Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Avalokiteshvara (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - Padmapani (Lotus Holder)

སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས། 观音菩萨
(item no. 7951)
Lineages Buddhist
Material Metal
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Alternate Names: Lokeshvara Avalokita Lokanata Lokanatha Mahakarunika

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Definition: Padmapani (lotus holder) is a Sanskrit term referring to Lokeshvara, the bodhisattva, having one face and two hands. The left hand holds the stem of a blossoming lotus flower. The textual inspiration for the imagery of Lokeshvara in this appearance are the Sutras of the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism. Padmapani is also used as a synonym for Lokeshvara. The term is commonly found as an epithet, as well as a descriptive term, referring to the lotus held in the left hand. It has yet to be shown or proven textually that there is any specific and unique form of Lokeshvara accepted across the Indian Buddhist cultural sphere that is described in early literature as a Padmapani Avalokiteshvara.

Two Texts: Sadhanamala & the One Hundred and Eight Forms of Avalokiteshvara: The Sadhanamala (edited text) of Benoytosh Bhattacharyya (1925), which relied heavily on Nepalese manuscripts, does not mention a sadhana for a Padmapani Lokeshvara. However, in Nepal we do have the descriptions of the One Hundred and Eight Forms of Avalokiteshvara based on the Machhandar Vahal, Kathmandu, Nepal. Description number #104 names a Padmapani Lokeshvara with one face and two hands in a standing posture. The right hand is in a gesture of generosity and the left holds the stem of a lotus. See reference and excerpt below. The names of the 108 are likely extracted from the text in the Tantra section of the Kagyur titled the 108 Names of Avalokiteshvara. There are other similar texts such as the 108 Names of Manjushri, etc. It is not clear where the Nepali descriptions for the 108 came from and if there are any source texts or a history. (See Padmapani Page)

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara, Padmapani (Standing)
Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara Main Page
Collection of Private (Manhattan)