Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Avalokiteshvara (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - Khasarpani (Sky Flier)

སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས། 观音菩萨
(item no. 24301)
Origin Location India
Date Range 1100 - 1199
Lineages Buddhist
Material Stone
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Avalokiteshvara, Khasarpanai(a) Lokanata (Lord of the World): Lokanata (Lokanatha) is an alternate name for Lokeshvara.

Lokanata is peaceful in appearance with one face and two hands. The proper right hand may well have been extended over the knee in a gesture of generosity. The left arm might have been placed in a manner with the left hand in front of the heart holding the stem of a flower blossoming over the left shoulder. Adorned with a crown, jewelery, heavenly garments, he sits with the right leg pendant and the left drawn up atop a double lotus and throne seat. A small image of Amitabha Buddha can be seen on the front of the head just above the crown. This form of Lokeshvara does not have a deerskin over the proper left shoulder.

Made famous in the Sutras as a bodhisattva, an aspirant to enlightenment, in the Vajrayana system of Northern Buddhism - in the Tantra texts - he is acknowledged as a fully enlightened Buddha manifesting in a vast array of meditational forms for the benefit of all living beings. The most common Sanskrit names for the deity in general and those found in Vajrayana Buddhism are Lokeshvara, Avalokita, Avalokiteshvara, Lokanata and Mahakarunika. After that there are scores of names for specific forms of Lokeshvara - peaceful, wrathful and in-between. The Sanskrit word 'arya' meaning 'noble' or 'noble one' is often used at the beginning of the name for each of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas as well as notables such as Tara.

Common Names:
- Avalokita, Chenrezi, All-seeing One
- Avalokiteshvara, Chenrezi Wangchug, All-seeing Universal Lord of the World
- Khasarpani, pemo chen, Lotus Holder
- Lokeshvara, Jigten Wangchug, Universal Lord of the World
- Lokanata, Jigten Gonpo, Lord of the World
- Mahakarunika, tugje Chenpo, Great Compassion
- Padmapani, pemo chan, Lotus Holder
- Others...

Specific Names for Particular Iconographic Forms:
- Shadakshara, yi ge drug pa, Six Syllable One (Karandavyuha Sutra)
- Simhanda, senge dra, Lion's Roar
- Others...

There are Two Main Topics, or Divisions, for the iconographic subject of Avalokiteshvara:
- Non-iconic (narrative based): a student of the Buddha from Mahayana literature
- Iconic (meditational deity): based on the Tantra (Vajrayana) literature

Narrative based depictions of Lokeshvara can be as dynamic and fluid in form as the artist wishes the figure to be. It is up to the artist to interpret the narrative literature. The meditational forms of the deity are static, almost rigid, and highly symbolic with very little change or deviation from the mind or wishes of the artist.

Jeff Watt 2-2017

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