Wednesday, October 10, 2012



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Shenlha Okar is usually depicted with a white body "like the essence of crystal"....

Pictorial descriptions and information on the Tibetan deity Shenlha Okar appear in the book by Per Kvaerne, "The Bon Religion of Tibet" (Shambhala Publications, 1996)

"From the white pure light arises the deity Shenlha Okar at the center of the mandala."(Tenzin Wangyal:1993 p147)...

"The body of Shenlha Wokar is white...his ontological status is that of bonku, 'unconditioned being' or 'supreme being', corresponding to the Buddhist category of dharmakaya...His association with light suggests Manichaean influences....The colour of his body is like the essence of crystal...his ornaments, attire, and palace are adorned by crystal light..." (Paul:1982) (Hoffman:1979,pg 105) (Kvaerne:1996, pg 26)

Shenlha Okar, (alt. Shenla Odker, Shenla Odkar, Shenla Wökar, Wylie: gShen lHa 'od dkar) or Shiwa Okar (Wylie: zhi ba 'od dkar)is the most important deity in the Yangdrung Bon tradition of Tibet.

Shenlha Okar is counted among the "Four Transcendent Lords" (Dewar Shekpa, Wylie: bde bar gshegs pa) along with Satrig Ersang (Sherab Chamma), Sangpo Bumtri, and Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche.

Description of the Thangka depicted above:

Shenlha Okar Tsog Shing: the field of deities for the accumulation of merit. The lineage of Accomplished Ones is seated above with monastic and ascetic lineage lamas at the top center, upper right and left. This composition was designed by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen (1859 -1933), based on a personal visionary experience. (See the Bon Refuge Field Main Page and Shenlha Okar Main Page).

Located in the center is the great deity Shenlha Okar, white in colour with one face and two hands, peaceful in appearance. The two hands are placed in the lap in the gesture of meditation. Adorning the head is a crown of gold and jewels, red ribbons tied at the sides. The body is decorated with gold earrings, necklaces, bracelets and anklets. A green scarf is draped across the shoulders and unfurls at the sides and the lower body is covered with a skirt of multi-coloured silks. Atop a white moon disc and pink lotus blossom, above a snow lion supported throne, he sits surrounded by a dark blue nimbus and green aureole. The backdrop of white snow lions, golden dragons, pink makaras and a garuda with wings outstretched at the top prevent the arising of obstacles.

In the small rainbow sphere at the upper left is a central Enlightened Conqueror surrounded by eight others in the same appearance. This represents the refuge of Sanggye. Between the two spheres and beneath the chortens are colourful square books. This represents the refuge of Bon. In the small rainbow sphere at the upper right is a Conquering Hero surrounded by eight others. This is the refuge of Sempa.



October 2012

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico


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