Maitreya Applique Thangka
Thangka with brocade border 36 x 28 inches (91 x 71cm)
Thangka without brocade border 18 x 14 inches (46 x 36cm)
Please inquire if you wish to order without the brocade border.
Maitreya is a bodhisattva currently residing in the Tushita Heaven, but in the far distant future when the teachings of this present buddha become lost and forgotten, Maitreya will manifest as a buddha on earth to propagate the perfect path to enlightenment once more.
The story of how the teachings of Maitreya came to India goes as follows. Once Bodhisattva Asanga sat meditating on the image of Maitreya. Though he practiced for many years, Maitreya would not reveal himself. One day, the hopeless Ashanga left his meditation to take a stroll. On his walk he came across a dog that was covered in sores and maggots. Ashanga wished to remove the maggots, but feared the maggots would be harmed by his coarse hands. In his great compassion, he leaned forward and removed the maggots with his mouth. Immediately, the dog vanished and in its stead was Maitreya. Ashanga exclaimed, “Lord, why have you appeared to me only now?” Maitreya replied, “I’ve been here all the time. It was only your karmic obscurations that prevented you from seeing me.” Maitreya took him to Tushita Heaven where he gave him the teachings which came to be known as the Five Treatises of Maitreya.
Maitreya’s posture is the posture of a teacher, and reflects his readiness to descend from Tushita into the mortal world. His hands are in the gesture of turning the wheel of Dharma. The wheel to his right represents the teachings he will reveal when appearing in this world as a buddha, and the vase to his left indicates he will be born into the brahmin caste.
Each thangka is created using traditional methods and strictly adhering to the proportions of deities as they are laid down in Buddhist scripture. Our appliqu̩éd thangkas are created using hundreds of hand-cut and embroidered pieces of satin and brocade silk, stitched together with Mongolian horsetail. Each piece is witness to a unique tradition that survives intact to this day.
The thangka comes framed in a traditional silk brocade border.
Learn more about thangka appliqué at Norbulingka here.