Buddha Avalokiteshvara Statue

 

 


Avalokiteshvara is known as Bodhisattva of compassion and the redeemer of humanity . He is worshipped as an individual deity with his own cult. According to the Tibetan doctrine of re-incarnation, prominent Tibetan lamas and saints are believed to be the emanations of specific Bodhisattvas and Avalokiteshvara is the most important one of them all. Throughout northern Asia, this Bodhisattva, in various forms, remains the most acclaimed embodiment of the ultimate Buddhist goal of selfless dedication towards the salvation of all living beings. In Sanskrit, Avalokiteshvara literally means Worldward-looking Lord. Avalokiteshvara is the Bodhisattva of compassion. According to legend, Avalokiteshvara made a vow that he would not rest until he had liberated all beings from suffering. After working assiduously at this task for a very long time, he looked out and realized the immense number of miserable beings yet to be saved. Seeing this, he became sad and his head split into thousands of pieces.

Amitabha Buddha put the pieces back together as a body with very many arms and many heads, so that he could work with myriad beings all at the same time. Although Buddhist literature lists 108 forms of Avalokiteshvara, only a few are actually worshipped and recreated as statues.

Apart from the typical crown and jewels of a Bodhisattva, two particular emblems are associated with Avalokiteshvara – a tiny, seated image of Amitabha Buddha in his crown with his hands resting in his lap in the pose of meditation, and a lotus in his left hand, which gives him the name of ‘Padmapani’ (lotus-in-hand). Another common emblem of Avalokiteshvara is the antelope skin, thrown over his shoulder symbolizing the ascetic qualities of a yogi.


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