Entries for month: April 2012

Repeated Images Surrounding a Central Figure

April 29, 2012 ·

Repeated images surrounding a central figure are common in Himalayan and Tibetan art. The images of paintings found on this page are only a selection from some of the larger museum collections on the HAR website.

The central subject can be almost any figure, a buddha, deity, or teacher. The surrounding subject can also be a repeat of the central subject or another figurative subject. The consistency is in the surrounding figures all being the same. Sometimes each figure is drawn individually by hand but more often the figures are created from a wood block stamping the outline of a number of figures at the same time or some other such mold to replicate the outline of a large number of images quickly and then painted to a greater or lesser degree.

The purpose of such paintings is to create large numbers of the same subject or deity. This in turn multiplies the amount of merit from creating a single holy image to a hundred-fold amount of merit from creating a hundred auspicious images.

Tags: additions

Drolma Podrang Stupa Room, Sakya Town

April 22, 2012 ·

The The Drolma Podrang (Palace) Stupa Room houses the remains of a number of Sakya Tridzins and important teachers of the Drolma Podrang branch of the Khon family of Sakya. Most of the bodies are sealed inside the many stupas. The room is located on a second floor of the main Lhakang Chenmo Temple, Sakya, Tibet.

Tags: Sakya · Sculpture · additions

Puntsog Podrang Stupa Room, Sakya Town

April 22, 2012 ·

The Puntsog Podrang (Palace) Stupa Room houses the remains of a number of Sakya Tridzins and important teachers of the Puntsog Podrang branch of the Khon family of Sakya. Most of the bodies are sealed inside the many stupas. The room is located on a second floor of the main Lhakang Chenmo Temple, Sakya Town, Tibet.

Tags: Sculpture · additions · Sakya

Yoga Tantra Main Page - Added

April 22, 2012 ·

There are six principle texts belonging to the Yoga Tantra Classification. Most of the texts only have one or two associated mandalas, however the Sarva Durgati Parishodhana has twelve mandalas. The Namasangiti Tantra is known for having seven principal mandalas of Manjushri.

Yoga Tantra Texts:
- Sarvatatagata Tattvasamgraha Nama Mayahana Sutra [Toh 479] Vajradhatu Mandala, Trailokyavijaya Mandala
- Vajrashekhara Mahaguhya Yogatantra [Toh 480]
- Shri Paramadya Samkshipta Kula Mandala [Toh 487] Vajrasattva Mandala 1, Vajrasattva Mandala 2
- Sarvadurgati Parishodhana Tejorajasya Tatagatasya Arhato Samyaksambuddhasya Kalpaikadesha Nama [Toh 483]
- Sarvadurgati Parishodhana Tejorajasya Tatagatasya Arhato Samyaksambuddhasya Kalpa Nama [Toh 485]
- Manjushri Jnanasattvasya Paramarta Namasangiti [Toh 360] Dharmadhatu Vagishvara, Samkshiptakula Guhyaka Manjushri

Tags: additions · updates

Charya Tantra Main Page - Added

April 21, 2012 ·

The Charya Tantra Classification System, although following the same basic Kriya classification of the Three Buddha Families, has very few actual texts and even fewer deities or mandalas. Further to that, not all of the Tibetan Traditions agree on the text titles found under Charya Tantra classification. The Sakya Tradition includes The Manjushri Mulakalpa and Siddhaikavira Tantras as Charya. Most of the other Tibetan Buddhist schools do not. There is variation between the different Tibetan Tantra classification systems based mostly on three points: [1] how the Tantric literature classifies itself, [2] chronological time period, and [3] later religious traditions.

Charya Tantras:
1. Tatagata Family:
- Maha Vairochana Abhisambhodi Tantra [Toh 494]
- Manjushri Mula Kalpa [p102]
- Siddhaikavira Tantra [p103]

2. Padma Family:
(There are no texts translated from an Indian language into Tibetan from this classification)

3. Vajra Family:
- Vajrapani Abhisheka Tantra [Toh 496]
- Nilambaradhara Vajrapani Tantra [Toh 498]
- Vajrapatala Tantra [Toh 499]


Tags: additions · updates

The Three Lords of the World - Updated

April 21, 2012 ·

The Three Lords constitute the second level of deity classification according to the Kriya Tantra system. At the top level of classification are the Three Buddhas: Shakyamuni, Amitabha, and Akshobhya who are the heads of the Three Buddha Families - Tatagata, Padma and Vajra. In the Kriya system there are as many as eight levels of deity classification for each of the Three Families: 1. Buddha of the Family, 2. Lord of the Family, 3. Mother of the Family, 4. Ushnisha of the Family, 5. Wrathful Deity of the Family, 6. Messengers of the Family, 7. Bodhisattvas of the Family, and 8. Nagas & Yakshas of the Family.

The Three Lords of the World (Bodhisattva): Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani.

Note that the Three Lords: Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani are not protector deities. In many non-Tibetan publications it is common to see the Three Lords mistakenly referred to as Protectors. The confusion is based on the Tibetan word 'gonpo' meaning 'lord' which is also used as a term for the class of Mahakala deities and others. The confusion also arises from Tibetan and Himalayan folk culture where a cairn is located at the entrance to a village and referred to as the shrine of the 'Gonpo Sum' - Three Lords (protectors). The village shrines most likely predate Buddhism and were originally unrelated to the Three Lords of Tantric Buddhism.

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Kriya Tantra Main Page - Added

April 21, 2012 ·

Tantric Buddhism can be divided into two different schools. The first and earliest is the Nyingma Tradition. The second are the group of traditions collectively known as the Sarma (New) Schools. The New Schools are made up of the Kadam, Sakya, Marpa Kagyu, Shangpa Kagyu, Jonang,  Gelug and others. According to the Sarma Schools Kriya Tantra is the first of the four classifications of Buddhist Tantra: Kriya, Charya, Yoga, Anuttarayoga.

Kriya itself is divided into the Three Families: 1. Tatagata, 2. Padma, and 3. Vajra. Those are followed by a general category of Tantras applicable to all three families. The three families are each divided into sub-categories. The Tatagata Family has the largest number with eight categories. The Padma and Vajra Families have five categories each based on the first eight categories of the Tatagata Family. The majority of texts catalogued as belonging to the Kriya Tantra are classified under the categories of the Three families. Very few texts belong to the general fourth category.

The Three Families of Kriya Tantra:
1. Tatagata Family | 2. Padma Family | 3. Vajra Family



Tantra Classification Main Page - Updated

April 21, 2012 ·

The Tantra Classifications page has been updated along with the sub-pages. More work still needs to be done making this a work in-progress.


Tantra Classification: in Vajrayana Buddhism there are different ways of enumerating, cataloguing and categorizing the many different texts in Tantra literature. Several different systems made their way to the Himalayas and Tibet. At the present time there are two principal systems in use, the Nyingma and the Sarma. The Tibetan word Nyingma literally means old traditions of Tantra and Sarma means the new traditions of Tantra. The new Tantra traditions are composed of the Kadampa, Sakya, Marpa Kagyu, Shangpa Kagyu, Pacifying of Padampa Sanggye, Jonang and the Rwa Tradition. The Gelug Tradition was not included amongst these formative traditions because it was not in direct receipt of any of the tantric traditions from India but was a later synthesis of the already mentioned traditions in Tibet.

Tags: updates · additions

Greyscale - Figurative & General Subjects - Updated

April 21, 2012 ·

The Greyscale Main Page for Figurative and General Subjects has been updated with many new additions.


On the catalogue page for each of the images is a secondary image that is greyscaled (sometimes coloured) and numbered allowing for easy identification of all of the figures in the composition. So far only a small selection of paintings in the collection have had the greyscale and numbering treatment however more are being added all the time. 

Tags: updates · additions · Greyscale

Miracles at Shravasti - Updated

April 21, 2012 ·

Shakyamuni Buddha and depictions of the fifteen miracles at Shravasti. According to the life story of Shakyamuni Buddha he once stayed at Shravasti in Northern India and over the course of fifteen days performed fifteen miracles or magical displays. Generally paintings of the miracles are included in the sets of paintings depicting the life story. There is some evidence that suggests that on occasion the Fifteen Miracles may have been treated as a separate topic from the general life story and painted separately.


- Life Story Painting (painting set)
- Life Story Block Print (from a block print set)
- Life Story Painting (painting set)
- Three Miracles (Fifteen) (from a set of fifteen miracles)
- Fifteen Miracles (from a set of block prints)
- Others....

Tags: additions · updates