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Tibetan Buddhist Art Four-Armed Shadakshari Lokeshvara LW009

tangka style Tibetan buddhist temple wall hanging Four-Armed Shadakshari Lokeshvara

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The Bodhisattva Shadakshari Lokeshvara is one of the 108 emanations of Avalokiteshvara. The background ether is black and indicates advanced practice that is confirmed by the rainbowed subtle energy the radiates around the three Cintamani above his nimbus. He is accompanied by several Buddhas and Vajrapani (see iconography for details). The paintings border, the clothing, jewelry, the nimbus detail and nimbus border are all done in 24kt gold. This painting was in the interior of the Avalokiteshvara temple which was completely destroyed in March of 1958 by the Chinese. Since it was painted on canvas and attached to the wall it was easily removed by the villagers and monks and hidden away for safe keeping. The Avalokiteshvara temple was rebuilt in 2006 and new paintings were undertaken. The hidden paintings were then transferred to the west in order to prevent the Chinese from stealing them. Chinese authorities constantly were "borrowing" precious paintings ostensibly to display in a museum and then return them after a year. No one could find out where the paintings were displayed and none have ever been returned. One of the central themes of this painting is that of healing and the increase of one's beneficial karma as evidenced by the large number of medicine bowls and bael fruit that adorn this painting. This piece comes with a Certificate of Authenticityand an image of the lama that blessed the painting when possession was transferred to Baronet, this blessing is conferred to the new steward.

Four-Armed Shadakshari Lokeshvara
Age: circa 1800
Materials: canvas coated with kaolin, mineral pigments and 24kt gold
H=54" x W=41"

Contact David to make purchase arrangements.

Price $9300 plus shipping and handling West coast $88.00 ~Mtn $93.00 ~Mid-west $99.00 ~East coast $110.00 ~other destinations contact David@Baronet4Tibet.com for a quote.


Shadakshari Lokeshvara sits on a red ashoka throne, he is very richly dressed and his crown is well jeweled. Over his left shoulder is a blue antelope hide. The two arms folded in front of his chest in a position that resembles anjalimudra, the gesture of respectful greeting; however, buddhas and bodhisattvas never display this greeting so between the palms of his hands he is holding a transparent cintamani that has the power to fulfill all non-material wishes. In his upper left hand he is holding a red lotus and in his upper right hand a string of prayer beads. The string would comprise of 108 beads (42 are shown), 108 is one of the holiest numbers in Buddhism. It is comprised of the powers of the first three numbers, so 1 to the first power times 2 to the second power, times 3 to the third power equals 1 x 4 x 27= 108. As the name Shadakshari Lokeshvara means Lord of the six-syllable Mantra, a practitioner would recite Avalokiteshvara's mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, counting off one bead per recitation.

The accompanying deities are clockwise from upper left Shakyamuni, Maitreya, Akshobhya, Vajrapani, and Avalokiteshvara. Both Shakyamuni and Maitreya are done in 24kt gold. This is an interesting arrangement, with the beginning and ending Buddhas at the top and a trio of Bodhisattvas at the bottom set to help the practitioner overcome impediments to enlightenment. Akshobhya is helpful in overcoming anger, one of the 5 poisons, and Vajrapani helps to banish the demons that plague us and Avalokiteshvara is there to grant our wishes for enlightenment.

Shakyamuni is seated in the diamond position, with the right hand in the Bhumisparsha, or gesture of witness or touching the earth, used to summon the earth-goddess Sthavara as witness to his attainment of Buddhahood. The gesture signifies the state of enlightenment reached after meditating under the bodhi tree for 4 weeks and withstanding all the temptation put before him by Mara, the god of evil. In the left hand is the medicine bowl used to heal emotional and physical suffering. Shakyamuni means the Wise Shakya or sage of the Shakyas. He is the Gautama Buddha, or Siddhartha and died circa 480 B.C. He was petitioned by Indra and Brahma to share his knowledge with humanity, both brought him gifts, Indra a large white conch shell and Brahma a golden wheel of 1000 spokes. He then went south to Sarnath where he gave his 1st teaching, expounding on the 4-noble truths and speaking for the 1st time about nirvana.

Buddhas who have reached perfect enlightenment reside for a time in the Manorama-Paradise, proclaiming the dharma to the deities, angels and saints before returning to to earth. When Gautama Buddha left Manorama-Paradise, Bodhisattva Maitreya became the ruler and teacher. In the future he will return to earth. The position of his hands is symbolic of the first sermon given by Guatama and represents the setting into motion the wheel of dharma teaching; this mudra is called dharmachakra. The hands are held in front of the heart indicating that the teaching comes straight from Buddha's heart. Maitreya is often referred to as the future Buddha and when he returns we will live in peace. Another of his monikers is Buddha of Loving Kindness. His story begins ages ago with Buddha Ratna-chattra and a disciple monk named Sthiramati. Stiramati had more concern for the welfare of others than he did for himself. He would often go without eating until he had set a vowed number of beings on the path of pure moral discipline, concentration and wisdom. He strong dedication and great loving kindness was noticed by the gods in heaven and they bestowed upon him the title "Loving One" or Maitreya. Buddha Ratna-chattra predicted that in all his future rebirths as a bodhisattva he would be known by this name.

Akshobhya, the Immovable, is generally depicted in blue, but he is also depicted in gold and green, he is the least depicted deity in historical art. He is head of one of the 5 Buddha families, however Guhyasamaja often is depicted in his place. His element is space, his aggregate is consciousness, the delusion stupidity and his transcendent wisdom is the all-encompassing that directly comprehends the ultimate reality of all phenomena. In the open, spacious view of wisdom, all notions of separate selfhood are seen as illusory. To the mind conditioned by ignorance this spaciousness poses a threat and terrifies us, so we cling to our egos more and more desperately and engage in selfish actions that we justify for various reasons and thus deceive our self. For enlightenment to be achieved, the energy supporting this frightened stupidity must be liberated and allowed to radiate outward until it becomes as expansive as space itself. His right hand is in the Gesture of Witness, bhumisparsha mudra, and it is also a symbol of perseverance. The left hand is resting with an open palm facing up in his lap, a Gesture of meditation.

The border, done in a maroon with 24kt gold detailing has many different icons, the most prevalent of which is the medicine bowl; in addition to the medicine bowl there are several elephant tusks, yogurt, lotus blossoms, durva grass, a parasol and one tse bum. The medicine bowl is a blue iron bowl filled with amrita, the divine healing nectar. The elephant tusks represent the entire elephant and is one of the seven Precious Possessions of Chakravartin. The term Chakravartin, or Wheel Turner, in Hinduism refers to an ideal ruler, but in Buddhism, Chakravartin has come to mean a Buddha whose all-encompassing teachings are universally true.  Chakravartin has an army of 4 divisions, infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots. Chakravartin is the lineage of 25 Kulika kings or enlightened monarchs, the 25th of which will finally defeat the "non-believers." The Precious Elephant is a symbol of the strength of the mind in Buddhism. Exhibiting noble gentleness, the precious elephant serves as a symbol of the calm majesty possessed by one who is on the path. Specifically, it embodies the boundless powers of the Buddha, which are miraculous aspiration, effort, intention, and analysis.  The slow process of making yogurt is an appropriate metaphor for transforming the spirit. By faithfully applying the principles of Buddhism, negative behavior is overcome and the clear mind is revealed. In this case an offering is made of both the yogurt and the coral, which is one of the most precious and valuable offerings. The lotus flower  is another natural symbol and represents earth.  Tibetan Buddhist mystics imagined the earth floating like a lotus flower on the oceans of the universe. The heart of the flower is the cosmic mountain, the axis of the universe. The generally acknowledged meaning of the lotus flower is purity of mind or divine creation. From the muck of a pond, where the roots of the lotus reside, an immaculate white flower emerges to rest on the surface of the water as a metaphor for the harmonious unfolding of spirituality. Durva grass is a symbol of long life. Because grass is highly resilient, it is believed to be immortal. Therefore, it proclaims the end of samsara, the successive death and rebirth of all beings It usually takes a long time to overcome samsara, and a longer life span will allow greater progress in moving towards enlightenment within a given cycle. The parasol and the shade it casts symbolize wisdom.  Its hanging skirt indicates compassion, so the parasol becomes a symbol of protection from the painful heat of the suffering human incur from the spiritual poisons of desire, hate, greed and ignorance.  The Victory banner is an early Buddhist motif signifying the enlightenment of the Buddha and the triumph of knowledge over ignorance.  This symbol also is used to recall the Buddha’s triumph over his temptress, Mara.  It further announces that all spiritual obstacles have been overcome and good fortune has arrived. The Tse bum or "long-life vase", is a jar in which the "nectar of immortality" is kept.

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