Tibetan Buddhism, with its strong Tantric leanings, took a fascinatingly ambivalent view of Ganesha. Robert L. Brown (Ganesh: Studies of an Asian God) says these sharply contrasting versions can best be understood by seeing Ganesha as a Janus-like deity, rather than two different gods. As Lord of Obstacles, He controls impediments in their entirety. In His negative – read Tantric – aspect, He creates or chooses to condone the existence of problems. The benign Puranic Ganesha, removes obstacles or refrains from creating them. Seventh and eighth century Buddhist texts from China, originally authored by Indians, state that Ganesha started off as an obstacle-creator – vigna-karta – who had to be ritually appeased so He would keep away. Around the sixth century, this willful, dangerous being metamorphosed into a benign vigna-harta or obstacle-remover and entered the Hindu pantheon!
In Tibetan Buddhism however, the Tantric, malevolent Ganesha prevailed over the kindlier version. Tibetan iconography shows Him being trampled underfoot by Mahakala, the Protector of Dharma. He is known as Maha Rakta Ganapati, a fearsome emanation of Avalokiteswara, with a red body, three eyes and twelve hands holding various weapons as well as skull cups filled with human flesh and blood.