Buddha Shakyamuni

Thangka of Buddha the Supreme Healer (detail). Tibetan. 20th century. Silk with pigment. Lent by Paige Prill.

We're disappointed we can't welcome you to the Carlos Museum for Emory's annual Tibet Week, so we've asked Professor Sara McClintock of Emory's Department of Religion, who was scheduled to speak about a thangka painting depicting the lives of the Buddha, to help us bring Tibet Week to you.

Using the central panel of the painting, we've created a puzzle for you. We hope it will provide you an opportunity to notice the details of the painting an opportunity to notice the details of the painting as well as a time for play—something we can all use! (You may choose your own level of difficulty by clicking the downward arrow next to "Play As" and selecting the number of puzzle pieces.)

Click here to see the entire painting.

Here is some information about what to look for in the painting from Professor McClintock:

  • The central panel depicts the culminating event of the Buddha Śākyamuni's quest for enlightenment, the defeat of Māra (Māra-vijaya).
  • Seated under the awakening tree (see the bodhi leaves at the top of the image), the Buddha is assailed by a demon army emanated by the deity Māra ("death"), the embodiment of all that is negative and unwholesome. Due to the strength of his mental training, the Buddha recognizes the ultimate unreality of all obstacles even as Māra's army rains down arrows and hurls curses upon him. 
  • Although not depicted here, traditional accounts of this event tell us that the projectiles turned into flowers before reaching their target, falling as offerings at the feet of the Buddha. 
  • As is typical in such scenes, the Buddha here touches the ground with his right hand, calling the goddess Bhūmi ("earth") as a witness to his millennia of positive and wholesome deeds.


Complete the puzzle