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Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara, Chaturbhuja - Four Hands - Main Page

Chaturbhuja Avalokiteshvara Main Page | Avalokiteshvara Main Page

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Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Chaturbhuja Description (below)
- Chaturbhuja Wearing a Tiger Skirt (Zamatog Mani Kabum)
- Chaturbhuja Three Deity (Karandavyuha Sutra)
- Eleven Deity Mandala: HAR #279, #85829 (King's Tradition, Revealed Treasure)
- Chintamani Jagadamara Lokeshvara (King's Tradition)
- Standing Chaturbhuja (Drigung, Longchen Nyingtig, Others...)
- Blue Chaturbhuja (Nyingma, Drugpa, Others...)
- Potalaka Pureland
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

Other Forms of Lokeshvara with Four Arms:
- Amoghapasha (three faces, four hand)
- Lokeshvara, Red
- Eye Clearing Lokeshvara
- Jinasagara Lokeshvara (Rechung, Mindrolling)
- Others...

For an iconographic description and an art analysis of Chaturbhuja see HAR #73807.

Avalokiteshvara, Chaturbhuja (Tibetan: chen re zi, chag shi pa. English: the All Seeing Lord with Four Hands). There are several forms of Lokeshvara with four hands but the earliest and most famous is the Three Deity Chaturbhuja originating in the Karandavyuha Sutra, also famous for the first use of the six syllable mantra - om mani padme hum.

The central figure is Avalokiteshvara, white in colour, with four hands. At his right is the male attendant Manidharin, yellow in colour, and at the left, the female, Shadakshari, white in colour. Both are similar to the Lord in colour, ornaments and appearance. Sometimes they are referred to as the son and daughter of Lokeshvara. Sometimes Shadakshari is referred to as the consort. The iconography for the two attendant figures is not consistent nor is it necessarily fixed in a single authoritative text. They can appear either white or yellow in colour and have either two arms or four. Often Manidharin appears with two arms and Shadakshari with four.

"As the nature of all buddhas, Avalokiteshvara, in colour like stainless conch and crystal, very resplendent, smiling, peaceful and radiant. With four hands the first are folded at the heart, the lower hold a crystal mala and jewelled lotus, two beautiful feet seated in vajra posture, adorned with many attractive silks and jewels, beautified with dark blue hair in tufts [some] loose. On the crown of the head, the wisdom of all buddhas, is the Lord, source of all refuge gathered as one, in essence the Guru in the aspect of Amitabha, in the manner of the Lord of the Family, seated happily." (Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrub 1497-1557).

Jeff Watt 3-2007 [updated 9-2014, 8-2017]