tibetan. he who watches - ZIG - constantly - RE - with eyes of compassion - CHEN -
Many a millennia ago Chenrezig vowed that he would not rest until he had liberated all beings from the veils of Samsara, and so appeared the first Bodhisattva. Believed to embody the compassion of all Buddhas, Chenrezig is worshiped throughout the Buddhist world.
Chenrezig is known under many different names: Avalokiteshvara in sanskrit, Kuan Yin in Chinese and Kannon in Japanese. He is always painted in white to represent how free he is of all the veils of Samsara. His four arms symbolize the 4 virtues; love, compassion, joy and equanimity. These four virtues are the base of bodhichitta, the Buddhist practice of compassion. His two legs in are in padma asana or the lotus position. This represents the key to becoming a Bodhisattva, the union of compassion and emptiness. Check out the pictures below to see his specific attributes.
Chenrezig is no doubt one of our most popular deities, his calm and soothing presence resonates with all of us. Every selfless act of compassion that is accomplished is believed to be the activity of Chenrezig. The Dalai Lama is thought to be the living embodiment of the Buddha of Compassion, re-incarnated here on earth in order to help spread the teachings of the Buddha.
The story of Chenrezig is intricately linked to the history of Tibet and to how Buddhism is perceived today. Chenrezig infinite compassion means his presence is instantly felt.
He can be represented with a small red Buddha in the sky above him, to remind us that he belongs to the lotus family of Amitabha. As you can see each of Chenrezig attributes has a clear and defined purpose. As our knowledge of the symbolism hidden in this Chenrezig Thangka increases we will learn more and more of the deep compassion and the happiness that is associated to Chenrezig.