Item Code: TR57
Tibetan Thangka PaintingSize of Painted Surface 14.0 inches X 21.0 inches
Size with Brocade 24.0 inches X 36.5 inches
Price: $355.00 Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
Moreover mandala is employed for focusing attention of adepts and practitioners, as a spiritual teaching tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation. In Tibetan Buddhism, mandalas have been developed into sand-painting. It is drawn on the ground with meticulously sifted colored sand. After the conclusion of the rite the mandala is removed. In course of time, mandala lost its original function as temporary aid at initiation rites, and merged with the thangka. The literally meaning of thangka is an object that can be rolled up. Thus the painted mandala became an everyday object of veneration, meditation, and ritual, and after the completion of the prayer, sadhana, or ritual rites, one can keep them in the proper place by rolling it.
Chenrezig or Shadakshari Lokeshvara is one of the forms of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. He is the guardian of the Buddhist faith until Maitreya appears on earth. Avalokiteshvara is the offspring of Amitabha Buddha. He is the patron deity of Tibet and all the Dalai Lamas are considered manifestations of Avalokiteshvara. There are 108 different form of Avalokiteshvara and among them one of his forms are Shadakshari Lokeshvara or Four-armed Avalokiteshvara.
Shadakshari Lokeshvara or the Six-syllabled Lord of the world embodies his six-syllable mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum. The six syllables of the mantra are the seed syllables of the six realms of the wheel of life. Om is white and stands for the good realm; Ma is green and stands for the demigods or asura realm; Ni is yellow and stands for the human realm; Pad is blue and stands for the animal realm; Me is red and stands for hungry ghost realm; Hum is black and stands for the hell realm. Avalokiteshvara helps to bring all beings from the six realms into enlightenment.
It is believed that the sacred syllables invoke the Buddhas of the six realms, who are manifestations of Avalokiteshvara, as he appears to the beings there to alleviate their suffering. The six realms, or forms, of rebirth as mentioned above are hell beings, hungry ghosts (preta), animals, human, demigods and gods. By repeatedly intoning the mantra, Tibetans and many others who do practices centering upon Chenrezig invoke the presence of a Buddha for the benefit of beings in each of those realms, as well as for increasing their own compassion.
Chenrezig is seated on a lotus throne in the center of this mandala. The complexion of his body is white which symbolizes purity and he has a smiling countenance, as he is filled with compassion for all beings. He has four hands, the main hands are held in front of the heart, and holding wish-granting gem, which symbolizes for the spirit of enlightenment that consists of love and wisdom. His right hand holds a rosary, symbolizes that Avalokiteshvara draw forth beings from phenomenal existence. His left hand holds a beautiful full-blown lotus flower, a sign that he serves living beings but is free from attachment. An antelope-skin is over his left shoulder with antelope’s head on his left breast, symbolizes his compassion for all human being. An antelope hide is also used as mat to sit on for meditation. The hair of Chenrezig is partially upswept in knots with decoration and partly falls on his back. He is richly adorned with gold jewelry, which indicates that while pure Bodhisattva has not abandoned pleasant things.
The building or square of the mandala has been constructed to face in four cardinal directions. According to Tibetan convention, east is in front, and south, west, and north follow in the clockwise direction. Protector deities live in the four gateways. The walls of the square are finely decorated with floral motifs. Over the gates are houses with decorations. Chaityas are depicted on the upper center of the houses. Chaitya or stupa symbolizes the parinirvana or mahaparinirvana of the Buddha, which is the state of merger of individual mundane consciousness into the supramundane universal consciousness and experiencing the eternal bliss after the expiry of life-process. Umbrellas are depicted on either side of each gate outside the walls.
The square of the mandala is surrounded by a ring of fire, here it is florally rendered. Fire in Vajrayana means knowledge (prajna) . Without knowledge there is no possibility of arriving at supreme understanding. Here, fire also means that believers who enter the mandala are purified, as it were, and at their passage through the purging fire, their ego and all their illusions will burn away. After this comes a circle of vajras, which represents the solidity of the adamantine plane wherein the meditator becomes a vajra-being, a vajra-sattva. This circle actually symbolizes adamantine bodhi or enlightenment, once gained it is unchangeable. After this comes a circle of lotus petals. Here the spiritual realm begins and one enters the mandala.
The top center of this thangka depicts Amitabha, the Buddha of infinite light and one of the five Dhyani Buddhas. He is seated on lotus throne in clouds. Amitabha is the lord of the Western Paradise called Sukhavati, also known as the Land of Bliss or the Pure Land. He is the synthesis of the purity of the maya-body with its appropriate signs in the clarity of mind, which in its essential nature is the same as light. He is the inexpressible luminous essence. Red in colour, he is in monastic robes with the vase for alms placed in his hands in Samadhi-mudra of contemplation.
The upper left corner is filled with the figure of Goddess White Tara who is seated on lotus flower in clouds. She is the goddess of long-life. She has seven eyes – the normal ones, one vertical eye on her forehead, and one in the palm of each hand and sole of each foot. Just as with Avalokiteshvara’s thousand eyes, these symbolize the capacity to see all those in need in all four corners of earth. In Nepal, Buddhists called her Sapta-Lochani Tara or Seven-Eyed Tara with reverence. She symbolizes perfect purity, and is believed to represent transcendent wisdom, which secures everlasting bliss to its possessor. She helps practitioner overcome obstacles, particularly hindrances in the practice of dharma. White Tara also grants wishes and protects her devotees from danger and distress. She looks after the good of all beings. She is the consort of Avalokiteshvara.
Goddess Green Tara is seated on the upper right corner. She is also seated on a lotus throne in clouds. She is the Saviouress Goddess and is the most popular goddess in Buddhist pantheon. She is also called Shyama Tara and Sgro Ljam in Tibetan. She helps devotees overcome dangers, fears and anxieties. Moreover she helps one cross over from danger to safety or from suffering to happiness. The Japanese believe that Tara made two vows – to conquer evil (as Green Tara) and to save human beings (as White Tara).
On the lower register, Arapachana Manjushri is seated in the left corner. Manjushri is the bodhisattva of transcendental wisdom and knowledge. He is the manifestation of the wisdom of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Manjushri is the Buddhist counterpart of the Brahmanical god Brahma, who is also depicted with a scripture (the Vedas). Manjushri confers knowledge, intelligence, and retentive memory on his worshippers. The position occupied by Manjushri in the Buddhist pantheon is one of the very highest. His mention as a bodhisattva occurs earliest in the Buddhist texts. His worship is widely prevalent among the Buddhists of the Northern Buddhist countries. Manjushri is the patron deity of Nepalese Buddhism. His right hand holds a flaming wisdom sword and left holds a lotus flower over which is scripture of divine wisdom. With his flaming sword, Manjushri ensures that humans will gain knowledge and insight. He cleaves the clouds of ignorance with it but also uses it in the morning to chase away the demons of night and thus brings light into the darkness. This darkness-ness a double meaning is thus spiritual darkness and ignorance.
The bottom center depicts spiritual peaceful offering, while lower right corner is filled with the figure of Wrathful Vajrapani, a celestial Bodhisattva, who represents the concentrated power of all Buddhas who is standing in alidha posture on a lotus throne against the wisdom fire aureole. His left hand holds a vajra, the indestructible weapon and his left hand is in threatening gesture (tarjani-mudra) and holds a noose, which binds the meditator to the highest wisdom.
This painting has three borders, the first two borders depicts severed human heads and skulls, respectively. The third border depicts snow lions, dragons, garuda, nagas, auspicious symbols etc. The extended brocade of this thangka is woven with flowers and auspicious symbols. The present thangka is very much suitable for the sadhana, practices and meditation of Bodhisattva Manjushri.
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.)”.