Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion, is the most popular of all the Bodhisattvas. He is named Chenrezig in Tibet, Quan Am in Vietnam, Guanyin in China, Kwanseum in Korea, and Kanzeon, Kannon, or Kanjizai in Japan.
Chenrezig is the Bodhisattva of Compassion and Spiritual Protector of Tibet. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is seen by Tibetan Buddhists as the earthly incarnation of this compassion Bodhisattva. Chenrezig is considered the patron bodhisattva of Tibet, and His enlightening meditation is practiced in all the great spiritual lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.
He is the earthly manifestation of the self-born Amitabha Buddha. He is always ready to come and help. He also guards this world in the interval between the historical Gautama Buddha, and the next Buddha of the Future, Maitreya.
According to Mahayana doctrine, He is the Bodhisattva who has made a great vow to help all sentient beings in times of difficulty and to postpone His own Buddhahood until He has assisted every sentient being in achieving a complete spiritual enlightenment.
The Sanskrit name “Avalokiteshvara” is interpreted many different ways – “The Lord Who Looks Down,” “The One Who Hears the Cries of the World” or “The Lord Who Looks in Every Direction.” Moreover, He is known in China as Guan Yin, the white princess of compassion and love and as Loving Eyes in the west.
The miracles and virtues of the Bodhisattva of compassion are regarded in many Buddhist sutras. The Avalokiteshvara-sutra was included into the Lotus Sutra, in the 3rd-century, though it continued to circulate as an independent sacred text in China.
The colorful variety of Bodhisattva’s forms is part of His message of compassion because compassion takes on any form that might be beneficial to sentient beings. The Bodhisattva can be illustrated in several different aspects. One of the most popular being as a white deity with 1000 arms, which represents His capacity to help many sentient beings in the same time.
He is usually described as sitting on a lotus and the flat disc of the moon, with another moon disk behind Him, reflecting his total purity. Two of his 4 arms are joined in the prayer position holding the wish-fulfilling gem.
In His other right hand, a crystal mala, which He is using to count the number of repetitions of His mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, which liberates all sentient beings from suffering, and in His other left hand, he holds a lotus flower.
Avalokitesvara mantra – Om mani Padme Hum meaning:
The universal mantra is commonly translated as “Hail to the jewel in the lotus.”
“The mantra is easy to say yet quite potent because it contains the essence of the entire Buddhist teaching. When you say the first syllable ”Om” it is blessed to help you accomplish perfection in the practice of generosity, the syllable ”Ma” helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and ”Ni” helps accomplish perfection in the practice of patience and tolerance. ”Pa”, the 4th syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, ”Me” helps accomplish perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final 6th syllable ”Hum” helps accomplish perfection in the practice of wisdom.
So in this way, the chanting of the six syllable mantra helps achieve perfection in the 6 practices from wisdom to generosity. The path of these 6 perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the 3 times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the six syllable mantra and accomplish the 6 perfections?” – Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
Chanting the six syllable mantra – Om Mani Padme Hum benefits:
„Through the universal mantra of compassion, we no longer clasp to the reality of the speech and sound experienced in life but experience it as actually empty. Then confusion of the speech aspect of our being is metamorphosed into enlightened awareness.” – Kalu Rinpoche, Tibetan spiritual teacher.
This magical healing mantra is invested by the grace and power of the mind of Chenrezig, who himself gathers the grace of compassion of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Compassion is the most important spiritual practice.
As a side note, He may be the most popular of all Buddhist deities, except for Shakyamuni Buddha himself, He is beloved and adored throughout the Buddhist community. He reminds us of the fact that true spiritual awakening is not an escape from our personal problems but that it is actually reaching outwards and embracing the sentient beings in this entire creation with all the compassion and love that’s in our heart.
Any sacred mantra is a sound (vibration), syllable, word, or group of sacred words that is considered capable of creating spiritual transformation. Additionally, spinning the written form of the Avalokitesvara mantra around in a prayer wheel is also believed to give the same physical and mental benefits as actually reciting the mantra.
”Thus the six syllable mantra mean that in dependence on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure mind, speech, and body into the pure mind, speech, and body of a Buddha.” – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual protector of Tibet.