ARTEFACTS

The Hundred Gods of Tushita

  • Ганданлхавжаа(маа) / Gandanlxawǰaa(maa)
  • tegüs bayasqulangtu-yin oron-u ǰaγun tngri (?)
  • dga' ldan lha brgya ma
  •  
  • Thangka
  • 19th century
  • Paper
  • Height: 53 (37) cm / Width: 36 (31,5) cm / Depth: not filled
  • Collection: Leder/ Umlauff, Inv. Nr.: 33654
  • Völkerkundemuseum vPST Heidelberg
  • © Völkerkundemuseum vPST Heidelberg/ ÖAW
  •  
This painting shows the “Hundreds of Gods of the Tushita Heaven” (Tib. Dga’ ldan lha brgya ma), a special form of meditation that belongs to the meditional practice of supplicating for the blessings and mingling the mind of an enlightened master with one’s own mind (Tib. bla ma’i rnal ’byor, Skt. guruyoga). There are numerous forms of guruyoga known in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. This particular teaching, that at first was handed down orally and later written down, is based on an eulogy composed by Tsong kha pa, in which he praises Maitreya and his realm. From the heart of Maitreya, who resides in his palace, a cloud emerges in front of the believer, with Tsongkhapa and both his main disciples sitting on it. Maitreya is accompanied by two Bodhisattvas, who are regarded as manifestation of Tsongkhapa and Atisha, both said to be reborn after their demise in the heavenly realm of the future Buddha. Ultimately, this guruyoga aims at entering the heaven of Maitreya, especially at the time of dying. This eulogy, and the associated rituals and meditation techniques, were part of the liturgy and meditational practice of most Geluk monasteries. Tsongkhapa and his two main disciples are in the centre of the painting. The realm of Maitreya is depicted above them. Bahyasadhana Yamaraja, seen in the lower left corner, helps to remove hindrances. The supplicant and practitioner is in the lower right corner.
© Olaf Czaja
The Hundred Gods of Tushita
/ Mongolia / 19th century / © Völkerkundemuseum vPST Heidelberg/ ÖAW

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