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Bon Deity: Werma Nyinya Page

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Tibetan: Werma Nyinya (war ma nyi nya)

Werma Nyinya: a worldly deity arising from the Bon 'Treasure Tradition' and specifically the Chang Sen Tagdu text unearthed by Terton Ponse Khyung Gotsal (12th century).

Dynamic in appearance with one face and two hands, white in colour, he has the head of a lion - snarling and gaping. The right hand holds aloft a sword ready to strike and the left stretched to the side a trident on a long shaft. Wearing a flower and jewel crown the head is topped with a green bird. Adorned with a necklace, bracelets and anklets, a pink and green scarf is worn around the shoulders and the lower body is draped in a tiger skin skirt. Sharp blue wings extend from the back as he stands in a wrathful posture atop a raging tiger above two red figures, a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus seat. Six attendants in similar appearance stand at the right and left. (Textually there are 13 retinue figures).

In the Bon tradition there are four classes of worldly deities, all with a warrior-like appearance: (1) Dab La, (2) Chang Sen, (3) Welma and (4) Chug Gon. The central deity of this painting belongs to the Chang Sen classification.

Paintings of this subject are commonly found in the homes of lay practitioners and function as protective talismans against thieves, wild animals, war, pestilence, obstacles to wealth and for long-life. Artistic liberties are also found and less emphasis is placed on the strict textual description of the deity and surrounding retinue.

Jeff Watt & Lee Hartline 1-2000 [updated 1-2019]

(Please see The Arrow and the Spindle, Studies in History, Myths, Rituals and Beliefs in Tibet by Samten G Karmay. Manadala Book Point: 1998. Pages 256 & 257, The Ye and the Ngam).

It is interesting that Werma Nyinya is not represented in either of the modern Publications and paintings titled Bonpo Thangkas from Khyungpo or Bonpo Thangkas from Rebkong. (See Bibliography: Bon Art.