Art of Asia
- Sacred arts of Tibet
- Bön, Tibet’s indigenous belief system
- Views of Tibet
- Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism
- Tibetan Buddhist orders
- Jowo Rinpoche, Jokhang Temple, Tibet
- The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
- Buddhist text about the Bodhisattva Manjushri
- Mandala of the Buddhist deity Chakrasamvara
- The Buddhist deity Mahakala as a Brahman
- The Buddhist deity Simhavaktra Dakini
- The Buddhist protector deity Penden Lhamo
- The Goddess of the White Umbrella (the Buddhist deity Ushnisha-sitatapatra)
- The Great mystic Virupa
- Thunderbolt and bell
- Prayer wheel
- Cabinet for storing offerings
The Great mystic Virupa
Virupa is shown as an unorthodox figure with bulging eyes, a bushy beard, a large nose, and an expressive face. He wears flowers in his hair and a meditation band around his knee to keep his limbs in place during prolonged meditation. His right hand once held a skull bowl and his left hand is pointing at the sun, giving it away as a pawn for ale. When Virupa first came to Varanasi to preach, he wanted to attract people's attention, so he went on a drinking spree at a local tavern. He told the proprietor that he would pay his bill at sunset; meanwhile Virupa stopped the sun, and the heat was so unbearable that the local king paid his bills instead.
Virupa is one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas—"great adepts," or teachers, of Vajrayana Buddhism. Mostly Indians, the mahasiddhas were spiritual mavericks. They meditated in cremation grounds among charred corpses until they were beyond every fear of life and death. Their life stories are filled with tales of magic and miracles.
Want to join the conversation?
- What exactly is a "meditation band"? Do meditators use this today?(1 vote)