< Padmasambhavas Paradise Zangdok Palri Tsa Tsa

Dharmapala Thangka CentreTibetan Antiques

Padmasambhavas Paradise Zangdok Palri Tsa Tsa

- zangs mdog pal ri -

Explanation Front Side Side View Back
01. Padmasambhava02. Yeshe Tsogyal
03. Mandarava04. Pupil
05. Avalokiteshvara06. Chöpe La
07. Amitabha11. Dhritarashtra
09. Virudhaka10. Vaishravana La
11. Enclosing Wall12. Charnel Ground
13. Tchörten or Stupa14. Sun
15. Moon16. Dharma Symbol

This is a large, painted Tsa Tsa Tsa with raised rim, showing Padmasambhava [tib.: པད་མ་འབྱུང་གནས ] in his paradise, the "Glorious Copper Coloured Mountain" [Tib. Zank dog Palri9. According to the mythical concepts of Tibetan cosmology, this paradise is located in the southwest of the holy world mountain Meru and has the shape of a Mandala palace that transcends all imagination. It forms an area to be seen only by highly realized Tantrikaya, in which the levels of Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya - personalized according to the Nyingma school by Padmasambhava, Avalokiteshvara and Buddha Amitabha - unfold on three levels of the Trikaya. The light edge stands strongly raised around the whole Tsa Tsa.

At the lower edge we see two charnel grounds on which corpses are eaten as symbols of the cycle of the rebirths of vultures and dogs, on which however also help-promising emanations of Guru Rinpoche show themselves and on which in each case a choir-master stands as symbol of the enlightenment. In the centre is a lake inhabited by Nagas, the underworld from which the Sangdog Pelri Palace on the continent of Ngayab Ling rises above a rock where meditators appear.

The palace, which extends over the Dakinis's sphere of existence to the area of the gods, is characterized by a perimeter wall that delimits the holy district from the secular, tree-covered area. On its different sides, the four world guardians guard[Skt. Digpala, Lokapala], of which only three are visible here, the palace entrances. They allow only those beings to enter who have made great strides in their spiritual de-velopment. In the centre sits the Dhritarashtra, the eastern protector of the world, on the left Virudhaka and on the right Vaishravana as the world guardians of the south and the north. Virupaksha, the world warden of the West, we have to imagine ourselves on the far side of the palace.

On the ground floor of the palace, Padmasambhava sits on a magnificent lotus throne accompanied by his two main companions Yeshe Tsogyel and Mandarava, the daughter of the king of Sahor. Four different figures on each side of the "Precious Teacher"[Tib. Guru Rinpoche] presumably represent the flock of his twenty five disci-ples. Choir Lhamo, sacrificing Dakinis, prepare a heavenly feast for him.

On the upper floor we see the four-armed Avalokiteshvara accompanied by two Chöpe Lha. Under the curved roof, which is decorated with a Ganjira, a symbol of the Dharma placed only on monastery roofs, Buddha Amitabha resides in Yab Yum, flanked by two choirs of Lha. Around the palace, adorned by the sun and the moon, gods hover who turn to Padmasambhava in his timeless form as the Master of Trikaya.

Charnel Ground

There was no wood for cremation in ancient Tibet and the ground was mostly rocky or frozen, so earth burials were not possible. In the center, to the right and left of «Vajrakila», we see two so-called mortuary fields [no. 5] on which corpses are eaten by vultures and dogs as symbols of the cycle of rebirths, but on which there are also emanations of Guru Rinpoche promising help, and on each of which there is a chörten as a symbol of enlightenment.

From a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, mortuary fields also have significance for ritual activities of Indo-Tibetan Dharma traditions, especially those traditions influenced by the Tantric view. The impermanence of all life became particularly clear here.

The large Tsa Tsa Tsa shows impressively how the artist presents the paradise of Padmasambhava as a union of the three Buddha-bodies. Only advanced tantricists can see this "Pure Land" with its inherent qualities. In its innermost empty nature, the Zangdok Palri is the sphere of the Absolute. It is the union of wisdom and emp-tiness, its essence the primal purity.

Age: 19th cent

Origin: Bhutan

Source: "TSHA-TSHA - Votivtafeln aus dem buddhistischen Kulturkreis" Collection Christian H. Lutz, Basel, Switzerland

Measurements: 7.9 x 5.7 x 0.9" | 20.1 x 14.5 x 2.2 cm
Price: on request
Shipment: Parcel Service from Germany
Material: Burned Clay
High resolution: Display [1.6 MB, 1785 x 2414 px.]