Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting

3.34 Amitabha in Sukhavati

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Amitabha belongs together with Vairocana, Amogasiddhi, Akshobhya and Ratnasambhava to the five Tathagata Buddhas [also Dhyani Buddhas].

He also plays an important role in Tibetan Buddhism Vajrayana, where he is considered the primordial Buddha of the lotus family [Adibuddha]. There are various practices in Tibetan Buddhism to gain access to the Pure Land of Amitabha, such as the Sablam Phowa. Padmasambhava is considered an incarnation or emanation of Amitabha in Tibetan Buddhism.

Amitabha is the Buddha of comprehensive love. He lives in tranquility [depicted as meditating Buddha] and works for the enlightenment of all beings [depicted as blessing Buddha]. His main enlightenment technique is visualizing the surrounding world as pure land. Those who conceive of their world as a pure land thereby awaken the enlightenment energy within themselves. One can see the world as a pure land through appropriate clear and unlimited vision [[enlightenment mind) or by sending light to all beings [wishing all beings happy].

According to Amitabha teachings, after physical death, one awakens in the pure land [the Pure Land of Amitabha, sanskr. Ogmin, tib. Dewachen] when one thinks his name as a mantra and the mind leaves the body through the crown chakra.

This is the Tibetan vision of Amitbha, the Buddha of Boundless Light, in his western paradisal budhaverse, Sukahavati the Blisssful. He sits in meditation posture on a luscious pink lotus with a pale green cushion on a moon disc. He holds in his lap a mendicant´s bowl, filled with elixir food. He is surrounded with the usual deep blue, truth-realm light, then the ring of gold of the beatific body, and finally an amazing multicoloured, pastel-tiled, glowing mandorla that symbolizes his emanation body.

The Blissfil Land Sutra states that the buddha´s body in Sukhavati is ninety millions miles in height, as this is a pure energy realm in the summit [Akanishta] center of the universe, just at the speed of light boundary where mass becomes infinity in the formless realm if infinity space.

Behind the buddha´s throne a remarkable jewel tree rises. It has many varieties of leaves and is filled with rare fruits and festooned with strings of jewels.

Initiatory goddesses lean from clouds pouring elixir from their vases and dropping precious things to the jewel ground below.

At the side of the ornate throne platform stand six offering goddesses, three on each side, and below to the right and left sit the eight great bodhisattvas, Avalokiteshvara and Maitreya identifiable on the left, with perhaps a golden Ksihitigarbha and a green Sarvanivaranaviskambin below them. A number of buddhas and bodhisattvas sit below in two groups, referentially holding offering and gazing on the Buddha.

Three cool swimming pools stand out in the paradisal landscape of water and small hills. Golden and green colours create a glowing world that spreads out below the buddha and is heightened by the light blue sky that adds to the pervasive and effective sense of brightness.

Original Painting: Eastern Tibet, probably Kham, second half of 19th century

Source: Worlds of Transformation - Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion by Matrylin Rhie and Robert A.F. Thurmann, published in 1999 by Tibet House, New York in Association with the The Shelly and Donald Rubin Foundation

Measurements: 17.7 x 22.6 " | 45 x 57.5 cm
Price: on request
Shipment: Parcel Service from Germany or Nepal
Farbe: Color Version
Material: Natural Stone Colors