Kurukulla, 2008

pastel and ink on paper

34 x 33 inches (frame)

027

Kurukulla is the goddess of enchantment, the red form of Tara. She has four arms: the two upper hands hold bow and arrow, while the lower left holds a lasso (or noose) and the lower right a hook that summons. These four implements are made of utpala flowers which mitigate their usual wrathful meaning, but they are still used for subjugation and the accomplishment of her goals through control of the power of passion. She dances on the prostrate body of the ego amid the circular flames of the fires of pristine awareness. Her hair flows upward, she has three eyes, is adorned with jewels and scarves, and wears a tiger-skin skirt and a necklace of freshly-severed heads. While the western gods Cupid and Eros, to whom she is often compared, enslave their targets to lust, she frees them to realize the dharma. This image is taken from an 18th century Tibetan thanka.

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