Palden Lhamo is the only female dharmapala and her name means “glorious goddess”. Additionally, she is the consort of mahakala and her depiction portrays gratuitous violence and bloodshed. Indeed, our Palden Lhamo Tibetan Thangka painting depicts her riding sidesaddle on a wild mule across a sea of blood. Additionally, she sits on a saddle made of her son’s skin that she created after she flayed him and ate his flesh and drank his blood.
Her husband was the king of Sri Lanka who insisted on killing Dharma practitioners against her will. As a result, she murdered their son in a most horrific manner. As she tried to escape on the wild mule, the king shot the mule in the hind quarter with an arrow. However, she healed it and converted the wound into an eye “large enough to watch over the 24 regions”. She then rode her mule across Asia and finally settled down on Mt Oikhan in eastern Siberia.
Palden Lhamo is the protector of the Tibetan government and it’s Buddhist institutions. Additionally, she is the protector of the line of Dalai Lamas. As such, she is highly regarded as a protector by the Gelug. Therefore, on top of the Palden Lhamo Tibetan Thangka painting is included a depiction of Guru Tsongkhapa and his two disciples.
In the painting she wields a khatvanga over her right shoulder that is used to subjugate demons. Furthermore, the five skulls on her diadem represent the five poisons that became the five transcendent wisdoms. Additionally, she holds a skull filled with blood and brains. This symbol tells of her enlightened wisdom and predicts victory over impermanence. Click here to learn more about Palden Lhamo Ferocious Dharma Protector.