About the Artwork

Vajrasattva (Tib. Dorje Sempa), the 'indestructible being or hero', is an important Adi-Buddha and yidam deity, whose practice is particularly effective in purifying all defilements, especially those of anger and aversion. His visualized meditation practice and the repetition of his hundred-syllable mantra form one of the four 'preliminary practices' that are common to all schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Vajrasattva is radiant and white in color like the moon, with one face and two arms. He is endowed with the thirty-two major and eighty minor marks, and wears the five silk garments and eight jeweled ornaments of a sambhogakaya deity. He is beautiful and peaceful with a sweetly smiling face and two eyes, and he sits in vajra-posture upon a white moon disc and a multicolored lotus.

In sexual union he embraces his white consort, who is known either as Vajratopa (Tib. Dorje Nyenma), or Vajragarvi, the lady of 'vajra-pride'. She sits upon his lap in lotus-posture with her legs encircling his waist, as she presses every part of her body against his. She is similarly adorned with the five divine silks and eight jewel ornaments of a sambhogakaya deity, and strands of her loosened long black hair hang freely down her back. With her two arms she embraces Vajrasattva's neck, with her left hand holding a skull-cup full of nectar, and her right hand holding a vajra-handled curved knife behind his head.

Golden light rays emanate from their bodies against the deep blue of Vajrasattva's inner aura, while his outer aura is composed of golden scrolls and jewels, which are encircled by a ring of rainbow light and a profusion of lotus flowers and leaves. Rainbows emanate into the clouds of the upper sky, while seated upon a moon disc and lotus above Vajrasattva's halo is the Primordial blue Buddha Samantabhadra in sexual union with his white consort, Samantabhadri. Vajrasattva abides within a beautiful landscape of green hills, lakes, rock formations, trees, flowers, deer, birds and fishes. Arranged in front of his lotus throne are various offerings of the five objects of sensory enjoyment (mirror, lute, fruit, cloth, and a perfumed conch), jewels, and the 'seven possessions of a universal monarch' or chakravartin.

© text by Robert Beer

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PEM Custom Prints offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in the collections of the Peabody Essex Museum. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.


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