Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist & Hindu Deity: Garuda Main Page

Garuda Masterworks

- Art History

- Iconography & Religious Context

- Garuda Outline Page


Historically, from classical Indian mythology, Garuda is the king of birds. In Tantric Buddhism, Garuda is yet another form in which various buddhas arise for the purpose of removing disease and injury caused by nagas and poisoning. Metaphorically the worst 'poisons' are desire, hatred and ignorance. Various forms of Garuda are found in both the Nyingma and Sarma traditions. The Chakrasamvara and Kalachakra Tantras of the Sarma tradition are the main sources for the various lineages of Tantric Buddhist practice. The Bon religion has a similar bird deity known as a 'kyung'.

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Jeff Watt 3-2003 [updated 9-2016, 5-2017, 2-2020]