Our Bodhisattva Thangkas range from Manjushri and Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig) to Vajrapani and Ksitigarbha. These Bodhisattvas are painted in the Karma Gadri style and adhere to the Traditional Tibetan iconographic parameters, which a little room for artistic expression and experimentation. The correct classic tone, shades, hues, and statures are still maintained.
Bodhisattva: The Compassionate Path to Enlightenment
Background and Significance
In Buddhism, the term "Bodhisattva" is a revered concept rooted in the Sanskrit words "bodhi" (enlightenment) and "sattva" (being). A Bodhisattva is driven by profound compassion, nurturing the mind of enlightenment, known as bodhicitta, and on the journey towards Buddhahood. However, they delay their enlightenment to aid all sentient beings in breaking free from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
Within the Mahāyāna school, numerous Bodhisattvas are venerated, each embodying distinct virtues and attributes. Conversely, the Theravāda tradition regards Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, as a Bodhisattva before his enlightenment.
Attributes and Iconography
Bodhisattvas are often depicted with specific attributes that symbolize their qualities and the paths they represent. For instance, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteśvara, is portrayed with multiple arms, each holding various instruments to assist sentient beings, a testament to his immense compassion and dedication.
Likewise, Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, carries a lotus blossom symbolizing enlightenment and purity, along with a fiery sword to cut through ignorance. These visual elements convey the teachings associated with each Bodhisattva and serve as distinctive markers. Their serene demeanor, regal crowns, and ornate jewelry emphasize their heavenly and compassionate nature.
Associated Stories and Beliefs
Bodhisattvas are the subjects of numerous myths and stories that underscore their vows and unwavering commitment to aiding others. The well-known legend of Avalokiteśvara, who vowed never to rest until all sentient beings were liberated from samsara, illustrates their determination.
Witnessing the enormity of the task, his head shattered into a million pieces. In response, Amitābha Buddha granted him eleven heads to hear the cries of the suffering. His arms fractured into a thousand pieces as he attempted to help, and once again, Amitābha intervened, bestowing upon him a thousand arms to alleviate his suffering. These tales highlight the profound compassion and dedication of Bodhisattvas and serve as examples for those seeking enlightenment.
In summary, Bodhisattvas embody the generous core of Buddhism, emphasizing selflessness, compassion, and the unwavering pursuit of enlightenment for the greater good. Their teachings, attributes, and stories inspire followers to embark on a path of wisdom and compassion.