Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Mahamaya Main Page

Mahamaya Main Page | Meditational Deities Page

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Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Mahamaya Definition (below)
- Mahamaya Outline Page
- Principal Deity
- Heruka (solitary)
- Heruka (with consort)
- Four Faces, Four Arms, with Consort (right leg down)
- Four Faces, Four Arms, with Consort (left leg down)
- Mandalas
- Mahamaya Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

The deity Mahamaya originates in the Sanskrit text of the Mahamaya Tantra and subsequently found in the Tibetan compilation collections of the Vajravali, Mitra Gyatsa, Rinjung Gyatsa and Rinjung Lhantab. Mahamaya is also regarded as a special deity of the Ngog lineage of the Marpa Kagyu Tradition. Within the Shangpa Kagyu School Mahamaya is included as one of the Five Tantra Deities (Gyu de lha nga) combined as a single meditation practice.

Mahamaya has four faces and four arms, blue in colour, embracing the consort Buddha Dakini. She also appears with four faces and four arms. Both figures hold an arrow, bow, skullcup and katvanga staff. In the Shangpa Kagyu, Vajravali and Mitra Gyatsa traditions the consort can also be depicted as red in colour. In the Mitra Gyatsa there is a one faced two-armed form of Mahamaya with consort. In all of these different traditions the central deity and consort are accompanied by four Dakinis, Surrounding the principal couple are four female figures, blue Vajra Dakini, yellow Ratna Dakini, red Padma Dakini and green Vishva Dakini, hence the name Mahamaya Five Deity Mandala.

Aside from the Vajravali lineage of Abhayakaragupta and the Mitra Yogin lineage there are several lineages from India that were passed through Marpa Lotsawa.
Lineage 1: Vajradhara, Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa Chokyi Lodro, Ngog Choku Dorje, Shedang Dorje, etc.
Lineage 2: Vajradhara, Kukkuripa, Padmavajra, Tilopa, Naropa, etc.
Lineage 3: Vajradhara, Vajrapani, Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Samantabhadra, Sumati, Gewai Gocha, Namgyal Wangpo, Marpa Chokyi Lodro, etc.

Jeff Watt 2004 [updated 8-2016, 5-2017]