Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting


10 different Chemchok Herukas

Wrathful Form of Samantabhadra

Heruka

All thangkas depict the winged Chemchok Heruka Chemchok [Skt. Mahottara Heruka, Tib. ཆེ་མཆོག་, ཆེ་མཆོག་ཧེ་རུ་ཀ་] with three heads, six arms and four legs. He embraces his consort Namshyalma in sexual union [Yab Yum]. He is the wrathful form of Samantabhadra, the original Buddha of the Nyingma school.

These thangkas all show the winged Chemchok Heruka Chemchok [Skt. Mahottara Heruka, Tib. ཆེ་མཆོག་, ཆེ་མཆོག་ཧེ་རུ་ཀ་] with three heads, six arms and four legs in the centre. He embraces his consort Namshyalma in sexual union [Yab Yum]. He is the wrathful form of Samantabhadra, the original Buddha of the Nyingma school.

We find different manifestations of Chemchok Herukas on these 10 thangkas. They can be easily distinguished by their different colours.

Below the Heruka images are smaller Vajrakila images. Vajakila, or Guru DragPO, is a tantric manifestation of Padmasambhava. The main feature is the deity's lower body, which ends in a magical dagger [tib. Phur-bu].

Numerous bardo [intermediate state or intermediate realm] deities appear in front of a landscape. There are 100 different Bardo gods. Forty-two are peaceful and fifty-eight are wrathful. The wrathful deities are usually animal-headed.

The Bardo Thödol [commonly known in the West as the Tibetan Book of the Dead] describes this intermediate state between death and rebirth. Here these visions appear from the consciousness of the deceased. They are divided into peaceful and wrathful deities. The peaceful visions appear right at the beginning of the after-death state.

The Book of the Dead is intended to guide both the recently deceased and their loved ones through the bardo of death to a better rebirth. It can also help relatives through the grieving process.

The ten paintings published here are not thangkas but murals. Artists from the Darmapala Thangka Centre were commissioned to paint these murals in the Golden Temple of Namdroling Monastery [Kushalnagar, Karnataka, India]

The murals are very large, measuring 7.3 x 8.5 " | 183 x 213 cm [landscape] or 213 x 183 cm [portrait]. Of course, they could be transferred to thangkas in a much smaller format.


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