acrylic on paper
48.25 x 34.5 inches (frame)
Akshobhya is one of the five Dhyani Buddhas, whose creative powers have been compared to the Old Testament Elohim. The five Dhyani Buddhas represent five Buddha families, each with a distinctive color, mudra, direction, mount, consort, and virtue which counteracts and transmutes a specific poison.
Akshobhya is head of the vajra (thunderbolt) family, which represents mirror-like wisdom that is the antidote to anger and hatred. His color is blue, his direction is the east, his mount is the elephant, and his consort is Mamaki. Many of the members of Akshobhya’s family are wrathful deities including Vajrapani, Heruka, Hevajra, and Vajrakila. Akshobhya means unshakeable. His pose is the earth-touching mudra, which is the one also used to depict Gautama remaining unshakeable in the face of the temptations of Mara.
In this depiction, taken from a 13th century Tibetan painting, Akshobhya is shown sitting on a variation of the six-ornament throne of enlightenment which symbolizes the six perfections (paramitas) of the Prajnaparimita. In ascending order on both the left and right uprights are elephant, lion, gander (hamsa), and vyala. Other ganders are perched on top of the uprights, with garuda and serpents (nagas) on top of Akshobhya’s halo. In the traditional throne of enlightenment wisdom (prajna) is represented by two lions; concentration (dhyana) by the two elephants; effort (virya) by dwarfs or devas riding on sharabha antelopes; patience (kshanti) by two makaras; morality (sila) by two nagas; and generosity (dana) by a garuda.