Himalayan Art Resources

Mahakala: Shadbhuja with 75 Lords of Pure Lineage

Shadbhuja with 75 Lords of Pure Lineage | Shadbhuja Main Page (Shangpa)

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- 75 Lords of Pure Lineage Description (below)
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

The Seventy-five Lords of Pure Lineage:
- The Ten Guardians of the Directions, (Tibetan - chog yong chu)
- The Eight Great Gods, (Tib. - lha chenpo gye)
- The Eight Great Nagas, (Tib. - lhu chenpo gye)
- The Eight Great Planets, (Tib. - za chenpo gye)
- The Four Worldly Guardians, (Tib. - jig ten kyong wa shi)
- The Twenty-eight Constellations, (Tib. - gyu kar nyi shu tsa gye)
- The Nine Great Bhairavas, (Tib. - jig je chenpo gu)

The principal form of Shadbhuja Mahakala of the Shangpa Kagyu Tradition is accompanied by seventy-five (75) retinue figures. In the Tibetan language the retinue are referred to as 'gonpo' (mgon po. English: lords). This numbering of 75 and commonly using the word 'gonpo' a standard epithet used in reference to Mahakala, has led to the mistaken Western notion that there are 75 forms of Mahakala in Tibetan Buddhism. Iconographically there are fewer forms but text references might allude to a much larger number.

The image examples below depict Shadbhuja along with the full complement of 75 retinue figures.

Jeff Watt 6-2013 [updated 6-2017]