Himalayan Art Resources

Iconography: Guru (Teacher)

Guru (Teacher) | Buddhist Iconography Main Page | Guruyoga Iconography

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Guru (Teacher) Description (below)
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

Historical:
- Shakyamuni Buddha

Deity Forms:
- Five Symbolic Buddhas
- Vajradhara
- Hevajra, Chakrasamvara, Kalachakra, etc.
- Manjushri, Lokeshvara, Vajrapani, Tara, etc.

Human Figures:
- Padmasambhava
- Eighty-four Mahasiddhas
- Sakya Pandita, Milarepa, Karma Pakshi, Tsongkapa, etc.

Field of Accumulation Paintings:
- Buddha Central Figure
- Deity Central Figure
- Human Central Figure

Lineage Painting Sets:

Portrait Painting:

Guru: religious teacher or preceptor. For Vajrayana Buddhism the term is specifically used for a Tantric teacher. The titles of acharya or kalyanamitra are used for Sutrayana, or viewed from a Tantric point of view - ordinary religious teachers.

There are three main types of Guru and Guruyoga depiction based on the visual subject: [1] Buddha, [2] Deity, and [3] Human Figure. It can also be said that there are two ways of depicting the teacher: idealized (i.e. Buddha, deity) and natural (as a human).

The Buddha forms used for guruyoga are usually those of Vajradhara and the Five Symbolic Buddhas. Vajradhara is of significant importance. Each of the major meditational deities has a corresponding guruyoga practice. The most unique forms of guruyoga are those based on the human figures of teachers with all of their special characteristics and iconographic nuances. The teacher in any of the three forms can also appear at the center of a Field of Accumulation painting as well as be included in Lineage Painting Sets. The individual teacher can also appear at the center of a unique single portrait painting.

Jeff Watt 6-2015