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Tibetan Mythology

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We try to introduce the major deities and legends of the Tibetan pantheon in easy to read and easy to understand short articles.

Hevajra - artelino

Hevajra.Hevajra is one of these wrathful deities of tantric Buddhism, common in Tibet, Mongolia and Nepal.

The guy has usually 16 arms - minimum of two - and eight faces and four legs. He is from the 'Yidam' class of deities. These are fierce looking beings whose official job is the protection of Buddhism. Hevajra is popular among Tibetan Buddhists and can be found frequently depicted on Himalayan art objects.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 23:06 Read more: Hevajra

Tibet - Snow Lion - artelino

Snow Lion and Jambhala.The snow lion is originally a mythological, Buddhist good luck symbol. It has been the official symbol for Tibet since 1909. This article is a short, illustrated wrap-up about the Tibetan snow lion and shows a video of a snow lion dance performed by Tibetan monks in exile.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 23:44 Read more: Tibetan snow lion

Vairocana Buddha - artelino

Vairocana.Vairocana is a frequent motif of Tibetan thangkas and other art objects like metal statues. He is one of the five Dhyani Buddhas. His position among the five is that of a 'primus inter pares', the first among equals.

Vairocana is revered both by Hindus and Buddhists alike. No wonder that he is especially popular in Nepal where Hinduism and Buddhism live side by side without a strict border line.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 23:07 Read more: Vairocana

Dakinis - artelino

Red Dakini.Dakinis are difficult to describe. They are a kind of female demon category. A Dakini is not just one character. Dakinis can take different appearances and come in all kinds of colors - from the lion headed Dakini to a Dakini with the head of a pig to an all red and naked human looking Dakini.

A Dakini can be wrathful or peaceful. But even if peaceful, these odd female demons do never look friendly but really scary.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 23:45 Read more: Dakinis

Jambhala - God of Wealth - artelino

Jambhala Thangka.Jambhala is the Buddhist god of wealth, the equivalent of Kubera in Hinduism. One can find him quite often depicted on thangka paintings or as metal statues created by the famous Patan artisans. This article is meant for beginners in Tibetan arts and crafts and tells you the few things you should know about Jambhala and how you can recognize him. Easy to read and easy to understand.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 23:46 Read more: Jambhala

Chenrezig - artelino

Chenrezig - with four arms.Chenrezig is a popular character in Tibetan Buddhism and often depicted on objects of Tibetan arts and crafts like thangkas or statues. As he has several names and is shown in different forms, he is a bit difficult to explain to people who are not familiar with the intricacies of Buddhism. This article tries to get the message across stripped down to the essentials.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 23:08

White Tara - artelino

White Tara.The White Tara is like a comrade-in-arms of the Green Tara whose reason of existence is to help others. Both, the White and the Green Tara are very popular among Buddhists. Especially women revere them. Both Tara deities represent the good female characters.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 23:46

Green Tara - artelino

Green Tara Green Tara Green Tara

The Green Tara is very popular among Tibetan and Nepali Buddhists. "Tara" means "savior", and she is considered a benign being that is always ready to help others and assist those in need. No wonder that the Green Tara is found frequently depicted on all kinds of objects of arts and crafts.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 23:48

Manjushri - artelino

Manjushri ThangkaAccording to the legend Manjushri was a Chinese saint who came from China to Nepal to find the blue flame that symbolizes Swayambhu Buddha. He found the flame. But the flame was on a lotus in the middle of a huge lake surrounded by hills and he could not get there. Manjushri took his sword and cut into the Southern part of the hill chain. Thus the water drained southward, and Manjushri had created the Kathmandu valley.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 23:50

Milarepa - artelino

Milarepa. Detail from Thangka.My favorite Tibetan and Buddhist deities are those that I can recognize easily. Milarepa is one of them. His 'trademark' is his gestures of holding one hand to his right ear as if he had a bit of a hearing problem. Milarepa is a character half historical and half mythological.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 23:09 Read more: Milarepa

Yamantaka - artelino

Yamantaka - Detail from old thangka.This guy does look a bit unpleasant like a monster that just emerged out of a poor SciFi film. His name is Yamantaka, and he is a part of the large pantheon of Tibetan Buddhism. Yamantaka is one of the so-called wrathful deities.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 23:09
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