Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Worldly Protector (Buddhist) - Drogdze Wangmo

འཇིག་རྟེན་པའི་ལྷ། ནང་ལྷ། 世俗的神(佛教)
(item no. 90904)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma and Gelug
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Carolyn and Wesley Halpert
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Drogdzema, (English: the Powerful Friend): protector of the Nyingma Terma (Treasure) Tradition.

"?One Mother, Mistress of the Three Realms, with a body maroon in colour, ferocious and frightful in appearance, with one face and two hands. In the right, eating the heart of an enemy, blood dripping and warm. Reflecting the Three Realms - the left holds a mirror. Wearing an upper garment of white silk, a tiger skin lower garment and a fresh human skin cloak. Dark brown hair hanging downward, earrings, a crown of five dry skulls and a necklace of fifty fresh, a garland of bones and a long necklace; standing haughtily with the left leg extended?" (Min-ling Lochen Dharmashri, 1654-1718. Tibetan source text part II, pp.261-262).

Fierce in appearance, maroon in colour, with one face and two hands, she has a gaping mouth, bared fangs and flaccid hanging breasts. The right hand to the mouth holds a fresh heart and the left upraised a round gold mirror. Adorned with a tiara of five skulls, earrings, necklace, bracelets, anklets and a long garland of severed heads she wears an upper robe of human skin and a tiger pelt as a skirt. Standing with the right leg bent and left straight, above a corpse, sun disc and lotus blossom she is completely surrounded by the orange-red flames of wisdom fire. At the left and right are four attendant mamos (female cemetery daemons), with a faint hue of red, blue, green and white. Each has one face and two hands holding upraised in the right a human heart and a gold mirror in the left held to the breast. Supported on the left leg with the right drawn up in a dancing posture, atop a corpse, sun and lotus seat they are surrounded by the flames of wisdom.

"The Mistress of the charnel ground mamos, dark maroon, extremely wrathful. In the right [hand] - eating the heart of the enemy, in the left a mirror. White silk as an upper garment, a tiger skirt, a fresh human skin worn in a draped manner, dark brown hair - downward tousled, conch shell earrings, a crown of five skulls, necklace of fresh heads, a garland of bone and a snake necklace. The left leg is straight, on a lotus, sun and corpse seat." (Jamyang Kyentse Wangpo, 1820-1892).

At the top center is Guru Padmasambhava, the supreme teacher of the Nyingmapa School. Holding to the heart a vajra and a skullcup in the lap, he supports against the left shoulder a vajra katvanga staff. Adorned with various jewel and gold ornaments he wears the red lotus hat and the three religious robes of various colours. Below is a wrathful blue figure, in the general appearance of Vajrapani, with one face and two hands. The right hand extended upward holds a gold vajra and the left thrust outward performs a wrathful gesture. Attired in all the vestments of a wrathful one he is surrounded by flames of wisdom fire. At the left, an early Dalai Lama, likely the fifth, with the right hand holds the stem of a lotus flower to the heart and the left placed in the lap supports a gold long-life vase. Tucked in the belt is a kila - three-edged dagger. Wearing the robes of a monk and a meditation cloak he is crowned with a yellow pandita hat. At the right is a lama wearing monastic robes and a red hat. The right hand is held to the heart and the left placed in the lap in the mudra of meditation.

At the bottom center is the very wrathful avowed protector Rahula, maroon in colour, with nine faces and four hands. The first pair holds a makara (sea creature) banner upraised in the right and a snake lasso in the left. The second pair holds a tightly drawn bow and arrow. Covering the upper torso and limbs are numerous eyes and the lower body is that of a coiled green snake, atop a prone human figure, sun disc and lotus seat above a blood red ocean contained in a triangular enclosure; he is surrounded by raging flames of orange wisdom fire.

At the left a wrathful protector holds a spear in the right hand and eats a heart with the left. Completely covered in brocade garments of various colours he rides a black horse surrounded by billowing black smoke. At the right a red figure holds aloft a gold vajra in the right hand and a human heart in the left. Well attired in flowing garments he rides atop a snow lion surrounded by black smoke.

"Owner of all charnel ground places, baneful Mistress of local protectors and dakas, with unsurpassed power of prescience and magical emanation; homage to the yogini Drogdze Wangmo." (Nyingma liturgical verse).

Avowed protectors, also known as worldly deities, have been sworn by an oath to protect both the teachings of the Buddha and the followers. In most situations the protectors were formerly daemons bent on inflicting harm, having been subdued by great teachers such as Padmasambhava, they now serve the altruistic interests of Buddhist ideals.

Jeff Watt 4-99

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