Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Akshobhya Iconography

Akshobhya Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Mahayana Buddhism
--- Abhirati Pureland
--- Akshobhya Buddha (Vajra on Right Side)
- Vajrayana Buddhism
--- Akshobhya as a Dzogchen Buddha: HAR #52348065
--- Five Symbolic Buddhas
- Confusions: Shakyamuni Buddha
- Others...

- Akshobhya Buddha
- Shakyamuni & Akshobhya: A Confusion About the Vajra Scepter

There are two main appearance types for Akshobhya:
- Buddha Appearance (nirmanakaya)
- Peaceful Appearance (sambhogakaya)

Unique Iconography:
- Buddha Appearance
- Peaceful Appearance
- Blue colour (some variations are found)
- Right hand extended in the earth touching gesture
- Left hand supporting a vajra scepter
- Elephant supported throne

Vajrayana Buddhism:
- Akshobhya with Consort Mamaki
- Akshobhya Nine Deity Mandala
- Akshobhya (Tattvasamgraha Tantra)
- Akshobhya (Sarva Durgati Parishodhana Tantra)
- Others...

"Arising in the eastern direction is Akshobhya on an elephant, lotus and moon throne; with a body blue in colour the right hand is placed in the mudra of pressing down." (Dragpa Gyaltsen, 1147-1216).

Occupying a central role in Vajrayana Buddhism, Akshobhya, by some accounts, is Lord of the 2nd of the Five Buddha Families of tantra and found throughout all 4 tantra classifications most notably in the anuttarayoga class. Akshobhya is also mentioned in several Mahayana sutras, the Vimalakirti Nirdesa being the most famous. It was in Abhirati, the pureland of Akshobhya, attainable only by 8th level bodhisattvas, where the famous Tibetan yogi Milarepa and the scholar Sakya Pandita are said to have obtained complete buddhahood.

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Jeff Watt 9-99 [updated 10-2008, 7-2013, 5-2017, 1-2020]

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