Avalokiteshvara is an important figure in Mahayana Buddhism,
being considered bodhisattva of compassion.
The name Avalokiteshvara comes from Sanskrit
and commonly translates as “He who observes the sounds of the world”,
“He who observes with compassion” or “Lord of compassion who observes.”
This designation reflects the essential attribute of this figure in Mahayana Buddhism:
deep and caring compassion for the suffering of all beings
and a commitment to release them from the cycle of suffering.
It is often represented as a being with multiple arms
and with a variable number of heads,
symbolizing his ability to respond
to the needs and suffering of many people at once.
Another name of Avalokiteshvara is Padmapani.
The term comes from Sanskrit
and translates as “He who holds a lotus in his hand.”
This name suggests the symbolism of the lotus flower,
which in Buddhism represents purity and liberation from the world of suffering,
as well as compassion for the suffering of others.
Is it an Ishvara?
In Vedanta, the term “Ishvara” commonly refers to a concept of a supreme entity, a personal and omnipotent God governing the universe, or “Brahman with attributes.”
This concept is closely related to Hindu traditions,
in which Ishvara is often seen as the creator, keeper and destroyer of the world.
However, in the context of Mahayana Buddhism
and of Avalokiteshvara, the use of the term “Ishvara” has a different connotation.
In Buddhism, the concept of a personal and omnipotent God does not exist
Because Buddhism focuses on individual liberation
and understanding the truth about suffering and the path to liberation.
This leaves a void for the authentic Seeker
which it fills tending to report
to various important figures in Buddhism
as omnipotent, immortal and unamenable beings.
Avalokiteshvara is understood in Mahayana Buddhism
like a bodhisattva of compassion,
An enlightened and conscious teacher
(although he does not or no longer has a physical body)
who chooses to remain in the cycle of successive deaths and rebirths
to help other beings release suffering.
So, the term “Ishvara” in the name of Avalokiteshvara
It is not used in the same sense as in Vedanta.
In this context, “Ishvara” means a master or ruler
of compassion and help, than a supreme God.
Dalai Lama and associationwith Avalokiteshvara
In Tibetan tradition, the Dalai Lama is considered to be a reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara.
Thus, the Dalai Lama is seen as a spiritual leader
that promotes compassion and wisdom for the good of all.
One of the most famous prayers associated with Avalokiteshvara is
“Om Mani Padme Hum”,
which is considered to be an expression of compassion and wisdom. This mantra is widely used in Mahayana traditions.
Relationship with Other Bodhisattvas
In Mahayana tradition, Avalokiteshvara is not the only bodhisattva.
He works together with other bodhisattvas
to help free beings from suffering.
It emphasizes the importance of collaboration and compassion in the Mahayana tradition.
Bodhisattva is a Buddhist term used to describe a person
who chose to temporarily renounce their own spiritual liberation (enlightenment)
to help free others from the cycle of suffering (samsara).
Avalokiteshvara is often seen
As a paradigmatic example of this altruistic attitude,
especially in Mahayana Buddhism,
which emphasizes compassion for all beings
and the desire to free them from suffering.
In Mahayana, especially in Vajrayana schools (or Tantric Buddhist tradition),
Avalokiteshvara (or Guanyin or Kannon, in different cultures)
It is often associated with various Buddha dhyans or their specific energy.
Dhyani buddhas are a part of tantric symbolism and practices,
representing aspects of the enlightened and liberated nature of the mind.
Usually, every dhyani buddha has a certain bodhisattva associated,
and Avalokiteshvara is associated with dhyani buddha Amitabha
or with the dhyani buddha Amoghasiddhi.
For example, in one of the classic representations of the Vajrayana mandala,
known as the “Mandala of the Great Communion”,
Avalokiteshvara occupies a central position,
while dhyani buddhas like Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi occupy important positions around him.
This suggests a relationship of harmony and correspondence between these enlightened energies.
Avalokiteshvara or Padmapani is generally
boddhisattva of the Padma family
whose governor or master is dhyani Buddha Amithaba.
From Amithaba come many forms of manifestation of Avalokiteshvara
and deities (Mahabala and Bhrikuti, Hayagriva, Kurukulla).
Acharya Leo Radutz,
founder of the Abheda system,
the initiator of the Good OM Revolution