Avalokitesvara is the bodhisattva of compassion. They appear in many Buddhist teachings of various sects, and are described in the Lotus Sutra as having 33 forms. This being decided to continue to be reincarnated until all sentient beings are free. The stories teach the importance of acting with compassion because Eternity can be found in everyone.

The mantra associated with Avalokitesvara is, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum.’ This can translate as, “The jewel is in the heart of the lotus,” or, “Eternity can be found in everything.” There are many thangkas, names, and stories about Avalokitesvara. The picture attached shows a common depiction, holding mala beads and a flower while praying.

More than reading the stories or memorizing the mantra, it is living with compassion that makes Avalokitesvara real. Acts of compassion embody this teaching so it can be found by anyone in daily life. Perhaps there are so many stories because such acts can take so many forms. The deity cannot be confined to one story because anyone can be Avalokitesvara by acting with compassion.
The Bodhisattva of Compassion
Image created by Suweidario

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