He is an important presence in Mahayana sutra, especially the Prajnaparamita sutras (Perfection of Wisdom sutras), Lotus Sutra, Avatamsaka Sutra. He is attributed with bringing the insight that leads many sentient beings to Enlightenment. In all of Mahayana Buddhism, he is considered the Bodhisattva of Wisdom; in Vajrayana, he is a completely enlightened Buddha. (This is not a contradiction, but rather, a path: the Bodhisattva path leads to Buddha Enlightenment.)
He is also one of the three “great” Bodhisattvas, along with Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani. Broadly speaking, they represent three critical concepts, or the three virtues of the Buddha:
- Manjushri: wisdom and insight (prajna)
- Avalokiteshvara: compassion and love (metta)
- Vajrapani: power and strength and protection.