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Buddhist Deities

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This category introduces deities of the wide range of the Buddhist pantheon, not in a schoilarly manner, but in easy to understand and easy to read words. My explanations are primarly meant to give art lovers some simply guidelines how to recognize better Himalayan, especially Tibetan and Nepalese art objects.

If you cannot find the deity you are looking for here, please check the categories Buddhism and Tibetan Mythology.

Dieter Wanczura, 2010.

Bodhisattvas - artelino

A Boddhisattva.Bodhisattvas are special helpers for followers of later forms of Buddhism (Mayhayana and Vajrayana), benign and altruistic beings who have already reached enlightenment and thus could enter Nirvana (the great and eternal bliss).

But they refuse out of compassion to do so as long as there are still other beings, especially humans, who have not yet reached this state.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 22:47 Read more: Boddhisattvas

Maitreya Buddha - artelino

Maitreya Buddha.Maitreya Buddha is the future Buddha. According to old Buddhist scripts he will come to earth in human form 4,000 years after the disappearance of Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha.

Although there are roughly 1.500 more years to go until Maitreya's term will come, he is not sitting around idle. He is warming up and collecting some more experience as a Bodhisattva.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 22:47 Read more: Maitreya Buddha

Avalokiteshvara - artelino

AvalokiteshvaraAvalokiteshvara, Avalokiteshvara, ... I had to repeat this tongue breaker name certainly more than a dozen times before I could remember him. Avalokiteshvara is another of these odd deities from the Buddhist pantheon. And in spite of his tongue breaker name, he is very popular among Buddhists, mainly in Nepal.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 19:15 Read more: Avalokiteshvara

Chakrasamvara - artelino

ChakrasamvaraChakrasamvara is another of these weird-looking deities revered in tantric Buddhism. With their fierce look, multiple arms and legs, skull decorations and other odd accessories these deities usually have a bewildering impact on Westerners.

But frankly, from an artistic view, images of deities like Chakrasamvara have always exerted a great fascination on me.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 22:48 Read more: Chakrasamvara

Vajrapani - artelino

Vajrapani.Vajrapani is one of the Bodhisattvas. Overall an interesting guy with a cute story. And overall easy to remember for non-scholars. 'Vajra' is that thunderbolt thing and 'pani' means 'in his hands'. Thus, Vajrapani - thunderbolt in hand. His Tibetan name is Chana Dorje.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 19:16 Read more: Vajrapani

Akshobhya - artelino

Akshobhya.Akshobhya is the second in rank of the Five Dhyani Buddhas. These are not real beings, but just a kind of virtual concepts of Buddhism. Pretty sophisticated, these Dhyani Buddhas. And even more strange: in spite of this intellectual concept on a high level, the Five Dhyani Buddhas are very popular among the common people of Nepal who are often illiterate.

Akshobhya is often to be found on Buddhist art objects. A reason for friends of Himalayan art to remember his name and get a bit of an idea what he looks like.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 22:49 Read more: Akshobhaya

Vajrasattva - artelino

VajrasattvaVajrasattva is very popular among followers of the Buddhist Vajrayana branch as for instance practiced in Tibet. Vajrayana is also called tantric Buddhism. Vajrasattva is the deity of purification.

Vajrasattva has the look of a spoiled young dandy prince. He wears a rich dress and jewelry is hanging around his neck and is attached to his ears. His long hair is careffully bound on top to an intricate something. Even his wrists and upper arms are decorated with precious jewelry. At first sight Vajrasattva looks like an image of the Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha, before he had left his father's palace.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 22:28 Read more: Vajrasattva

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