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The drawing of the Bodhisattvas, as well as the composition, are in accordance with the traditional iconography, with the correct stance, gesture, mood, and color. Some of the finest acrylic paints are used to maintain the quintessential Tibetan thangka look.
Bodhisattva: The Compassionate Path to Enlightenment
Background and Significance
A highly esteemed and fundamental notion in Buddhism, the term "Bodhisattva" comes from the Sanskrit terms "bodhi" (enlightenment) and "sattva" (being). A Bodhisattva is essentially a person who, driven by immense compassion, has developed bodhicitta, or the mind of enlightenment, and who is en route to becoming a Buddha.
But who postpones becoming a Buddha to assist all sentient beings in breaking free from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The Mahāyāna school venerates several Bodhisattvas, each embodying particular virtues and attributes. At the same time, the Theravāda tradition primarily sees the actual Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, as a Bodhisattva before his enlightenment.
Attributes and Iconography
Bodhisattvas are frequently portrayed with specific characteristics representing their qualities and the pathways they embody. For example, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteśvara, occasionally appears with several arms, each containing a different instrument to assist sentient beings, indicating his great compassion and dedication to aiding.
Comparably, Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, holds a lotus blossom, representing enlightenment and purity, and wields a fiery sword to slice through ignorance. These pictorial elements symbolize the teachings and routes connected to each Bodhisattva and act as a form of identification. They can be distinguished by their calm demeanors, magnificent crowns, and costly jewelry, highlighting their heavenly and caring essence.
Associated Stories and Beliefs
The Bodhisattvas are the subject of many myths and stories, all of which emphasize their vows and the extent to which they go to help others. Avalokiteśvara, who vowed never to sleep until he had liberated all sentient beings from samsara (the cycle of reincarnation), is the subject of one of the most well-known legends. But when he saw how big the job was, his head broke into a million pieces.
Seeing his predicament, Amitābha Buddha granted him eleven heads so that they could hear the screams of the suffering. His arms broke into a thousand pieces as he attempted to help, but once more, Amitābha intervened, bestowing upon him a thousand arms to alleviate his agony. Like many other stories, this one emphasizes the great compassion and dedication of Bodhisattvas. It is believed that one can develop the same traits and characteristics and advance on the path to enlightenment by honoring and imitating these enlightened persons.
In conclusion, the Bodhisattva personifies the altruistic essence of Buddhism, stressing selflessness, compassion, and the unwavering quest for enlightenment for the good of everyone. Their teachings, characteristics, and anecdotes act as beacons, encouraging followers to pursue a path of wisdom and compassion.