Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani, Mahachakra Page

Mahachakra Masterworks

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Solitary
- Three Faces, Four Arms: HAR #68311, 88553
- Three Faces, Six Arms with Consort
- Vajrapani Home Page
- Mandala (14 Deity, Mitra Gyatsa, Javari Tradition)
- Mandala (17 Deity)
- Confusions: Mahakala, Heruka (Nyingma), Bhutadamara
- Others...

Video: Mahachakra Vajrapani

Vajrapani, Mahachakra (Tibetan: chag na dor je, kor lo chen po. English: The Great Wheel Vajra Holder). Mahachakra is a Tantric form of the bodhisattva Vajrapani appearing as a meditational deity - regarded as completely enlightened. Just as there are many forms of Vajrapani, so also there are many varieties of Mahachakra both with consort and without, with retinue figures or in a solitary configuration.

Confusions are commonplace for any wrathful male deities with thee faces and six arms. They are easily confused with a number of different forms of Mahakala and the very numerous forms of Heruka in the Nyingma tradition. The retinue figures accompanying Mahachakra in a mandala configuration can also be similar in appearance to Bhutadamara Vajrapani. For Mahachakra there are sometimes four retinue figures each with one face and four arms embracing a consort.

Description: (from the Mitra Gyatsa) "...above a lotus and sun seat, Brahma and Indra, is Vajrapani with a blue cape, three faces and six hands. The right [face] is white, left red, each with three eyes. With six hands, the first two hold a vajra and a wrathful gesture upraised. The middle two are folded respectfully embracing the consort Mamaki...possessed of beauty, blue [in colour], holding a curved knife and skullcup. The lower two grasp a snake, at the [level of the] waist, as food. The right leg is bent, left straight." (Description: rgyud sde kun btus, vol.23, folio 215).

Lineage: Vajradhara, Vajrapani, Dakini Simhamukha, mahasiddha Shavaripa, Maha Pandita Javaripa, Pandita Devapurnamati, the translator Gar Chokyi Zangpo, kalyanamitra Rinchen Ngodrup, Mar Chokyi Gyaltsen, Mar Sherab Dorje, Mar Tubpa Sherab, Mar Tsondru Dorje, Mar Chogyal Sherab, Mar Shakya Drubpa, etc. (Lineage: rgyud sde kun btus, vol.30, folio 75-6).

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Jeff Watt 5-2003 [updated 8-2014, 5-2017]


Source Texts:

Toh 454. The Tantra of Vajrapāṇi's Triple Dreadful Training. ཕྱག་རྡོར་དྲག་པོ་གསུམ་འདུལ་གྱི་རྒྱུད། · phyag rdor drag po gsum 'dul gyi rgyud. nīlāmbaradharavajrapāṇi­rudratrivinayatantra (5 pages).

Toh 455. The Triple Dreadful Taming, a Division of the Secret Tantras. རྒྱུད་རྣམས་ཀྱི་རྣམ་འབྱེད་དྲག་པོ་གསུམ་འདུལ། · rgyud rnams kyi rnam 'byed drag po gsum 'dul. vibhaṅgo guhyatantrāṇāṃ trirudradamana (10 pages).