Vajrapani is one of the earliest-appearing bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism. He is the protector and guide of Gautama Buddha and rose to symbolize the Buddha's power. The Golden Light Sutra titles him "great general of the yakshas". Vajrapani is extensively represented in Buddhist iconography as one of the three protective deities surrounding the Buddha. Each of them symbolizes one of the Buddha's virtues: Manjushree manifests all the Buddhas' wisdom, Avalokitesvara manifests all the Buddha's compassion and Vajrapani manifests all the Buddha's power as well as the power of all five tathagatas. Vajrapani's expression is wrathful, often symbolized as a yaksha, to generate "fear in the individual to loosen up his dogmatism". Vajrapani's taut posture is the active warrior pose, based on an archer's stance. His loin cloth is made up of the skin of a tiger, whose head can be seen on his left knee. His outstretched right hand brandishes a vajra, "symbolizing analytical knowledge that disintegrates the grasping of consciousness. His left hand deftly holds a lasso, with which he binds demons. Around his neck is a serpent necklace.
In Newar Buddhism, where this dance comes from, the body is viewed as a mandala, a sacred microcosm of the universe that consists of five elemental qualities: earth, water, fire, air, and space. Mudras activate these elements within the body and play an essential role in the dance. As part of training and preparation, practitioners engage in hand exercises for energetic flow and flexibility. When offering the dance, mudras are powerful wisdom seals to generate and invoke the deity.
Hence, the dance is a transcendental journey into the heart of the mandala. Through this ritual enactment and meditative experience, practitioners identify themselves with the activity, appearance, and qualities of a deity, and in doing so, cultivate wisdom, compassion, and skilful means.
Archival Prints are available in the following LE sizes:
40 by 60 cm ( ~16 by 24 in ) : Limited Edition of 10 + 1 AP
60 by 90 cm ( ~24 by 36 in ) : Limited Edition of 10 + 1 AP
100 by 150 cm ( ~39 by 59 in ) : Limited Edition of 5 + 1 AP