewels.

"Homage to Lord Chintamani, Holy Avalokiteshvara,
the gathered compassion of all buddhas of the ten directions and three times;
to that emanation, the Six Handed Protector,
devotedly with body, speech and mind I bow." (Common liturgical verse).

At the top right and left sides are two figures wearing monastic robes and yellow pandita hats. In the lower portion of the composition are the 'Five Power-Gathering Dakinis' of various colours, white, blue, yellow, red and green, they hold in the right hands a hook and in the left a skullcup containing a precious vase. Peaceful in appearance, each has three eyes, adorned with gold, jewels and various silks; standing in dancing postures. A gentle verdant landscape fills the foreground with blue skies and tailing flowers and vines filling the upper composition.

White Mahakala with six arms is the wealth aspect of the wrathful protector Shadbhuja Mahakala. Arising from the Kriya class of Tantra, the practice has become popular in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Lineage: Vajradhara, Jnana Dakini, Shri Shavaripa, Lord Maitripa, Mahasiddha Rahulagupta, Khedrup Khyungpo Naljor (founder of the Shangpa Kagyu School, 11th century), Nyam Med Rinchen Tsondru, Bonton Kyergangpa (famous terton of the Hayagriva cycle of practice), etc.

Jeff Watt 12-2015

Buddha Form | Female Form | Wrathful Form

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Mahakala: Shadbhuja, White (6 Hands, Shangpa)
Exhibition: Wrathful Form (DM)
Subject: Aphorisms (Chinese Language)
Collection of Dhargye Museum (Painting Gallery 1)
Subject: Wealth Deity Videos
Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara (Wrathful/Semi Forms)
Collection of Dhargye Museum
Subject: Aphorisms for Himalayan Art & Iconography