Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Khechara Iconography

Vajrayogini, Khechara Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Outline
- Khechara Pureland
- Naked Vajrayogini
- Mandala Configuration
- Vajrayogini Main Page
- Confusions
- Others...

Video: Naro Khechari of the Naropa Tradition

Types of Naropa Tradition Style Appearance:
- Sakya Tradition
- Marpa Kagyu Tradition (Drugpa)
- Thirty-seven Deity Mandala (Virupa, Rwa lotsawa)
- Shangpa Kagyu Tradition
- Pabongkha Dechen Nyingpo Style
- Others...

Paintings of the Naropa Vajrayogini have three main subject types: [1] prominent central figure, [2] Khechara Pureland, and [3] mandala configuration.

There are a number of different iconographic types, or appearances, of Vajrayogini in the Naropa Traditions. In the Sakya tradition depiction she wears a necklace of fifty white skulls. In the Drugpa Kagyu system she wears a necklace of fifty freshly severed heads. The Thirty-seven Deity Mandala tradition depict the central Yogini in the same manner as the Sakya Tradition. The Shangpa is similar to the Sakya. In the Pabongkha style Yogini looks down towards sentient beings rather than drinking blood and looking up towards the pureland of Khechara.

"Vajrayogini, on a multi-coloured lotus and sun seat, with the right foot extended pressing down on the breasts of red Kalaratri, left pressing on the backward bent head of black Bhairava. With a body red in colour, brilliant, like the fire at an aeon's end, one face, two hands, three eyes gazing at the pure [realm] of Khechara. The right hand holds a vajra marked curved knife extended downward, left, a blood filled skullcup held above with the face looking upward and drinking. On the left shoulder is a vajra marked katvanga with a damaru, bell and three hanging pendants. Black hair in strands extends to the waist, youthful and with large breasts of desire, in a mood generating bliss. Having a crown of five dry human skulls and a necklace of fifty; naked, adorned with five mudras; Vairochana as a crown; standing in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness." (Khyabdag Nesar Ngawang Kunga Legpa'i Jungne, 1704-1761).

Jeff Watt [updated 9-2020, 11-2020]

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