Avalokitesvara (meaning “Lord Who Looks Down”) is arguably the most common and popular Buddhist celestial being. Regarded as a God, a Goddess and a Bodhisattva and featured prominently in the Lotus Sutra, he is closely associated with Amitabha andlives between births in Amitabha’s Western paradise.
Avalokitesvara has a number of Body parts and objects with symbolic meaning. Of his 11 heads, the central head one at the top belongs to Amitabha. He often has multiple arms, sometimes more than a thousand of them.
The central pair of hands is in the cupped position representing respect. In one hand he hold a Lotus, symbolizing Enlightenment, In another he holds a bow and arrow, symbolizing a Bodhisattva’s ability to get at the Heart of the matter.
Avalokitesvara appears in 33 different manifestations and 108 forms, including the Goddess of mercy, popular with pregnant mothers and invoked by people in trouble.
Simply repeating her name several times is considered enough to drive away Evil.
Tibetan Buddhist Bodhisattva Images
Jampelyang (Manjushri) is the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. He is regarded as the first divine teacher of Buddhist Thought and is sort of a patron saint for school children. In his right hand is a flaming sword that cuts Ignorance. His left, in the “teaching” Mudra, cradles a half-opened Lotus blossom. He is often yellow and has blue Hair or a crown.
Drolma (Tara) is a female Bodhisattva with 21 different manifestations. Known as the saviouress, she was born from a tear ofCompassion shed by Chenresig (Avalokiteshvara)and considered a female version of Chenresig and a protectress of the Tibetan people.
She symbolizes purity and fertility and is believed to be able to fulfill wishes.
Drolma is often picturesdin a longevity triad with the red Tsepame (Amitayus) and the three-faced, eight-armed femaleNamgyelma (Vijaya). In her green manifestation Drolma sits in a half Lotus position on a Lotus flower.
In her white manifestation she sits in a the full Lotusposition and has seven Eyes, including ones on her forehead, both palms, and both soles of her feet.
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