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Namgyalma - The Buddhist Goddess of Longevity

Namgyalma

Symbolic meaning of Namgyalma

Namgyalma also knows as the usnisavijaya, in Newari language is a female Buddha of longevity. Namgyalma is known by various other names but the crested tara in Chinese Buddhism is also one of her renowned name. In Tibetan Buddhism her name means the victorious one with three heads. She is one of the most famous Buddhist goddesses in Tibet, Mongolia and Nepal. She is regarded as the enlightened Buddha who is said to grant people the long life. She is also believed to be the one who guides the wicked souls to get over their wrong deeds and repent to get enlightened. Namgyalma has been the namesake of namgyal monastery which was built by the third Dalai Lama.

According to the old myth, During the time of Shakyamuni Buddha in the human world there was a deva(god) who was experiencing the symptoms of death. He started to remember his previous lives and see his future lives. However his future lives were going to be on the lower realm. Since at that time of realization he was in higher realm full of enjoyment and happiness than those in lower realm, he didn’t want to be reborn in lower realm.

Looking at his desperate state of mind, he was suggested by the king of gods Indra to visit Shakyamuni Buddha for the way out of it. Following Indra’s lead he came to Buddha and asked for help. In response to his call Buddha manifested him to the guidance of the God of Logetivity, Namgyalma by giving him a special Namgyalma mantra. The mantra was said to be so powerful that reciting the mantra for seven days, the deva was freed from all his karma so that he didn’t need to be reborn in lower realm.

It is believed that practicing her mantras one can get rid of life threatening diseases, increase a life span, increase their wisdom and get rid of evil deeds. The Namgyalma mantra is said to be so powerful that one who hears will never be born from the womb again. The main purpose of this mantra is to purify and release the beings from the lower realm and purify the negative energy.

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Postures and Gestures

Namgyalma is seen as female bodhisattva in white colour with three heads and eight arms. Even Amitabha Buddha is shown sitting on her upper right palm which represents that her realization is more powerful or equal to that of Amitabha Buddha. Each of her face has different color middle face being white representing the eradication of disasters, yellow head on side representing the longevity of the life and finally blue head representing the defeat of the evil.

She is shown sitting in full vajra posture holding a double dorje and rope on her hands.While her lower right palm is in varada mudra. Her first hand is tilted up and her second hand is grasping a bow. Her lower left hand is shown holding a Kalasha(holy pot) with a blooming flower. In one of her top right hand there resides Amitabha Buddha himself.

If you want to check available namgyalma statue or thangkas, click here.

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Published by
Amogh Shakya

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