Shadbhuja Mahakala Masterworks
- Art History
- Religious Context
- Shangpa Kagyu Protectors
- White Mahakala of the Shangpa Tradition
- Mahakala: Three Clarifications
- 75 Forms of Mahakala
- Retinue Figures
Brought to Tibet by Khyungpo Naljor the founder of the Shangpa Kagyu School (Outline Page), this form of Mahakala became popular in the Sakya, Kagyu and Jonang traditions and was later adopted into the Gelugpa School, becoming the principal protector.
There are other forms and lineages of six-armed Mahakala that are unrelated to this particular six-armed Shadbhuja Mahakala.
Shadbhuja Mahakala arises from the Eight-Chapter Mahakala Tantra belonging to the Kriya classification. The interlocutor, or sponsor, of the tantra was the deity Hayagriva. Mahakala is a general class of protector deities in Tantric Buddhism and primarily associated with the Anuttarayoga Tantras. In general Mahakala forms are wrathful emanations of Vajradhara Buddha. From among the different forms of Mahakala only this Shadbhuja form is an emanation of Avalokiteshvara.
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Jeff Watt 4-2004 [updated 8-2016, 5-2017, 12-2019]