About the Artwork

This sepia composition depicts the 'Primordial Buddha' Vajradhara in union with his consort, Vajrayogini, which is the dharmakaya form that the 'Precious Guru', Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava, assumed when he received the Mahayoga teachings directly from Vajrasattva. In this form Padmasambhava appears as Urgyen Dorje Chang in union with his white consort, Yeshe Tsogyal, as one of the Guru's eight manifestations (Tib. Guru Tsengye). These eight different aspects relate to eight specific events that occurred during different periods of Padmasambhava's life as an exceptionally skillful teacher and tantric practitioner.

Vajradhara's deep blue color represents his unchangeable and space-like nature as the pure expression of the dharmakaya. His peaceful form is endowed with the thirty-two major and eighty minor marks of a fully enlightened Buddha, and he wears the divine silk and jewel ornaments of a sambhogakaya deity. He sits with his legs loosely crossed in lotus-posture upon a white moon disc and a lotus above an ornate throne, with a long silk scarf billowing about his naked body and his loincloth loosened for sexual intercourse. He wears golden bracelets, armlets and anklets, a heavy golden neck choker, jeweled earrings, a five-jeweled crown, and a golden half-vajra that crowns his topknot. With his right arm crossed over his left arm in vajra-humkara-mudra he embraces his consort while holding a golden vajra and an upturned bell in his right and left hands. These two attributes represent the union of his method or skillful-means (vajra) and wisdom (bell).

Vajrayogini, as his white consort Yeshe Tsogyal, sits with her legs wrapped around Vajradhara's waist as she presses every part of her naked body against his in the bliss of sexual union. She is adorned with the golden ornaments of a five-jeweled crown, earrings, bracelets, armlets and anklets. Her long hair flows freely down her back as she gazes into the eyes of Vajradhara, with her lips held close to his. With her raised arms she embraces his neck whilst holding aloft a skull-cup full of blood in her left hand, and the vajra-handled curved knife of the dakinis with her right hand.

© 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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