Buddhist Mudras

Tara:Tara is a female Bodhisattva who is worshipped for her assistance in aiding the believer to overcome obstacles on the path of enlightenment. Tara is found in a variety of forms, the most popular being white Tara and green Tara. She is the manifestation of wisdom and as the embodiment of Prajnya, or insight, she is praised and worshipped by all.

Ushnisha-vijaya: Ushnisha-vijaya (Sanskrit), or Tsug Tor Nam Par Gyelma (Tibetan), shortened to Namgyalma, is a Buddha Mother who arises from the Buddha's Crown. The eight-armed goddess Namgyalma is one of three deities associated with longevity and the fulfillment of earthly desires. The other two are White Tara and Amitayus.

Namgyalma also represents the Mother of all Buddhas. Like all Buddhist deities, she is essentially a manifestation of Emptiness acting as a bodhisattva. She is able to bestow longevity on beings not for selfish reasons, but for the purpose of helping all others towards enlightenment. She is a purification deity as well, invoked in the presence of the dead, and she is also invoked as a means of settling disputes. The long mantra of Namgyalma is a practice, which is very powerful not only for granting long life but also for purification.

Protector Deities

The many wrathful deities are called the protectors of the Dharma, and are often warriors or kings from mythology and life. Despite their horrific appearance, they are protectors of the faithful, as compassionate as other gods, and their demonic nature represents not their personification of evil but rather the violence that exists in the universe and the tremendous effort it takes to vanquish evil.

Mahakala: Mahakala or yidam in Tibetan is a kind of highly realized protector deity as well as the guardian of the realm as a whole. He has a terrific form with numerous adornments and attributes that symbolize his ability to destroy all impediments to enlightenment. He exudes tremendous power as a protector along the spiritual path. His terrifying imagery derives from the angry form of the Hindu God Shiva, known as Bhairava.

Vajrabhairava: Vajrabhairava, a terrifying emanation of Manjushri, is one of the most powerful protector deities. He is typically portrayed with numerous arms and heads, with a buffalo head at the center whose horns rise up to enclose another ferocious head, and an assemblage of weapons and symbols befitting a deity wielding the greatest protective powers.

Palden Lhamo: She is the protector deity of the Tibetan capital Lhasa and also the protector if the Dalai Lama. Her origin lies partly in the Hindu Goddess Kali and partly in the native Bon tradition which was adopted by Tibetan Buddhism.

Yab-Yum: Yab-Yum literally means the ‘father-mother' and depicts a pair of male and female deities in sexual union. Usually the male deity is depicted in a ferocious form. These paired figures express one of the fundamental concepts of Buddhism: the essential process of joining insight with compassion. The male figure who embodies compassion embraces the female figure who represents transcendental wisdom. Pairs of ritual objects such as the vajra and the bell are also used to express this same message.

  • Gautama Buddha: Gautama Buddha was one of the greatest religious teachers that the world has seen. Learn more about his life and attainment of Bodhi.
  • Buddhist Scriptures and Teachings: Buddhist scriptures carry the noble teachings of the Buddha. They explore and teach ways to lead a blissful life.
  • Buddha in Arts and Culture: Spread of Buddhism influenced the world of art in a remarkable way. Starting from sculptures to paintings, Buddhism gave rise to distinct Schools of art.
  • Buddha Mudras: Buddha mudras are specific gestures of the Buddha that have symbolic meanings.
  • Buddhist Pantheon: The various deities of the Buddhist pantheon are represented through sculptures and other artistic medium to convey different spiritual messages.

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