The main image in this thangka is the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, who is also the primary patron deity of Tibet. It is widely believed that the line of Dalai Lama incarnations (as well as Karmapa incarnations) are emanations of Chenrezig.
In this particular depiction, Chenrezig is white in colour and has four arms representing the Four Immeasurables, which are loving kindness, joy, equanimity, and compassion. Just like one’s limbs are a part of one’s body, Chenrezig has become one with the realisation of these qualities that he uses to benefit sentient beings.
He has two hands folded in prayer while holding a brilliant sky-blue wish-fulfilling jewel at his heart. This represents that he holds Bodhicitta or altruistic love for all sentient beings close to his heart. His other right hand gently holds aloft a crystal mala (Buddhist prayer beads), while his other left hand holds a pristine lotus. This reminds us of his promise to manifest continuously in a multitude of ways to benefit sentient beings, like the steady momentum of counting prayer beads.
Skilfully appearing in ordinary guises throughout the various realms of existence in order to benefit others, he is not just unstained by worldly matters but, in fact, thrives in such surroundings, like a pristine lotus growing from muddy waters. This unstained Bodhisattva is royally attired with six jewelled ornaments consisting of a crown, earrings, bracelets, necklace, belt and anklets. Like the jewelled ornaments which beautify his body outwardly, on the inside he has mastered the Six Perfections or Six Paramitas, inspiring practitioners to practise them too. These are the qualities of generosity, morality, patience, joyful endeavour, meditation and wisdom. All of these are necessary to become truly beautiful from the inside out. Read More..