Thirty Five Buddhas of Confession
They are also called "Buddhas of the forgiveness of sins"]. They all have the essential characteristics of a Buddha but vary as to colour, mudras and hand objects. The 35 Buddhas were invoked once a month in the rite of aptittadesanavidhi [Tib. lTung-ba bshags-pa´i cho-ga], when all the monks of a monastery solemnly made a collective confession of guilt. The thirty-five Buddhas are seen as counterparts to the main crimes of human thought and action. Their existence is symbolic rather than historical.
The 35 Buddhas stand for the many aspects of Buddha nature, beeing the wisdoms, virtus and qualities of a Buddha represented individually in the form of symbolic figures. These Buddhas are the divine teachers and monarchs of every mythology. They were "once living men, great adepts and Saints, in whom the 'Sons of Wisdom' had incarnated, and who were, therefore, so to speak, minor Avatars of the Celestial Beings - eleven only belong to the Atlantean race, and 24 to the Fifth race, from its beginnings." [The Secret Doctrine, II. 423.]
"Confession" is not used in the Christian sense of forgiveness of sin. Jains consistently reject the idea of a personal god who creates and destroys, forgives and damns. The nearest they come to this idea is when, upon reflection over the events of the day, a disciple discovers that he may have unintentionally hurt or inconvenienced someone, he to himself admits, confesses, to such an act and immediately attempts to assuage any ill feelings his act may have caused - in that other, or within his own psychological nature. If a young mendicant confesses to his guru some "sin" or personal hangup, he does not seek forgiveness, but insight, and strength to rid his soul "of the thorns of deceit, misapplied austerities, and wrong belief, which obstruct the way to final liberation and cause an endless migration of the soul."
These thirty five Tathagatas are the deities who preside over a penitential rite [Tib.: ltung bzhags] based on the Upalipariprccha, which forms a part of the Maharatnakuta Sutra.
Because of the widespread practice of this penitential rite, these thirty five Buddhas became extremely popular motif in Thangka painting, and there developed two currents in their iconographical representation. One is based on a manual by Tsong Kha Pa called the "Sangs rgyas so lnga´i mngon rtogs dang lha sku´i phyag tshad", while the other derives from the Bodhypattidesanavrtti attributed to Nagajuna. The former is used chiefly by he dGe lugs pa, while the latter is used by the other three main school of Tibetan Buddhism, but there are exceptions to this general rule.
|Measurements:||21.7 x 57.1 " | 55 x 145 cm|
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|Material:||Natural Stone Colors|
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