Himalayan Art Resources

Arhat/Sthavira: Travelling to China

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There are five main Buddhist teachers who are said to be the sources in Tibetan literature for the origin of the story of the Sixteen Arhats. The five are Lume Dromchung (11th century), Atisha Dipamkara (982-1054), Dromton Gyalwai Jungne (1004(?)-1064), Shakyashri Bhadra (1127-1225) and Lhatsun Namkha Rinchen. As for the narrative of the arhats travelling to see the Emperor of China, that source literature is unclear and very late, but the name of the Emperor who invited the Sixteen Arhats is said to be Taizong of the Tang Dynasty (Chinese pinyin: Táng Tàizong; Wade–Giles: T'ang T'ai-tsung) (28 January 598 – 10 July 649). Currently, Dratang Monastery of Central Tibet likely has the earliest extant murals depicting a group of nineteen elders surrounding Shakyamuni Buddha.

Jeff Watt 9-2015

Important Authors:
- Lume Dromchung (11th century)
- Atisha Dipamkara (982-1054)
- Dromton Gyalwai Jungne (1004(?)-1064)
- Shakyashri Bhadra (1127-1225)
- Lhatsun Namkha Rinchen

Bibliography:
- Tibetan Religious Art. Loden Sherab Dagyab. (2 volumes). Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 1977.
- byams pa lung bstan pa'i mdo. Sutra of the Prophecy of Maitreya.
- gnas brtan spyan dran ba. Bhavaskandha. P 5697, vol.129.
- gnas brtan phyag mchod. Khache Panchen Shakyashri.
- gnas brtan gsol 'debs. Khache Panchen Shakyashri.