Acarya Bhavaviveka Converts a Nonbeliever to Buddhism

Artist/maker unknown, Sino-Tibetan18th century

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

This painting comes from a set of thirteen depicting the incarnations of the Panchen Lama (second only to the Dalai Lama in authority). This image highlights Acharya Bhavaviveka, the founder of an influential school of Buddhist philosophy. He wears a peaked cap with golden rings that represent his mastery of different Buddhist teachings and reaches out his hand to a long-haired nonbeliever who is having his head shaved in preparation for becoming a Buddhist monk. On the roof sits Bhavaviveka's teacher, Nagarjuna, a famous Indian scholar identifiable by the snakes around his head. The fierce deities Vajrapani and Mahakala dance in flame-halos on the right. The inscription perfectly describes the action in the painting: "After studying under Nagarjuna, Bhavaviveka converted nonbelievers in the south, envisioned Vajrapani, and served Mahakala."

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  • Title: Acarya Bhavaviveka Converts a Nonbeliever to Buddhism
  • Date: 18th century
  • Location: Chengde (Jehol), China
  • Physical Dimensions: w33.25 x h53.25 in (Image)
  • Manuscript/Series/Book Title: One of the Previous Incarnations of the Panchen Lama
  • Artist/Maker: Artist/maker unknown, Sino-Tibetan
  • Provenance: Gift of Natacha Rambova, 1959
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: © 2014 Philadelphia Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
  • External Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Medium: Color on cloth; cloth mounting


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