Author Topic: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala  (Read 2671 times)

Ringo Starr

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18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« on: November 06, 2016, 02:59:38 PM »
"This composition belongs to a larger set of paintings commissioned by the 12th prince, Yintao (1686-"1763), son of the Kangxi Emperor (1654-1722). Yintao was a brother of the Yongzheng Emperor (1678-1735).

The line of text along the front bottom of the painting gives the information identifying the donor and further stating that the mandala was drawn according to the measurements of Changkya Rolpa'i Dorje (1717-1786). Changkya was a Buddhist teacher for both Yintao and the Qianlong Emperor (1711-1799)."

http://www.himalayanart.org/items/23376

psylotripitaka

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2016, 07:37:59 AM »
The Himalayan Art.org has got their information wrong. This is not the 37 Deity mandala of Vajrayogini, it is the 62 Deity Heruka body mandala. We can know for certain by studying the commentaries of the Masters. There are a couple features that I'd direct your attention to just to clarify:

1. Vajrayogini's mandala is a double-tetrahedron, not the double-vajra palace of Heruka with colored wheels inside as featured in this image.

2. In Vajrayogini's mandala, the charnel grounds are inside the protection circle, whereas in this image, they are outside the protection circle as is the case in Heruka practice.

Beautiful image of the living Heruka body mandala, thank you.

grandmapele

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2016, 02:10:43 PM »
Looks like this Himalayan Art has beautiful thangkas and statues but more often than not they tend to get their information mixed up. A shame really as they do have a lot of the rarer stuff.

But, I guess if posted here, there may be people here who are well versed in thangkas who can help us out.

Thanks to Chokyi Dorje for the correction. Now, i learn that much more.

So, very important note is that Vajrayogini's mandala is always a double tetrahedron. And the charnal ground is inside the the protection circle.

I wonder why the charnal ground is inside or outside the protection circle, though.

psylotripitaka

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2016, 05:19:30 AM »
Looks like this Himalayan Art has beautiful thangkas and statues but more often than not they tend to get their information mixed up. A shame really as they do have a lot of the rarer stuff.

But, I guess if posted here, there may be people here who are well versed in thangkas who can help us out.

Thanks to Chokyi Dorje for the correction. Now, i learn that much more.

So, very important note is that Vajrayogini's mandala is always a double tetrahedron. And the charnal ground is inside the the protection circle.

I wonder why the charnal ground is inside or outside the protection circle, though.

Regarding your final question, I have never heard this explained, and there are in fact many things along the path that are never explained and clarified, but that the practitioner must discover for themselves through practice. Answers and insights come from deep meditation on these objects, and some things simply cannot be understood using a gross intellectual mind.

grandmapele

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2016, 08:23:30 AM »
Chokyi Dorje, thank you for the insight. Guess, the ultimate is to work towards the higher practices by starting with the preliminaries, Ngondro. We can make aspirations and work consistently with our preliminaries.

Here, faith and trust in the Guru comes in, Guru Devotion comes in.

Matibhadra

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2016, 03:29:53 AM »
Quote
The Himalayan Art.org has got their information wrong.

While himalayanart.org is tainted by other mistakes, such as their anti-Shugden hatred, and anti-Gelug bias, in this particular case they seem to be correct.

Quote
This is not the 37 Deity mandala of Vajrayogini, it is the 62 Deity Heruka body mandala.

Both the inscription at the top of the thangka itself, and the ribbon inscription, explicitly state that this is a 37-deity Red Vajravarahi mandala from the Vajravali.

Quote
1. Vajrayogini's mandala is a double-tetrahedron, not the double-vajra palace of Heruka with colored wheels inside as featured in this image.

Some Vajrayogini/Red Vajravarahi mandalas are based on a double-vajra, rather than a double-tetrahedron, as one can see, besides the currently discussed mandala, here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/88562, here www.himalayanart.org/items/69616 (top left), and probably here as well www.himalayanart.org/items/58219. Also, some are based on a single-tetrahedron, as seen here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/58220 and here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/58255.

Quote
2. In Vajrayogini's mandala, the charnel grounds are inside the protection circle, whereas in this image, they are outside the protection circle as is the case in Heruka practice.

Some Vajrayogini/Red Vajravarahi mandalas have their charnel grounds outside the protection circle, or anyway not inside it, as seen, besides the currently discussed mandala, here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/88562, here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/3313838, here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/3313839, and here www.himalayanart.org/items/69616 (top left)

The aniconic mandala here discussed (http://www.himalayanart.org/items/23376) seems to correspond exactly to this iconic mandala http://www.himalayanart.org/items/58219, where the central figure is that of Red Vajravarahi with her characteristic boar face (many of them, to that effect), as well as to this http://www.himalayanart.org/items/69616 (top left).

One might note that the general arrangement of the deities of the 37-deity Red Vajravarahi mandala is exactly the same as that as those of the 62-deity Heruka Chakrasamvara mandala, the latter's 62 deities becoming 37 if its 25 couples are counted as a single deity, whence the similarity of shape, and the resulting confusion between both mandalas.

Matibhadra

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2016, 04:30:54 AM »
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if its 25 couples are counted as a single deity

That is, if its 25 couples are counted as single deities.

grandmapele

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2016, 06:14:21 AM »
Matibhadra, thank you for your explanation but as most of the link pages cannot be found, I was unable to compare the thangkas for a better understanding of the various features you mentioned, like the parts about the charnal grounds and the 37 or 62 deities.

But, what i can gather is that either we trust the source or we have to find a qualified person to guide us, in view that most of us have initiations to learn more about Vajrayogini.

Matibhadra

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2016, 02:32:37 PM »
Ok, I'll check the links and if necessary repost them later; thanks for the feedback.

Matibhadra

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2016, 02:38:38 PM »
The mistake is that several links unduly included the punctuation following them. For the sake of easiness of reading, I'll'soon repost the full, corrected post.

Matibhadra

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2016, 02:49:58 PM »
Quote
The Himalayan Art.org has got their information wrong.

While himalayanart.org is tainted by other mistakes, such as their anti-Shugden hatred, and anti-Gelug bias, in this particular case they seem to be correct.

Quote
This is not the 37 Deity mandala of Vajrayogini, it is the 62 Deity Heruka body mandala.

Both the inscription at the top of the thangka itself, and the ribbon inscription, explicitly state that this is a 37-deity Red Vajravarahi mandala from the Vajravali.

Quote
1. Vajrayogini's mandala is a double-tetrahedron, not the double-vajra palace of Heruka with colored wheels inside as featured in this image.

Some Vajrayogini/Red Vajravarahi mandalas are based on a double-vajra, rather than a double-tetrahedron, as one can see, besides the currently discussed mandala, here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/88562 and here www.himalayanart.org/items/69616 (top left), and probably here as well www.himalayanart.org/items/58219

Also, some are based on a single-tetrahedron, as seen here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/58220 and here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/58255

Quote
2. In Vajrayogini's mandala, the charnel grounds are inside the protection circle, whereas in this image, they are outside the protection circle as is the case in Heruka practice.

Some Vajrayogini/Red Vajravarahi mandalas have their charnel grounds outside the protection circle, or anyway not inside it, as seen, besides the currently discussed mandala, here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/88562 and here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/3313838 and here http://www.himalayanart.org/items/3313839 and here www.himalayanart.org/items/69616 (top left).

The aniconic mandala here discussed (http://www.himalayanart.org/items/23376) seems to correspond exactly to this iconic mandala http://www.himalayanart.org/items/58219 where the central figure is that of Red Vajravarahi with her characteristic boar face (many of them, to that effect), as well as to this http://www.himalayanart.org/items/69616 (top left).

One might note that the general arrangement of the deities of the 37-deity Red Vajravarahi mandala is exactly the same as that as those of the 62-deity Heruka Chakrasamvara mandala, the latter's 62 deities becoming 37 if its 25 couples are counted as single deities, whence the similarity of shape, and the resulting confusion between both mandalas.

Matibhadra

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2016, 03:11:44 PM »
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But, what i can gather is that either we trust the source or we have to find a qualified person to guide us,

Worry not, as qualified persons to guide us are precisely those who trust authentic sources, do not mix them up, and above all avoid conceited, hasty, irresponsible conclusions based on superficial observation, and pompous, but hollow references to unknown “Masters” who said absolutely nothing to the intended effect.

Tenzin Malgyur

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2016, 01:16:37 PM »
It is interesting to note that this is part of a collection of paintings commissioned by a Chinese prince, son of the great emperor Kangxi. In fact, Qing dynasty emperors have encouraged Tibetan Buddhism for its people to unite them. Emperor Kangxi was the sponsor of the 7th Dalai Lama's entrance into the Kumbum Monastery in Tibet.

Just as the Tibetans believe that HHDL is the emanation of Chenrezig, Tibetans believe that the Chin emperors are emanations of Manjushri, which also meant that Dorje Shugden reincarnated as Emperor Kangxi. You can get more detailed information on this at
http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/features/emperors-of-china/

Anyways, I would keep a lookout on this thread for the actual title of this interesting Thangka.

psylotripitaka

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Re: 18th Century Qing Dynasty Vajravarahi Thirty-seven Deity Mandala
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2016, 05:37:36 PM »
Quote
But, what i can gather is that either we trust the source or we have to find a qualified person to guide us,

Worry not, as qualified persons to guide us are precisely those who trust authentic sources, do not mix them up, and above all avoid conceited, hasty, irresponsible conclusions based on superficial observation, and pompous, but hollow references to unknown “Masters” who said absolutely nothing to the intended effect.

Matibhadra, thank you for your research and clarification, and as always, for bringing my faults to my attention. It was hasty, and limited to my understanding of the two mandalas commonly explained by various Gelugpa Masters. Good lesson, thank you.