Definition - What does Avalokiteshvara mean?

Avalokiteshvara is a bodhisattva who appears in different forms and genders in different cultures. From Sanskrit, his name means "the lord who looks down." He represents the compassion of all Buddhas. It is believed that this bodhisattva looks upon the world’s laments and concerns with compassion and care. Yogis may wish to connect with Avalokiteshvara through mantra in order to increase the show of compassion for themselves and others.

Yogapedia explains Avalokiteshvara

According to Buddhist legend, Avalokiteshvara vowed to delay Buddhahood in order to assist all other beings in attaining liberation first, as well as aid all beings in times of trouble. He is often depicted with many hands as well as a lotus flower, representing wisdom. The "Lotus Sutra," the earliest Buddhist literature in which Avalokiteshvara is found, describes 33 different forms that the bodhisattva has taken in order to influence or help other beings.

Avalokiteshvara’s mantra is thought to be one of the most popular meditation mantras: om mani padme hum (although there are other mantras associated with Avalokiteshvara’s multiple forms). Many yogis choose to include this mantra in their sadhana. Generally, it translates to “jewel in the lotus”; however, some believe a more accurate translation is “Jewel Lotus One.”

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter