This beautiful thangka of Chenrezig (Sanskrit: Avalokiteshvara), the bodhisattva that embodies the compassion of all Buddhas, was hand-painted by traditional artists from Nepal.
Chenrezig is depicted here in his four-armed form, which symbolizes his whirlwind of constant activity in the world. Two of his hands are pressed together at his heart where they hold the wish-fulfilling jewel of enlightenment, the cintamani. This jewel manifests whatever a faithful seeker may pray for and is also a metaphor for the profound teachings and virtues of the Buddha. Chenrezig clasped hand position further expresses his gratitude and respect for Buddha Amitabha.
In his upper right hand, he holds a crystal mala, or Buddhist rosary, that he unceasingly counts and which represents his continuous compassionate activity in the world. And in his upper left hand, he holds a beautiful lotus flower in full bloom. Just as the lotus arises, dazzling and pure, from dark muddy waters, Chenrezig constantly manifests amidst the misery and suffering of our world but is never stained or tainted by samsaric conditions. His blossoming lotus is meant to inspire us to do the same, by unfolding the pure compassion of our true natures even amidst the challenges of worldly existence.