Manifestations of Avalokitesvara 观音万象

Chamber 1 第一堂


Aryavalokitesvara 圣观音 "Holy Hearer of Cries" is the root form of the Bodhisattva. Also know as the Vajra of Correct Dharma, Fundamental Purity & the Lotus, he represents the heart of compassion of all Buddhas. As mentioned before he is also the Chief of the Lotus Section & successor of Buddha Amitabha in his Pure Land. In reality they are inseparable from each other.

In the 胎藏界曼荼罗 Garbhakosa Dhatu Mandala, he is located on the northwest petal of the central Court of 8 petals (Astadala), in the middle of the 1st row of the Court of the Lotus, & also in the Courts of Sakyamuni & Manjusri. In the Vajradhatu Mandala he is known as Vajradharma. The top 2 images are the ones in the Astadala Court & the Lotus Court. Their flesh is white. For the left image, his left hand forms a Mudra of Bestowing Fearlessness in front of his chest, whereas the right holds a full bloomed red lotus. He seats on a Pundarika (white lotus). For the right image, his left hand holds a half bloomed red lotus whereas the right holds one of its petals, with the intention of spreading it. This is the ability to open the heart of compassion in sentient beings. The bottom 2 images are the ones in the Courts of Sakyamuni & Manjusri respectively. The left image is standing & flesh colored. He holds a white duster in the right hand & the left is held by the waist. This signifies the readiness to wipe away the dust of klesa covering the minds of sentient beings. The right image is seated on a lotus & white colored. He holds a full bloomed red lotus in the left hand, & the right forms an open palm placed on the right thigh. This signifies the ability to accept any means possible to save sentient beings from the sea of suffering. The common mantra for Aryavalokitesvara is:

Om arolik svaha

There are also 4 Garbhakosa versions. The Astadala version is:

Namah samanta buddhanam

buddha-dharani smrti-bala-dhana-kari dharaya sarvam bhagavatya-akaravati samaye svaha

The Lotus Court version is:

Namah samanta buddhanam sarva-tathagata-valokita-karuna-maya ra ra ra hum jah svaha

The Sakyamuni Court version is:

Namah samanta buddhanam sa

The Manjusri Court version is:

Namah samanta buddhanam sah


Sahasra-bhuja Sahasra-netra Avalokitesvara 千手千眼观音 the Bodhisattva in his most majestic form adorned with a thousand hands & eyes to see & help all suffering sentient beings in the 10 directions. Like Buddha Amitabha, he is also known as the Vajra of Compassion. In the Garbhakosa Mandala he is situated at the northern end of the Court of Akasagarbha. Gold in color, this image on the right have 27 faces front & back as well as 40 main arms plus 960 minor arms each with its own eye. The first pair of hands form the Amitayus Dhyana Mudra under his navel, & the second pair is clasp in 莲花合掌 Padma Anjali Mudra in front of the chest. The third pair holds a white lotus on the left & blue lotus on the right. The fourth holds a jade bangle on the left & the right forms the Mudra of Wish Fulfillment. The rest of the hands hold 32 different kinds of 法器 Dharma Instruments, each with its individual Mantra & purpose. Forming the Mudra of the 9 Peaks of Potala, one recites his heart Mantra thus:

Om vajra dharma hrih


Ekadasmukha 十一面观音 (eleven-faced) Avalokitesvara, also known as the Vajra of Adapting, who possesses 10 extra faces to teach all the different sentient beings in the 10 realms of existence. He is situated at the left (north) end of the Court of Susiddhi in the Garbhakosa Mandala. According to the sadhanas, the frontal 3 faces are serene, the 3 on the left are fierce and the 3 on the right are awe-inspiring. The one right at the top is the face of Amitabha, and the last face behind is one of laughter. The serene faces are for teaching beings of wholesome nature, the fierce faces for teaching stubborn unwholesome ones & the awe-inspring, laughing faces for teaching beings of mixed nature. The Buddha face represents complete enlightenment. This deity has 4 arms representing the 4 Buddha wisdoms. The hand holding a full bloomed Lotus signifies the Wisdom of Excellent Observation. The hand holding the vial signifies the Wisdom of Universal Equanimity. The hand forming the Mudra of Bestowing Fearlessness signifies the Wisdom of Perfect Achievement. Finally the one holding the Mala signifies the Wisdom of Mirror Clarity. This is another symbolic form to show the extent of his all-embracing compassion. His heart mantra is:

Om mahakarunika svaha

The Garbhakosa version is:

Om lokeshvara hrih


Hayagriva Avalokitesvara 马头观音, the fierce 3-eyed horse-headed burning-red form. Otherwise known as 马头明王 Hayagriva Vidyaraja, and the Vajra of Chewing or Speed. He is both a Bodhisattva & a Guardian Deity, situated at the bottom of the 1st row of the Lotus Section of the Garbhakosa Mandala. The horse head represents the single-minded desire of the horse for water and grass, which is like his will to save sentient beings; or the great running speed of the horse, which can be compared the speed that he appears to those who need him. He is the esoteric guardian of the Lotus Section, all devotees of Avalokitesvara, & the teacher of sentient beings in the animal realm. His common mantra is:

Om amritodbhave hum phat

The Garbhakosa version is:

Namah samanta buddhanam khadaya bhanja sphataya svaha


Cintamani-cakra Avalokitesvara 如意轮观音 turner of the Wheel, the Vajra holding the Jewel. Cintamani represents the Bodhisattva's absolute freedom to teach the Dharma in any of the realms of existence. He is also able to give sentient beings all kinds of worldly and spiritual benefits, such that their wishes are fulfilled. The image of Avalokitesvara in the Grand Hall of Space is Cintamani, depicted as being 4-armed. That is Chenrezig, the Tibetan form. This one above from the Garbhakosa Mandala is the Japanese form, situated in the middle of the 2nd row of the Lotus Section. Yellow-fleshed & seated on a red lotus, he has 6 arms to teach the sentient beings in each of the 6 realms of existence. His first 2 hands are rested on his face & lotus seat, a sign of deep contemplation. The rest of the hands hold a full bloomed Lotus, Cakra (wheel), Mani Jewel & Mala. In his Crown manifests the seated Buddha Amitabha. His heart mantra is similar with the mantra of 6 syllables:

Om varada padme hum

And the middle mantra:

Om padma cintamani jvala hum


Amoghapasa Avalokitesvara 不空绢索观音 holder of the infallible lasso, Vajra of Equal Guidance. This lasso of compassion is used to rope in all wayward sentient beings to the Dharma, such that they will not fall into the 3 evil realms, always guiding them on the Correct Path. White-fleshed, Amoghapasa is 3-eyed, 4-armed & wears a robe of deerskin. In the Garbhakosa Mandala he is situated in the middle of the 3rd row of the Lotus Section. According to the Amoghapasa Sutra those who recite his Dharani will be able to receive 20 kinds of merits in this life & 8 kinds of benefits at the moment of death. His heart mantra is:

Om amogha vijaya hum phat

And the Dharani is:

 Om amogha-padma-pasa-krodhakarsaya praveshaya maha-pashupati-yama-varuna-kuvera

brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum


Parnashabari Avalokitesvara 披叶衣观音 he who is cloaked with leaves, the Vajra of Special Practice. The Gabhakosa Mandala image above depicts him with staff and lasso. Flesh-colored & seated on a red lotus, he is situated at the top of the 3rd row of the Lotus Section. He has great powers to protect all those who call on him. He can relieve sentient beings from all sorts of unwholesome happenings like disasters, wars, plagues etc. In the Sutras it is said that reciting his mantra once protects one, twice protects one's partner, thrice one's family, 4 times one's tribe & 5 times the entire nation. The mantra is thus:

Om parnashavari hum phat


Pandaravasini Avalokitesvara 白处尊观音, also known as the Vajra free of Impurities & White Robe Guanyin 白衣观音. She is a female deity of the Lotus Section. In the Garbhakosa Mandala she is situated at the bottom of the 3rd row. So-called because she constantly dwells in the pure, undefiled place in her heart that is neither within, without nor in between. This image is pale yellow, & seated on a red lotus. The left hand holds a white lotus & the right forms a mudra of wish fulfillment. It is a popular form in China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Her Garbhakosa mantra, which can purify both physical and spiritual impurities, is thus:

Namah samanta buddhanam tathagata vishaya-sambhave padma-malini svaha



Udaka-sri Avalokitesvara 水吉祥观音 meaning 'water auspicious', the Vajra born of Moisture. According to the Commentary of the Maha-vairocana Sutra, spiritually refreshing water gushes forth from his lotus or directly from his hand for the benefit & nourishment of all sentient beings. These are the waters of wisdom from Vairocana himself. In the Garbhakosa Mandala he is situated in the 3rd row of the Lotus Section, 3rd from the bottom. Pale yellow & seated on a red lotus, he holds a half-bloomed lotus in the left hand & the right forms the mudra of bestowing fearlessness. Another name for this manifestation is 水月观音 Water Moon Guanyin. This is to show the calming effect he has on sentient beings. His mantra is:

Om aryodakasri svaha


Bhrkuti Avalokitesvara 比俱底观音 bhrkuti means wrinkled, or fierce eye, also known as the Vajra of Subduing. This female deity is born from the wrinkle on the forehead of Avalokitesvara, and is a fierce form. Its purpose is to strike fear into the egoism and self-centered minds of stubborn sentient beings. According to the Maha-vairocana Commentary, she has 3 eyes and 4 arms, carrying rosary, lotus, and a vial of elixir. The last hand forms a wish fulfilling mudra. The above is the Garbhakosa Mandala image. She is situated in the 1st row of the Lotus Section, 3rd from the top. Her Garbhakosa mantra is:

Namah samanta buddhanam sarva-bhaya-trasani hum sphotaya svaha


Svetabhagavati Avalokitesvara 白身观音 she with the white body, the Vajra of Universal Conversion. It is similar with Pandaravasini Avalokitesvara, sharing the same fundamental vow. In the Garbhakosa Mandala she is in the 3rd row of the Lotus Section, 2nd from the top. She is born of the purest all-seeing samadhi of Tathagata Maha-vairocana. She is pale yellow, holding a half-bloomed lotus in the left hand, & the right palm, resting on her knee, covers her shoulder. This represents the ability to convert all sentient beings to their fundamental purity. Her mantra is:

Om mahapadme shvetange huru huru svaha







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