Avalokiteshvara Sadhana: Prayers and requests to the Buddha of Compassion
Avalokiteshvara, or Chenrezig in Tibetan, is an enlightened being who is a manifestation of all Buddhas’ compassion. He is known as the ‘Buddha of Compassion’. He usually appears as white in color with four arms. His first two hands are pressed together at his heart, symbolizing his respect for his Spiritual Guide, Buddha Amitabha, who is on his crown. Even though Avalokiteshvara is an enlightened being he still shows respect to his Spiritual Guide. His first two hands hold a jewel, which symbolizes his own enlightenment. This mudra is indicating ‘I attained jewel-like great enlightenment through receiving blessings from my Spiritual Guide Amitabha.’
His second left hand holds a white lotus flower. A lotus grows in the mud at the bottom of a lake, but its flowers bloom on the surface of the water, completely free from the stains of mud. By holding a lotus flower Avalokiteshvara is showing that because he attained enlightenment he is free from all obstacles, and has a completely pure body, speech, and mind. His second right hand holds a crystal mala, symbolizing that he can free all living beings from samsara and lead them to liberation.
If we rely sincerely upon Avalokiteshvara and recite his mantra with strong faith, temporarily we shall improve our realizations of the stages of the path, especially our realization of great compassion, and ultimately we shall attain supreme Buddhahood in Avalokiteshvara’s Pure Land, the Pure Land of Bliss.
This sadhana is very blessed. The main body of the sadhana was composed by a great Tibetan Yogi called Drubchen Tangtong Gyalpo, who came from Ngam Ring Monastery in eastern Tibet. The prayer of seven limbs, offering the mandala, requesting the five great meanings, and the final dedication verse were later added by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche.