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Ratnasambhava

By Devik Balami at
ratnasambhava

Ratnasambhava (Rinchen Jungne in Tibetan) is one of the Five Dhyani Buddhas or Five Meditation Buddhas in the Mahayana as well as Vajrayana Buddhism. Considered as the third of the Five Dhyani Buddha, he has been revered as the Buddha of divine wisdom of equality and plays a big role in transforming the inner pride into vision of equality. The name Ratnasambhava is literally translated as “born from Jewels” or “origin of jewels”. This Dhyani Buddha’s presence in Vajrayana Buddhism is to destroy greed and pride.

Ratnasambhava maintains the highest level of Bodhichitta while also offering the gift of compassionate generosity to the sentient beings. Residing in his pure land in the south, Shrimat, Ratnashambhava is often depicted in Tibetan Thangkas with his female consort Mamaki and attended by the male Bodhisattvas Akashagarbhas and Samantahadra as well as female Bodhisattvas Mala and Dhupa. Most of his representations are found to be having a yellow tint, some may even consider him as having a golden yellow color, like a midday sun. In many of his depictions his right hand is empty, out and downward facing, which suggests an equal offering of all so much that his hand cannot hold anything. Similarly, his resting left hand usually holds and objects, which also symbolizes him preserving the gem of Bodhichitta. Some Buddha statues and arts also depict him holding a wish-fulfilling jewel. This jewel is also known to have boundless treasures. Also, he is also seen with his left hand holding a begging bowel representing the opportunity for merit. Both of these symbols; the jewel and bowl, helps lay out the idea that Ratnasambhava gives out generously.

In many of the Buddhist arts that depict him, he is seated in full lotus posture in a white moon disc. The lotus throne is supported on the backs of four golden yellow horses. The lotus throne is a metaphor for the trials all the sentient beings must push through to cultivate wisdom. Ratnasambhava is seen to be wearing richly embroidered yellow robes while his postures are mostly seen to be as the Varada Mudra. Mostly seen as smiling compassionately, Ratnasambhava has a blue-black colored hair and an aura of green light is seen around his head. Similarly, a rich aura of blue light can be seen around his body.

Ratnashambhava is associated with the qualities of generosity, richness, beauty, creativity, expansiveness and the wisdom of equality. He is the central figure of the Ratna family who represents wealth and dignity while also representing the cosmic element of sensation. As per Tibetan Buddhism, the Wisdom of Equality aids one to see all things with divine neutrality and recognize the divine equality of all the beings in the universe. According the Tibetan Book of the death Bardo Thodol, Ratnashambhava appears to us in the third day of our after-death state, after Buddha Akshobhya. However, the Nepali culture of Buddhism also explores that his negative aspects is the exploitation of wealth and embodiment of slander. Ratnashambhava’s association with values and generosity gives out a very important role in inspiring the practitioners. Generosity is one of the most fundamental virtues in Buddhism. It indicates Bodhichitta for a serious and committed practitioner of Buddhism. This helps to share compassion and teachings on how to work with a mind. For everyday practice, generosity leads for a good future in this life as well as a good rebirth in next life in proper circumstances where the practice of Buddhism can be done properly to reach realization. On much of a worldly or a physical level, Ratnashambhava represents wealth as one of the main Bodhisattvas in his entourage is Zambala who is the manifestation of wealth and richness. This Dhyani Buddha is also closely associated with the concept of beauty and art.

Similarly it is also believed that the meditation practitioners meditating by visualizing Ratnashambhava can transform his greed and pride into wisdom of sameness. This can help the practitioner to establish the interrelationships between them. By this knowledge that Ratnashambhava bestows, a practioner is able to realize that by seeking one experience, we are left open to another often more harmful experience.