Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting

12.11 Bardo Mandala

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The Bardo is the world of the intermediate state through which the deceased wanders for forty-nine days before assuming a new existence in one of the six phenomenal worlds. The Bardo is described at great length in the Book of the Dead. During his wandering, the consciousness of the deceased experiences, in a special (fine-substance) after-death body, the Karmic effects of his former spiritual deeds which now manifest themselves as light, sounds or deities. Both the peaceful and the terrifying deities are apprehended in succession.

The 48 terrific deities occor later in the between state experience than the 52 tranquil ones.

However, with the help of the lama who reads the Book of the Dead for at least a fortnight after a person's demise, one can recognize that all visions of deities experienced in the Bardo are unreal reflections of one's own spirit. These visions of deities described vividly in the text were given powerful expression on thangkas like this one. Such Thangkas were very likely used during the reading of the text.

In the center of the Mandala the blue winged Chemchok Heruka is depicted. He has three faces, six arms, and four legs embraces his bright red consort in sexual union. Above, below and beside we see five other Heruka manfestations. All are terrific forms of Samantabhadra, the primordial dark blue Buddha form of the Nyingma Order, who appears at top of the painting in yab-yum.

In the two outer circles of the Mandala 48 deities appears related to the transmigratory visions in the Bardo or Beetween State - the period between death and rebirth. Some of them are animal headed. These visions appear from the consciousness, according the the teaching of Bardo Thodol, the Book That Liberates When Heard in the Between, popularly known in the West as "The Tibetan Book of the Dead". In the four circles in the four corners are the abbreviated mandalas of four of the Five Dhyani [Transcendent] Buddhas.

List of Deities

Measurements: 22.4 x 28.3" | 57 x 72 cm
Price: on request
Shipment: Parcel Service from Germany or Nepal
Color: Color Version
Material: Natural Stone Colors