The 6th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Avalokiteshvara (Skt. Avalokiteśvara; Tib. སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་, Chenrezik; Wyl. spyan ras gzigs or spyan ras gzigs dbang phyug) is said to be the essence of the speech of all the buddhas and incarnation of their compassion.
Among his emanations are King Songtsen Gampo — who is credited with authoring the Mani Kabum, a cycle of teachings and practices dedicated to the deity — as well as the lineages of Dalai Lamas and Karmapas.
One Face and Two Arms
- Lokanatha (Tib. འཇིག་རྟེན་མགོན་པོ་, Wyl. 'jig rten mgon po)
- Khasarpana or Khasarpani
- Padmanarteshvara (Tib. པདྨ་གར་གྱི་དབང་ཕྱུག་, Wyl. padma gar gyi dbang phyug)
- Simhanada (Tib. སེང་གེ་ང་རོ་, Wyl. seng ge nga ro)
- Vajradharma (Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་ཆོས་, Wyl. rdo rje chos)
One Face and Four Arms
- Jinasagara (Tib. རྒྱལ་བ་རྒྱ་མཚོ་, Wyl. rgyal ba rgya mtsho)
- Shadakshrilokeshvara (Tib. སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་ཕྱག་བཞི་པ་, Wyl. spyan ras gzigs phyag bzhi pa)
- Rakta Lokeshvara
One Face and Eight Arms
- Ekadashamukha (Tib. བཅུ་གཅིག་ཞལ་, Wyl. bcu gcig zhal)
- Sahasrabhujalokeshvara (Tib. ཕྱག་སྟོང་ཞལ་བཅུ་གཅིག་, Wyl. phyag stong zhal bcu gcig)
- Bokar Rinpoche, Chenrezig, the Lord of Love (San Francisco: Clearpoint Press, 1991)
- Jamgön Mipham, A Garland of Jewels, trans. by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso (Woodstock: KTD Publications, 2008)
- John Blofeld, Bodhisattva of Compassion—The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin (Boston: Shambhala, 1988)
- Tulku Thondup, The Healing Power of the Mind (Boston: Shambhala, 1998), 'Invoking the Buddha of Compassion to Open Our Hearts' in chapter 15.
Guan Yin is one of the triad of Amitabha Buddha, represented on his left, Usually recognizable by the small Buddha adorning Her crown. Guan Yin can transform into many different forms in order to cross over to the beings. Guan Yin is one of the most popular Bodhisattva in China.
Popularly known as the Bodhisattva of Compassion. He has reincarnated in this world numerous times (in both male and female forms) and therefore plays many roles depending on which strand of Buddhism one follows.
First, in Mahayana Buddhism, he is considered to be the manifestation of Amitabha Buddha, the founder of the Pure Land school of Buddhism, and is often represented at Amitabhas right hand. As such he is available to help all in dire need. Second, in China, she appears as Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion.
Compassionate bodhisattva who is described in the Land of Bliss sutras as standing by the side of Amida to welcome the deceased to the afterlife. In China, Avaoliteshvara became a feminine deity, Kuan yin.
Also: Avoliciteshwara (other transcription) Chenrezi (tib), Janraisig, Ariyabalo? (mon). The most important mantra "Om Mani Bad Me Hom" is dedicated to this deity. The Dalai Lama is supposed to be a reincarnation of this deity.
He is the only Mahayana Buddhist deity commonly worshipped in Theravada (Way of the Elders) countries that base their worship on the Pali canon and do not normally recognize the concept of bodhisattvas.
Sanskrit word for the Bodhisattva who Hears the Sounds of the World. He rescues all beings by hearing their voices of suffering and cries for help. In Chinese, he is called Guan Shr Yin or Guan Yin Bodhisattva.
The name is a compound of Ishwara, meaning Lord, and avalokita, looked upon or seen, and is usually translated as the Lord Who Observes (the cries of the world); the Buddhist embodiment of compassion as formulated in the Mahayana Dharma; the most important Bodhisattva of the Mahayana pantheon, second only to the Buddha.
Avalokitesvara (Chinese: Kuan yin; Japanese: Kannon) is the most popular of all bodhisattvas, beloved for his infinite compassion. Together with Mahasthamaprapta, he attends Amitabha when he welcomes the souls of the deceased into the Pure Land.
The embodiment of the compassion of all the Buddhas. Sometimes he appears with one face and four arms, and sometimes with eleven faces and a thousand arms. At the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, he manifested as a Bodhisattva disciple. Called aE ChenrezigaE in Tibetan. See Living Meaningfully, Dying Joyfully.
The name is a compound of Ishwara, meaning Lord, and avalokita, looked upon or seen, and is usually translated as the Lord Who Observes (the cries of the world); the Buddhist embodiment of compassion as formulated in the Mahayana Dharma.
The other fundamental aspect of buddhahood is wisdom (prajñā), which is embodied by the bodhisattva Mañjushrī. Avalokiteshvara is the power of the buddha Amitābha manifested as a bodhisattva and appears as his helper.
His limitless compassion expresses itself in his wonderful ability to help all beings who turn to him at times of extreme danger. In folk belief, Avalokiteshvara also protects from natural catastrophe and grants blessings to children.
In China Avalokiteshvara is venerated under the name Kuan-yin, in Japan under the name Kannon (also Kanzeon and Kwannon), and in both countries is generally considered to be female. The Tibetan form of Avalokiteshvara is Chenresi.
Just as Manjushri is related to seeing, the seeing of light, enlightenment, so Avalokiteshvara is related to hearing. Wisdom has a masculine, assertive quality; compassion, listening, has a feminine receptive quality.
(Even though Avalokiteshvara started out as a masculine figure, it has been transmuted over the years. Most people see it as feminine precisely because of this receptive, undiscriminating, open hearted quality.)
Images of Avalokiteśvara as Padmapāṇi Lokeśvara (“Lord with a Lotus in his Hand”), an early name, are numerous. Avalokiteśvara is the interlocutor or main figure in numerous important Mahāyāna sūtras, including the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasūtra (“Heart Sūtra”).
His cult was introduced to China in the first century CE, where his name was translated as Guanshiyin (“Perceiver of the Sounds of the World”) or Guanyin (“Perceiver of Sounds”); his cult entered Korea and Japan with the advent of Buddhism in those countries.
Avalokiteśvara was once worshipped widely in Southeast Asia as well, beginning at the end of the first millennium CE. Although the Mahāyāna tradition eventually faded from the region, images of Avalokiteśvara remain.
Tibetan political and religious leaders have been identified as incarnations of him, such as the seventh-century king srong btsan sgam po (although that attribution was most likely a later addition to the king’s legacy) and, notably, the Dalai Lamas.
In China, Avalokiteśvara as Guanyin underwent a transformation in gender into a popular female bodhisattva, although the male iconographic form also persists throughout East Asia. Putuoshan, located off the east coast of China south of Shanghai, is said to be Potalaka.
Avalokiteśvara is generally depicted in the full raiments of a bodhisattva, often with an image of Amitābha in his crown. He appears in numerous forms, among them the two-armed Padmapāṇi who stands and holds a lotus flower;
Cintāmaṇi Avalokiteśvara (Cintāmaṇyavalokiteśvara), who holds the wish-fulfilling jewel (Cintāmaṇi) with his central hands in Añjalimudrā, and a lotus and crystal rosary in his left and right hands, respectively; the eleven-armed, eleven - faced Ekādaśamukha;
and the thousand-armed and thousand-headed Sāhasrabhujasāhasranetrāvalokiteśvara (q.v. Mahākaruṇika). Tradition holds that his head split into multiple skulls when he beheld the suffering of the world.
In his wrathful form as Aṣṭabhayatrāṇāvalokiteśvara (T. Spyan ras gzigs ’jigs pa brgyad skyob), “Avalokiteśvara who Protects against the Eight Fears,” the bodhisattva stands in Ardhaparyaṅka (“half cross-legged posture”) and has one face and eight hands, each of which holds a symbol of one of the eight fears.
This name is also given to eight separate forms of Avalokiteśvara that are each dedicated to protecting from one of the eight fears, namely: Agnibhayatrāṇāvalokiteśvara (“Avalokiteśvara Who Protects from Fear of Fire”) and so on, replacing fire with Jala (water), Siṃha (lion), Hasti (elephant), Daṇḍa (cudgel), Nāga (snake), Ḍākinī (witch) [alt. Piśācī); and Cora (thief).
In addition to his common iconographic characteristic, the lotus flower, Avalokiteśvara also frequently holds, among other accoutrements, a jeweled rosary (Japamālā) given to him by Akṣamati (as related in chapter twenty-five of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra), or a vase.
In East Asia, Avalokiteśvara often appears in a triad: the buddha Amitābha in the center, flanked to his left and right by his two bodhisattva attendants, Avalokiteśvara and Mahāsthāmaprāpta, respectively.
The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism by Robert E. Buswell Jr. and Donald S. Lopez Jr.