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The Story Behind The Thangka

The Story Behind The Thangka Tom Kenyon

This thangka (image 1) was commissioned by my wife, Judi Sion Kenyon, and me in 2006. Our intention in commissioning this unusual thangka was to depict the inherent balance that exists between the enlightened male and female aspects of consciousness.

The central figures are two potent Tibetan Buddhist tutelary deities: Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini. The image on the left shows Chakrasamvara facing the viewer while embracing his consort, Vajrayogini. This is the traditional way these two deities are represented in these tantric embrace within Tibetan Buddhist iconography — with Chakrasamvara in the dominant position.

On the right side, the positions are reversed, with Vajrayogini facing the viewer while embracing her consort Chakrasamvara. This is a highly unusual depiction of the deities in which a feminine aspect of enlightened mind is shown in the dominant position.