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Hayagriva is a Tantric Buddhist meditational deity that can be found in all four of the standard classifications: Kriya, Charya, Yoga and Anuttarayoga. He is associated with the Padma Buddha Family where the Buddha is Amitabha, the Lord is Avalokiteshvara and chief wrathful deity is Hayagriva. According to some traditions Hayagriva is an independent entity while in others he is the wrathful emanation of Amitabha or Avalokiteshvara.
In Hayagriva's most basic form he is typically red in colour, with one face and two hands, peaceful or wrathful in appearance. The most important iconographic characteristic is a horse head, typically green in colour, placed above the central wrathful face. The horse image can be single or as many as three horse heads per wrathful face of Hayagriva.
Hayagriva is common to both the Nyingma and Sarma Schools (Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug) and his practices are found ranging from simple forms to complex deities with multiple faces and arms, inhabiting mandalas accompanied by numerous attendant figures. Hayagriva is one of the principal deities in the Nyingma system of the Eight Heruka (Kagye). There is a variant form of Hayagriva where the three deities Vajrapani, Hayagriva and Garuda, are merged together as one. Hayagriva can also be represented at the top of the handle of a 'kila' peg.
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Jeff Watt 2-2003 [updated 7-2013, 5-2017, 12-2019, 2-2020, 10-2020]