Description Of Tibetan Thangka Way To Nirvana
In Buddhism, it is always believed that being born as a human itself is a gift that is a chance to gain true salvation which is Nirvana. Achieving nirvana itself means being free of all the suffering and being truly happy. But nirvana itself is not very easy to achieve. Way to Nirvana gives us simple yet very meaningful guidance on how one can achieve it. At first glance at the subject, it means like a pathway from the bottom to the top.
The path starts from the lower right, the painting shows a monk chasing an elephant a monkey and a hare. As the path progresses all the animals change from a dark complex to white. The elephant represents mind which resembles mental dullness. The monkey represents distraction or mental agitation. The hare represents mental temper. Going back to the monk, he carries two different objects hooked goods and lasso. These two objects represent a clear understanding and mindful recollection. We can understand that the animals are reluctantly moving ahead on their way to Nirvana at the beginning. But as they progress towards the top they are purifying themselves and are moving on their free will. This is the reason the flames at the bottoms larger than the ones at the top. The flames keep on diminishing along the way which represents the amount of effort needed to put on cultivating understanding and recollection. There are also five senses of objects starting from cloth, fruit, perfume, cymbals, and mirror that represent five sensual sources of distraction.
At the end of the path, the monk can be seen riding the elephant across the rainbow wielding the flaming sword of wisdom and the same monk flying over those rainbows. These two figures represent uprooting the samsara by the unity of “Samatha” and “Bipasana”. These two figures also represent bodily bliss and mental bliss.