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Indian Adept: Krishnacharya

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Video: Kanha & Krishnacharya

Krishnacharya (Krishnacharin) is included in several of the lists of Eighty-four Mahasiddhas, Buddhist Tantric Adepts of India.

Krishnacharya is an Indian Buddhist practitioner that generally has Siddha, or Mahasiddha Appearance. As a sign of his attainments he is most often depicted with seven parasols and seven drums floating in the sky above. As a mount he is commonly portrayed atop an animated corpse or zombie. He is known in literature for being surrounded by five hundred yogis and yoginis - this however is not typical in painting and sculpture.

Jalandara was the main teacher of Krishnacharya and their principal practices were the Chakrasamvara, Hevajra and Mahamaya Tantras. There are three most famous traditions of Chakrasamvara in Tibet known as the 'Lu Nag Dril Sum' which refers to the three famous siddhas Luipa, Krishnacharya and Ghantapa.

There are several biographies of Krishnacharya with the longest written by Jonang Taranata who believed himself to be the re-incarnation of the mahasiddha (see incarnation lineage).

(See another sculpture published in Ulrich Von Schroeder’s Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet Vol 2, Tibet and China. 324 C-D).

Jeff Watt 6-2015


- Masters of Mahamudra: Songs and Histories of the Eighty-Four Buddhist Siddhas. (Suny Series in Buddhist Studies) Aug 30, 1986. by Keith Dowman and Abhayadatta.

- Masters of Enchantment: The Lives and Legends of the Mahasiddhas. Jan 1989
by Robert Beer and Keith Dowman.

- Buddha's Lions: The Lives of the Eighty-Four Siddhas. (Tibetan Translation Series) Jan 1, 1979
by James B. Robinson.

- Taranatha's Life of Krsnacarya/Kanha. Translated by David Templeman. Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. 1989.