Item Code: TL69
Tibetan Thangka PaintingSize of Painted Surface 13.0" X 18.0"
Size with Brocade 23.5" X 29.0"
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Shakyamuni is draped in monastic garments, covering both the shoulders with bare breast. The Buddha is surrounded with eight lotus petals which perhaps signify his teachings noble eight-fold path. There are two circles inside and outside of these petals. There is a square, outside the circle, divided into four triangles and the square has four gateways. Lotus flowers and leaves are beautifully depicted around the gateways and corners outside the building.
The center of upper left mandala portrays the figure of Akshobhya Buddha who is seated in vajraparyankasana on a lotus throne. His right hand is in earth-touching gesture and the left hand is in meditation position and holds a mendicant bowl. Akshobhya is the lord of vajra clan and occupies the eastern direction in many popular tantras. He originates from the blue syllable Hum which is placed on the orb of the sun. He represents the primordial cosmic element vijnana (consciousness). He is popular in Nepal, Tibet and China.
The upper right corner depicts the mandala of Buddha Ratnasambhava who is seated on lotus throne in the center of the square. His right hand is in varada-mudra, while the left hand, held in meditation position is holding an alms bowl. He is third Dhyani-Buddha. He represents the cosmic element of vedana (sensation). He is associated with the southern direction and with the addiction of pride and avarice, which he helps the practitioner to transform wisdom of equanimity. His color is yellow and his clan is the jewel.
The bottom left is the mandala of Vairochana Buddha. Like the other Dhyani Buddhas he is seated in vajraparyankasana on a lotus throne. His both the hands are in preaching gesture. He is regarded as the oldest and the first Dhyani Buddha and his place is in the sanctum of the stupa where he is the master of the whole temple and its contents. His colour is white. He represents the cosmic element of rupa (form). Vairochana is the embodiment of the Tathagata family and is established as an embodiment of adarsha (ideal) knowledge. The bottom right is the mandala of Buddha Amoghasiddhi, who is seated in adamantine posture in the centre of the square. His complexion is green. His right hand is in abhaya-mudra, a pose of the hand indicating protection. His left hand, held near the chest, should carry a double-vajra, here it is missing. Amoghasiddhi represents the cosmic element of samskara (conformation). He has the power of infallible magic. He is the embodiment of the rainy season.
Above the central mandala a blessing Buddha is seated on a lotus throne in clouds and above him is the Dhyani Buddha Amitabha, god of infinite light. He is also seated on lotus throne in clouds. He is the lord of the western paradise called sukhavati, also known as lord of bliss or pureland. Below the central mandala is another figure of Akshobhya Buddha and below him Shadakshari Lokeshvara is seated on a lotus throne. The bottom center is filled with auspicious offerings. The painting is suitable for sadhana and practices.
Alice Getty, The Gods of Northern Buddhism, Tokyo, 1962
B. Bhattacharyya, Indian Buddhist Iconography, Calcutta, 1968
D. L. Snellgrove (Ed.), The Image of the Buddha, Delhi, 1979
Ben Meulenbeld, Buddhist Symbolism in Tibetan Thangkas, Holland, 2001
Lokesh Chandra, Transcendental Art of Tibet, Delhi, 1996
This description is by Dr. Shailendra K. Verma, whose Doctorate thesis is on "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D.)".