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Exqusite Thangka of Manjushree Mandala in Gold and Vegetable Color with Pancha Buddha.
A mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. In the Eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Shintoism it is used as a map representing deities, or specially in the case of Shintoism, paradises, kami or actual shrines.
Manjushree is the Bodhisattva of transcendent wisdom. With Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani he protects the Tathagata family, which includes Buddha Shakyamuni and Buddha Vairochana.
According to a sacred text Manjushree came from China to Nepal on a pilgrimage. At that time the Kathmandu Valley was a big lake.
The legend says that Manjushree saw a strong light coming from a lotus flower in the center of the lake so he cut a gorge with his flaming sword to drain the lake. Since then people could live in the Kathmandu valley and the the majestic Swayambhunath Stupa was build where the lotus flower settled.
There are different representations of Manjushree and several manifestations as well. In this thangka painting he is depicted in the most common form as a beautiful young prince with orange or yellow skin. Manjushree holds in his right hand a flaming sword which is the figurative weapon that destroy ignorance and transforms it in transcendent wisdom (fire is symbol of transformation).
His left hand is positioned in front of his heart holding the stem of a lotus which bears the Prajnaparamita sutra representing the realization and perfection of wisdom and intelligence.