Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Thirty-five Confession Buddhas (Religious Context)

Confession Buddha Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Three Systems of Depiction (below)
- Confession Buddhas Outline Page
- Purification Deities
- Buddha Main Page
- Deities According to Function
- Colours & Activities
- Complex Specific Subjects
- Metaphor
- Confusions
- Others...

There are two traditions of Mahayana Buddhism that include the Thirty-five Confession Buddhas as a key element in ritual and visualization practice. The two are the Yogachara and Madhyamaka philosophical systems of Mahayana Buddhism. Two distinct ritual systems for bestowing the Bodhisattva Vows have developed from these two traditions and both incorporate the visualization of the Thirty-five Buddhas along with the recitation of the Confession Sutra.

Only two of the thirty-five Buddhas are depicted or worshiped separately from the larger group - they are Shakyamuni Buddha and Nageshvara Raja Buddha (as he appears in the Tsongkapa system). However, it is doubtful that there is any relationship between the Nageshvara Raja Buddha of the Confession Sutra and the meditational deity Nageshvara Raja popularized by Jowo Atisha. It is most probable that these two Buddhas became conflated over time because of the similarity in name. Regardless of that, it is commonly believed that these two Buddhas are the same single entity.

Database Search: Shakyamuni Buddha & the Thirty-five Confession Buddhas

Jeff Watt 7-2011 [updated 5-2015, 4-2017, 12-2019]

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