Seated in paryankasana on a multicoloured lotus, he is bedecked with jewellery and tiaras. His right hand is stretched in the gesture of charity and the left rests on his lap. Garuda, the 'Lord of Birds' crowns the apex of his enlightenment throne.
Ratnasambhava is believed to transform the negative human trait of pride into the wisdom of sameness. This wisdom brings out the common features of human experience and makes us see the common humanity underlying all men and women. It makes us see ourselves as fellow-beings, organically united to the total stream of humanity. In this state of enlightenment, there is nobody superior or inferior to the other, leaving no scope for pride to develop. Ratnasambhava is associated with the south direction.
Altogether eight bodhisattvas surround Ratnasambhava, with two of them shown standing. The cult of the Eight Bodhisattvas originated in India during the early days of Mahayana Buddhism and was particularly popular in Central Asia and Tibet. One of the earliest texts to describe the rituals and iconography of this cult is the Ashtamandalakasutra, translated into Chinese by Amoghavajra. The Eight Bodhisattvas representing the eight directions were worshipped largely for mundane favors and for protection from disease, famine, and war. Apart from thangkas, images of the eight bodhisattvas are found painted on walls in several Tibetan monasteries such as Iwang, Samding, Dolma, and Lakhang, thus attesting to the cult's wide popularity.
Visual representations of Ratnasambhava are extremely rare and hard to come by.
Of Related Interest:
The Five Meditating Buddhas - An Enquiry into Spiritual Aesthetics