Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting

3.26 Vajradathu Mandala

Diamond Realm

Full View Detail 1 Detail 2 Detail 3: Vairocana Detail 4 Detail 5 Detail 6 Detail 7 Detail 8 Detail 9 Detail 10: Vajradhupa Detail 11: Vajrapushpa Detail 12: Vajraloka Detail 13: Vajraghanda Detail 14 Detail 15 Detail 16 Detail 17 Detail 18

Vairochana in his four-faced, eight-armed form presides over this mandala of Vajradhatu [the Diamond Realm], which is almost certainly based on the Sarva Tathagata Tattva Samgraha Tantrra [STTS], a text translated into Tibetan by Rinchesen Sangpo [958 - 1055]. Vairochana in seiner vierköpfigen und achtarmigen Erscheinung nimmt die Mitte dieses Varadhati [Diamant Sphäre] Mandalas ein, das fast mit Sicherheit auf das Sarva-tathagata- tattva samgraha tantra [STTS] zurückgeht, ein von Rinchesen Sangpo [958 - 1055] ins Tibetsche übersetzter Text

Lokesh Chandra, who has studied the twenty-four mandalas described in the STTS, notes that the Vairadhatu was one of the earliest mandalas to appear in Tibet during the Chidar [the Later Diffusion]; some of its mandalas appeared in the main temple at Tabo [dated ca. 996 - 1042]. Nach Lokesh Chandra, der die im STTS beschriebenen 24 Mandalas erforscht hat, war das Vajradhatu eines der frühesten Mandalas, das in Tibet während des Chidars, der Späteren Verbreitung [der Lehre], aufkam. Einige Mandalas dieses ikonographischen Typs wurden im Haupttempel von Kloster Tabo geschaffen [datierbar um 996 - 1042]

The iconographically similar Diamond World mandalas, commonly see in Esoteric Japanese Buddhism, also stem from the STTS, which was translated into Japanese by Amoghavajra [705 - 774]. Die ikonographisch ähnlichen Diamantwelt-Mandalas, die häufig im esoterischen Buddhismus Japans vorkommen, gehen ebenfalls auf das STTS zurück, das von Amoghavajra [705 -774] ins Japanische übertragen wurde:

This mandala is meant to convey Vairochalla's sambhogakaya [Body of Perfect Rapture], said to be characterised by radiance and emptiness [shunyata], a state directly perceptible only to advanced tenth level bodhisattvas. Dieses Mandala soll Vairochanas sambhogakaya veranschaulichend vermitteln - den Körper der "Vollkommenen Wonne", der von strahlendem Glanz ist und für die Leerheit [shunyata] - ein Zustand, der direkt wahrnehmbar nur für zur zehnten Stufe vorangeschrittenen Bodhisattvas ist - steht

Nine encircled deities are arranged in three registers within the mandala's primary court [kutagara]. In the center is Vairochana, one pair of hands at his chest held in a gesture of adoration [anjali mudra], another upward-turned pair held in his lap in meditative gesture [dhyana mudra]. Other hands hold the bow and arrow, a rosary, and a wheel.

Surrounding Vairochana and placed at the cardinal points of the compass are four symbols of the "families" [kula] associated with the four transcendent Buddhas [Tathagatas]:

  1. the ritual thunderbolt [Vajra, Akshobhya]
  2. The gem [Ratna, Ratnasambhava]
  3. the lotus [padma, Amitabha], and
  4. The crossed vajra [vishvavajra, Amoghasiddhi]

The 4 Tathagatas are themselves at the centers of the 4 adjacent circles:

  1. Akshobhya in the east
  2. Ratnasambhava in the south
  3. Amitabha in the west, and
  4. Amoghasiddhi in the north

Each is surrounded by four attendants. In four circles marking the intermediate points of the compass are four goddesses associated with offerings made to the mandala's central deity:

  1. Vajramala [southwest; garland],
  2. Vajragita [northwest; song],
  3. Vajranrtya [northeast; dance] and
  4. Vajralasya [southeast; amorous dance]

Four further offering goddesses appear at the corners:

  1. of the second, larger court:
  2. Vajrapuspa [southwest; flower]
  3. Vajradipa [northwest; lamp]
  4. Vajragandha [northeast; perfume], and
  5. Vairadhupa [southeast; incense]

Each quadrant contains two hundred and fifty bodhisattvas who are associated with the Tathagata presiding over each of the four cardinal directions. Outside the sacred circle of the central mandala, at the four cornerss of the painting, are four further circles of deities. In the top register is a series of celestial and historical figures associated with the teachings of the Vajradhatu mandala. The first Tibetan in the series. The sixth figure from the left may be Rinchesen Sangpo, noted above as the Tibetan translator of the STTS

Without identifying inscriptions, the other historical figures cannot be named with certainty. The bottom register includes a Tibetan monk seated before implements and objects of ritual worship, and sixteen protector deities

The original painting can be dated to the late fourteenth century. Newari artists from Nepal painted this work, either for the monastery of Ngor or another religious site in central Tibet.

Source: Catalogue "Sacred Visions - Early Paintings from Central Tibet", Steven M. Kossak and Jane Casey Singer, published on conjunction with the exhibition held at The Metropolitn Museum of Art, New York, October 6, 1998 - January 17, 1999, ISBN 0-87099-861-7

Workshop Photos

Deities of the Mandalas

Bodhisattva Calculation

Measurements: 18.5 x 24.4" | 47 x 62 cm
Price: on request
Shipment: Parcel Service from Germany or Nepal
Color: Color Version
Material: Natural Stone Colors