Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Maning (Eunuch)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 83478)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Neuter

Interpretation / Description

Maning Mahakala (Tibetan: pal ye she gyi gon po ma ning nag po. English: The Glorious Lord of Pristine Awareness, Black Eunuch): the body emanation of Mahakala and lord of all enlightened and worldly protectors of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Mahakala is a class of protector deity in Tantric Buddhism. Mahakala has many different forms and they can have different special functions under the general umbrella of being a protector. Maning Mahakala specifically is a protector deity belonging to the class of enlightened protectors and his general demeanour is in Wrathful Appearance one of the Eleven Figurative Forms in Himalayan style art.

"...Glorious Lord of Pristine Awareness, Black Eunuch, with a body blue-black in colour, one face and two hands. Holding aloft in the right, pointed to the sky, a flaming lance, and in the left a poisoned heart and lasso. With three round red eyes, a curled tongue and hanging black snakes for hair. Having a crown of five dry skulls and a necklace of fifty fresh. Adorned with a garland of hearts and piles of snakes, dressed in silk cloaks, black and layered. Having a gold belt and a girdle of fresh human skin. From the three doors of a great stick of sandalwood, fastened at the waist, an army of snakes is dispersed. Decorated with varieties of colourful flowing streamers and all the frightful ornaments. Standing with the left leg extended atop a corpse seat..." (Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje 1646-1714 and Minling Lochen Dharmashri 1654-1718. Tibetan source text 'dod 'jo bum bzang, Part II, page 121-123).

"Glorious great emanation of the body of the Great Black One,
trustee of the king of the wrathful, executioner of enemies and hindrances,
great deity, glorious and blazing, lord of all Dharma protectors;
homage to the glorious lord, Black Eunuch." (Nyingma liturgical verse).

At the top center is the figure of the Indian teacher Padmasambhava. At the right and left sides are ten retinue, secondary figures, attendants and servants to Mahakala. Descending on the left are Varuna, Raksha, Yama, Agni and Indra at the bottom with the body covered with eyes. Descending on the right side are Brahma, Vayu Deva, Kubera (?), Yaksha and Bhu Devi. Some are wrathful in appearance and some are peaceful. They each ride atop there own mount such as an elephant, horse, buffalo, etc.

Lineage of Teachers: Kuntu Zangpo, Chemchog, Palgon, Orgyan Yab-yum, Terton Chowang, Manlungpa, Dagton, Nyenton, Sedingpa Khupon, Paljor Wangchug, Chokyi Wangpo, Karma Guru, Nyadag Trulku, Chowang Kunzang, Rigdzin Tinle Lhundrup, etc. Also see the variant lineages of Dorje Lingpa, Ratna Lingpa, Pema Lingpa and Jatson Nyingpo.

Jeff Watt 12-2015

Buddha Form | Female Form | Wrathful Form

Secondary Images
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