- Art History
- Religious Context
Mahasiddha: great (maha) accomplished one (siddha), or great [spiritually] accomplished one, also known as Indian adepts. They are the principal Indian teachers of Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, or any great religious teacher that is credited with having special attainments and powers.
In Tantric Buddhism mahasiddhas are primarily associated with Anuttarayoga - the highest of the four classification systems of Tantra. Although most of the famous mahasiddha are from India, there are a number from bordering countries such as Luipa and Aryadeva from Sri Lanka, and Suvarnadvipapa from the Golden Land (Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia).
The study of mahasiddhas is understood through the Three Important Topics of 1. Three basic meanings/definitions, 2. Three functions of mahasiddha depictions, and 3. Three types of appearance. (For a full description of the topics see the Mahasiddha Definition Page).
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Jeff Watt 4-2006 [updated 6-2017, 4-2019, 12-2019, 5-2020]
(The images below are only a selection of examples from the painting and sculpture links above).