Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Foundational Buddhism Main Page (Hinayana)

Foundational Buddhism Main Page (Hinayana) | Buddhism Main Page

Subjects & Topics:
- Foundational Buddhism Explanation (below)
- Mahayana Buddhism Main Page
- Vajrayana Buddhism Main Page
- Three Vehicles Outline Page
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

Twenty-five Figures:
- Shakyamuni Buddha: Single Composition, Painting Sets Outline
- Shariputra & Maudgalyayana
- Sixteen Great Arhats
- Dharmatala (attendant)
- Hvashang (patron)
- Four Guardian Kings of the Directions

Moral Stories & Narratives:
- Shakyamuni Buddha Life Stories
- Jataka Stories
- Avadana

Himalayan and Tibetan Buddhism is generally described as being composed of the three 'Yana' or vehicles of Buddhism - the Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. In painting and sculpture the Hinayana path is represented by Shakyamuni Buddha as the central figure surrounded by various students and followers most notably the Sixteen Great Arhats.

The full group traditionally has twenty-five figures: the Buddha Shakyamuni, together with the two foremost disciples - Shariputra and Maudgalyayana, the Sixteen Great Arhats, the attendant Dharmatala, the patron Hvashang and the Four Guardian Kings of the Directions: Vaishravana, Virupaksha, Dhritarashtra and Virudhaka. In all an extensive set of paintings would comprise twenty-three individual compositions. The two foremost disciples are almost always portrayed in the same painted composition with Buddha Shakyamuni. In sculpture sets the total number of pieces is twenty-five.

The three images below are only a sample selection. See the Shakyamuni Buddha and Arhats Page for more images of paintings representing the Hinayana Tradition of Buddhism as represented in Himalayan and Tibetan art.

Jeff Watt 7-2011 [updated 1-2017, 6-2017]