Seated Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara Images

Seated Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Images.

A bodhisattva is an enlightened being, who declines full Buddhahood in order to help others. This is the path on which Mahayana Buddhism is based. Some manifestations of the Bodhisattva Avaloktesvara will be shown.  In Pali the term is bodhisatta, but since the figurines displayed are from the Mahayana tradition, Sanskrit terms will be used in descriptions in the text.  A bodhisattva may be male or female.  More information on each figurine will be added as information is collected. The numbered images are part of the Apsarah Gallery Collection.


1. Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

1-Bodhisattva-AvalokitesvaraMaterial:  bronze.
Patina:  mid-brown.
Posture:   padmasana on a vishvapadma pedestal with  the right hand padmapani (holding a lotus) and the left hand holding a kundika (water pot)


2. Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

26-Bodhisattva-AvalokitesvaraMaterial:  bronze.
Patina:  mid-brown.
Posture:  arthapadmasana (half-lotus posture)on a vishvapadma pedestal with the rear-right hand holding a dharmasangka (conch shell to transmit the Law), the rear-left-hand holding a chamara (fly whisk) and each front hand holds a chintamani (jewel).


3. Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

23-Bodhisattva-AvalokitesvaraMaterial:  bronze.
Patina:  greenish-grey.
Posture:  lalitasana on a vishvapadma throne with the right hand showing what may be the shramanamudra (mudra of austerity) and the left hand katakamudra, (closed hand) possibly was holding an attribute.


4. Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

11-Bodhisattva-AvalokitesvaraMaterial:  bronze.
Patina:  greenish-brown.
Posture:  arthapadmasana (half-lotus posture) on a vishvapadma pedestal with both rear hands showing the vitarkamudra (teaching mudra), the front-right hand showing the varadamudra (giving boons) and the front-left hand the avakasamudra (at rest).


5. Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

21-Bodhisattva-Avalokitesvara

Material:  bronze.
Patina:   greenish brown.
Posture:  lalitasana on a vishvapadma pedestal with the right foot resting on a lotus.
The image has eight arms:  from back to front, the right hands:  chamara (fly whisk), khadga (sword), parashu (axe) and vitarkamudra (teaching mudra); and left hands:  mala (rosary), chakra (discus), trishula (trident) and vitarkamudra (teaching mudra).
If female, this could be an image of Vasudhara, the bodhisattva of wealth and abundance.


The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is the most widely revered bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism and is also very important in the Vajrayana tradition of Tibet. The mantra chanted to this bodhisattva is probably the most well known Sanskrit mantra:  Om mane padme hum and, when written in Tibetan script, it is probably also recognized by many people. om-mani-padme-hum-4In Tibetan the word padme, the locative case of padma (lotus) is pronounced peme.  The Dalai Lama is considered by Tibetan Buddhists to be a reincarnation of Avalokitesvara.
The audio clip below is an example of the chanting of this mantra.


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