Identifying buddhas on a 35 Confession Buddhas poster

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Monlam Tharchin
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Identifying buddhas on a 35 Confession Buddhas poster

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:19 pm

Greetings. I recently purchased this poster of the 35 Confession Buddhas from FPMT.

Not being very well versed in Vajrayana, I can't identify a few of the buddhas on the art. Can anyone tell me who these are?

* the four buddhas flanking Shakyamuni
* the four small white beings on each side of the blue buddhas
* on the row of Medicine Buddhas, the golden one on the far right
* the eight dakinis (?) dancing on the very bottom

And what is the role of these beings, if they're not explicitly named in the Three Heaps confession?

Thanks so much!
namu amida butsu
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Re: Identifying buddhas on a 35 Confession Buddhas poster

Post by Grigoris » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:29 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:19 pm
Greetings. I recently purchased this poster of the 35 Confession Buddhas from FPMT.

Not being very well versed in Vajrayana, I can't identify a few of the buddhas on the art. Can anyone tell me who these are?

* the four buddhas flanking Shakyamuni
* the four small white beings on each side of the blue buddhas
* on the row of Medicine Buddhas, the golden one on the far right
* the eight dakinis (?) dancing on the very bottom

And what is the role of these beings, if they're not explicitly named in the Three Heaps confession?

Thanks so much!
I can identify two of the four Buddhas: Vajrsattva and Sangye Mena.

The four small white beings seem to be celestial musicians.

The golden Medicine Buddha can be identified differently according to varying traditions:

Sangs-rGyas mTshan legs-par yongs bsgrags dpal=mTshun lets youngs bsgrags dpal; (Sky: Buddha Suparikirtitanamashri)
or
Sgra-dbyangs kyi rgyal-po, (Sky. Buddha Svaraghosa)
or
Sangs-rgyas gser-bsang dri-med rin-chen snangs=gser-bzang dri-med (Skt. Buddha Suvarnabhadra vimalaratnaprabhasa)
or
Sangs-rgyas dpal rgyal-ba Sahkya thub-pa (Skt. Buddha Shrijing Shakyamuni..) His body is of golden colour.

The dakinis at the bottom are offering the auspicious substances.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Identifying buddhas on a 35 Confession Buddhas poster

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:46 pm

:bow: Thanks, Grigoris! I believe the being to the bottom right of Shakyamuni is Namgyälma.

All that remains is our mystery guest with the *four white faces and two arms on the bottom left of Shakyamuni.

EDIT: I think it might be a form of Vairocana. Can anyone confirm? :thanks:
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namu amida butsu
OṂ  HRIYADHE  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  HRIDAYA  GARBHE / DZOLA  DHARMADHATU  GARBHE  /  SANG  HARANA  ĀYUḤ  SANGŚHODHAYA  /  PĀPAṂ  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  SAMENDRA  UṢHṆĪKHA  BIMALE  BIŚHUDDHE  SWĀHĀ

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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Re: Identifying buddhas on a 35 Confession Buddhas poster

Post by kirtu » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:58 pm

Well we of course have all of the names of the Buddhas.

The iconography varies by tradition (Nagrajuna, Tsongkhapa and Sakya; there could be more). See Jeff Watt's page for a starter. My Sakya lama once went through each of the Buddha's (and unfortunately I don't know where those notes are). There is a Gelug book that details who each of the Buddha's are. Then there is also a Kagyu resource apparently from Khenchen Thrangu. Here is a video with 3-D details supposedly from the Nagarjuna tradition.

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Re: Identifying buddhas on a 35 Confession Buddhas poster

Post by PeterC » Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:03 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:46 pm
:bow: Thanks, Grigoris! I believe the being to the bottom right of Shakyamuni is Namgyälma.

All that remains is our mystery guest with the *four white faces and two arms on the bottom left of Shakyamuni.

EDIT: I think it might be a form of Vairocana. Can anyone confirm? :thanks:
Aren’t they named in the sadhana?

There is a depiction of Vairocana with four faces holding a chakra rather than the the usual one-faced version making the hand mudra. So it looks plausible. But the sadhana is more authoritative than any given thangka, thangka artists do get things wrong occasionally

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Identifying buddhas on a 35 Confession Buddhas poster

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:30 am

No, the first buddhas in the sutra are Shakyamuni then the row of blue buddhas with Akshobhya's aspect as seen in the poster, I think :smile:
namu amida butsu
OṂ  HRIYADHE  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  HRIDAYA  GARBHE / DZOLA  DHARMADHATU  GARBHE  /  SANG  HARANA  ĀYUḤ  SANGŚHODHAYA  /  PĀPAṂ  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  SAMENDRA  UṢHṆĪKHA  BIMALE  BIŚHUDDHE  SWĀHĀ

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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Re: Identifying buddhas on a 35 Confession Buddhas poster

Post by jmlee369 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:30 am

This particular form of the 35 Buddhas is not Lama Tsongkhapa's system, but the system of Sakya Pandita that was also taught by Pabongkha Rinpoche and popularised within the FPMT because the visualisation is much simpler.

The four deities surrounding Shakyamuni Buddha are four very powerful purfication deities. On the top right is Akshobhya (Mitrugpa), below him is Ushnishavijaya (Namgyalma). Top left if Vajrasattva, below him is Sarvavid Vairocana (Kunrig). The hand implement of Sarvavid Vairocana should be a wheel, not mirror as depicted.

The four beings on either side of the row of blue buddhas are gods making offerings.

The Buddha on the right of Medicine Buddha is Shakyamuni Buddha, who is often added to the list of seven Medicine Buddhas.

The eight goddesses at the bottom are offering goddesses, who should be making the eight outer offerings (drinking water, foot washing water, flowers, incense, lamps, perfume, food, and music) though the artist seems to have taken some liberties in this thangka.

The purification deities are included as thangkas often include deities with similar functions as part of the composition, and in this case I suspect Lama Zopa Rinpoche specified that these four be included. The Medicine Buddhas are included on the advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche who recommends people add the names and do prostrations to the seven/eight Medicine Buddhas when doing the 35 Buddhas confession. Offering goddesses are not usually included in thangkas, but I have noticed that images from the FPMT often include them.

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Re: Identifying buddhas on a 35 Confession Buddhas poster

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:18 am

:bow:

Thank you very much for sharing your expertise.
namu amida butsu
OṂ  HRIYADHE  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  HRIDAYA  GARBHE / DZOLA  DHARMADHATU  GARBHE  /  SANG  HARANA  ĀYUḤ  SANGŚHODHAYA  /  PĀPAṂ  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  SAMENDRA  UṢHṆĪKHA  BIMALE  BIŚHUDDHE  SWĀHĀ

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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