Dharmapala Thangka CentreIconography

Tibetan Iconography


Guhyasamaja is a deity in the highest class of Tantra. This Tantra is one of the most important scriptures of Tantric Buddhism. In its fullest form, it consists of seventeen chapters. He is one of the most important meditative deities of Vajrayana Buddhism.

Guhyasamaja holds a chakra or wheel, padma or lotus, and a vajra or adamantine scepter in these hands. From top to bottom on his left side, he holds a kadgha or sword, triratna or three jewels, and a ghanta or bell in these hands. His two principle hands, crossed near the center of his body, hold the vajra and ghanta. Each attribute represents and symbolizes a specific Buddha family.

Guhyasamaja belongs to the yidam deities of the highest tantra class [Skt. Anuttarayogatantra], in which the meditator ritually transforms himself into the deity and then works for the benefit of living beings. Guhyasamaja occurs with or without a female partner [Prajna], with the female deity usually holding the symbols of the male deity in mirror image form. Gujamaja is in his basic form six-armed, shows up in mixed peaceful-wrathful form. He appears in single representation but also [as here] in union with his female consort [Tib. »Yab-yum«, Skt. »Yuganaddha«]