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Samantmukha Avalokiteshvara

Samantmukha Avalokiteshvara
Item Code: TR54
Tibetan Thangka Painting
Size of Painted Surface 14.5 inches X 19.0 inches
Size with Brocade 24.0 inches X 34.0 inches
This thangka portrays Avalokiteshvara with thousand arms of compassion. Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, is one of the best-known and popular deities in Asian Buddhism. He is the patron deity of Tibet. According to a Tibetan tradition, thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara incarnated himself as a pious, monastic monkey and went to meditate in the mountains of Tibet. After being forcefully wooed by a charming impassioned ogre, he resigned his vows, married her, and produced the ancestors of the Tibetans. Thus he is considered to be their 'Manu' the actual progenitor of their race. Later on Avalokiteshvara incarnated as the Tibetan king, Sron-btsan-sgam-po along with his companion Tara as their queens, and brought their first civilization. All the Dalai Lamas are considered incarnations of Avalokiteshvara.

Avalokiteshvara appears in various forms. In the present form he is also known as samantmukha or the "All sided one", i.e. the god who looks in every direction to help and save his all devotees. The Bodhisattva is shown here standing on a moon disk on a lotus that sprang up from a blue lake. The thousand extended arms are his helping compassionate hands toward all beings. Each hand has an eye to see their suffering devotees in innumerable worlds. His eight main arms hold the major attributes. His first two hands are held in front of his chest, holding the magic wish-granting gem, which stands for the spirit of enlightenment that consists of love and wisdom. Two of his remaining three right hands hold a rosary for reciting om mani padme hum and a wheel of combined spiritual teaching and benevolent governance, the third reaches out in the boon-granting gesture. His left hands holds a lotus flower in full blown, symbolizing that the flowering of enlightenment lies in compassionate activities, a bow and arrow symbolizing meditation and wisdom, and a vase of elixir of immortality, symbolizing that enlightenment result in boundless life. His ten faces symbolizes that he has mastered of all ten of the bodhisattva stages, each face representing an attitude dominant on a particular stage. The eleventh head of Amitabha on the top, symbolizing that Avalokiteshvara is really a Buddha, that in fact he is the compassion of all the Buddhas.

Avalokiteshvara wears exquisitely designs jewelry, crowns, necklaces, hoop earrings, armlets, bracelets and anklets. The skin of antelope is over his left shoulder, referring to his ascetic experience. Moreover he wears silk scarves and a cololrful dhoti.

Click Here to View the Thangka Painting along with its Brocade

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