Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye


I am very pleased to present a painting of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye by Cynthia Moku. She, like Noedup Rongae who was featured early in this blog, is one of the artists to the court of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Below is her description of the painting. If you are interested in a print, please email Cynthia at cm@cmoku.com. You can see more of her work at cmoku.com.


In this painting, Jamgon Kongtrul turns to his right and bows his head towards the flaming jewels in front of his seat. With this simple direct gesture, he is exemplifying to us the honor to be given to the Buddha, His teachings and the community of practitioners; and to the consequent realized masters over time, the personal yidams and the dakinis & dakas and all the protectors of their mandalas. Kongtrul holds his hands in the dharmachakra mudra at his heart level. It is the gesture of turning the wheel of dharma thus activating the teachings in our world system. Two lotus flowers are seats for the purity and liberating capacity of Kongtrul’s enlightened qualities, which are symbolized by the flaming sword rising above the Perfection of Wisdom text on his right, and the auspicious vase topped by a symbol of tendrel chingwa, the interdependent relationship that is the nature of all phenomena. This symbol —derived from the Sanskrit root sv-asti meaning well-being and good fortune—also indicates prosperity. Turning in a clockwise direction, the swastika symbol is considered the seal of the Buddha’s heart, expressing the powerful illuminating radiance that the Enlightened One extends to all, like the rays of the golden sun. The fullness yet emptiness of the gold vase to his left, indicates Lodro Thaye’s embodiment as the union of wisdom and compassion. The sun and moon circles in the sky represent the red and white bindus fully mature. This is another visual sign of the inseparability of absolute and relative bodhicitta, which is the vital heart essence of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye’s manifestation.

I painted this image many years ago, while Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche was living in this world. The composition wasn’t complete with landscape and a few other details until recently. When Kalu Rinpoche saw the image, he blessed it by writing in his own hand, the seed syllables for the three chakras on the back of the work. He mentioned some of the enlightened qualities of the Great Lodro Thaye as kind and gently refined with great humility. In our lifetime, His Eminence Kyabje Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche is considered the mind emanation of Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche is considered the speech emanation, and Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche recognized as the activity emanation.

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