Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche's renderings of ‘Protectors Triptych’ or the Three ‘Masks’ series: Vajrasadhu, Ekajati, and the Four-Armed Mahakala.
Vajrasadhu is a lokapala, a class of worldly protector, often charged with guarding specific places. They are often dressed in armour, as Vajrasadhu is in this rendition, and lives in a castle made of a black crystaline rock.
Ekajati is considered to be an emanation of Samantabhadri, the female primordial Buddha, and she also manifests as Vajrayogini, a pre-eminent female deity or yidam. The iconography of Ekajati is itself unusual, in that she has a single eye on her forehead and a single fang in the middle of her mouth, shown in this painting projecting down below the rest of her teeth.
The Four-Armed Mahakala is particularly associated with protecting the lineage of the Surmang group of monasteries of which Chögyam Trungpa was the Supreme Abbot. She is also closely allied with Chakrasamvara, one of the principal male deities or yidams of the Kagyü lineage.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1940-1987) is recognized for playing a pivotal role in the transmission of genuine Buddhadharma to the West. One of the first Tibetan Buddhist teachers to come to America, he established Shambhala International. He is the author of bestselling books on the Buddhist teachings. He was a poet, painter, and calligrapher who coined the term “dharma art,” and whose teachings on dharma art describe a profound connection between meditative mind and the creative process.