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Avalokiteshvara courtesy of Lama Tsondru Sangpo

Avalokiteshvara (Skt. Avalokiteśvara; Tib. སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་ or སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་དབང་ཕྱུག, Chenrezik or chenrezig wangchuk, Wyl. spyan ras gzigs or spyan ras gzigs dbang phyug) is said to be the essence of the speech of all the buddhas and the incarnation of their compassion. As one of the Eight Great Close Sons, he is usually depicted as white in colour and holding a lotus. He is of special importance to Tibetans, so much so that he is sometimes described as the patron deity of Tibet. Among his emanations are King Songtsen Gampo — who is credited with authoring the Mani Kabum, a cycle of teachings and practices dedicated to the deity — as well as the lineages of Dalai Lamas and Karmapas.


Masculine Forms

One Face and Two Arms

  • Lokanatha (Tib. འཇིག་རྟེན་མགོན་པོ་, Wyl. 'jig rten mgon po)
  • Khasarpana or Khasarpani
  • Padmanarteshvara (Tib. པདྨ་གར་གྱི་དབང་ཕྱུག་, Wyl. padma gar gyi dbang phyug)
  • Nilakhanta
  • Padmapani
  • Simhanada (Tib. སེང་གེ་ང་རོ་, Wyl. seng ge nga ro)
  • Tailokyavashamkara
  • Vajradharma (Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་ཆོས་, Wyl. rdo rje chos)

One Face and Four Arms

  • Chaturbhuja
  • Jinasagara (Tib. རྒྱལ་བ་རྒྱ་མཚོ་, Wyl. rgyal ba rgya mtsho)
  • Shadakshrilokeshvara (Tib. སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་ཕྱག་བཞི་པ་, Wyl. spyan ras gzigs phyag bzhi pa)
  • Rakta Lokeshvara

One Face and Eight Arms

  • Amoghapasha (Tib. དོན་ཞགས་, Wyl. don zhags)

Three Faces

  • Chintachakra

Eleven Faces

  • Ekadashamukha (Tib. བཅུ་གཅིག་ཞལ་, Wyl. bcu gcig zhal)
  • Sahasrabhujalokeshvara (Tib. ཕྱག་སྟོང་ཞལ་བཅུ་གཅིག་, Wyl. phyag stong zhal bcu gcig)
  • Vajragarbha

Feminine Forms

  • Guanyin (Chinese)/Kannon(Japanese)

Further Reading

  • Bokar Rinpoche, Chenrezig, the Lord of Love (San Francisco: Clearpoint Press, 1991)
  • Jamgön Mipham, A Garland of Jewels, trans. by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso (Woodstock: KTD Publications, 2008)
  • John Blofeld, Bodhisattva of Compassion—The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin (Boston: Shambhala, 1988)
  • Tulku Thondup, The Healing Power of the Mind (Boston: Shambhala, 1998), 'Invoking the Buddha of Compassion to Open Our Hearts' in chapter 15.

Internal Links

External Links