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Yum Chenmo

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Prajnaparamita embodies the bliss/emptiness that gives rise to all phenomena -- hence her honorofic title as Mother of all the Buddhas.  She usually appears as a tranquil seated figure clothed in silks; her body is gold in colour, and she has one face and four arms.   Her first two arms are held in meditation posture in her lap, while the other right hand holds a nine-spoked vajra (thunderbolt sceptre symbolising compassion/bliss) and the left, the text of the Heart Sutra which is the essential wisdom-text on the emptiness of phenomena.  There are other forms of the deity, as at right:  her first two hands in prayer mudra at the heart, second right hand holding a mala [rosary] and second left hand holding a text. 

Her name means 'Perfection of Wisdom'; in Tibetan she is also known as Yum Chenmo, or 'Great Mother'.  She is closely associated with chöd practice (see Machig Labdrön).  Natalie R. Marsh offers an essay on the iconography of Prajnaparamita (along with an accompanying thangka image).  From the Mirrors of the Heart-Mind exhibit.

 

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