Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Ushnishavijaya Main Page

Ushnishavijaya Main Page | Long Life Deity Main Page

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Subjects & Topics:
- Ushnishavijaya Description (below)
- Explanation of Iconographic Form
- Ushnishavijaya Stupa Sculpture
- Ushnishavijaya Stupa (Sakya Town)
- Three Long Life Deities
- Masterworks
- Confusions: Pratisara, Pancha Raksha
- Others...

Iconographic Forms:
- Solitary (one face, two arms)
- Solitary (three faces, eight arms)
- Nine Deity Mandala (three faces, eight arms): HAR 58138, HAR 58267
- Thirty-three Deity Mandala (three faces, eight arms): HAR 88540, HAR 79155
- Others...

The long-life deity/ishtadevata, Ushnishavijaya 'Victorious Crown Ornament,' is one of three special long-life deities along with the Buddha Amitayus and White Tara. This group is known as the Three Long Life Deities (Tibetan: tse lha nam sum). There are other deities associated with long life and healing but these three are commonly referred to as the principal deities and form their own group. The three were not formulated in India but rather popularized as a Tibetan iconographic convention.

"...Ushnishavijaya, the colour of an autumn moon, with three faces, white, yellow and blue and eight hands. Each face has three very large eyes. The first right hand holds a vishvavajra, second a white lotus with Amitabha [Buddha] residing, third an arrow and the fourth in [the gesture of] supreme generosity. The first left holds a vajra lasso, second a bow, third [in the gesture of] bestowing protection and fourth in [the gesture of] meditative equipoise holding an auspicious nectar vase; complete with silks and jewel ornaments, seated in [vajra] posture. Within the outer circle of the stupa, on the right [side of the chaitya], above a moon is Avalokiteshvara with a body white in colour, the left hand holds a lotus. On the left [of the chaitya], above a sun is Vajrapani, blue, the left hand holds an utpala with a vajra; standing in a peaceful manner and adorned with silks and jewels." (Jamyang Kyentse Wangpo, 1820-1892).

Jeff Watt [updated 5-2017]