pastel and ink on paper
28.5 x 28.5 inches (frame)
Damarupa is a mahasiddha in the Lamdre lineage. As a mahasiddha he was a historical person who forms a link in the lineage from the Buddhist deities to the masters of India to the Tibetan lamas. The mahasiddas are not merely masters of the past, but are rather powerful spiritual figures accessible in the continual present. Paintings depicting these lineage holders is a type.
The origin of the Lamdre system of the Sakya monasteries of Tibet is credited to Virupa, who developed the first of the great synthetic schemes through which tantric beliefs and practices were integrated into a graded and progressive Buddhist path.
Damarupa (c. 10th c.) was from central India and received teachings from his guru and handed them down to his student. Damarupa was said to have been able to appear in the 24 pithas (spiritual power places including charnel grounds) and 32 sacred places simultaneously while sounding the damaru (drum).
Here he is shown holding a skullcup in his left hand and in his right hand a drum (damaru), from which his name derives. This image was taken from a 16th century Tibetan lineage painting.