Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara, Chittavishramana

Avalokiteshvara (Types & Forms)

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Chittavishramana Lokeshvara Description (below)
- Masterworks
- Confusions: Amoghapasha, Khasarpani, Simhanada, 'Relaxed posture' Lokeshvara, Seated Lokeshvara, Padmapani
- Others...

Sanskrit: Avalokita. Tibetan: spyan ras gzigs sems nyid ngal gso. The posture of Chittavishramana (Semnyi Ngalso, Resting in the Nature of Mind) is similar to both the Simhanada form and the Lokeshvara in a 'Relaxed Posture' with the right knee raised. The special iconographic characteristic of Semnyi ngalso is the left hand pressed down on the seat behind the left thigh. He holds the stem of a lotus flower which blossoms over the left shoulder. The right hand is open and the arm extended in a gesture of generosity. Sometimes the right hand holds a small garland of beads (mala). The right leg is extended and the left is positioned in a horizontal manner on the seat.

The 'Resting in the Nature of Mind' Lokeshvara is related to Amoghapasha and Khasarpani/Khasarpana Lokeshvara. An important difference between Chittavishramana and khasarpani is that the latter has the hand laced at the heart. The use of Sanskrit names between the three is quite fluid and can be very confusing. See Khasarpani 'Resting in the Nature of Mind' (Tropu Lotsawa Tradition) [Page 456] for the almost identical iconographic description.

It can be very difficult sometimes to distinguish between sculptural forms of Semnyi Ngalso Lokeshvara and Green Tara. Often the only discernible differences are the size of the two breasts. In those situations Semnyi Ngalso does not have a deer skin over the shoulder. Typically Semnyi Ngalso does not have a small form of Amitabha Buddha on the crown of the head which can be common for many other forms of Lokeshvara.

[Chittavishramana Lokeshvara] "White Khasarpani with one face and two hands, the right in supreme generosity, the left pressing on the seat [while] holding the stem of an eight petalled white lotus. An antelope skin hangs over the left shoulder, adorned with heavenly garments and jewellery, seated with the right foot extended in a playful half posture." (Based on Tropu Lotsawa and the Mitra Gyatsa).

Jeff Watt 6-2015 [updated 12-2018]