Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara Religious Context

Avalokiteshvara Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Religious Context
- Potalaka Pureland
- 'Mar Tri' Traditions
- Mani Mantra (Chaturbhuja Lokeshvara)
- Secondary Figures
- Related Deities
- Common Names
- Avalokiteshvara Outline Page
- Lokeshvara Glossary
- Study Guide
- Bibliography
- Meditational Deity Page
- Deities According to Function
- Colours & Activities
- Complex Specific Subjects
- Metaphor
- Source Texts
- Confusions
- Others...

Iconographic Forms According to the Four Classes of Tantra:
- Kriya
- Charya
- Yoga
- Anuttarayoga

Tibetan: Pagpa Chenrezig ('phags pa spyan ras g.zigs)

The early promoters of the practices of Lokeshvara were Jowo Atisha, Bari Lotsawa, Mitra Yogin, Machig Labdron, Kyergangpa, Tsembupa, and for the Nyingma 'Revealed Treasure' there was Ngodrub, Nyangral Nyima Ozer, Guru Chowang and others. Atisha promoted the practice of Lokeshavara as important and as one of the Four Deities of the Kadampa. Later, it is said that Machig Labdron was likely the first to associate the early beginnings of the Tibetan people with the creation myth of Lokeshvara emanating as a monkey and mating with Tara as a demoness. A survey of the writings of the early Sakya and Kagyu teachers reveals very quickly that Avalokiteshvara was not in general an important or overly popular practice. Three forms of Lokeshvara stand out as being more commonly practised than others, they were the Amoghapasha, Chaturbhuja and Simhanada. Through Jowo Atisha and the Kashmiri nun Bhikshuni Shri we get all the various traditions of the Eleven Faced and Thousand Armed Lokeshvara believed to have originated with Arya Nagarjuna.

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Jeff Watt 2-2007 [updated 9-2014, 3-2017, 12-2019]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).