Shadakshari Lokeshvara or the Six-syllabled Lord of the world embodies his six-syllable mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum. The six syllables of the mantra are the seed syllables of the six realms of the wheel of life. Om is white and stands for the good realm; Ma is green and stands for the demigods or asura realm; Ni is yellow and stands for the human realm; Pad is blue and stands for the animal realm; Me is red and stands for hungry ghost realm; Hum is black and stands for the hell realm. Avalokiteshvara helps to brings all beings from the six realms into enlightenment.
It is believed that the sacred syllables invoke the Buddhas of the six realms, who are manifestations of Avalokiteshvara as he appears to the beings there to alleviate their suffering. The six realms, or forms, of rebirth as mentioned above are hell beings, hungry ghosts (preta), animals, human, demigods and gods. By repeatedly intoning the mantra, Tibetans and many others who do practices centering upon Chenrezig invoke the presence of a Buddha for the benefit of beings in each of those realms, as well as for increasing their own compassion.
In this painting Chenrezig is seated in vajraparyankasana on a moon disk on a lotus flower against a brilliant aureole and moon disk. The complexion of his body is white which symbolizes purity and he has a smiling countenance, as he is filled with compassion for all beings. He looks down with tranquility, as Chenrezig feels equal compassion for all. He has four hands, the main hands are held in front of the heart, and holding wish-granting gem, which symbolizes for the spirit of enlightenment that consists of love and wisdom. His right hand holds a rosary, symbolizes that Avalokiteshvara draw forth beings from phenomenal existence. His left hand holds a beautiful full-blown lotus flower, a sign that he serves living beings but is free from attachment. An antelope-skin is over his left shoulder with antelope's head on his left breast, symbolizes his compassion for all human being. An antelope hide is also used as mat to sit on for meditation. The hair of Chenrezig is partially upswept in knots with decoration and partly falls on his back. He is richly adorned with gold jewelry which indicates that while pure Bodhisattva has not abandoned pleasant things. He wears a five-lobbed gold crown with flowers, finely rafted earrings, necklaces, armlets, bracelets, waist-band and anklets. His green silk scarf, with gold decoration, covers both the shoulders, moreover, Chenrezig wears brown and green dhoti as lower garments which have flower pattern in gold.
The background, middle ground and foreground are filled with sky twinkling stars. The moon disk behind the aureole is radiating. The thangka is very much suitable for sadhana and practices.
This description is by Dr. Shailendra K. Verma. His Doctorate thesis being: "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D.)".
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