Manjushree, the embodiment of transcendent wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism, is a central figure in the iconography of this spiritual tradition. Depicted in the Manjushree Thangka, this bodhisattva represents the pinnacle of insight and understanding, serving as a symbol for the quest for knowledge that lies at the heart of Buddhist practice. The Thangka, a traditional Tibetan painting on fabric, captures the divine essence of Manjushree, illustrating the power of wisdom to dispel the darkness of ignorance.
Manjushree is a bodhisattva associated with prajñā (insight). Manjushri is considered to be the God of Divine Wisdom. According to the Buddhist tradition, he is the founder of Nepalese civilization and the creator of Kathmandu Valley. According to the tradition, he was a Chinese saint and is considered to be one of the Four Great Bodhisattvas of Chinese Buddhism.
The figure of Manjushree is often portrayed wielding a flaming sword in his right hand, symbolising the cutting through of delusion and the illumination of truth. His left hand holds a lotus flower, upon which rests the Prajnaparamita Sutra, a revered Buddhist text that expounds upon the nature of ultimate reality. Together, these attributes reflect the vital role of wisdom in the journey towards enlightenment and spiritual awakening.
The iconography surrounding Manjushree often includes various symbols, such as the lions upon which he is seated, signifying the fearlessness and authority of wisdom. His radiant aura, depicted through the use of vibrant colours, evokes the illuminating nature of his teachings, and the intricate patterns within the Thangka serve as a reminder of the profound interconnectedness of all phenomena.