The Journey

Akanishtha: The World and Beyond

  • 64
  • Central Tibet
  • 18th century
  • Pigments on cloth
  • H. 40 3/4 x W. 26 1/4 in. (103.5 x 66.7 cm)
  • The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, C2006.66.114

Akanishtha is the highest heaven of the Realm of Form (Rupadhatu) in the Buddhist cosmos. The boundary between form and formlessness, it contains the perfected realms of the Buddhas Amitabha (Sukhavati, the Land of Bliss) and Akshobhya (Abhirati, the Ecstatic Land). This representation of the Akanishtha paradise shows Shakyamuni in the form of Vairochana Buddha preaching at the summit of Mount Meru, the axis of the universe. A plethora of Buddhas and bodhisattvas listen to him preach, while lesser beings outside and below the gates of his palace try to gain entry to paradise.

PHOTO CREDIT: © The Rubin Museum of Art, New York

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