Skull cup

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Skull cup from a tangka of Tendrel Nyesel

The skull cup (Skt. kapala; Tib. ཐོད་པ་, tö pa, Wyl. thod pa) is a symbolic implement that represents the ability to sustain the bliss of nonconceptual wisdom.[1] When the skull cup contains blood (Tib. ཐོད་ཁྲག་, Wyl. thod khrag) it represents the conquering of the four demons.[2]

References

  1. bskyed pa'i rim pa cho ga dang sbyar ba'i gsal byed zung 'jug snye ma/ dge rtse ma h'a pandita tshe dbang mchog grub. Quoted in the glossary to Deity, Mantra and Wisdom, Dharmachakra Translation Committee.
  2. bskyed rim gyi zin bris cho ga spyi 'gros ltar bkod pa man ngag kun btus/ kun mkhyen bstan pa'i nyi ma. Quoted in the glossary to Deity, Mantra and Wisdom, Dharmachakra Translation Committee.