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Buddhist Deity: Chakrasamvara, White

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Principal Types & Traditions of White Chakrasamvara:
- White Chakrasamvara Description (below)
- Tilopa Tradition
- Mitra Yogin Tradition Twenty-five Deity Mandala (solitary form) 79081
- Shakyashri Bhadra Tradition (seated with consort) HAR #40258
- Shakyashri Bhadra Tradition (standing with consort)
- White Chakrasamvara Long Life
- Lama Umapa Tradition (Life-accomplishing, with consort)
- White Chakrasamvara Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others....

White Chakrasamvara is primarily a meditational deity belonging to the Anuttarayoga classification of Buddhist Tantra. There are also subsidiary forms and practices of White Chakrasamvara that are specifically intended for the prolongation of life span.

The white form of the deity was popularized in Tibet and the Himalayan regions by Mitra Yogin and Shakyashri Bhadra. The Mitra Yogin form of the deity is solitary (without a consort), in a standing posture, and part of a twenty-five (or twenty-nine) deity mandala. This form of the deity can be found in all of the Sarma traditions although practiced less frequently than the Shakyashri Bhadra system and tradition of practice.

The Shakyashri Bhadra form of the deity is in a standing posture and partnered with Vajrayogini, red in colour. There are no retinue or accompanying mandala figures. The Sakya, Jonang, Kagyu and Gelug traditions mainly follow this tradition of White Chakrasamvara practice. There is also a long life practice associated with this deity, however the appearance remains the same.

"...Sahaja Shri Heruka [Chakrasamvara] has a body colour white like an autumn moon, one face, two hands holding a vajra and bell embracing the consort. The left leg is bent pressing down on black Bhairava, the right leg extended on red Kalaratri. With three eyes and bared fangs, the hair is a topknot adorned with a wish-fulfilling jewel and a half-vajra. In the lap is the consort Vajravarahi, with a body red in colour, one face, two hands, three eyes, the hair loose, a crown of five dry skulls, a necklace of fifty fresh heads, the five mudra [bone ornaments], holding a curved knife in the right [hand] and a blood filled skullcup in the left. The right leg is bent and left straight, embracing the partner. Both are fierce, attractive and youthful." (yi dam rgya mtho'i sgrub thabs rin chen 'byun gnas. Volume 1, folios 129-134. Blockprints preserved at bkra shis lhun grub chos grwa. Chophel Legden, New Delhi, 1976).

The tradition of Lama Umapa, a teacher of Tsongkapa, describes the deity as white with a red consort, both in a seated posture. The male holds two long-life vases in the right and left hands. The consort holds two skullcups in the right and left hands. This form of Chakrasamvara with consort functions as a long life deity, unique to the Gelug Tradition, and appears to have been developed as a Tibetan creation.

"...Cakrasamvara, white like the reflection of the sun on a crystal mountain, stainless and radiant, one face, two hands, three eyes, hair in a topknot, adorned with beautiful ornaments, holding two long-life vases in the hands, embracing the consort, seated in vajra posture. In the lap is Vajrayogini, red in color, with one face, two hands and three eyes, seated, holding a skullcup filled with nectar in each hand, embracing the Lord around the neck, the two legs embracing the waist, beautifully dressed." (bde mchog dkar po'i tshe sgrub bdag mdun dang bcas pa, by rta tshag 08 bstan pa'i mgon po. Volume 2, folio 13-22. Gyaltsab Yeshe Lobzang Tanpa'i Gonpo, 1760-1810). The description of White Chakrasamvara written by the 8th Tatsag is based on a sadhana written by the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngagwang Lobzang Gyatso (1617-1682). [Translation by Karma Gellek, 9-2012].

Shakyashri Bhadra Lineage of Taranata: Chakrasamvara, Varahi, Khache Panchen [Shakyashri Bhadra], Chel Lotsawa Chokyi Pal Zangpo, Yagde Lotsawa, Ngaripa Sanggye Yeshe, Jangsem Sonam Drag, Khenchen Dragtsulwa, Khenchen Gyal Zangpa, Khenchen Sorin, Khenchen Nyima Gyaltsen, Panchen Rinpoche, Dragmar Kunga Tsepel, Rabsal Dawa Gonpo, Jetsun Drolchog, Je Doringpa, [Jetsun Taranata], [etc.].(yi dam rgya mtho'i sgrub thabs rin chen 'byun gnas. Volume 2, folio 274. Blockprints preserved at bkra shis lhun grub chos grwa. Chophel Legden, New Delhi, 1976).

Shakyashri Bhadra Lineage According to the Zurkha: Vajradhara, Varahi, Luipa, Darikapa, Maitripa, Nayagpa, Gandhapa, Kache Panchen Shakyashri, Chel Chokyi Palzang, Chel Amogha, Gwa Lotsawa Namgyal Dorje, Rongpa Sherseng, Bagton Shonnu Tsultrim, Sherab Dorje, Chopal Sherab, Sengge Pal, Dragtogpa Sonam Zangpo, Gongkar Dorje Denpa, Luwang Lingpa, Drepung Tsewang Tashi, Tsarchen Losal Gyatso, Jamyang Khyentse, Khenchen Labsum Gyaltsen, Je Wangchug Rabten, Gonpo Sonam Chogden, Gyalwa Ngapa Ngagwang Lobzang Gyatso, Neten Jamyang Dragpa, Kardo Gomchung Zopa Gyatso, Purbu Chog Ngagwang Jampa, Nyizur Ngagwang Dondrub, Dragri Kyabdag Dorje, Demo Tubten Jigme Gyatso, Tsangpa Trichen Jampal Tsultrim, Gyalrong Trichen Lobzang Lhundrub, [etc.]. (lhag pa'i lha dang dam pa'i chos skyong ba'i sgrub thabs dang rjes gnang byed tshul gyi zur kha'i cho ga brgya rtsa dngos grub 'byung ngas. Compiled by Tho yon 'jam dbyangs 'phrin las, 19th century. Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 2007).

Lama Umapa Lineage: Lineage: Vajradhara, Manjushri, Pawo Dorje (Umapa), Tsongkapa (1357-1419), Jampel Gyatso, Kedrub Geleg Palzang, Baso Chokyi Gyaltsen, Chokyi Dorje, Lobzang Dondrub, Kedrub Sanggye Yeshe, Lobzang Chokyi Gyaltsen, Konchog Gyaltsen, Panchen Lobzang Yeshe, Lobzang Zopa, Lobzang Palden Yeshe, Lobzang Jampal, etc.

Jeff Watt 9-2012 [updated 8-2015, 6-2017]