Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Mandala of Buddha Ratnasambhava and Cosmic Buddhas

The Mandala of Buddha Ratnasambhava and Cosmic Buddhas

This is a magnificent and slightly complicated mandala of Ratnasambhava who is one of the five Cosmic Buddhas. His color is yellow and he is the Lord of the jewel Buddha-clan, transcendent creator of the Buddhaverse of the south, Shrimat the Glorious. He represents the Cosmic element of vedana (sensation) and is the embodiment of slander (pishuna). He presides over the blood in the human system. He possesses the knowledge of samata (equality) and presides over the spring season. Ratnasambhava is associated with the addictions of avarice and pride, transmuting them into wisdom of equality. The earliest mention of his name may be found in the Guhyasamaja Tantra which is believed to have been composed circa 3rd century A.D. He is widely mentioned in Buddhist Tantric works. Out of all description the one given in the Panchakara section of Advyavajra sangrah is perhaps best.

Ratnasambhava is seated in diamond posture in the center of the square of the inner mandala. His identifying gesture is boon granting gesture, with right hand extended down, palm outward. His left hand is in meditation position and holding a pindapatra. There are four gateways in the inner square, protected by guardian deities. The protector deities also guard four corners of the square.

Over the four gateways of outer square are the images of Amoghasiddhi Buddha. The wrathful deities are protecting the corners of outer square of the mandala. The walls of the outer circle are decorated with stylized designs and Adepts. The Ferocious deities are also depicted on either side of each gate outside the walls. The square is surrounded with four circles. The outer one is of charnel ground and stupas, followed by a circle of ground and stupa, followed by a circle of fire fence, which is florally rendered here. Then there is a circle of auspicious symbols, images of Buddha and Adepts etc. After this comes a circle of lotus petals. Here the spiritual realm begins and one enters the mandala.

The Four mandalas of the Cosmic Buddhas are depicted outside the central mandala of Ratnasambhava. The mandala of the upper left corner is of Amitabha Buddha, the god of infinite light. The inner squares of all mandala have four gateways protected by guardian deities. The squares of these mandalas are surrounded with four circles – fire fence, charnel ground and stupas and lotus petals, respectively.

On the upper right corner is the mandala of Akshobhya Buddha, unshakable, the lord of the vajra clan. The mandala at the lower left corner is of Vairochana, the Lord of the Buddha clan. His hands are in preaching gesture. The lower right corner has the mandala of Amoghasiddhi, the Buddha of infallible magic. His right hand is in abhaya mudra, while the left hand, held in meditation position, is holding a pindapatra (begging bowel). The upper center is beautifully rendered perhaps with Shadakshari Lokeshvara. His both the hands are in anjali-mudra. A Buddha is seated at the bottom center and is surrounded with wrathful deities. The scene reminds the event of temptation of Shakyamuni by Mara.

The landscape contains the figures of wrathful and peaceful deities; Adepts, devotees; offerings, stupas, lakes etc. The painting has a border of syllable mantra in Tibetan script. This is perhaps a rare and handsome thangka of the Buddha Ratnasambhava. All the figures are brilliantly drawn painted.

Select Bibliography

A. Getty, The Gods of Northern Buddhism, Tokyo, 1962

Ben Meulenbeld, Buddhist Symbolism in Tibetan Thangka, Holland, 2001

B. Bhattacharyya, The Indian Buddhist Iconography,Calcutta, 1968

Marylin M. Rhie & Robert A.F. Thurman, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet New York, 1997

Marylin M. Rhie & Robert A.F. Thurman, Worlds of Transformation: Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion, New York, 1999

This description is by Dr. Shailendra K. Verma, whose Doctorate thesis is on "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D.)".

1 comment:

Antique Buddhas said...

Ratnasambhava Buddha is also believed to represent the richness.
The richness may lead to the pride, attitude right?
So is this correct to say Ratnasambhava Buddha represents richness.