This Manjushri Thangka represents Transcendent Wisdom also called Yidam in Tibetan Buddhism. Manjushri is one of a trinity of family protectors along with Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani. In the Tathagata family, includes Buddha Shakyamuni and Buddha Vairochana.
In Mahayana Buddhism literature Manjushri is identified as the oldest and most important Bodhisattva. In early Mahayana texts, called “Prajnaparamita Sutra,” Manjushri was referred to as the embodiment of transcendent wisdom.
In this Thangka, Manjushri holds a flaming sword in his right hand which is the figurative weapon that destroys ignorance and transforms it into fire symbolizes transformation.
His left hand is placed in front of his heart holding a lotus stem that bears the Prajnaparamita sutra representing the realization and perfection of wisdom and understanding.
There are various Manjushri characterizations and several manifestations. One of the most ancient manifestations of Manjushri that had come on a pilgrimage from China to Nepal. When Manjushree roamed around he saw a lotus flower in the center of the lake.
With his flaming at Chobar, he decided to cut a gorge to allow the lake to drain and the site of the Swayambhu stupa is the place where the lotus flower settled.
Afterward, the valley became habitable. The first human settlement in the Kathmandu valley is believed to have been named Manjupattan.
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