Himalayan Art Resources

Mahakala: Chaturbhuja, Four-hands Main Page

Chaturbhuja Mahakala Masterworks

- Art History

- Iconography

- Religious Context

- Chaturbhuja Mahakala (Four Arms)
- Mahakala: HAR #22

Chaturbhuja Mahakala is a male Buddhist deity, wrathful in appearance, generally blue in colour. He is principally a protector deity associated with the Chakrasamvara cycle of tantric literature and practice. Chaturbhuja Mahakala can also function as a meditational deity and be either an emanation of Vajradhara Buddha or Chakrasamvara.

From a general perspective there are many lineages of Chaturbhuja Mahakala within the Nyingma (old) and Sarma (new) traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. In the Sarma tradition most lineages of Chaturbhuja derive from the great pandita Abhayakaragupta to Tsami Lotsawa and Gva Lotsawa. As the special protector for the Chakrasamvara cycle of Tantras this form of Mahakala is very important to all Tibetan Buddhist Traditions. Some traditions have the form of Chaturbhuja in singular aspect or embracing the consort Chandika. Some traditions and lineages have a full entourage of secondary figures or a mandala configuration.

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Jeff Watt 6-98 [updated 4-2017, 12-2019]