Bodhisattva Padmapani Lokeshvara

Lokeshvara is golden in color and he is seen standing and holding a lotus flower on his left hand which happens to be blossoming at the shoulders level. He stands on a tribhanga with his right hand lowered at his side which is a gesture of generosity or giving known as varada mudra. The left hand signifies teachings. Furthermore, the Bodhisattva has a sash falling across his thighs and which happens to have been tied slightly above his left knee. The sash is also believed to be antelope’s skin. The body can be seen to have curved towards his left hand side.

He wears a crown and observing keenly on the head is her hair which seems to be bound forming a top knot. Presence of a shiny jewel, blue in color which can be said to be a diamond can also be noted. His face is broad with eyes elongated having eyebrows and a small mouth which have been curved to a style.

He has also jewelries made of semiprecious stones on her hands, neck and head. They include but not limited to necklaces, armbands and crown. He also has a belt on his waist.


About the work

Bodhisattva Padmapani Lokeshvara considered to be a peaceful deity, is a common epithets of Avalokiteshvara which is termed as the Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion[1].

This art has different parts and signs which depict different meanings as per the Buddha’s faith. Some of the signs include the lotus and the style at which the right hand has been made.

The lotus is a sign of spiritual perfection. The lotus flower that is blossoming can be said to be a sign of a perfect spirit that has blossomed. A blossomed flower can also be a sign of beauty. As it can be noted, the sculpture is of a young man in his youthful age. The beauty is not a just a physical one but also emphasis is put on the spiritual beauty.

The sculpture shows a well and lavishly adorned Buddhist deity. Presence of jewelries and elaborate hairstyle symbolizes learning and the transition to adulthood.Notably, his right hand is lowered downwards and this presents the gesture of giving. Clearly this art presented a message of charity to the Buddhist.This art has a decoration on both of the arms. The decoration is of flowery figure which means the generative power of the divine, fertility and also abundance.

The adornment of this art signifies a royal family. In ancient times the royal family were associated with jewelries that were very valuable. Crowns were also worn by the royal family

Padmapani which is a Lokeshvara’s name means “lotus holder”. The name originates from the Sutra literature and also the Mahayan tradition of Buddhism. This art is believed to be dating back to 1000AD to 1400AD in the region of Himalaya[2].

Bodhisattva Padmapani Lokeshvara is an important object of worship in the Budhi faith and traditions. He is regarded as a typical example of compassion. Since the early centuries Padmapani has been greatly revered in the Buddhist countries mostly in Asia. In china he is known as Kuan-yin meaning the Goddess of Mercy albeit with a different history.

His coming about is said through a story in ancient times that there was an elephant which was going to pick a lotus flower from a pond. By bud luck the elephant slipped into the mud that was there. On seeing that, Lokeshvara cried in pain and prayed for Narayana. Arya Avalokiteshvara happened to be in the same jungle as Padmapani. On hearing the prayers he immediately changed to the form of Narayana and went to the rescue of the elephant from the marshy pond. The elephant then offered the lotus to the Avalokiteshvara who went with it to Buddha Shakyamuni and who was residing at Jetavana. He then took the lotus he had been given and gave out to Buddha Shakyamuni who thanked him for his generosity and asked him to go and offer it to lord Amitabha Buddha. As a sign of appreciation of his charity, Buddha Amitabha asked him to keep the lotus flower forever and also urged him to carry on the act of being beneficial to other sentient beings. In the later days Avalokiteshvara came to be known as Padmapani Lokeshvara[3].

Uses of the Art

This sculpture was being used to visualize beliefs about deities by the Buddhist. It was used in worshiping and were placed in the places of worship. This image represented their Buddha’s who had achieved the perfect state of self-liberation and who got enlightened and thus they derived their authority from them.

Buddhist furthermore used the art for the core purpose of teaching. Each sculpture had its own teaching and for this case the art was used to teach the art of giving and spiritualism. The teachings were passed down from generations to generations so that each generation could know and understand what each art signified. Consequently the Buddha’s statutes were used as sources of inspiration. Moreover they signified religious affiliations of those who inhabited the area[4].

In conclusion, Lokeshvara was a significant art in Budhism. Its role in the budha community cannot be underestimated as it encompass more than spiritual matters.

[1] Kossak, Steven, and Martin Lerner. 1994. The arts of South and Southeast Asia. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.


[2] Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Method. 1988. Buddhist Himalaya: journal of Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Method. [Kathmandu, Nepal]: The Institute.

[3] Padmapani Lokeshvara: Padmapani Is Also a Form of Avalokiteshvara.” Padmapani Lokeshvara: Padmapani Is Also a Form of Avalokiteshvara. Accessed March 16, 2016.


[4] Kossak, Steven, and Martin Lerner. 1994. The arts of South and Southeast Asia. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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