Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Jambhala, White, Main Page

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White Jambhala Riding a Dragon is believed to come through the tradition of Jowo Atisha, founder of the Kadampa School. This specific white form of Jambhala is also believed to be an emanation of Avalokiteshvara. The other forms of Jambhala are their own individual entity and not associated with Avalokiteshvara.

Accompanying White Jambhala are four dakinis. Yellow Ratna Dakini holds a jewel in the right hand and a vase in the left, dancing on the left leg. Blue Vajra Dakini holds a vajra in the right hand and a monk's begging bowl in the left. Red Padma Dakini holds a lotus in the right hand and a hook in the left. Green Vishva Dakini holdsa vishvavajra (double vajra) in the right hand and a wish-fulfilling jewel in the left.

The most unique and striking characteristic of the iconography of White Jambhala is the green dragon that he rides - usually depicted in a Chinese style. Not all painted images or sculptural representations have the attributes in the right and left hands as described in the texts. Some depictions reverse the attributes. Also, some depictions are without the jewel spitting mongoose.

Jeff Watt 5-98 [updated 11-2013, 5-2015]