Himalayan Art Resources

Glossary: Avalokiteshvara, Technical Glossary

Avalokiteshvara Glossary | Avalokiteshvara Main Page | Glossary Main Page



Acuoye, Dali Kingdom (Sanskrit: Acharya): a one faced, two armed Lokeshvara that can either be standing or seated in a Western style. The art style originates in Myanamar (Burma) in the 8th and 9th centuries.

Amitabha Buddha: the spiritual mentor, head of the Padma Buddha Family to which Lokeshvara in Tantric literature belongs.

Amoghangkusha Lokeshvara: this form of Lokeshvara has one face, eight hands and in a standing posture, peaceful and white in colour.

Amoghapasha: understood as two different entities. First, Amoghapasha is a retinue figure in various Lokeshvara compositions. Secondly, the central subject of all Amoghapasha compositions is Lokeshvara. These forms arise from the literature of the: Arya Amoghapasha Kalparaja, Arya Amoghapasha Hridaya Nama Mahayana Sutra, Arya Amoghapasha Paramita Shatparipuraya Nama Dharani. (See the Amoghapasha Page for more information on this confusing subject).

Amoghapujamani Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara.

Ashtabhaya Trana Lokeshvara: a type of Lokeshvara with as many as three different iconographic forms for guarding against the Eight Great Fears.

Atisha (982-1054): a north Indian teacher that popularised the cult of Lokeshvara in Tibet.

Avalokita: the all-seeing. One of the common names for Avalokiteshvara.

Avalokiteshvara: on e of the common names for Lokeshvara.

Bari Lotsawa Rinchen Drag (1040-1112 [P3731]):

Bhikshuni Shri (10th-11th century): a Buddhist nun from Kashmir that popularised the practices of the Eleven-faced Lokeshvara along with a three day fasting retreat.

Bhrikuti: a female deity found in the retinue of the Five Deity Amoghapasha practice and others. She can also be found as a practice outside of the Amoghapasha. She is believed to be emanated from the Buddha's frown.

Bhuguma: a form of Lokeshvara, with one face, two hands, red in colour, in standing posture. This form is related to Rato Macchendranath.

Chaturbhuja (Four Armed): a form of Lokeshvara with one face and four arms, white, peaceful and seated in vajra posture. The original Chaturbhuja is described in the literature of the Karandavyuha Sutra along with the Mani Mantra). Other forms of Chaturbhuja can be found such as described in the Mani Kabum and the later Jinasagara which is red in colour and embraces a consort.

Chaturbhuja (Mani Kabum): the form of Chaturbhuja described in the Mani Kabum wears a tiger skin around the waist.

Chintachakra Lokeshvara: (Chintamani Chakra ?) a form of Lokeshvara.

Chintamani Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara that stands and holds the branch of a tree. This form of the deity is popular in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Chintamani Lokeshvara: a form of red Lokeshvara with four hands.

Chitta Vishramana Lokeshvara (Resting in the Nature of Mind): a form of Lokeshvara.

Dharani: a series of syllables, often long, that function as the sound essence of a particular deity.

Eight Fears Lokeshvara: a type of Lokeshvara with at least three different forms.

Ekadashamukha: the Eleven Faced form of Lokeshvara described in the Arya Avalokiteshvara Ekadashamukha Nama Dharani.

Ekajati: a popular Indian deity that can be found in the retinue of Amoghapasha and other deities. She also functions as an independent meditational deity with many different forms. In the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism she is considered a special protector deity for the 'Revealed Treasure' Tradition.

Eleven Faces & One Thousand Arms: a form of Lokeshvara described in the Maha Karunika Dharani Sutra.

Eye Clearing Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara with one face, four arms, peaceful and white. He is in a standing posture and holds an eye-ball in the hand.

Gaganaraja Lokeshvara: a form of the Eleven-faced Lokeshvara descending from the tradition of King Songtsen Gampo.

Guhyasadhana Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara with consort descending from Mitra Yogin Tradition.

Guru Chowang (1212-1270): an influential teacher of the 13th century that promoted the cult of Lokeshvara and Padmasambhava in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Hayagriva: a popular deity with many different forms that is also found as a retinue figure for Lokeshvara and Amoghapasha compositions.

Hala Hala Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara.

Half-syllable Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara.

Hari Hari Hari Bhavan Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara.

Incarnations of Lokeshvara: various teachers over the centuries have been identified as emanations of Avalokiteshvara, the more prominent of these are: King Songtsen Gampo, Dromton Gyalwa'i Jungne, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, Gyalwa Karmapa, Dalai Lama, and others.

Jinasagara (Ocean of Conquerors): a form of Lokeshvara, typically, but not always, red in colour with one face and four arms, embracing a consort.

Kadam Legbam Text: a text based on what is believed to be the oral teachings of Jowo Atisha relating the previous incarnations of Dromton Gyalwa'i Jungne beginning with Lokeshvara. This text in the late 17th century was included into the previous life stories of the Dalai Lamas.

Karunika: compassion. One of the common names for Avalokiteshvara.

Khasarpana/pani (Sky Flyer): a form of Lokeshvara.

Krishnasara: a deer or antelope skin, often worn over the left shoulder of Lokeshvara, sometimes worn around the waist.

Kyergangpa: a 'Mar Tri' tradition of Lokeshvara in the Shangpa Kagyu School initiated by Kyergangpa.

Lion's Roar: (See Simhanada Lokeshvara).

Lokanata: lord of the world. One of the common names for Avalokiteshvara.

Lokanata, Krodha (Wrathful, Black, 12 Arms):

Lokeshvara: lord of the world. One of the common names for Avalokiteshvara.

Macchendranath (Rato, Seto): a form of Lokeshvara.

Mahakarunika: great compassionate one. One of the common names for Lokeshvara.

Mala: garland, garland of beads.

Mani Kabum Text: an early Tibetan Buddhist text believed to be loosely based on the Karandavyuha Sutra and various commentaries by King Songtsen Gampo.

Mani Mantra: the mantra of Chaturbhuja Lokeshvara originating in the Karandavyuha Sutra.

Manidharin: the male retinue figure seated on the proper right of Lokeshvara that accompanies the Chaturbhuja Three Deity composition as described in the Karandavyuha Sutra.

Mantra: meaning 'mind' 'to protect' is a short series of syllables embodying the essence of the speech of a deity. It also means that the mantra is the deity in the form of sound.

'Mar Tri' Instruction: the general name for the seven or more popular Lokeshvara instruction traditions of Tibet.

Mitra Yogin: an Indian yogi who visited Tibet and popularised various forms of Lokeshvara.

Nilakanta (blue throat): a form of Lokeshvara based on an old Puranic story of Vishnu drinking poison and holding it in his throat until the throat turns blue.

Nyangral Nyima Ozer (b.1124/1136 - d.1192/1204 [TBRC P364]): an influential teacher of the 12th century that promoted the cult of Lokeshvara and Padmasambhava in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

One Hundred & Eight Names of Avalokiteshvara: a turn of the millennium text, popular in Nepal, that lists all one hundred and eight names of Lokeshvara.

Padma Narteshvara: a form of Lokeshvara.

Padmajala: (lotus net) a form of Lokeshvara.

Padmapani: (lotus holder) a form of Lokeshvara.

Padmapani Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara.

Pagpa Lokeshvara Sculpture (108 Temples): two sets of 108 sandalwood sculpture commissioned by King Sontsen Gampo to be installed in all of the demon taming temples spread across Tibet and the Himalayas.

Pema Lingpa Tradition: a form of Lokeshvara.

Potala Palace (Tibet): a building in Lhasa, Tibet, built in the 17th century to be the seat of government and the home of the Dalai Lama.

Potalaka Mountain (Pureland): the heaven (or pureland) of Avalokiteshvara. In China it is believed that Puto Island south of Shanghai is the Potalaka.

Pushpa Mala: garland of flowers.

Rato Macchendranath: a form of Lokeshvara.

Relaxed Posture Lokeshvara: a form of the deity with the right hand resting across the right knee. The left hand is typically, but not always, pressing down on the seat behind.

Resting in the Nature of Mind (Sanskrit: Chitta Vishramana. Tibetan: Semnyi Ngalso): a form of Lokeshvara.

Sandalwood Lokeshvara: a form of the Eleven-faced Lokeshvara made during the course of one night from sandalwood and placed in the Jokang temple in Lhasa by King Songtsen Gampo.

Seto Macchendranath: a form of Lokeshvara.

Shadakshara: The Six Syllable One. A reference to Chaturbhuja Lokeshvara and the mantra which originated in the Karandavyuha Sutra: om mani padme hum.

Shadakshari: the female retinue figure from the Chaturbhuja Three Deity configuration as described in the Karandavyuha Sutra.

Shanta Sahaja Guhyapati: a form of Lokeshvara.

Shristhikantha (Rakta): a popular form of red Lokeshvara in Kathmandu, Nepal. This form, like the Chaturbhuja, also arises from the Karandavyuha Sutra.

Simhanada Lokeshvara (Lion's Roar Lord of the World): a form of Lokeshvara with one face and two hands, seated in a relaxed posture on the back of a lion. He is related to healing various diseases and obstacles produced by nagas.

Songtsen Gampo: an early king of Tibet, believed to be an emanation of Lokeshvara, and an early promoter of the cult of Lokeshvara.

Standing Holding a Lotus: a form of Lokeshvara typically holding a lotus flower stem in the left hand.

Sukhavati: the western heaven (or pureland) of Amitabha Buddha. There are several compositional styles: square, circular and Namcho Tradition.

Sukhavati Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara named after the heaven of Amitabha, Sukhavati. He is peaceful, white in colour, with one face and six hands, seated in a relaxed posture embracing a consort.

Tara: a female deity related to Lokeshvara as a retinue figure, a consort, and sometimes as a female manifestation.

Thinking Posture Lokeshvara: a form of the deity with the right hand raised to the side of the head with the elbow resting on the right knee.

Three Lords of the World: also known as the Three Bodhisattva Lords. Originating with the Tantra literature of the Kriya classification. The three lords are the special ministers of the Three Buddhas: Shakyamuni, Amitabha and Akshobhya. In the Kriya Tantra system they only had three Buddhas. They did not have a developed Five Buddha Family system.

Trailokyavasham Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara.

Vajragarbha Pramardin Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara.

Vajradharma: a form of Lokeshvara, almost indistinguishable from Amitayus Buddha, appearing in either colour, red or white. Not to be confused with Vira Vajradharama or Buddha Vajradharama of the Chakrasamvara Tantra system.

Vishvesha Lokeshvara: a form of Lokeshvara.

Jeff Watt 4-2017