Metatron’s Cube

 

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Metatron’s Cube

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Metatron’s Cube is the name given to a complex three-dimensional geometric figure made from 13 circles of the same size, with lines extending from the center of every circle to the center of all the other twelve circles. It is considered a geometric variant of the ‘Fruit of Life’ symbol that is, in turn, derived from the Flower of Life, a powerful Sacred Geometry symbol believed to hold all the patterns of creation.

Mandala of an Esoteric Form of Vajrapani

 

Mandala of an Esoteric Form of Vajrapani

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Mandala of an Esoteric Form of Vajrapani

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Vajrapani, “he who holds the thunderbolt sceptre,” appears at the center of this mandala in one of his many esoteric forms.1 The three-faced, four-armed god holds his characteristic thunderbolt sceptre and the bell, while his other hands grasp the body o f a serpent, held firm between his teeth and trampled beneath his feet. His red hair is gathered like a helmet of molded flames, further adorned with a serpent. A delicate serpent winds about his neck.

The mandala includes in its first circle gods who resemble the central figure, although they differ in color: white (E), yellow (S), red (W) and green (N). In the next circle, at the intermediate points of the compass, are offering goddesses, perhaps the standard four: Puspa (flowers; NE), Dhupa (incense; SE), Dipa (light, SW), and Gandha (perfume, NW). There are four guardians of the temple gates.

Outside the mandala proper are esoteric deities in yab-yum (“father-mother”), the posture of sexual embrace; Tibetan teachers (once identified by inscription, now abraded); and the seven jewels of the cakravartin (“universal monarch”): horse, wish-fulfill ing gem (here, probably the triratna or “three jewels of Buddhism” representing the Buddha, the Buddhist doctrine and the monastic community), the elephant, the wheel of the Buddhist law, a general (figure with shield), queen, and a minister who holds tre asure in his hands (here, the god of wealth, Jambhala).2 In the top register is a lineage of mortal and celestial teachers associated with Vajrapani’s teachings. The bottom register includes a monk seated before offerings, deities, and protectors of the faith.

 

Buddhakapala Mandala

 

Buddhakapala Mandala

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Buddhakapala Mandala  

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The deity Buddhakapala, “Skullcup of the Buddha,” presides over this mandala of twenty-five deities.1 The wrathful god embraces his consort Citrasena, while his four other hands hold the skullcup, chopper, ceremonial staff and hand drum. He assumes the dancer’s pose (ardhaparyanka) upon a corpse which is itself supported by a lotus borne by the sun.

Attendant deities in the mandala’s first circle appear on the petals of an open lotus: Sumalini (E), Kapalini (N), Bhima (W) and Durjaya (S).2 Skullcups supported by lotuses mark the four intermediate points of the compass. The second circle of deities includes: Subhamekhala (E), Rupini (N), Vijaya (W), Kamini (S), Kapalini (NE), Mahadadhi (SE), Karini (SW) and Marani (NW). The third circle includes: Tarini (E), Bhimadarsana (N), Sudarsana (W), Ajaya (S), Subha (NE), Astaraki (SE), Kalaratri (SW) and M ahayasa (NW). Sundari (E), Vajrasundari (N), Subhaga (W) and Priyadarsana (S) guard the mandala’s four gates.

This mandala was once part of a set of mandalas illustrating Annuttarayoga teachings. These teachings were transmitted by an historical lineage illustrated in the painting’s top and bottom registers, and including the four historical figures encircled by scrolling vines just outside the mandala circle.3 The lineage begins with the celestial Buddha Vajradhara and includes Indian masters such as Nagarjuna (act. second century A.D.) and prominent Tibetan masters of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, such as the famed translator Marpa (mar-pa, 1012-96).