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Origin[]

2007 0811collectionBertsch0123

Partly gilded Tibetan bronze statue of Vaisravana (Jambhala) sitting on a snow lion and holding a mongoose in his left hand, ca. 17th century.

In Tibet, Vaiśravaṇa is considered a worldly dharmapāla or protector of the Dharma, a member of the retinue of Ratnasambhava. He is also known as the King of the North. As guardian of the north, he is often depicted on temple murals outside the main door. He is also thought of as a god of wealth. As such, Vaiśravaṇa is sometimes portrayed carrying a citron, the fruit of the jambhara tree, a pun on another name of his, Jambhala (Skt. jambhala; Tibetan ཛམ་བྷ་ལ་ and pronounced Jambhala or Zambala). The fruit helps distinguish him iconically from depictions of Kuvera. He is sometimes represented as corpulent and covered with jewels. When shown seated, his right foot is generally pendant and supported by a lotus-flower on which is a conch shell. His mount is a snow lion.

Nam Te Se. (རྣམ་ཐོས་སྲས་ or རྣམ་སྲས་) is not Dzambala. Nam Te is the king, and Dzambala is one of his ranking ministers. Nam Te Se has eight ranks, and Dzambala is one of these ranks.

Tibetan Buddhists consider Jambhala's sentiment regarding wealth to be providing freedom by way of bestowing prosperity, so that one may focus on the path or spirituality rather than on the materiality and temporality of that wealth.

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