Manjushri holds aloft the flaming sword of wisdom in his right hand and in his left the stem of a lotus flower upon which rests a volume of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras.
Manjushri is the bodhisattva of wisdom and all his attributes point to the wisdom he personifies. His double-edge sword cuts through the obscuring layers of misconception and discriminates accurately between the independent way things mistakenly appear to exist and the interdependent way they actually do exist.
The Perfection of Wisdom Sutra he holds, treasured as Buddha's most profound statement on the ultimate nature of reality, is a further indication that Manjushri's penetrating wisdom is of the highest nature. It is said that the two most potent ways of developing wisdom are to study the sutras and to meditate upon Manjushri. It is indeed the custom in Tibetan schools to recite the mantra of Manjushri the first thing in the morning, and to repeat the seed-syllable DHIH that embodies the essence of his wisdom.
In Tibetan iconography Manjushri is invariably visualized as a young prince, richly bedecked with precious jewels and an elaborate crown. Here too, seated on a double-lotus throne, he is adorned with numerous necklaces, armbands, and a marvellous pair of earrings. The three curving lines on his throat symbolize the conch-like sweetness of his voice.
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