Avalokiteshvara is seated here in the classic meditation posture on a lotus with his principal hands in the salutation gesture. The remaining hands hold a rosary and lotus respectively. Wearing a charming smile on his face, the bodhisattva here has been conceived with handsome proportions and an elegant presence.
The Lotus Sutra (Skt. Saddharma Pundarika Sutra) is generally accepted to be the earliest literature teaching about the doctrines of Avalokitesvara. These are found in the Lotus Sutra chapter 25, The Universal Gateway of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. This chapter is devoted to Avalokiteshvara, describing him as a compassionate bodhisattva who hears the cries of sentient beings, and who works tirelessly to help those who call upon his name. A total of 33 different manifestations of Avalokiteshvara are described, including female manifestations, all to suit the minds of various beings. The chapter consists of both a prose and a verse section. This earliest source often circulates separately as its own sutra, called the Avalokiteshvara Sutra, and is commonly recited or chanted at Buddhist temples in Asia.
At the bottom of the painting can be seen Manjushri and Vajrapani. At the top corners are the Two Taras - Green and White. At the top centre is Amitabha Buddha, from whom Avalokiteshvara is said to have emanated.
In Tibetan iconography, the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara has three principal forms:
|With two arms, known as Padampani (lotus-bearer) Avalokiteshvara.||With four arms, known as Chenresig.||With one-thousand arms and eleven heads, known as Sahsrabhuja Lokeshvara.|