His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama with Nechung and Palden Lhamo
Image: Dalai Lama with Nechung and Palden Lhamo
Artist: Master Locho
Photo: Sarika, India
Ideal Artwork for Personal, Spiritual or Commercial Space.
Dalai Lama imagery has been around since the Third Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso was given the title by Mongolian leader Altan Khan in 1578. Until March 2011, the Dalai Lama's were the spiritual and political leaders of the Tibetan Government (even while in exile). Now the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso is only the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.
It was not until the Thirteenth Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso (no relation to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso) that individualization of Dalai Lama imagery began. Thubten Gyatso was the first Dalai Lama to be photographed in 1910 by Charles Bell in India. Pencil drawings have also been found dating to 1905 by Russian Artists N. Kozhevnikov. Since the early 1900's, both the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Dalai Lamas have been portrayed in realistic style.
In this painting titled: Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Protector Deities, Master Locho painted His Holiness the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso in realistic form. HHDL is holding the dharma wheel in his right hand and holds the Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom) sutra and the Sword of Wisdom in his left. The three protector deities shown below His Holiness beginning from the left are: Nechung Chogyong (one of the five forms of Pe-har), Avalokiteshvara, and Palden Lhamo.
Nechung Chogyong is a deity that was bound to protect all Buddhist temples and monasteries by Guru Rinpoche. Originally from the Nyingma Sect, the Fifth Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso incorporated Nechung Chogyong and his four brothers (or four manifestations) into the Geluk Sect.
Since the Dalai Lamas are considered to be emanations of Avalokiteshvara it is common to see him depicted in nearly all Dalai Lama imagery. The same could be said for the Palden Lhamo as well. She is the protective deity of the Dalai Lamas. When HHDL Tenzin Gyatso was forced to flee Lhasa under the cover of night all he took with him was a thangka of Palden Lhamo.
Palden Lhamo is respected as the only female Dharmapala; a Protector of the Dharma. Most of her weapons were gifts from other deities. The god Brahma gave her a peacock feather fan; Havajra gave her two dice, which determine the lives of men. Vishnu gifted her with Kuvera the lion and Nanda a king cobra to wear as earrings and Vajrapani presented her with a hammer. Palden Lhamo rides a mule on a sea of blood and the animal's reins are that of venomous snakes. She has three eyes and wears a crown and garland of skulls.