Aksobhya is one of the five cosmic
Buddhas- the spiritual sons who emanated from the Adi Buddha. Regarded
as the second Dhyani-Buddha, he is the embodiment of the cosmic element
vijana (consciousness) and represents the winter, the faculty of hearing
and all elements of ether and sounds. This imperturbable Buddha has
a comparable posture and meaning to that of the historical Buddha Gautama
Sakyamuni in his guise as the conqueror of the demon Mara (the evil
spirit). Aksobhya is 'the lord of the east', transforming the dangerous
human affliction of anger, one of the most potent obstructions to enlightenment,
into perfection and wisdom.
Aksobhya can be identified by his symbol, the vajra, lying in front
of him on the throne. This ritual thunderbolt is the active symbol of
discriminative knowledge, cosmic power and an object used to attain
enlightenment. Seated in vajrasana in the diamond posture (legs crossed),
the interlocking lotus position on a lotusthrone, he holds his right
hand in bhumisparsa mudra as he touches mother earth. With this gesture
he calls the earth to witness his victory over the god Mara who was
his last obstacle to his attainment of perfection. His left hand rests
in his lap in dhyani mudra, the gesture of contemplation. Buddha bears
an urna (third eye) on his forehead, the ushnisa (the symbol denoting
wisdom) crowning his large curls of hair. Buddha is adorned with a three-leaved
crown, flowers above his ears, and is dressed in a finely engraved monks
robe with his right shoulder and arm bare; his elongated earlobes reflecting
his royal origins.
This Buddha is a rare and early example of a central Tibetan work of
art. The characteristics which help define this early style are the
elongated lines of the eyebrows, the large lotus leaves, the unfinished
back, the almond shaped eyes, the large open earlobes, the strings of
pearls, the shape of the three leaved crown, the fleshy cheeks, and
the pronounced sculptural volumes of his body, in particular his hands.
The superb and inspired concept of this imposing temple image shows
simplicity and purity; an amazingly harmonious construction of voluptuous
shapes and lines make every part of the body radiate with Buddha's inner
life. An intense and concentrated energy streams through his powerful
shoulders and arms, emerging in the wonderful touch of his right hand,
to end with striking tension in his well modelled fingers and feet.
All these elements reveal a great and generous Buddha, an embodiment
of serenity, wisdom and compassion.