Original painting: gouache and 22 carat gold on linen approx. 14”x 22” 2004
The Bodhisattva Vajrapani is often seen in thangkas situated next to the Buddha with Avalokitesvara on the opposite side. Here he is the central figure. He is a protector of the Teachings and remover of obstacles to the teaching. He must be strong and unwavering, and so his body is massive and grounded – no one can get by this guardian of the faith. He stands here in the warrior pose, clasping a vajra, symbol of the energy channels of the body, with his other hand raised in the threatening gesture. He represents the power of all the Buddhas of past, present and future. As a statue he is often placed at the entrance to monasteries and temples to ward of those that would harm the teachings or the sangha, or temple.
Hayagriva is a yidam, or personal protector deity, the fierce form of Avalokitesvara and represents fierce compassion. The Bird-man above, Garuda, is called the eagle of wisdom; he too is here acting as guardian and protector. The iconography of this piece was determined by Lama Tsering Wangdu Rimpoche for use with a specific mantra.