Have you ever wandered around the famous Buddhist cities such as Bagan in Burma, Bangkok in Thailand, Lalitpur in Nepal? If you have visited these cities then, these cities are known for their beautiful and most creative artifacts of Buddha statues, Buddha images, statues related with other popular Buddhist figures. Most of you have seen the statues with number of hands like it seems thousand hands. That particular statue is the statue of famous Bodhisattva known as Avalokiteshvara. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is known for the thousand hands Bodhisattva in order to provide the helping hands to all the prayers who are suffering due to ignorance, greed etc and suffering in these difficult life. There are hundreds of thousands of beautiful statues of Avalokiteshvara all over the Buddhist countries especially eastern Asian countries due the relation of Avalokiteshvara with Amitabha Buddha.
Introduction of Avalokiteshvara
Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is known as the Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion and is considered as the iconic figure of Bodhisattva in all Buddhist history. Mahayana Buddhism have number of Buddhist schools in all over the world. And all these Buddhist schools considered Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara as the ideal Karuna or simply compassion. It is even said that Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara was the earthly manifestation of the ruler of Pure Land or Sukhvati i.e. Amitabha Buddha. And Amitabha Buddha is representation of mercy as well as wisdom.
The name Avalokiteshvara means "The One Who Hears the Cries of the World" and "The Lord Who Looks in All Direction" and is believed to appear wherever and anywhere when someone is in danger and distress and someone called for Avalokiteshvara name. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara had made vow to help all the sentient beings in times of great danger and distress and postpone his Buddhahood.
Avalokiteshvara as Thousand Hand Bodhisattva
Among all the Buddha statues and Buddha images, the statue of thousand hand Avalokiteshvara is very popular and there is a very interesting tale behind Avalokiteshvara thousands of hands.
See Statues of Avalokiteshvara: Click Here.
After taking vow to postpone his own Buddhahood in order to help all sentient beings in danger, sufferings, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara also took one other vow.
"Should He ever become disheartened in saving sentient beings, may his body shatter into thousand pieces."
But despite Avalokiteshvara great effort to help sentient beings in needs, he was unable to help countless life of sentient beings. Being unable to fulfill his vow, his heads shattered in to 11 pieces and his hands also shattered in number of pieces.
But Amitabha Buddha seeing his great effort gave Avalokiteshvara a new form with thousand hands of Compassion and eye of Wisdom in each hand and thousand heads to hear the cries of all sentient Beings.