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Introduction to Buddha's - The Great Thangka

Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 3:48 AM

BUDDHAS


In Tibetan thankas figures of Buddha emphasize his human aspect. His colour is usually golden. He is always represented in monastic garments and his monastic robe is red-brown. He has urna, usnisa and long lobed cars.

Life of Buddha.Buddha is seated on lotus in bhuminsparsamudra. At the top is the effigy of Amitayus holding ambrosia vase. On his right side is Bodhisattva Candraprabha holding lotus with crescent moon on the book while on his left is Avalokitesvara holding lotus. The incidents illustrating the Abidu-renidana Jatakas are depicted around the central figure of sakyamuni. The scenes mainly represent miracles at 8ravasti. At the instance of six heretical teachers, king Prasenajit of Koala held a contest for the demonstration of miraculous feats. At the top right corner, Buddha is shown travelling through the air. As he entered the mandapa it appeared as if it was lit up with fire. King Prasenajit with his wives and retinues bowed down in reverence with offerings and folded hands. The next incident shows invitation of 8rigupta, a lay disciple of Buddha and Grahadatta. Grahadatta, a disciple of the naked ascetics invited Buddha and his disciples in his house, put their seats over a ditch filled will) live coal and poisoned their food. Buddha by his supernatural power realized the trick and turned the fiery ditch into a tank of lotuses and made the food free from poison. The next scene represents offerings of Licchavis to Buddha and offering of handful of dust by two boys. The successive incidents represented are Indra with folded hands bowing down to Buddha, Buddha ordaining five hundred heretics to Buddhism, display of Yamaka Pratiharya emitting water and fire alternatively from the upper and lower parts of the body and Brahma with folded hands bowing down to Buddha. At the bottom corner are shown Buddha in the form of Hayagriva and Vajrapani subjugating die six teachers of heretics, enlightenment of Buddha and offering of bowls by the four guardian deities. At the bottom centre Buddha is represented in seated posture displaying dharmacakramudra flanked by two deities with offerings accompanied by disciples. He is also represented in walking, standing and recumbent postures. Thereafter a thousand petalled golden lotuses sprang up supported by Naga king and Buddha created a huge array of representations of himself in sitting, standing and lying postures. At the left is shown the great miracle of Sravasti when he multiplied himself. At the top left corner is shown the conversion of the people to Buddhism by showing them glimpses of hell. Lastly, the proclamation of Buddhism is shown by the establishment. Of Dharmarajika  stupa.

 Thirty-five Buddhas of Confession

The central figure is Buddha Sakyamuni presiding over the Buddha’s of confession and is seated on lotus throne with his two disciples Sariputta and Maudgalayana standing on either side. His right hand shows bhumis-parsamudra while his left hand holds alms-bowl (pinda-patra). The Thirty-five Buddha’s of confession or Buddha’s of sin-forgiveness are actually invoked in confessing sins. They emphasize the omnipresence of the power of Buddha in all directions centre, zenith and nadir for helping men and purifying them from past and present sins. They are seated in vajrasana wearing monastic garments and displaying the five different mudras, viz., varada, abhaya, dhyona, bhumisparsa and vyakhyana.

At the bottom is represented the great teacher Nga Wang Namgyal who introduced the Drugpa Karyga Buddhism in Bhutan. He is flanked by Norgyun-ma (Vasudhara), the goddess of wealth on either side.

Buddha in dharmacakramundraBuddha is seated on lotus throne displaying vitarkamudra in the right hand and the left hand is placed on the lap in dhyanamudra. In front of the throne a bowl is depicted with a dharmacakra, an eight-spoked wheel symbolising the eight-fold path of the Buddhism. The upper part of the thanka represents the figures of Vajrasattva and Guhyasamaja with Sakti in the right and left corners respectively. At the bottom are portrayed the figures of eight-armed Usnisavijaya and Norgyun-ma (Vasudhara), the goddess of wealth showing varadamudra and holding spike of corn in her right and left hands. In between the two figures, cintamani and other jewels are shown in the sea. At the left side of the thanka a devotee with offerings is depicted standing near the lotus throne.

 This thanka possibly hails from Southern Tibet.

Buddha displaying vitarkamudra in both hands is seated on lotus throne surmounted by cintamani. In front of the throne a golden dharmacakra is shown in a bowl. At the top are portrayed the figures of Bodhisattva Manjusri and Ak.5.4agarbha while at the bottom there are two nude figures of Vajrayogini of red and blue colours, one standing in ahdha and the other in dancing pose and holding the attributes kartri (small knife), kapala (skull-cup) and Khatanga (staff topped by skull). Below the throne is shown a devotee with offerings and three jewels representing the Tri-ratna viz., Buddha, Dharma and Sangha in the sea.

This thanka possibly hails from Southern Tibet. 

Writer- Sipra Chakravarti
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