Manuscript cover with Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani
  See it in the Museum
Orientation 3
Display 6

ABM 041

 Code: ABM 041

  Country: Tibet (central)


  Date: 1300 - 1400

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 36 x 12.5

  Materials: Wood, carved and painted

Manuscript cover with Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani

Carved at the center of this book cover, Manjushri is accompanied by two other painted bodhisattvas: Avalokiteshvara to his right and Vajrapani to his left. Tibetans call this group the "Protectors of the three families", and they constitute a major triad of Tibetan Buddhism. These three bodhisattvas are respectively praised for "dispelling the darkness of wrong views, freeing sentient beings from suffering through compassion, and eliminating all evil manifestations". With his right hand, Manjushri wields the sword of wisdom that cuts through ignorance. With his left hand, he holds the stem of a blue lily (nilotpala) that blossoms over his shoulder. Bodhisattva of wisdom, Manjushri is the male equivalent of the female deity Praj├▒aparamita, the "Perfection of Wisdom". Another example of this triad of bodhisattva is visible in the collection (ABS 112 - Chapel, Display 7).

Bodhisattvas are "heroes for the awakening". They are advanced practitioners who are motivated by compassion, and who strive to help all sentient beings to attain liberation on their path to perfect Buddhahood. Their royal adornments symbolise the quality of their spiritual realisation.