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13 Tshogs zhing: a Wall Painting in the New ’Du khang of Spituk (dPe thub)

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Chapter Summary

Tshogs zhing is a compound consisting of the terms tshogs: 'assembly', 'mass', 'group'; and zhing, 'field' in the sense. All the figures of the tshogs zhing, always considered as emanations of the root guru, are visualized as positioned on a wish-fulfilling tree that functions as an axis mundi whose various parts symbolize different experiences of the Buddhist Dharma. During research in Ladakh, the author documented an important evolution of the tshogs zhing iconographic themes connected to the bla ma mchod pa liturgy in the new spyi khang of Spituk monastery. First of all, the field of accumulation of merit is not depicted on a thang ka but on a wall. The picture is painted on the main wall opposite the entrance to the hall. The chief figure of the tshogs zhing of the spyi khang is that of Tsong kha pa and not that of Śākyamuni.

Keywords: Buddhist Dharma; Ladakh; Spituk monastery; Tshogs zhing; Tsong kha pa



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