Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Amoghapasha Main Page

Amoghapasha Masterworks

- Art History

- Iconography

- Religious Context

Amoghapasha, which means unfailing lasso, refers to an unfailing compassion like a lasso which brings all sentient beings out of suffering and into a state of happiness leading to enlightenment. Amoghapasha is a complicated deity subject in Tantric Buddhist iconography. He is easily mistaken for Avalokiteshvara in most artistic depictions. The two deities are frequently conflated together by scholars. Sometimes Amoghapasha is described as a form, or emanation, of Avalokiteshvara and again at other times a retinue figure when Avalokiteshvara is the central deity in the mandala. In a 12th century text, History of Amoghapasha, Sonam Tsemo writes that Amoghapasha is a nirmanakaya form of Lokeshvara while Lokeshvara himself is in sambhogakaya form and can only be found on mount Potalaka. The source texts from the Tantra section of Kangyur are the Arya Amoghapasha Kalparaja, Arya Amoghapasha Hridaya Nama Mahayana Sutra, and the Arya Amoghapasha Paramita Shatparipuraya Nama Dharani.

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Jeff Watt 2008 [updated 4-2011, 4-2017, 12-2019]