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Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara

As you walk pass the Hundred Dragons Hall, you will enter the Universal Wisdom Hall. Here you will see a beautifully hand carved Tang period Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara sitting atop an elaborate lotus throne. The Heart Sutra is embroidered on the rear wall, along with the embroidered lotuses waving in the breeze. Along the sides are the 8 Zodiac Protectors, surrounded by smaller Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara statues,all together creating a peaceful and calm atmosphere to reflect and pray for compassion.
Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara in BTRTM

The Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara sits in a typical Rajalilasana (royal ease posture), bare to the waist, atop a large Padmasana (lotus) throne floating on the sea waves, with a phoenix at each corner. The aureole is shaped like a lotus petal curved towards the head. It has colourful swirling aura and clouds radiating from the head.

The image of Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara* have six hands—His first right hand touches the cheek in a pensive pose (1), His second right hand holding a wish granting jewel (cintamani) (2), His third right hand holding prayer beads (3), His first left hand pressing the Mount Meru (4), His second left hand holding lotus flower (5) and His third left hand holding a Dharma wheel (6). On His head is a highly decorated chignon with an elegant gilt crown denoting the royal status. (*refer to image below)

About Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara

Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara (Wish-granting Jewel Wheel; Chinese: Ju-i-lun Kuan-yin; Japanese: Nyoirin Kannon) with predictable strong powers, developed over the many lives, thus achieving the Awakening called “Zheng Fa Ming Ru Lai”.

In practicing benevolence and saving many lives, He appears in the form of a Bodhisattva, or sometimes as the future Buddha. As He would become the Buddha after Sukamoni Buddha leaves the Western World, He would take charge of the Western World called “Pu Kuang Gong De Shan Wang Ru Lai”.

The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with one hand holding the Cintamanicakra pearl is known as Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara. The Cintamani pearl is able to fulfill the wishes of all living, therefore called ‘Ru Yi’ (meaning ‘as what you wish’). Here ‘Ru Yi’ means Cintamani pearl, and ‘wheel’ means turning the Dharma Wheel. According to the Padma Cintamani Dharani Sutra, Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara, have the powers for this and future lives, to not only helps all living beings to achieve wealth and wisdom for this and future livesin the coming life, but also helps to develop the compassionate heart and keeps away avoid sufferings.

Normally, the image of Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara have six hands rescue beings from birth in the six realms:

Hand
手印与持物
Realm
六道
Description
描述
Pensive mudra (1)
思维手印
Hell
地狱
Thinks of compassion towards sentient beings
愍念有情众生
Cintamani (2)
如意宝珠
Pretas
饿鬼
Satisfies all desires
满足一切愿
Rosary (3)
念珠
Animals
畜生
Rescues from sufferings
度众生苦
Mountain (4)
须弥山
Assuras
阿修罗
Immovable and untilting
成就无倾动
Lotus (5)
莲花
Men
人道
Purifies those who lack Dharma
能净诸非法
Cakra (6)
法轮
Gods
天道
Preaches the Supreme Dharma
能转无上法

About Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Avalokiteśvara (Sanskrit: अवलोकितेश्वर lit. “Lord who looks down”; Chinese: Guānshìyīn Púsà, 觀世音菩薩; Tibetan: Chenrezig, སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་, Wylie: spyan ras gzigs; Japanese: Kannon, 観音, Kan’on, Kanzeon, 観世音; Korean: Gwan-eum, 관음, Gwanse-eum, 관세음; Thai: Kuan Eim, กวนอิม, Phra Mae Kuan Eim, พระแม่กวนอิม; Vietnamese: Quan Âm, Quán Thế Âm; Indonesian: Kwan Im, Dewi Kwan Im).In Sanskrit, Avalokitesvara is also referred to as Padmapāni (Holder of the Lotus), Lokeśvara (Lord of the World) and Lokanatha (Protector of the World).

Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. He is one of the most popular, most complex and most widely revered bodhisattva in mainstream Mahayana Buddhism. He appeared early in the texts and imagery of Mahayana Buddhism in India.

The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is expounded by Sakyamuni Buddha in the 25th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, first translated into Chinese by Dharmaraksa in 286 AD. The belief in Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara entered China and spread rapidly after the 3rd century.

Amongst the Bodhisattvas, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is the most popular and venerated with the largest number of forms. This bodhisattva is variably depicted as male originally or female in China and Japan. The images may be observed as exoteric (based on Mahayana sutras – Lotus Sutra, Avatamsaka Sutra, Sukhavativyuha Sutra), esoteric (Sutra of the Eleven-headed Kuan-yin, Sutra of the Thousand-armed Kuan-yin of Great Compassion, Cundi Sutra), and sinified (Chinese texts, tales, scrolls, native stories, legends).

In China, his festive dates are the nineteenth days of the lunar second (Birth), sixth (Enlightment) and ninth (Ordination) months and His pilgrimage site is Mount Putuo, China.

In Tibet, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is associated with the Dalai Lamas and the Karmapas, who are his reincarnations.

Birth
According to legends, he was born from a ray of light emanating from the right eye of Buddha Amitabha, causing a lotus to open.
Legends
Thousand Arms
One Buddhist legend from the Complete Tale of Guanyin and the Southern Seas (Chinese: 南海觀音全傳; pinyin: Nánhǎi Guānyīn Quánzhuàn) presents Guanyin as vowing to never rest until she had freed all sentient beings from samsara or reincarnation. Despite strenuous effort, she realized that there were still many unhappy beings yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, her head split into eleven pieces. Amitabha Buddha, seeing her plight, gave her eleven heads with which to hear the cries of the suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Avalokitesvara attempted to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that her two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitabha came to her aid and appointed her a thousand arms with which to aid many.
Many Himalayan versions of the tale include eight arms with which Avalokitesvara skillfully upholds the Dharma, each possessing its own particular implement, while more Chinese-specific versions give varying accounts of this number.
Miaoshan (妙善)
Another story from the Precious Scroll of Fragrant Mountain describes an incarnation of Guanyin as the daughter of a cruel king who wanted her to marry a wealthy but uncaring man. The story is usually ascribed to the research of the Buddhist monk Chiang Chih-ch’i during the 11th century CE. The story is likely to have a Taoist origin. Chiang Chih-ch’i, when he penned the work, believed that the Guanyin we know today was actually a Buddhist princess called Miaoshan (妙善), who had a religious following on Fragrant Mountain. Despite this, there are many variants of the story in Chinese mythology.According to the story, after the king asked his daughter Miao Shan to marry the wealthy man, she told him that she would obey his command, so long as the marriage eased three misfortunes.The king asked his daughter what were the three misfortunes that the marriage should ease. Miaoshan explained that the first misfortune the marriage should ease was the suffering people endure as they age. The second misfortune it should ease was the suffering people endure when they fall ill. The third misfortune it should ease was the suffering caused by death. If the marriage could not ease any of the above, then she would rather retire to a life of religion forever.

When her father asked who could ease all the above, Miao Shan pointed out that a doctor was able to do all of these.

Her father grew angry as he wanted her to marry a person of power and wealth, not a healer. He forced her into hard labor and reduced her food and drink but this did not cause her to yield.

Every day she begged to be able to enter a temple and become a nun instead of marrying. Her father eventually allowed her to work in the temple, but asked the monks to give her the toughest chores in order to discourage her. The monks forced Miao Shan to work all day and all night, while others slept, in order to finish her work. However, she was such a good person that the animals living around the temple began to help her with her chores. Her father, seeing this, became so frustrated that he attempted to burn down the temple. Miao Shan put out the fire with her bare hands and suffered no burns. Now struck with fear, her father ordered her to be put to death.

In one version of this legend, when she was executed, a supernatural tiger took Guanyin to one of the more hell-like realms of the dead. However, instead of being punished by demons like the other inmates, Guanyin played music and flowers blossomed around her. This completely surprised the head demon. The story says that Guanyin, by merely being in that hell, turned it into a paradise.

A variant of the legend says that Miao Shan allowed herself to die at the hand of the executioner. According to this legend, as the executioner tried to carry out her father’s orders, his axe shattered into a thousand pieces. He then tried a sword which likewise shattered. He tried to shoot Miao Shan down with arrows but they all veered off.

Finally in desperation he used his hands. Miao Shan, realising the fate the executioner would meet at her father’s hand should she fail to let herself die, forgave the executioner for attempting to kill her. It is said that she voluntarily took on the massive karmic guilt the executioner generated for killing her, thus leaving him guiltless. It is because of this that she descended into the Hell-like realms. While there she witnessed first hand the suffering and horrors beings there must endure and was overwhelmed with grief. Filled with compassion, she released all the good karma she had accumulated through her many lifetimes, thus freeing many suffering souls back into Heaven and Earth. In the process that Hell-like realm became a paradise. It is said that Yanluo, King of Hell, sent her back to Earth to prevent the utter destruction of his realm, and that upon her return she appeared on Fragrant Mountain.

Another tale says that Miao Shan never died but was in fact transported by a supernatural tiger, believed to be the Deity of the Place, to Fragrant Mountain.

The Legend of Miao Shan usually ends with Miao Chuang Yen, Miao Shan’s father, falling ill with jaundice. No physician was able to cure him. Then a monk appeared saying that the jaundice could be cured by making a medicine out of the arm and eye of one without anger. The monk further suggested that such a person could be found on Fragrant Mountain. When asked, Miao Shan willingly offered up her eyes and arms. Miao Chuang Yen was cured of his illness and went to the Fragrant Mountain to give thanks to the person. When he discovered that his own daughter had made the sacrifice, he begged for forgiveness. The story concludes with Miaoshan being transformed into the Thousand Armed Guanyin, and the king, queen and her two sisters building a temple on the mountain for her. She began her journey to heaven and was about to cross over into heaven when she heard a cry of suffering from the world below. She turned around and saw the massive suffering endured by the people of the world. Filled with compassion, she returned to Earth, vowing never to leave till such time as all suffering has ended.

After her return to Earth, Guanyin was said to have stayed for a few years on the island of Mount Putuo where she practised meditation and helped the sailors and fishermen who got stranded. Guanyin is frequently worshipped as patron of sailors and fishermen due to this. She is said to frequently becalm the sea when boats are threatened with rocks. After some decades Guanyin returned to Fragrant Mountain to continue her meditation.

Dharma
According to East Asian Mahāyāna doctrines, Avalokiteśvara is the bodhisattva who has made a great vow to assist sentient beings in times of difficulty, and to postpone his own Buddhahood until he has assisted every being on Earth in achieving Nirvāṇa.In Tibetan Buddhism, Avalokiteshvara is a fully-enlightened Buddha who appears in the aspect of a Bodhisattva disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni emphasizing the practice of great compassion. He appears in the trinity together with Manjushri and Vajrapani known as the Three Lords, representing great compassion, wisdom and spiritual power respectively.Avalokiteshvara is also worshipped in traditional Theravadin countries such as Myanmar and Thailand.
Mahāyāna sūtras associated with Avalokiteśvara include the following:

  • Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra (Lotus Sūtra)
  • Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra
  • Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya Sūtra (Heart Sūtra)
  • Mahākaruṇā Dhāranī Sūtra (Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāraṇī)
  • Avalokiteśvara Ekādaśamukha Dhāraṇī Sūtra
  • Cundī Dhāraṇī Sūtra

The Lotus Sūtra (Skt. Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra) is generally accepted to be the earliest literature teaching about the doctrines of Avalokiteśvara. These are found in the Lotus Sūtra chapter 25, The Universal Gateway of Avalokitasvara Bodhisattva (Ch. 觀世音菩薩普門品). This chapter is devoted to Avalokitasvara, describing him as a compassionate bodhisattva who hears the cries of sentient beings, and who works tirelessly to help those who call upon his name.

A total of 33 different manifestations of Avalokitasvara are described, including female manifestations, all to suit the minds of various beings. The chapter consists of both a prose and a verse section. This earliest source often circulates separately as its own sūtra, called the Avalokitasvara Sūtra (Ch. 觀世音經), and is commonly recited or chanted at Buddhist temples in East Asia.

Heart Sutra
In the Chinese Mahayana canon, the Heart Sutra is ascribed entirely to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. This is unique, as most Mahayana Sutras are usually ascribed to Shakyamuni Buddha and the teachings, deeds or vows of the bodhisattvas are described by Shakyamuni Buddha. In the Heart Sutra, Avalokiteshvara describes to the Arhat Sariputra the nature of reality and the essence of the Buddhist teachings. The famous Buddhist saying “Form is empty, emptiness is form” comes from this sutra.In most Tibetan traditions, the Heart Sutra is attributed to Buddha Shakyamuni who blessed the minds of Shariputra and Avalokiteshvara and inspired Shariputra to pose the question and Avalokiteshvara to answer. At the end of the sutra, Buddha gave His approval of the answers (which are a condensation of the Perfection of Wisdom sutras), implicitly implying that the entire sutra is in accordance with His own view.For more information, please see ‘About the Heart Sutra’.

Great Compassion Djarani
The Mahākaruṇā Dhāraṇī (Great Compassion Dhāraṇī), also called the Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāraṇī, is an 82-syllable dhāraṇī for Avalokiteśvara.Cundī Dhāraṇī
“Namaḥ saptānāṃ samyaksaṃbuddha koṭīnāṃ tadyathā oṃ cale cule cundī svāhā”
Mantra
“OM MANI PAD ME HUM”
Art of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is usually represented standing, with an effigy of Buddha Amitabha in his headdress. His is usually holding the lotus, willow branch and water or flower vase. His mount is usually a goose, peacock, phoenix or pheasant.Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara was originally depicted as a male bodhisattva, and therefore wears chest-revealing clothing and may even sport a moustache. Although this bare-chested and moustached depiction still exists in the Far East, Guanyin is more often depicted as a woman in modern times.Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara has an extraordinarily large number of manifestations in different forms (including wisdom goddesses (vidyaas) directly associated with him in images and texts). Some of the more commonly mentioned forms include:

Sanskrit Meaning Description
Aryavalokitesvara (Ārya Avalokiteśvara) Sacred Avalokitesvara The root form of the Bodhisattva; general name given to the countless myriad forms of Avalokitesvara and signifies that He is an Ārya or Superior being
Ekādaśamukha Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara 11 faces to teach sentient beings in the 10 directions; commonly depicted standing with 6 or 8 arms holding a rosary, chakra and displaying the anjali and varada mudras with His right hands, and holding a lotus, bow and arrow, flask, and displaying the anjali mudra with His left hands
Sahasra-bhuja

Sahasra-netra

Thousand-Armed, Thousand-Eyed Avalokitesvara Has 1000 arms and 1000 eyes with an eye on each palm to see and help all sentient beings; His 40 main arms hold different instruments, the remaining 960 arms are depicted as an aureole, symbolic of His measureless skilful means
Cintāmani-cakra Wish-Fulfilling Jewel Avalokitesvara Holds the bejeweled cintamani wheel; often depicted with 6 arms with His right hands holding the cintamani, a rosary and displaying the pensive mudra, and His left hands holding a chakra, a long-stemmed lotus and resting on Mount Sumeru
Hayagrīva Horse-Headed Avalokitesvara Wrathful form; simultaneously bodhisattva and a Wisdom King; the horse symbolises the trampling of negativity; commonly shown with His right hands holding an axe, noose and displaying the mudra of horse’s mouth, and His left hands holding a baton, lotus and displaying the varada mudra, with His original hands in adoration
Cundi (Cundā) Mother Goddess Avalokitesvara Portrayed with 2-26 arms; common attributes include holding a scripture on lotus with His main hands in the dhyāna mudra holding a bowl
Amoghapāśa Avalokitesvara with rope and net Usually 8-armed holding implements such as a staff, lotus, baton and noose; His noose symbolises His unfailing ability to liberate all sentient beings from the ocean of suffering
Bhrkuti Fierce-Eyed Depicted 4-armed with His right hands holding a rosary and displaying the varada mudra while His left hands hold a lotus and a vase
Pāndaravāsinī White and Pure Wears white robes with 2 arms; His right hand holds a lotus or rosary and His left displays the varada mudra
Parnaśabarī Cloaked With Leaves May appear wrathful or peaceful; holds a cluster of leaves or peacock feathers among other implements
Rakta Shadaksharī (Rakta Lokeśvara) Six Red Syllables Red-coloured body with 4 arms; His right hands hold an arrow and display the varada mudra while His left hands holds a bow and a noose
Śvetabhagavatī White-Bodied Sits on a white lotus with a yellow-white body holding a half-opened lotus with his left hand and right hand raised to the level of the shoulder
Udaka-śrī (Dakaśrī) Water Auspicious (Water Moon) Has a yellow-white body holding a half-blossomed lotus with his left hand and displays the varada mudra with his right hand

Art of Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara
Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara, “He who holds the wheel and the wish-fulfilling jewel”, sits in a royal posture. He has six arms which symbolizes His ability to help beings in each of the six Realms—hell, hungry ghosts, animals, asuras, human beings and devas.

It is found in a terracotta sealing from Nalanda in the Calcutta University.This form was represented very early in China and can be seen in the Longmen and Yungang grottoes. Also found as early as 605 in Japan.

 

This Cintamanichakra Avalokiteshvara (CN079) displayed at our 3rd floor Buddhist Culture Museum is crafted in the Shingon style, with one head and six arms, adorned with crown decorated with a cintamani and sits atop the lotus throne in the Rajalilasana posture, relaxed yet not losing His magnificence. On the back is the aureole of seven lotuses. Following the description recorded in the “Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokiteshvara Yoga”, the first right hand makes the pensive gesture, the second holds a Ruyi jewel, the third right hand holds prayers beads, while the first left hand is seen pressing down on the bright hill, the second hand holds a lotus, while the third holds a gold chakra. The Bodhisattva is dressed in robes with beautiful motifs hand painted in colours and gold, bringing out the majestic and grandeur of this sculpture

 

About Mount Putuo
Mount Putuo (Chinese: 普陀山; pinyin: Pǔtúo Shān; literally “Mount Potalaka”) is a small island southeast of Shanghai, in Zhoushan prefecture of Zhejiang province, China. The nearest city is Ningbo.Mount Putuo lies on the Eastern Sea of China and displays the beauty between sea and mountain. The area is about 12.5 square kilometres and has lots of famous and sacred temples.

It is famous in Chinese Buddhism, and is considered the bodhimanda of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Guan Yin).Every year on the nineteenth day of the second, sixth and ninth lunar months, it welcomes millions of people for the celebration of the birth, ordination and enlightenment, respectively of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

The Puji Monastery is the main and largest temple, with 9 halls, 13 pavillions, towers and subsidiary buildings.