Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Garuda Iconography & Religious Context

Garuda Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Outline Page
- Initiation Cards
- Hindu Garuda
- Bon 'Kyung'
- Winged Deities
- Bird Symbolism
- Decorative Objects
- Naga, Snakes & Serpents Page
- Animal Relationship Glossary
- Confusions: Buddhist, Bon, Hindu, Raven-face Mahakala
- Others...

- Garuda: King of Birds
Black Garuda
- Bird Deities of the Himalayas
- Bird Deity Conflations

Forms of Garuda:
- Black Garuda (All)
- Black Garuda (1 face, two arms. Rechung Tradition)
- Black Garuda (Nine Deity, Mitra Tradition)
- Black Garuda (9 faces, two arms)
- Black Garuda (9 faces, 18 hands)
- Shabala (Multi-coloured) Garuda (Kalachakra)
- White Garuda
- Yellow Garuda (Kadam Tradition)
- Red Garuda (Acharya Padma)
- Three Faces, Six Arms
- Three Combined Deities
- Others...

Historically, from classical Indian mythology, Garuda is the king of birds. In Tantric Buddhism, Garuda is yet another form in which various buddhas arise for the purpose of removing disease and injury caused by nagas and poisoning. Metaphorically the worst 'poisons' are desire, hatred and ignorance. Various forms of Garuda are found in both the Nyingma and Sarma traditions. The Siddhaikavira, Chakrasamvara and Kalachakra Tantras of the Sarma tradition are the main sources for the various lineages of Tantric Buddhist practice. The Bon religion has a similar bird deity known as a 'kyung'.

Database Search: All Images

Jeff Watt 3-2003 [updated 9-2016, 5-2017, 2-2020]

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