Begtse

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Tsam mask in a performance in Ulan-Ude (2011)

In Tibetan Buddhism Beg-tse (Beg tse; Baik-tse) or Jamsaran (lCam Sring; Tibetan Beg tse chen Lcam Sring "the Great Coat of Mail", Nams-pahi srog gsan Baik-tse che) is a Dharma Protector and "Lord of War", in origin a pre-Buddhist god of war of the Mongols.[1]

Begtse-Mahakala has black skin and orange-red hair, two arms (as opposed to other Mahakalas who have four or six), three blood-shot eyes and is wielding a sword. He is wearing a chainmail shirt which gave rise to his name Jamsaran. He is wearing a crown of five skulls

Begtse-Mahakala should be distinguished[clarification needed] from the separate Dharmapala, one of the eight Wrathful Deities (Drag-ched) Begtse chen, also known by the Sanskrit name Prana Atma ("fire-breath").

According to other sources[citation needed] Begtse chen or Prana Atma is "colloquially" known as "red Mahakala". The figure was introduced to Tibetan Buddhism in the 11th century, by Marpa Lotsawa and Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. He was later incorporated into the Gelug school of Tsongkapa and became popular in the Mongolian Gelug tradition in the 17th century. According to Jeff Watt of himalayanart.org,[unreliable source?] the association with a Mongolian war deity is "erroneous", introduced in Western scholarship by Albert Grunwedel (1856–1935).

In some Tibetan texts narrating the origins of the various protectors of Tibetan Buddhism he was taken to be the son of a demon (yaksha) and a goblin (rakshasi). Some schools of Tibetan Buddhism believe that Begtse is a Wisdom Deity — meaning completely enlightened. Other schools believe him to be a lower protector or "Worldly Deity". In the Sakya and Kagyu Traditions he is considered the main protector for the Hayagriva cycle of practice.

Jamsaran is represented in Mongolian, and to a lesser extent Tibetan, ritual dance (tsam).[2]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Elisabetta Chiodo, The Mongolian Manuscripts on Birch Bark from Xarbuxyn Balgas in the Collection of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Volume 137 of Asiatische Forschungen, ISSN 0571-320X, 2000, p. 149, n. 11.
  2. ^ Carole Pegg, Mongolian Music, Dance, & Oral Narrative, 2001, p. 158ff.

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