ACHALA, 2006

pastel on paper
32 x 24 inches (sheet)
36 x 28 inches (frame)

Achala is a wrathful deity from the pantheon of Tibetan Buddhist gods in the Vajrayana tradition.  His wrathful appearance serves to scare away evil spirits and to protect the devotee.  Achala’s chief role is to awaken the initiate to his or her own negative aspects and to transform these into compassion and wisdom.  He may also be invoked to eliminate outer hindrances (enemies).  

Achala means immovable and his kneeling pose is the immovable posture of the archer.  In his right hand he holds a sword which symbolizes his ability to cut through illusions.  With the raised index finger of his left hand he makes the gesture of warning (tarjani mudra) while holding a lasso or noose which represents his ability to bind illusions. His fiery halo of flames symbolizes his ability to burn up the impurities that are blocking the practitioner.  His blue color associates him with the vajra family headed up by Akshobhya, the unshakable one, the Dhyani Buddha of the East. This image was taken from a 13th century Tibetan painting.

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