Avalokiteshvara, aka: Avalokitesvara, Avalokiteśvara; 10 Definition(s)
Avalokiteshvara means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
The Sanskrit term Avalokiteśvara can be transliterated into English as Avalokitesvara or Avalokiteshvara, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).
Āstika (orthodox philosophy)
The boddhisattva of compassion. Avalokiteshwara is often represented by a female figure, or an ambiguous one, in the Mahayana tradition. (See image at right).Source: Wisdom Library: Indian Philosophy
The term āstika refers to six mainstream schools of Hindu philosophy, accepting the Vedas as authorative. They are: Nyāyá (logic), Vaiśeṣika (atomism), Sāṃkhya (enumeration), Yoga (Patañjali’s school), Mimāṃsā (Vedic exegesis) and Vedanta (Upaniṣadic tradition). Together they also go by the name ṣaḍdarśana (‘six systems’).
General definition (in Buddhism)
Avatokiteshvara (Avalokiteśvara), Skt.; one of the most important bodhisattvas of the Mahāyāna. The literal meaning of Avalokiteshvara is variously interpreted. One interpretation is the “Lord Who Looks Down,” in which the last component of the name is taken to be ishvara, “lord.” Another interpretation is “He Who Hears the Sounds [Outcries] of the World” or also the “Sound That Illumines the World,” in which svara, “sound” is regarded as the final component of the name. In any case, Avalokiteshvara embodies one of the two fundamental aspects of buddhahood, compassion (karunā), in virtue of which he is often given the epithet Mahākarunā, “Great Compassion.” The other fundamental aspect of buddhahood is wisdom (prajñā), which is embodied by the bodhisattva Mañjushrī. Avalokiteshvara is the power of the buddha Amitābha manifested as a bodhisattva and appears as his helper. His limitless compassion expresses itself in his wonderful ability to help all beings who turn to him at times of extreme danger. In folk belief, Avalokiteshvara also protects from natural catastrophe and grants blessings to children.
In China Avalokiteshvara is venerated under the name Kuan-yin, in Japan under the name Kannon (also Kanzeon and Kwannon), and in both countries is generally considered to be female. The Tibetan form of Avalokiteshvara is Chenresi.
In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, along with Manjushri, one of the principle bodhisattvas is Avalokiteshvara, "the one who listens to the sounds of the world." Just as Manjushri is the embodiment of wisdom and the cutting of the sword, so Avalokiteshvara is the embodiment of compassion. Just as Manjushri is related to seeing, the seeing of light, enlightenment, so Avalokiteshvara is related to hearing. Wisdom has a masculine, assertive quality; compassion, listening, has a feminine receptive quality.
(Even though Avalokiteshvara started out as a masculine figure, it has been transmuted over the years. Most people see it as feminine precisely because of this receptive, undiscriminating, open hearted quality.)Source: Abhayagiri: Thinking
Avalokiteshvara, is an enlightened being who is a manifestation of all Buddhas' compassion. He is known as the Buddha of Compassion. The name Avalokiteshvara is made of four parts: the verbal prefix ava, which means "down"; the noun loka, which means "the world"; the suffix ita, which changes the verb ''avalok'' into a noun, "one who looks upon the world"; and finally iśvarā, means "lord" or "master".Source: Svayambhu: 1000 Arms of Compassion
Sanskrit; Kannon (Japanese), Chen Resig (Tibetan), Kwan Um (Korean); the bodhisattva of compassion.Source: Mokurai's Temple: A Buddhist Glossary
Amongst the most important celestial bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism, Avalokitesvara is the embodiment of compassion.Source: Buddhism Tourism: Glossary of Buddhist TermsThe Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion. Chinese: Kuan yin ("GWAHN yeen"); Sanskrit: Avalokitesvara ("ah vah loh kee teh SVAH rah"). Source: The Art of Asia: Buddhism GlossaryAvalokitesvara (Chinese: Kuan yin; Japanese: Kannon) is the most popular of all bodhisattvas, beloved for his infinite compassion. Together with Mahasthamaprapta, he attends Amitabha when he welcomes the souls of the deceased into the Pure Land.Source: The Art of Asia: Who is Who in Heaven
Avalokitesvara (lit. "Lord who looks down") is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. He is one of the more widely revered bodhisattvas in mainstream Mahayana Buddhism. In China and its sphere of cultural influence, Avalokitesvara is often depicted in a female form known as Guan Yin. (However, in Taoist mythology, Guan Yin has other origination stories which are unrelated to Avalokitesvara.)
Avalokitesvara is also referred to as Padmapani ("Holder of the Lotus") or Lokesvara ("Lord of the World"). In Tibetan, Avalokitesvara is known as Chenrezig, and is said to be incarnated in the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa and other high Lamas. In Mongolia, he is called Megjid Janraisig, Xongsim Bodisadva, or Niduber Ujegci.Source: WikiPedia: BuddhismSanskrit word for the Bodhisattva who Hears the Sounds of the World. He rescues all beings by hearing their voices of suffering and cries for help. In Chinese, he is called Guan Shr Yin or Guan Yin Bodhisattva. As one of the Four Great Bodhisattva, he is the one with the greatest compassion and mercy, therefore known as God/Goddess of Mercy. Guan Yin is one of the triad of Amitabha Buddha, represented on his left, and being the future Buddha in the Land of Ultimate Bliss (Pure Land) after Amitabha Buddha. Guan Yin can transform into many different forms in order to cross over to the beings. Originally represented as a male, the images are now generally those of a female figure. Guan Yin is one of the most popular Bodhisattva in China.Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary
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