Dharmapala Thangka CentreTibetan Antiques

The Yogis's way of initiations

Siddhas, gurus and deities of Tibetan Buddhism

Yogi Yogi's Head Detail Namasamgiti-Manjushri ? Phadampa Sanggyr Four Lokapalas Virupaksa Vaisravana Virudhaka Dhritarashtra

Yoga occupies an important place in the Vajrayana-Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Through the Indian Yogacara philosophy and the teachings of Indian yoga practised by the great Buddhist siddhas and Tantrics and handed down by them to large numbers of disciples, the secret knowledge of yogic practices passed into the Tantric traditions of Tibet, where it was cultivated principally by the rNying-ma-pa, bKa'-brgyud-pa, Zhi-byed, and gCod sects. Fundamental to yoga is meditation on the chakras [Tib. 'Khor-lo], psychical centres of energy situated at particular points in the vicinity of the backbone.

The path of psychical energy and the yogi's relation-ship to the chakras with their deities, mantras, and mystical diagrams constitutes the yogic way of initiation as handed down by experienced teachers called gurus. A yogi with long hair and earrings Stands on a lotus in the center of the picture, and down the central axis of his body the lotus centers are indicated by lotuses of different colors and numbers of petals. The individual chakras are joined by the two nadi [subtle energy channels] of moon and sun energy as well as by the central avadhuti. The location of the sixth chakra is indicated by a point as bindu [Tib. Thig-le] in place of the third eye. Above the head, symbolizing the seventh chakra, is a circle of light containing the creation syllable om. Though surrounded by Tibetan siddhas, lamas, and deities, the yogi here represents the System of Indian yoga. The yogi is shown as a towering figure in a spacious landscape peopled by siddhas, gurus, and Tibetan Buddhist deities. At top left we find the twelve-armed Na-masamgiti Manjusri [a Tantric emanation of the Buddha Vairocana] and on the right, with six arms ? [...] further down on the left we have the arhat Hva-shang and on the right an Indian siddha seated on a tiger skin. Along the bottom of the picture the four world kings [lokapalas] appear in flaming aureoles.

This thangka illustrates the way in which the teachings of Indian yoga permeated the Tantric Buddhism of Tibet, the foundation of which had of course come from India in the first place. The representation of Hindu Yoga principles in the picture of the yogi suggests that the work originated in the border region between Buddhist Tibet and the Hindu civilization of India, probably in the nineteenth Century. Similar pictures are known from Nepal and the Kashmir Himalaya region.

Source: Detlef Ingo Lauf and John Gilmore Ford, Secret Revelations of Tibetan Thangkas, Aurum Verlag Freiburg im Breisgau, 1976, pp. 164-5, pl. 60.

*] The picture is framed in a solid gold frame and protected with super anti-reflective glass. It is therefore not possible to send it by a standard parcel service. It can either be collected in M√ľnster or sent by a special art shipping service within Germany or to neighbouring EU countries. Details should be discussed bilaterally.

Additional Explanation

Measurements: 33.5 x 50.4" | 85 x 128 cm
Price: on request
Measurements incl. frame: 28.2 x 39.5 | 1.13 x 1.58 m.
Shipment: See explanations above *)
A g e : 19th cent.
High resolution: Display [2.0 MB, 2669 x 3789 px.]