Entries for month: July 2013

Twenty-one Taras, Panchen Set - Updated

July 31, 2013 ·

Only nine paintings from this set of Twenty-one Taras are currently accounted for. It is however commonly believed that all twenty-one paintings arrived in North America some 20 or 30 years ago.

The set follows the iconography of the Twenty-one Taras according to the system of Dipamkara Atisha. There are at least five different iconographic systems for depicting the Twenty-one Taras with the Atisha and Suryagupta being the two most popular. The set of compositions follow an easy to read formulaic iconographic composition. The center depicts one of the twenty-one forms of Tara. The top left corner of each composition depicts a major meditational deity of the Gelug Tradition. Often the deities are depicted in a simplified version rather than with multiple heads and arms. The top right corner depicts a previous or post incarnation of the Panchen Lama incarnation line, beginning with the 3rd Panchen, Lobzang Palden Yeshe in the first composition. At the bottom of each composition are one, two or three of the major and minor protector deities of the Gelug Tradition.

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Panchen Lama Main Page - Updated

July 31, 2013 ·

The Panchen Lamas, closely associated with the monastery of Tashi Lhunpo in Shigatse, are a line of successively re-incarnating teachers in the Gelug Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The first Panchen Lama, Lobzang Chokyi Gyaltsen (1570-1662), was a principal teacher of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngagwang Lobzang Gyatso (1617-1682). Lobzang Chokyi Gyaltsen was also the most important and powerful Gelug teacher of his time. It is believed that the institution of the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and the Desi (regent) were a political strategy formulated initially by the 3rd Desi, Sanggye Gyatso (1653-1705), considered by some to be the illegitimate son of the 5h Dalai Lama and the sister of the 2nd Desi.

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Bhutadamara Vajrapani (Charya Tantra) - Added

July 29, 2013 ·

There are two main differences between the Charya Tantra form of Bhutadamara Vajrapani and the Anuttarayoga form of the deity. First, the Charya iconography has Bhutadamara standing atop an elephant headed Vighnantaka. In the Anuttarayoga iconography he stands atop the wrathful rakshasa headed Aparajita. The principal Charya form of Bhutadamara, also popularized in the Vajravali compendium of Abhayakara Gupta, describes a thirty-three deity mandala. The Anuttarayoga form is a solitary deity without a detailed mandala or any attendant retinue figures.

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Akshobhya Buddha - Updated

July 29, 2013 ·

Occupying a central role in Vajrayana Buddhism, Akshobhya, by some accounts, is Lord of the 2nd of the Five Buddha Families of tantra and found throughout all 4 tantra classifications most notably in the anuttarayoga class. Akshobhya is also mentioned in several Mahayana sutras, the Vimalakirti Nirdesa being the most famous. It was in Abhirati, the pureland of Akshobhya, attainable only by 8th level bodhisattvas, where the famous Tibetan yogi Milarepa and the scholar Sakya Pandita are said to have obtained complete buddhahood.

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Potalaka Pureland - Updated

July 28, 2013 ·

The Four-armed Lokeshvara (Chaturbhuja) is certainly the most popular and most common form of Avalokiteshvara found in art. As a sub-group amongst the different forms there is also the additional context of the Potalaka Pureland with Lokeshvara seated at the center of the composition.

Potalaka is an island believed to be located somewhere in the Indian ocean off the coast of Western India. In China, Potalaka is found as Puto Island just two hours south of Shanghai. Puto Island was visited in the past by Tibetan teachers such as Karma Pakshi and Zangpo Pal as early as the Yuan period.

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Panchen Lama Iconography - Added

July 27, 2013 ·

The Nartang Monastery Printing House blockprint composition of the Panchen Lama incarnation line was created in the 18th century with 13 prints including the 3rd Panchen Lama in total. It was likely commissioned originally as a painting set in the late 17th or early 18th century first and then adapted to a wood block format. Since the 18th century there have been dozens, if not scores, or hundreds of sets, either directly produced from the wood block prints or painting sets patterned after the block prints. Following the popularity of the prints, in the early 20th century the set was re-produced in Hangzhou, China, as a woven textile set of compositions, easily produced and cheaply sold.

Tags: additions · iconography

Hayagriva Main Page - Updated

July 18, 2013 ·

The Hayagriva Main Page has been updated with additional images and content.

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Hayagriva Yantra - Added

July 17, 2013 ·

The yantra diagrams of Hayagriva are generally used for over coming specific obstacles or for protection. The first of the two principal styles of Hayagriva yantra are [1] a circular chart with inscriptions super imposed over the central torso of an image of the deity. The second [2] style is of a depiction of the head and upper body of the deity and the lower body in the shape of a 'kila' peg. The lower 'kila' body contains specified written mantra inscriptions. These are often supplemented with special requests.

Yantras such as these, drawn or printed on paper, can often be found placed on the outside of a dwelling either above or to the side of a main entrance door. The yantra can be commissioned as a painting on cloth, drawn by hand, or reproduced from a wood block carving.

Tags: additions · Yantra

Drashi Lhamo (Shri Devi) - Updated

July 16, 2013 ·

The wrathful protector Drashi Lhamo is regarded as a form of Shri Devi. She resides in the Drashi Gon temple in Lhasa, Tibet. The temple was originally constructed at the request of the Tibetan ruler Pholane in the mid to late 18th century and is located approximately half way between the Barkor of central Lhasa and the sprawling Sera Monastery to the north-east. The temple was also in close proximity to the Chinese embassy of the time. (Read more).

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Prayer Beads (Malla) - Added

July 12, 2013 ·

A Prayer beads (mala) are a very personal religious article. They can be made of a varying number of beads and of different substances depending on the intended use. Strictly speaking the materials that the beads are made from and the specific number of beads are determined according to the intended type of religious practice to be performed along with the guidelines of the Four Activities. Several Indian Sanskrit texts explain the general creation and uses of the mala such as the Vajra Garbha Lamkara, Samputa and Dakarnava Tantras.

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