Sitatapatra – Goddess of the White Parasol
Sitatapatra is known as a protector against supernatural danger in Buddhism. She is venerated in both the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. She is also known as Usnisa Sitatapatra.
Sitatapatra is a powerful independent deity emanated by Gautama Buddha from his Usnisa.
Sitatapatra is known as Sanskrit Dug Kar mo in Tibet. and Sitatapatra is also known as The White Parasol, Crown Ornament of the Buddha in English.
Table of Contents
- 1 - Iconography of Sitatapatra
- 2 - Depicting Buddhist Deity Sitatapatra Thangka
- 3 - Sitatapatra with Shakyamuni Buddha Thangka
- 4 - Sitatapatra with Seven Buddhas Thangka
- 5 - Sitatapatra with Amitayus Buddha Thangka
Iconography of Sitatapatra
Sitatapatra is white in color with 1000 faces, 1000 hands, 1000 legs, and 10,100,000 (ten million one hundred thousand) eyes. The main face in front is white which is showing a fierce expression with a wide gaping mouth and a further 199 white faces above. To the left is a vertical row of yellow faces and to the right is a vertical row of green faces.
On both sides of Sitatapatra, there are red faces and on top appearing as a cap are 200 blue faces. Each face of Sitatapatra has three eyes and glares with a fierce expression. In the first pair of hands, the right extended downward and holds a Dharma Wheel. And the left hands of Sitatapatra holds an arrow together with the gold handle of a parasol.
She is adorned with various jewel ornaments, a necklace of fifty freshly severed heads each in a different color and expression, and a long snake necklace. As a lower garment, she wears a fresh tiger skin skirt fastened with a belt of green silk. A further 99 pairs of hands hold in the right a Dharma Wheel and an arrow in the left.
The remaining 400 hands of Sitatapatra on the right hold a vajra, jewel, Visvavajra (double vajra) and lotus, 100 of each object. The remaining 400 hands of Sitatapatra on the left hold a bow, flame tipped sword, lasso, and hook, again 100 of each object. The first ten hands of Sitatapatra clearly display the objects as examples while the remaining 990 grow increasingly smaller with each outward concentric circle.
The 500 legs of Sitatapatra on the left side are extended above worldly deities and a host of animals. And the legs of Sitatapatra on the right are bent and press down on all worldly troubles, daemons, and animals. She is Standing above a sun disc and multi-colored lotus seat she is completely surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness, richly stylized, and containing numerous wish-fulfilling jewels.
I salute you, exalted one!
Only mother of all Buddhas, past, present, and future,
Your glory pervades the three worlds.
Homage to you, savioress from the evil influence of demons
From untimely death and evil dreams,
From the dangers of poison, arms, fire, and water.
The mandala of your being is exceedingly vast.
You have a thousand heads full of innumerable mindstates,
A thousand hands holding flaming attributes.
Queen of all the mandalas of the three worlds
Ever-present in the work of taming evil ones,
I salute you, goddess of magical spells, turning demons into dust!
—Gelug ritual prayer
Depicting Buddhist Deity Sitatapatra Thangka
The thangka of Sitatapatra is from Tibet. The thangka of Sitatapatra is made in between 1700 – 1799 AD. Sitatapatra is from Gelug and Buddhist lineages. The size of the painting is 91.44×74.30cm. Ground mineral pigment and raised gold on cotton are used to color this thangka. Currently, this thangka is in the Rubin museum of art.
Smiling lama is at the top center of the thangka. Smiling lama is seated in the thangka. smiling lama is wearing monastic robes and a yellow cap with red trim.
The right hand of Smiling lama holds the stem of a pink lotus to the heart which blossoms at the right ear and supports a vajra and bell. The left-hand of Smiling lama holds a long-life vase in the lap. Smiling lama is richly attired in silk brocades.
Ushnishavijaya is at the bottom center of the thangka. Ushnishavijaya is known as the peaceful long-life goddess. Ushnishavijaya is white in color with three faces and eight hands seated in vajra posture. She also was born from the Ushnisha of the Buddha.
Mahakala is on the left side of the thangka. Mahakala is known as the black wrathful deity. Mahakala has one face and two hands holding a stick and skullcap.
Mahakala is wearing long garments. Mahakala is standing on a corpse and lotus seat. The 10 buddhas, Mahakala and the 35 goddesses form the mandala retinue of Sitatapatra.
Sitatapatra with Shakyamuni Buddha Thangka
The thangka of Sitatapatra with Shakyamuni Buddha is from Tibet. The thangka of Sitatapatra with Shakyamuni Buddha is made in between 1800 – 1899 AD. Sitatapatra with Shakyamuni Buddha is from buddhist lineage. The size of the painting is 54.61×40.64cm. Ground mineral pigment and fine gold on cotton is used to color this thangka. Currently, this thangka is in the Rubin museum of art.
Shakyamuni Buddha is at the top center of the thangka Shakyamuni Buddha has one face and two hands performing the Earth Witness mudra. Shakyamuni Buddha is seated on a lotus cushion.
Sitatapatra with Seven Buddhas Thangka
The thangka of Sitatapatra with Seven Buddhas is from Tibet. The thangka of Sitatapatra with Seven Buddhas is made in between 1800 – 1899 AD. Sitatapatra with Seven Buddhas is from sakya and gelug lineage. The size of the painting is 67.31×48.90cm. Ground mineral pigment and fine gold on cotton is used to color this thangka. Currently, this thangka is in the Rubin museum of art.
Seven Buddhas are along the top of the thangka. All the Seven Buddhas have one face and two hands. Seven Buddhas are wearing monastic robes and performing various mudras. Each is resting upon a moon disc and lotus seat.
Flying Goddesses is at both sides slightly below of the thangka. Flying Goddesses are presenting offerings of flower garlands with both hands.
Three Mahakala Brothers
Three Mahakala Brothers are along the bottom of the thangka Three Mahakala Brothers are black in color with wrathful in appearance. Three Mahakala Brothers are with one face and two hands holding a curved knife held aloft in the right and a skullcup in the left.
Three Mahakala Brothers are supported in the bend of the elbow is a sandalwood staff vertically standing. They wear bone ornaments, long linen garments of various colors. On either side of the central Mahakala, two couples kneel in a gesture of petitioning.
Sitatapatra with Amitayus Buddha Thangka
The thangka of Sitatapatra with Amitayus buddha is from Tibet. The thangka of Sitatapatra with Amitayus Buddha is made between 1800 – 1899 AD. Sitatapatra with Amitayus Buddha is from gelug and buddhist lineages. The base of the painting is ground mineral pigment on cotton.
Shakyamuni Buddha is at the top center of the thangka. Shakyamuni Buddha is the founder of the Buddhist religion.