Imagine beings so enlightened, they would postpone their own ascension into nirvana to devote themselves in aiding the Buddhas and all of humanity. Well, for the bodhisattva’s – those who embody the compassion of all Buddhas, this was their passion, purpose and life path.
One of the most important of these bodhisattva’s was Avalokiteśvara. The bodhisattva with a thousand arms, and a thousand eyes. She is known as “compassionate and merciful” and the “perceiver of the world’s cries.” Her name Avalokiteśvara means Lord who looks down with compassion.
Commonly portrayed in culture as either female or male, we’ve chosen to sculpt Avalokiteśvara as the feminine thousand armed Goddess. Here And here you see our deity, seated on a lotus pedestal surrounded by an impressive jeweled canopy. Each arm contains a single eye, with the largest arms at the front holding meaningful items like a mirror, alms bowl and a sutra.
But why does Avalokiteśvara have a thousand arms?
It is told Avalokiteśvara vowed never to rest until all sentient beings were free. But despite all efforts, she realized the needs of the many were insurmountable, and so her head splits into eleven pieces. Amitābha, a celestial Buddha, saw this trouble and gave her eleven heads to hear the cries. But on hearing the cries, and attempting to reach out to the masses her two arms shattered into pieces. So Amitābha gives her a thousand arms to aid the suffering.
Take this stunning thousand armed goddess to your home or office, and when you’re suffering she’ll remind you that you also have the power of unshakeable compassion for yourself and humanity.