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.”