Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Figure: Bodhisattva Main Page

Peaceful Appearance

- Definitions
- Appearance
- Examples
- Exceptions

Bodhisattva (Tibetan: jang chub sem pa. English: heroic aspirant to enlightenment): idealized beings in the appearance of youthful heavenly gods, generally male and richly attired in silks and jewels. They represent the principal students of the Buddha according to the Mahayana Sutras of Northern Buddhism. More specifically, any bodhisattva and the Eight Great Bodhisattvas represent - visually - the realized students of Mahayana Buddhism in Himalayan and Tibetan Art. Full definition of the term Bodhisattva

***The term bodhisattva has two meanings, [1] an abstract Buddhist meaning and [2] a descriptive art meaning. With Himalayan art the terms bodhisattva appearance, peaceful appearance, deva appearance and sambhogakaya appearance are all synonymous and refer to both male and female peaceful figures. ***

Jeff Watt 7-2003 [updated 12-2019]


Garland of Jewels: The Eight Great Bodhisattvas, by Jamgon Mipham. 2008. (Based on the text of Zhuchen Tsultrim Rinchen, 18th century).