Explaining Buddhist Protector Four Faced Mahakala – Chaturmukha Thangka
Table of Contents
- 1 - The Life of Chaturmukha Mahakala
- 2 - Iconography of the Chaturmukha Mahakala
- 3 - Indian lineage of Mahakala
- 4 - Types of the Chaturmukha Mahakala
The Life of Chaturmukha Mahakala
In this section, we are going to learn about the life of Mahakala, after that, we will learn about the short etymological description of the word Mahakala itself.
Etymology of Chaturmukha Mahakala
Earlier, we learn about the life of Caturmukha Mahakala. Now, we are going to learn about the iconography of Chaturmukha Mahakala.
Iconography of the Chaturmukha Mahakala
Posture of Chaturmukha Mahakala
The main face of Chaturmukha Mahakala and the stacked face are both black, the two on the right and left are dark green of the Mahakala. With four arms the first two right and left hold a curved knife and blood-filled skullcup to the heart. The lower right holds a sword.
The lower left of Mahakala holds upraised a bone garland of beads. The brown hair bristles upwards and there are three eyes, also bared fangs, lower lip distended, a crown of five dried skulls, a necklace of fifty fresh heads, a Brahmin’s cord, bone and snake ornaments. He stands in a manner with the right leg bent and the left straight; having an appearance of magnificent wrathfulness.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Chaturmuka Mahakala and the iconography of Chaturmukha Mahakala. Now, we are going to learn about the Indian lineage of Chaturmukha Mahakala.
Indian lineage of Mahakala
We are going to learn about the list and the description of Indian lineages.
The following are the Indian lineage of Mahakala which are listed and presented below:
- Marmedze Zangpo
- Drime Bepa
- Risula Dakini
- Nyen Lotsawa
- Lama Nam Kaupa
- Sachen kunga Nyingpo
Vajradhara is the supreme buddha, who is also known as the primordial Buddha without beginning or end, lord of all mysteries, master of all secrets. It is to Vajradhara the subdued and conquered evil spirits swear allegiance and vow that they will no longer prevent or hinder the propagation of the Buddhist faith. Vajradharais thought to be too ‘ great a god and too much lost in divine quietude to favor man’s undertakings and works with his assistance, and that he acts through the god Vajrasattva.
Vajradhara would be to him in the relation of a Dhyani-Buddha to his human Buddha. He is always represented seated, with his legs locked and the soles of his feet apparent, and wears the Bodhisattva crown as well as the dress and ornaments of an Indian prince. His arms are crossed on his breast in the vajra-hum-kara mudra holding the vajra and ghanta.
Nagarjuna is widely considered as one of the most important Buddhist philosophers. Along with his disciple Aryadeva, he is considered to be the founder of the Madhyamaka school of Mahayana Buddhism. Nagarjuna is also credited with developing the philosophy of the Prajnaparamita sutras and, in some sources, having revealed these scriptures in the world, having recovered them from the nagas.
Buddhajnana was the disciple of Haribhadra. Buddhajana became the Vajracharya of Vikramasila Vihara after the death of Haribhadra. Thus, Haribhadra was the first Vajracharya of Vikramasila Vihara.
Ratnavajra is the name of a city that was associated with Ghorandhakara: the south-western cremation ground according to the Vajravarahi-sadhana by Umapatideva as found in the 12th-century Guhyasamayasadhanamala. As a part of this sadhana, the practitioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.
Ratnakirti was a Buddhist philosopher of the Yogacara and epistemological schools (Pramanavada) who wrote on logic, philosophy of mind and epistemology. Ratnakīiti studied at Vikramashila University under Jnanasrimitra (975–1025). Ratnakirti introduced the two truths doctrine as key to the nature of the discussion.
Sachen Kunga Nyingpo
Sachen Kunga Nyingpo was a Tibetan spiritual leader and the first of the Five Venerable Supreme Sakya Masters of Tibet. Sachen Kunga Nyinpo was the 3rd Sakya Trizin and son of Khon Konchok Gyalpo who was the first Sakya Trizin and founder of the first Sakya Monastery in Tibet in 1073. Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the son of Khon Konchok Gyalpo and an emanation of Manjushri, was born in 1092 into the prominent Khon clan of Sakya.
From early childhood, Sachen showed great signs of wisdom. At the age of twelve, Sachen, under the guidance of his guru, Bari Lotsava, performed one-point meditation on Manjushri. After meditating on this for a continuous period of six months, the bodhisattva appeared in front of him.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Chaturmuka Mahakala, the iconography of Chaturmukha Mahakala, and the Indian lineage of Chaturmukha Mahakala. Now, we are going to learn about the types of Chaturmukha Mahakala.
Types of the Chaturmukha Mahakala
We will learn about types of Chaturmukha Mahakala.
Tarana in his text called an Ocean of Meditational Deities describes Chaturmukha Mahakala as having Five types which are listed below:
- Performing Activities
- the Four Families
Earlier, we learn about the life of Chaturmuka Mahakala, the iconography of Chaturmukha Mahakala, and the Indian lineage of Chaturmukha Mahakala. Finally,we learn about the types of Chaturmukha Mahakala.