Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Karmapa 2, Karma Pakshi

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 89717)
Origin Location India
Date Range 1960 -
Lineages Kagyu, Karma (Kagyu) and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P1487

Interpretation / Description

Karma Pakshi, 2nd Karmapa (1204-1283): in a unique depiction holding a vajra in the upraised right hand and a kila peg thrusting downwards with the left hand. This depiction of Karma Pakshi is intended as a guruyoga meditation practice based on vision and a subsequent 'Terma' text of the Nyingma Terton 'Treasure Revealer' Migyur Dorje when he was 25 years old while performing the practices of Bernagchen Mahakala, at 3:00 in the morning. At that time he had an experience of a bright red light filling his room. After passing unconscious, he awoke to a vision of the teacher Karma Pakshi and a retinue of seven figures surrounding him at the four sides, front and above. Above Kama Pakshi was (1) Padmasambhava. On his right side was (2) Hayagriva, behind - the yogi (3) Rechungpa. On the left side was (4) Vajravarahi and in front there were the protectors (5) Bernagchen Mahakala, (6) Shri Devi and (7) Damchen Garwa Nagpo.

The texts and liturgies are also contained in the famous Rinchen Terdzo collection of Jamgon Kongtrul.

Karma Pakshi is maroon in colour (as described in the text) with one face and two hands. He has a third eye in the middle of the forehead, a black goatee protruding beneath the chin, and the black hat of the Karmapas. In the up raised right hand he holds a gold vajra ready to through and in the left hand he points a kila, three sided peg, downward. In vajra posture, seated atop a moon disc and multi-coloured lotus, above a double dharmakara, he is surrounded by a sphere of radiating light.

At the top center is Padmasambhava wreathed in rainbow light. On the left side sits Rechungpa with his distinctive white hat shaped like a horn. On the right side is Namcho Migyur Dorje wearing a Nyingma hat and holding a treasure casket. (See the Guruyoga Images Outline Page).

At the immediate left is red Hayagriva, wrathful, with one face and two hands. On the right side is Vajravarahi, red, standing in a dancing posture. At the bottom center is the form of Shri Devi and Bernagchen Mahakala atop a horse. At the left side is Damchen Garwa Nagpo riding a goat. On the right side is a Tsen deity, likely Tsi'u Marpo.

Jeff Watt, 1-2010

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Subject: Guruyoga Iconography Page
Teacher: Karmapa, Karma Pakshi Main Page
Incarnation Lineage: Gyalwa Karmapa Main Page
Teacher: Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (Guruyoga)
Iconography: Guru (Teacher)