Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Yamari, Krishna

Krishna Yamari Masterworks

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Krishna Yamari Description (below)
- Iconography
- Yamari Main Page
- Krishna Yamari Outline
- Forms of Manjushri: Context Page
- Manjushri Main Page
- Confusions: Shadbhuja Mahakala
- Others...

Yamari (gshin rje gshed) is a male wrathful meditational deity (yidam, ishtadevata) of the Anuttayoga Class of Tantric literature. There are three divisions or sections of literature and deity forms: Rakta (red) Yamari, Krishna (black) Yamari and Vajrabhairava (terrifying). The Krishna Yamari can be divided first into two main types: New Tantras (Sarma) and Old Tantras (Nyingma). Both of these traditions have numerous forms and appearances of the deity as well as numerous lineages of practice descending from those forms. In the Nyingma Tradition the two terms 'Yamari' (gshin rje gshed) and 'Yamantaka' (gshin rje thar byed) are often used interchangeably and the majority, if not all, of the different forms of Krishna Yamari arise from the 'Revealed Treasure' Tradition (Terma) rather than the Oral Tradition (Kama). For the Sarma Traditions of Sakya, Kagyu, Jonang, etc., the Krishna Yamari lineages of practice arise from the Tantric literature of India, namely the Krishna Yamari Tantra [Toh 467].

The text below which describes the role of Yama Dharmaraja in the Yamari literature also gives a clear and succinct description of the subject of Yamari. "In the special, noble, Vajra Vehicle [Vajrayana], among the numerous four tantras [kriya, charya, yoga and anuttara] this protector is of the Anuttarayoga. Of those, from the three [classes], Method, Wisdom and Non-dual, this is Method Tantra. From the three famous Father Tantras of the Yamari Cycle, Rakta [Red], Krishna [Black], and Bhairava [Terrifying], this is the uncommon protector of the Vajrabhairava." (Ngor Ponlop Ngagwang Legdrup, 19th century).

The Three Yamari Lineages, the Three Mahamandalas, Abhisheka, Sadhana, together with the Branches: Vajradhara, Jnana Dakini, Acharya Lalitavajra, Amoghavajra, Yeshe Jungne Bepa, Padmavajra, Dipamkara Rakshita, Lama Rwa Dorje Drag, Rwa Lotsawa Chorab, Rwa Yeshe Sengge, Rwa Bum Seng, Lama Lokkyapa Wangchug Dragpa, Lama Ngong, Lama Chokyi Gyalpo (Chogyal Pagpa 1235-1280).

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Jeff Watt 4-2007 [updated 1-2013, 5-2017, 1-2019, 1-2020]

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