Three bodhisattvas arise as personifications of Buddhist ideals in Himalayan Buddhist traditions. Vajrapani is the incarnation of the enlightenment energy; Avalokiteshvara, a compassionate guardian of the devoted; and Manjushri, who cuts through ignorance and represents perfect understanding. Invoking Manjushri’s subtle wisdom and Avalokiteshvara’s transcendent strength first, a worshipper can be liberated from self-imposed illusions with the help of the former. In contrast, Vajrapani’s transcendent force aids in destroying jealousy and hatred, which stand in the path of enlightenment. Three bodhisattvas have played an important part in the spread of Buddhism to Tibet over the centuries. A diverse range of artworks from the eleventh through the eighteenth centuries are exhibited here and was created largely for monastic establishments in Nepal and Tibet. Artworks designed for a general audience, such as bronze sculptures and paintings depicting the bodhisattvas in tranquil states of mind, coexist with monastic Elite-only portable media containing sophisticated tantric images. Even while these rituals were often carried out for the sake of the populace, the Vajrayana imagery provided strong means of accessing these bodhisattvas as a private road to enlightenment. The three bodhisattvas at the heart of this great holy tradition are shown in various ways in this exhibition.
Three bodhisattvas represent Buddhist ideals in the Himalayan traditions of Buddhism. Avalokiteshvara, a compassionate protector of the devoted that helps disclose the actual essence of existence; Manjushri, who cuts through ignorance and personifies proper knowledge; and Vajrapani, the embodiment of the energy of enlightenment, according to The Met.
They added: “Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, and Vajrapani can all be invoked through dramatic pictures to elicit the subtle wisdom that Manjushri represents, while Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani can help remove the obstacles to enlightenment. The practice of honoring these three bodhisattvas together dates back thousands of years, and it was essential in bringing Buddhism to Tibet.”
Artworks designed for a general audience, such as bronze sculptures and paintings depicting the bodhisattvas in tranquil states of mind, coexist with monastic Elite-only portable media containing sophisticated tantric images.