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Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara


63,5 x 45,5 см.

silk, chinese ink, herbal colours
Author's property

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara at his pure land Potala
(tib. spyan ras gzigs)

Avalokiteshvara is the embodiment of all the Buddhas' infinite compassion. He is white in color and has different aspects. His first two hands are pressed together at his heart supplicating all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to look after sentient beings and protect them from suffering. These hands hold a wish-fulfilling jewel symbolic of Avalokiteshvara's compassionate bodhichitta motivation. His other right hand holds a crystal rosary symbolizing his ability to liberate beings from samsara with ideal means, and reminding the practitioner to recite his six-syllable mantra,
In his left hand he holds the stem of a blue utpala flower symbolizing his stainless and compassionate bodhichitta motivation. The utpala in full bloom together with two buds stand for the three times and indicate that Avalokiteshvara's compassionate wisdom encompasses past, present and future. Over his left shoulder is draped the skin of a wild deer, representing the compassionate bodhisattva's kind and gentle nature and his ability to subdue the untamed delusions.
As a traditional commentary explains: This particular deer is said to live upon mountains in the margins between the snow and rock. It has incomparable physicalstrength, but is extremely compassionate by nature. One of the hunters' tactics is to enter its territory and pretend to fight among themselves with swords. Seeing this, the deer becomes impatient with compassion and emerges to mediate between them, which provides the hunters the opportunity to kill it. Merely touching its skin with one's feet calms the mind and endows it with bliss.
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