Yamantaka is the wrathful form of Manjushri, the deity of wisdom. The story goes that a yogi was meditating in a cave and along came some thieves with a water buffalo to eat. They cut off the head of the yogi and when the yogi spirit realize he was headless, he took the head of the water buffalo which was being eaten and destroyed the thieves in great anger.
He is deep blue (this painting is more light blue) representing unobstructed wisdom. Has 9 faces, 34 arms and 16 legs. He stands on a sun disc within flames all around. His face is black buffalo on his crown are 5 dried skulls representing the 5 buddha families and 50 freshly severed human heads. In this painting Yamantaka is in union with his female consort which is often not shown and represent the masculine and feminine aspect of this deity.
Yamataka represent the energy of anger and aggression which is channeled into destroying those negativities and disturbing emotions that hinder our ability to reach enlightenment. Yamantaka has nine heads all with three eyes to see the physical surface of phenomena. Facing us is the buffalo’s face, a red wrathful face and a kinder yellow face on top. There are three face on the right and three on the left each a different color. The wrathful faces are all wearing a crown of five skulls representing the five buddha families. He has 34 arms and 16 legs. These are holding all kinds of weapons and also ritual implements. His front two hands are holding a curved knife and skull cup of blood. Below his legs we see some of the 50 fresh heads on his mala.
Landow and Weber in Images of Enlightenment explain the symbolism, “Yamantaka’s 9 faces stand for the 9 traditional categories of Buddhist scriptures and his hair sanding on end symbolizes his attainment of nirvana. The garland of fifty heads represents the purity of Yamantaka’s holy speech, fifty being the number of vowels and consonants in the Sanskrit alphabet. His two horns represent the two levels of truth; the 34 arms together with Yamantaka’s body, speech, and mind are the 37 limbs of enlightenment and the 16 legs are the 16 emptinesses.”
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You can download the medium size (4 by 6 inches) or the large size (8 x 10 inches) or both.
You can also order a print of this photo in the Dharma Photos section of this website.
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 25 March, 2020.