A Chenrezig statue is a depiction of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Avalokitesvara is a highly venerated Bodhisattva believed to embody the compassion of all Buddhas. Originally, the beliefs and veneration of Avalokitesvara emerged in India during the early years of Buddhism. Buddhism spread eastwards and as a result Avalokitesvara was given expanded interpretations. Additionally, the “Bodhisattva of Compassion” was made to seem more compassionate.
The Compassion of a Chenrezig Statue
In fact, in Tibet Avalokitesvara promised to forego Buddhahood until every human being had achieved enlightenment. However, upon viewing the suffering of humanity from a mountain top he realized the vast scale of this promise. As a result, Avalokitesvara exploded into thousands of pieces!
Amitabha put the pieces of Chenrezig back together and thereafter in Tibet, Avalokiteshvara was known as Chenrezig. Also, Amitabha gave Chenrezig many heads and arms so he could work faster and more efficiently to end all of humanity’s suffering. Our Enthroned Chenrezig statue has 4 arms and one head although other Chenrezig statues can have a thousand arms! Additionally, he is seated in the full lotus pose.
The Chenrezig mantra and the Avalokitesvara mantra contain the same syllables “om mani padme hum”. As a result, it is very potent to recite the Chenrezig mantra over and over again while paying careful attention to each syllable. If done with proper dedication and piety it will induce the equivalent of 800 samadhis. A single samadhi is a deep state of concentration which can be achieved through meditation. Click here to learn more about the Chenrezig mantra.