Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Garuda Iconography & Religious Context

Garuda Main Page

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

Forms of Garuda:
- Black Garuda (All)
- Black Garuda (1 face, two arms. Rechung Tradition)
- Black Garuda (9 faces, two arms)
- Black Garuda (Nine Deity, Mitra Tradition)
- Black Garuda (9 faces, 18 hands)
- Shabala (Multi-coloured) Garuda (Kalachakra)
- White Garuda
- Yellow Garuda (Kadam Tradition)
- 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 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).