Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Five Buddhas (Nyingma)

Five Buddhas

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description
- Guhyagarbha Tantra
- Bardo Images
- Samantabhadra Buddha
- Masterworks
- Confusions
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Video: Five Buddhas (Nyingma)

Five Buddhas:
- Buddha: Vairochana (white)
- Vajra: Akshobhya (blue)
- Padma: Amitabha (red)
- Guna: Ratnasambhava (yellow)
- Karma: Amoghasiddhi (green)

The Five Buddhas in a Nyingma context are generally found in depictions with the deities of the Guhyagarbha Tantra and the various systems of deities of the Bardo cycles of practice including the Forty-two Peaceful and Fifty-eight Wrathful Deities. The primordial buddha Samantabhadra can also be found at the center of a composition with the Five Buddhas as secondary figures. Depending on the particular Nyingma tradition, Samantabhadra who is typically naked in appearance can be wearing jewel ornaments, heavenly attire, and the same for the consort Samantabhadri.

The Forty-two Peaceful deities including the Five Buddhas can appear in a single composition along with the Fifty-eight Wrathful Deities. They can appear in a separate composition with the wrathful deities in another. Sometimes each of the Five Buddhas along with their corresponding Heruka wrathful deity are divided into individual compositions making for a five painting set.

The buddhas are in sambhogakaya appearance which is the same as Peaceful Appearance. Youthful, with long hair, wearing jewels and heavenly garments, they sit in vajra posture embracing a consort. All aspects of the Five Buddhas, their appearance, attire, consort and throne seat have symbolic meaning.

Jeff Watt 3-2021

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