Buddha Life Thanka or Thangka illustrates the life story of Buddha. All the historic part of Buddha's life is depicted visually in the Buddha Life Thangka. The Day he was born from his mothers right arm pit as she rested her arm on the branch of a big tree in the garden of Lumbini . The childhood locked inside the palace compounds, freeing him from the evil and preventing him from seeing and experiencing any kind of pain or suffering of outside world. The day he ventured beyond the castle walls and came across sorrow, pain, death and those suffering - he saw beggar, a cripple, a corpse and a holy man - which affected the prince deeply, awakening a deep desire to find the corpse of suffering and thus alleviate it. The night when he escaped the walls of palace, when all were asleep and began the life of wandering ascetic. His years of fasting, meditation and time spent in painful search to find a way to end suffering. The full moon night when he had a direct realization of Nirvana (eternal peace), which transformed prince into Buddha. The times he spent guiding people towards nirvana, love and friendship. The Day he left this world at the age of eighty, having exhausted his human body for the sake of all sentiment beings. All are shown in the Buddha Life Thangka.
In the central part of this modern painting Buddha Sakyamuni is seen meditations in the earth touching gesture on a lotus throne with a modern silk cloth with a visvavairan ark on it. He is flanked by two of his chief disciples namely Sariputra and Maudgalyayana. His face seems very serene and his body is emitting auras surrounding his body. He is holding a bowl with his left hand on the lab. Over the top of his head a parasol is placed. Handing against the back ground of the Bodhi tree. On the left corner of the painting, Queen Maya Devi in her palace bed is having a dream in which a white elephant is seen descending from Tushita heaven and this has entered to her womb from her right side. Just below this Queen Maha Maya Devi is standing in the Salbhanjika posture holding a branch of a Plaksa tree and delivering baby Siddhartha from her right side. The god Brahma is holding a bodhisattva dressed in white silk, and is accompanied by two devas. Two celestial fairies carrying flowers are welcoming Lady Mayadevi. She is wearing rich garmjints, befitting a queen. Her face shows no signs of the pain of labor.
Just below the painting, Siddhartha can be seen making his great announcement that he is the One who has conquered the temptations of the Buddhist Teptor, Mara. And that this is his last birth. He makes this bold statement with his index finger raised, as he steps upon a lotus. Baby Siddhartha's announcement is heard and witnessed by a group of devas who offer him auspicious object.
Below this, prince Siddartha is shown with his charioteer Chandaka taking a chariot beyond the palace walls. On the journey he observes a man suffering from old age, an emaciated man stricken with an incurables disease, standing calm, quiet and self possessed, leading a life of strict discipline embracing the spiritual path. These characteristic vision formed the basis of Prince Siddhartha's great renunciation.
Yet on another panel just below this Prince Siddartha, oppressed by the sorrow and tribulation he saw, are his discarded princely garment and the ornaments of royalty, seen near a Stupa. Siddartha is cutting his hair as the initiation of his vow to become a monk. His Charioteer Chandaka and horse Kanthaka are seen crying at the left side of the painting.
At the bottom panel of the painting the Bodhisattva Siddhartha is seen practicing his austerities for six year, his body emaciated like a skeleton. Celestial damsels are seen dancing trying to disturb his meditation.
On far right corner of the painting the Bodhisattva Siddhartha is seen receiving sweet rice pudding from a lady called Sujata. After taking this food, Siddhartha is seen having attained perfect enlightenment from his profound meditation under the Bodhi Tree. Devas and human beings are seen offering the eight auspicious symbols after his perfect Enlightenment. He is seen turning the wheel of dharma for the first time preaching to his five disciples on four Noble Truths.
Just above this Buddha is seen descended to Sankasva to tame the six heretical teachers after giving a discourse to his mother Maya Devi in the celestial realm. At a certain time during the Buddha's life a band of monks called Vrijji quarreled among themselves, unable to hear the instruction of Lord Buddha. To tame these Vrijji monks Buddha went to the Parileyyaka forest unattended by monks. Instead monkeys and elephants attended the Buddha faithfully at this Vrijji monks realized their mistake and a respectful request to Buddha to return to their abode.
At the top right corner of the painting Buddha is seen reclining in his oath bed attaining his great Parinirvana. The devotees and devas are seen crying at the death of the Buddha.