Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Manjushri Iconography

Manjushri Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Non-iconic Forms (Mahayana, Narrative)
- Iconic Appearance (Vajrayana)
- Iconic Highest Yoga Tantra Iconic Forms (Vajrayana)
- Iconic Three Lower Tantras (Vajrayana)
- Wrathful Appearance
- Compendiums of Manjushri Deities
- Manjushri (Bari Gyatsa, edited)
- Manjushri (Ocean of Sadhanas, edited)
- Rare & Unusual Forms
- Others...

The various forms of Manjushri as a meditational deity are derived from the textual sources of the early Tantras namely the Manjushri Mulakalpa, Siddhaikavira, Mayajala and Namasangiti Tantras. The Anuttarayoga meditational forms are derived from the Vajrabhairava, Rakta Yamari, Krishna Yamari, Vajrahridaya Lamkara, and Vajrapanjara Tantras.

A mandala of Dharmadhatu Vagishvara in the Rubin Museum collection presents a large number of forms both peaceful and wrathful - twenty-three in number not counting the accompanying retinue figures. The Manjushri Lhakang temple in Sakya, Tibet, depicts many different forms of Manjushri. The early text known as the One Hundred Sadhanas, or Bari Gyatsa in brief, describes fifteen forms of Manjushri. The Ocean of Sadhanas text describes twenty-five forms.

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Jeff Watt [updated 3-2017, 12-2019]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).