Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Set: Four Transcendent Lords (Field Museum)

Field Museum Bon Religion | Bon Religion Main Page | Four Transcendent Lords Main Page | Four Transcendent Lords Outline

Satrig Ersang (Sherab Chamma) | Shenlha Okar | Sangpo Bumtri | Tonpa Shenrab (Main Page)

The Four Transcendent Lords (bde gshegs gtso bo bzhi)
1. Yingkyi Yum Chenmo (dbyings kyi yum chen mo)
Satrig Ersang, Lhamo (sa trig er sangs, lha mo)
2. Lhachen Shen lha Okar (lha chen g.shen lha 'od dkar, Lha chen)
3. Sid pa Sangpo Bumtri (srid pa sangs po 'bum khri)
4. Tonpa Shenrab Miwo (ston pa g.shen rab mi bo)

These four are also known as: Lhamo, Lhachen, Sidpa and Shenrab (lha mo, lha chen, srid pa, g.shen rab).

The subject of the Four Transcendent Lords, in sets of four paintings, are typically found in every Bon Temple in the Himalayas and Tibet. These four deities hold a similar position as Shakyamuni Buddha and the Sixteen Arhats, or the Eight Great Bodhisattvas, as is customarily found in each and every Buddhist Temple in the Himalayan regions and Tibet.

Four sets of the Four Transcendent Lords, supreme deities of the Bon religion, along with their combined mandala. The sets are from Tibet, Kham (East Tibet), Dolpo (Nepal) and Dolanji (North India). Two of the sets are not complete.

The subject of the Four Transcendent Lords is described in detail in chapter 30 of the Ziji with the story of the death of Prince Trishang of Tazik. The Four Lords are the principal deities in the funeral ritual for the prince. In chapter 61 the Four Lords are further discussed with reference to the death and funeral of Tonpa Shenrab. The Ziji is a twelve volume, sixty-one chapter, biography of Tonpa Shenrab.